Can nurses use medical marijuana?

  1. 0 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 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!
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  3. Visit  melisgood profile page

    About melisgood

    Joined Oct '07; Posts: 104; Likes: 22.

    33 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  Sun0408 profile page
    1
    MJ can stay in your system for up to 30 days. That's a huge risk if something should happen at work. Hoping someone will ring in with more concrete info.. I don't live in CA; I just wanted to see what others thought.
    icuRNmaggie likes this.
  5. Visit  Meriwhen profile page
    8
    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. 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.
  6. Visit  destova profile page
    7
    Quote from Meriwhen
    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.
    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.

    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!
  7. Visit  Anna Flaxis profile page
    7
    Quote from destova
    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.
    This 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.
    SmithRNclassof97, AmyRN303, ktwlpn, and 4 others like this.
  8. Visit  Meriwhen profile page
    5
    I 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.
  9. Visit  melisgood profile page
    0
    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?
  10. Visit  Meriwhen profile page
    6
    Quote from melisgood
    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?
    You would really have to ask the BRN that directly, since it's what they say that goes in the end.
  11. Visit  Sun0408 profile page
    1
    Go 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.
    toomuchbaloney likes this.
  12. Visit  nurse2033 profile page
    1
    Did you check with the Board of Nursing? They should provide guidance to whether you can legally use with a Rx and practice.
    toomuchbaloney likes this.
  13. Visit  NRSKarenRN profile page
    2
    CA BON action:

    Section 2761 states, in pertinent part: "The board may take disciplinary action against a certified or licensed nurse ... for any ofthe following: "(a) Unprofessional conduct, which includes, but is not limited to, the following:

    "(d) Violating or attempting to violate, directly or indirectly, or assisting in or abetting the violating of, or conspiring to violate any provision or term oft his chapter or regulations adopted pursuant to it."

    10: Code section-2762 states, in pertinent part: "In addition to other acts constituting unprofessional conduct within the meaning ofthis chapter [the Nursing Practice Act], it is unprofessional conduct for a person licensed under this chapter to do any of the following: ...
    (a) Obtain or possess in violation o flaw, or prescribe, or except as directed by a licensed physician and surgeon, dentist, or podiatrist administer to himself or herself, or furnish or administer to another, any controlled substance as defined in Division 10 (commencing with Section 11000) ofthe Health and Safety Code or any dangerous drug or dangerous device as def
    med in Section 4022. (b) Use any controlled substance as dev

    fmed in Division 10 (commencing with Section 11000) of the Health and Safety Code, or any dangerous drug or dangerous device as defmed in Section 4022, or alcoholic beverages, to an extent or in a manner dangerous or injurious to himself or herself, any other person, or the public or to the extent that such use impairs his or her ability to conduct with safety to the public the, practice authorized by his or her license"

    http://www.rn.ca.gov/public/rn572369.pdf
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Dec 13, '14
    toomuchbaloney and Meriwhen like this.
  14. Visit  mystcnurse profile page
    5
    Do you have the same concerns for nurses who take sleeping pills, pain medication, anxiolytics or other medications? Just curious.
    SmithRNclassof97, ktwlpn, Rob72, and 2 others like this.
  15. Visit  inforn43 profile page
    1
    Quote from Meriwhen
    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. 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.
    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.
    SmilingBluEyes likes this.


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