Can nurses use medical marijuana? - page 2

Does anyone know if medical marijuana in California is an option for a practicing RN? It has been recommended to me from a doctor as an alternative to other medication, but I do not want to risk my... Read More

  1. Visit  Meriwhen profile page
    12
    Quote from inforn43
    What kind of horrible profession do we work in? How healthy does a person need to be to work as a nurse? I have heard this a lot over the 25 years that I have worked in health care. Are we supposed to be athletes? They they need to pay us like 25 million a year so after we work our buts off and ruin our health for our job we can at least enjoy early retirement. I won't tell you what I think of you as a person because that would be rude. But I don't wish good health to you and I wonder how you treat your patients. Sounds like nurses have the least amount of compassion of all.
    I think it would be more uncompassionate for me to give someone false hope about being able to use marijuana and continue working as a nurse.

    Just telling you how it is. Even here in CA, where 4/20 is practically a state holiday and you can't swing a cat without hitting a head shop, many employers frown upon their employees using marijuana. Healthcare organizations are especially hard on drug use in their employees, and you can and will be fired for failing a test. In some cases you can be fired even if you hold a valid prescription for a legitimate drug that shows up in the UDS. I agree, it's not always fair, but I don't make the rules.

    FYI, a medical marijuana card isn't a prescription, as Schedule I medications can not be prescribed. The use of marijuana can only be recommended by a healthcare provider, and a medical MJ card only helps its owner avoid possession charges. It doesn't protect the owner against the ramifications of popping positive. And employers do wonder about the health--physical and mental--of an employee who has such a card.

    And if you think I'm unfeeling, the BRN makes me look like a cuddle-bunny. Since my last post in this thread, I had the opportunity to sit in on BRN presentations concerning impaired nursing and can tell you that nurses with medical marijuana cards are very rarely afforded any special privileges or consideration. In fact, they're pretty hard-line about any drug abuse, legal or illegal. If you're lucky (key word), you may end up in a diversion program for which you and not the BRN will foot the bill for, and if you are lucky (again, key word) to meet all their stipulations and complete it, you might emerge with your license intact.

    Otherwise you're the owner of a disciplined license--if they let you keep it, that is--in an over-saturated job market. And because of this over-saturated job market, the nurse with any discipline on their license is at a severe disadvantage. An applicant with a clean record or an applicant with BRN discipline for drug abuse...who do you think the employer is more likely to go with? Again, not always fair, but the employers have the upper hand as long as there is a surplus of nurses seeking work.

    That's the reality, whether you or I or anyone likes it. And if you feel I'm uncompassionate for reminding someone about reality instead of taking the hearts-and-flowers view that you were hoping for, so be it. Though IMO, it would be far crueler of me to mislead someone and then let them be smacked alongside the head by an employer or BRN.
  2. Visit  herring_RN profile page
    4
    I would definitely check with the BRN before using medical marijuana and accepting a patient assignment. A nurse impaired by other prescription medications may have his or her license jeopardized if an error is reported.

    I know of one RN who used it for chemotherapy side effects, but didn't work during that time. She had previously notified the board. I'm told she returned to work.

    Here is a link to disciplinary actions regarding medical marijuana:
    Board of Registered Nursing

    I suggest writing or email because the phone is very busy
    Board of Registered Nursing
    P.O. Box 944210
    Sacramento, CA 94244-2100
    Licensee Services & General Information
    For questions regarding license renewal, license verification, RN name and address changes, continuing education, and all other inquiries.
    Main Phone: (916) 322-3350
    Email: Renewals.BRN@dca.ca.gov
  3. Visit  Rob72 profile page
    4
    Quote from inforn43
    What kind of horrible profession do we work in? ...Sounds like nurses have the least amount of compassion of all.
    No, we have responsible professional judgement. I would second mystcnurse's comment, regarding other theraputic meds used by nurses. Medical MJ is not some mystic, happy panacea. It is impairing(no less so than take-your-pick-of-narcotics) and it is controlled. The DOT and FAA have thresholds (which are actually fairly liberal) and medical MJ will in most cases cause one to exceed the safety standard. Your facility and State BoN may have different standards, but I would not be optimistic.

    Never confuse "feel-good" with safe practice.
    Not_A_Hat_Person, AmyRN303, Meriwhen, and 1 other like this.
  4. Visit  PamsaRN profile page
    2
    I have Multiple Sclerosis and experience chronic pain and fatigue.Meriwhen was right in my case. I came to the point I could not practice any longer due to the disease. I have read many articles about medical marijuana relieving pain and muscle spasms. I don't live in a state where it is legal so I have no idea if it would help me or not.....I do understand the need for relief from chronic illness. It is truly life changing.
    toomuchbaloney and herring_RN like this.
  5. Visit  wirehead profile page
    3
    Good question, if it's for migraines, I'd say find an alternative, if it's for cancer, HIV or severe chronic pain, then as Sun0408 has mentioned, you have to consider if you're ill enough that maybe you shouldn't be practicing until you get a handle on your illness.
    Meriwhen, herring_RN, and caliotter3 like this.
  6. Visit  Girlafraid13 profile page
    1
    I was wondering the same thing recently. I have horrible anxiety and wondered if I should get a medical card, but started reading more about nurses and medical mj and found out that even in states where it's legal you can lose your license. I'm not willing to risk that.
    herring_RN likes this.
  7. Visit  ktwlpn profile page
    3
    Quote from Rob72
    No, we have responsible professional judgement. I would second mystcnurse's comment, regarding other theraputic meds used by nurses. Medical MJ is not some mystic, happy panacea. It is impairing(no less so than take-your-pick-of-narcotics) and it is controlled. The DOT and FAA have thresholds (which are actually fairly liberal) and medical MJ will in most cases cause one to exceed the safety standard. Your facility and State BoN may have different standards, but I would not be optimistic.

    Never confuse "feel-good" with safe practice.
    How is a hit or two at bedtime as a sleep aide and treatment for chronic pain going to impair me in the morning? I have taken cold medicine that made me miserable the next day. MJ has a comparatively short half life (ETOH is much longer) It will be interesting to see how this evolves.
  8. Visit  newhospicern profile page
    2
    I wouldn't even trust a phone call. Without a written policy with clear and concise language readily available by the BON in your state addressing it directly, I wouldn't dare take the chance. As you said in your OP, federal law still prohibits it (though I expect within the decade this will change) and it's still listed as a Schedule I controlled substance (clearly stating that it has "no currently accepted medical use").

    Even after the federal prohibition is lifted and it becomes fully decriminalized, it's going to be a while before it's widely accepted. I suspect it's going to take quite a bit of case law to get a firm stand in favor of the patient/nurse when it comes to this substance.

    JMO, FWIW.
    NRSKarenRN and Not_A_Hat_Person like this.
  9. Visit  BeachyRN2Be profile page
    0
    I have heard quite a few stories about those prescribed medicinal marijuana and fired when they show up positive and the courts have sided with the employer when the employee tries to sue. Not worth the risk, IMHO.
  10. Visit  mellowdude profile page
    0
    Once cannabis moves from it's stupid listing under the scheduled 1 class, a lot more places will allow employees to use cannabis in the off time. Once the feds stop criminalizing it, more hospitals will allow employees to use it.

    Hospitals get funds from the feds and hospitals don't want to loose that. So, they play along with the feds.

    Remember, Cannabis is legal at state levels. Not at the federal level.


    NORML reported a case that has gone to the supreme court involving employees vs employers in Colorado.
  11. Visit  bethann27 profile page
    0
    In my area hospitals are doing hair strand testing for nicotine! You smoke = no job
  12. Visit  silverbat profile page
    3
    What I was told by bothe NM and MO BON -- is that even if MJ is legal in that state, it is still illegal on a federal level and until it is LEGAL on he federal level, it will remain a no-no as far as BONs ( those two anyway) are concerned. I was told that if it were federally legalized, then the use of MJ would probably be the same as any other drug such as alcohol or any prescribed medication, and that would be all about impairment.
  13. Visit  toomuchbaloney profile page
    5
    Of course nurses may use medicinal marijuana...just like other folks might. They just have no guarantee that their employer will not dismiss them for the use.

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