Question about marijuana use as a nurse - page 2

by sasha_t

17,286 Unique Views | 82 Comments

I used to use marijuana only as a recreational drug, recently it was prescribed to me due to anxiety and lack of appetite. If you have a prescription to marijuana and you test positive on a drug screening, would you still be... Read More


  1. 8
    Quote from sasha_t
    I used to use marijuana only as a recreational drug, recently it was prescribed to me due to anxiety and lack of appetite. If you have a prescription to marijuana and you test positive on a drug screening, would you still be allowed to work? Would an application for employment be denied?
    This is the only post that poses a question. Yes, you may be allowed to work, however, you would be under sanctions and have limits (medication administration) and your employer may still choose to fire you. Yes, if you get sanctions or can't pass a drug test you may be denied employment. Bottom line, what you think should be allowed and what the state deems legal can differ and employment decisions are based on law, not what you think is right. In the same sense, an employer can also ask that you take sick time if you are taking medications (oxy for pain) that are legally prescribed because it can impair your thinking.
  2. 13
    Quote from sasha_t
    I used to use marijuana only as a recreational drug, recently it was prescribed to me due to anxiety and lack of appetite. If you have a prescription to marijuana and you test positive on a drug screening, would you still be allowed to work? Would an application for employment be denied?
    There are two things to consider in the answer to your question.

    First, even with prescription in hand, your state BON may choose NOT to license you as a nurse in your state...and yes, this includes California. So you need to check with your state BON to determine if you will be able to be licensed (or keep your license if you are already).

    Second, if you are able to get/keep your license, that does not guarantee that an employer has to hire you. Employers have their own guidelines regarding drug use in their employees. Having a prescription in hand--and this applies not only to marijuana but for benzos and other medications as well--is not bulletproof protection against a positive drug test. The company may choose to deny you employment if you test positive for a drug, and you would have little legal recourse against it.

    Most facilities--including those in California--will not hire someone who tests positive for THC regardless of whether a legal prescription is involved. I know because I work for two of them.

    Not going to pass judgment on your views regarding MJ use. But it is a fact that--as harsh as this may sound--what you think about your MJ use doesn't matter one bit. What the BON and employers think about it matters far more because they can control if you can work as a nurse. And they are within their rights to deny you licensure/employment based on your drug test results.

    Hope this helps and best of luck.
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    I wouldn't want someone who was caring for me or my family to be under the influence of any drug. If you truly want to smoke weed or need to because it is all that will relieve anxiety and increase your appetite, you need to speak with your BON and your employer. If the need to smoke exceeds your need to be a nurse, perhaps getting a job that requires less critical thinking should be an option.
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    You can't be serious, people are drug screened prior to being hired and you would not be hired, think what you want, but really, where I work you are not even hired if you smoke tobacco. Plus, who prescibes pot for anxiety. Really? You can't function as a nurse if you are a drug user.
  5. 14
    Quote from DutchRN09
    You can't be serious, people are drug screened prior to being hired and you would not be hired, think what you want, but really, where I work you are not even hired if you smoke tobacco. Plus, who prescibes pot for anxiety. Really? You can't function as a nurse if you are a drug user.
    Its actually really commonly prescribed here in California. I have a neighbor directly behind me who is a 20 something year old who is prescribed MJ and he is able to grow 12 plants or something like that in his back yard. Because of this, my children and I get to smell that skunk like smell when we are swimming in the pool out back. Oh and he was given the Rx for anxiety, and it appears that serveral of his friends are also anxious people because he is always smoking outside with at least 5 or 6 of them.
  6. 1
    Meriwhen speaks the truth. Marijuana is not legal in my state so a positive drug screen for THC would undoubtedly lead to that person not being hired. HOWEVER, narcotics ARE legal and even with a valid prescription- I know of facilities that would not allow someone to work while taking narcotics. I know because I used to be employed at one of them. Several years ago, I was on lifting restrictions because of low back problems and, despite a note from my doctor, I still had to be "cleared" by occupational health. The occ health NP asked me what I took for pain, I said motrin and she responded (probably as an FYI but it came off as kind of a stupid since I had just told her that I was only taking motrin) "you know you can't work if you're taking narcotics." It didn't matter WHY you were taking them, this hospital did not allow anyone to work while taking narcotics so I imagine a pre-employment drug screen positive for narcotic use at this institution would lead to a denial of employment.
    timmedico likes this.
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    Im curious how this plays out. MJ is legal from a local standpoint but from federal i would be curious to what they have to say. Maybe they should have tried Marinol and some xanax instead. I could see where the BON would look at someone with an active prescription for MJ as a threat. But for now I'll grab some popcorn and see how this unwinds
  8. 23
    Yes, I think it's an absurd double standard that some view drinking alcohol and occasionally getting drunk is morally and socially acceptable, but smoking pot and occasionally getting high is "bad". What on earth is the difference between recreational alcohol use and recreational marijuana use?? Ive seen many many many people die horrible deaths from cirrhosis and liver failure related to alcohol. Not too many from chronic (ha!) pot use....

    But that's not what thisis about. This is about your job, and most jobs can legally enforce random drug tests. What your employer and the BON says is the bottom line....
    NurseDiva08, CallieNM, RRWilson,RN2, and 20 others like this.
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    Different but similar example here: The military now allows gay marriage. However, because gay marriage is only recognized in certain states and not FEDERAL law, homosexual spouses are not entitled to health coverage, housing allowance, etc that heterosexual spouses are. Additionally, while an Rx for marijuana may be valid in, say, California, FEDERAL law trumps the state law and the military member is not allowed to have marijuana is his/her system.

    Just a thought.

    My personal opinion is get over it.
  10. 2
    I wouldn't want a nurse whose senses and response time are dulled by drug use, and I don't know many others who would either. If you wanna get high, take it up with the BON. We're professionals even when we're off the clock and we can't use dope. If you are so ill that you can't function without pot and have panic attacks, or can't eat normally, maybe you shouldn't be working at all.


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