Can nurses use medical marijuana?
- 0Jun 7, '12 by melisgoodDoes 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 license. If I understand the law correctly, if I get tested at work and come out positive I could be fired (as many people have been fired from other positions due to the federal government not making marijuana legal. Obviously, caution would be taken, as with any narcotic and i am talking about not being affected while at work. Has anyone approached the board of nursing about this? I am considering asking since I am not using, just considering my options. Tia!
- 8Jun 7, '12 by Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, RN Senior ModeratorWith all due respect to the OP...IMO, if someone's health has declined to the point that they are prescribed medical marijuana, then they are probably not healthy enough to be successfully working as a nurse. I don't know why you were suggested it nor do I want to know. Nor will I pass judgment on you should you decide to use it and pursue working as a nurse...though I still stand by my stated concern.
To answer your questions: the only way you'd know for certain about whether your license is at risk is to contact the CA BRN and ask them. You can write them anonymously if you want--sign up for a free e-mail account with Gmail and don't use your name. They will answer back.
Also, keep in mind that having a valid prescription is not bulletproof protection against disciplinary action. Even if the BRN should be OK with it, your employer may decide that the risks of your working with THC in your system--even if it's prescribed, if you don't use it at work, don't show up to work impaired, etc.--may outweigh the benefit of having you as an employee. People have been fired for testing positive for prescribed substances because of company policy. So after you check with the CA BRN, the next place you'd have to check with is the employer.
And the prior poster is right: THC can be present in your system for nearly a month after use. If you take medical marijuana on a regular basis, it's almost certain that you will never have a clean urine.
Best of luck with your health and whatever you decide.
- 6Jun 7, '12 by destovaQuote from MeriwhenHealth doesn't have to be that impaired for a prescription. My Dr told me if it were legal in our state she'd rx it for me due to my stress induced anorexia as well as dull but constant back pain.... there are many other cases where it could be helpful that are not a contraindication to working.With all due respect to the OP...IMO, if someone's health has declined to the point that they are prescribed medical marijuana, then they are probably not healthy enough to be successfully working as a nurse.
OP, I will agree with the rest of meriwhen's post regarding contacting the board. Also the fact that your employer may not agree even if the board says yes.
Good luck, hoping you feel well again soon!
- 7Jun 8, '12 by ~*Stargazer*~Quote from destovaThis is very true. Medical marijuana is prescribed for chronic painful conditions, such as back pain or migraines, and for conditions that affect feeding and appetite.Health doesn't have to be that impaired for a prescription. My Dr told me if it were legal in our state she'd rx it for me due to my stress induced anorexia as well as dull but constant back pain.... there are many other cases where it could be helpful that are not a contraindication to working.
- 5Jun 8, '12 by Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, RN Senior ModeratorI stand duly educated on the uses of medical marijuana I have to admit that my experiences with it have been with chronically ill patients, and I wasn't aware of other conditions that it may be used for...and I live in California, no less. This info is enlightening.
I still harbor some concern about the health of nurses who need to use medical marijuana though.
- 6Jun 8, '12 by Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, RN Senior ModeratorQuote from melisgoodYou would really have to ask the BRN that directly, since it's what they say that goes in the end.I stand by my belief that there is nothing wrong with responsible use. What I'm questioning is the risk of likely ones license. Does anybody know where the Bon stands regarding legal use?
- 1Jun 9, '12 by Sun0408Go to CA BON website and in the upper right corner, type in medical marijuana; you will have plenty to read... Several that I looked over had a laundry list of charges all stemming from the MJ. Several were just strange and they needed to lose their license.