Question about marijuana use as a nurse - page 7

by sasha_t 20,117 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. 5
    Quote from NurseDirtyBird
    I live in a state with medical marijuana laws, and total legality is on the ballot this Nov. (unlikely to pass, but hey, we're trying).
    The deal with our state is that legally authorized medical use is not a protection against arrest, it is only an affirmative defense in court should you be arrested. This is because while legal in the view of the state, it remains Federally illegal, which trumps state law.
    Because it is technically not legal, there is no need for employers to recognize it as medication or anything else besides an illicit street drug.
    That said, it will depend on your employer. I've worked for a place that "allowed" it. The medical director was a medical cannabis advocate, so admin was relaxed about it. However, I saw admin use their medical status against an employee. If they know about and look the other way from your use, they can hold it above your head. If you say something wrong, look at them funny, or they just hate your face that day, all they have to do is call you in for a "random" drug test and then fire you for testing positive - like they knew you would.

    My advice: do not use cannabis while looking for a job. Do not test positive on a pre-employment drug test. Do not tell your new co-workers and managers that you have a prescription. Do not do anything to endanger your patients or yourself (i.e.: GO TO WORK HIGH). Do not give your employers any reason to suspect anything and randomly test you. Most places will not spend the money for regular 'random' testing if they have no suspicions.

    Basically, don't be dumb.
    Yup, completely agree.

    The only thing I will add OP, is that if your anxiety is as severe as it sounds, you should be extremely careful about what jobs you apply for. Definitely don't put yourself in an acute care setting, or LTC where you will be alone in no time as it may put you over the edge. Nursing is SO stressful that I would be really careful about choosing a position.

    And yeah, don't test positive in pre-employment testing. I'm in complete agreement with BrandonLPN on this, marihuana is not the terrible drug people (mainly DEA) have made it out to be. Nor is it a gateway drug for more potent stuff. Addicts will be addicts no matter what restrictions you put on pharmaceuticals and it doesn't matter what they are abusing. I've met many completely competent, successful, normal people (yes, even nurses!) who occasionally smoke pot -- and they are not dim or walk around like zombies. It is not uncommon. But, laws are behind the times, so don't be stupid.

    Sent from my iPhone using allnurses.com
  2. 7
    I have a feeling many of you actually know very little about marijuana and it's benefits, not to mention the fact that marijuana is safer than alcohol and many, many prescription drugs. No one has ever died from using marijuana alone- in any form. Many people have become severely addicted to and died using Xanax, Oxycontin, etc. (Drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in U.S., Times analysis shows - Los Angeles Times) These are all perfectly legal and "accepted" drugs. Try to find an article about a person dying from marijuana.

    Should a nurse use marijuana prior to a shift? Absolutely not. Nor should they drink alcohol or use any altering medications. But you've gotta be kidding me if you think it's ok for you to have several beers/glasses of wine on a Friday night and it's somehow different to a person smoking a joint or eating an edible on a Friday. What we need is a more accurate drug testing system that could somehow detect last ingestion of a medication/alcohol/drug. A person could snort several lines of cocaine on Friday and come up clean on a drug test on Monday. Or A person could smoke marijuana on Oct 1, get drug tested on Oct 15 and still show up positive. I find that unfair.

    Marijuana should be legalized, period. Unfortunately at this time, no matter if in your state it is legal, you will be under unfair hypocrisy over this drug vs others and honestly, if you want to stay in this profession, it may be best to abstain from use until it is finally legalized, or you find an employer who sees your Rx as any other.
    NurseDiva08, Kashia, RRWilson,RN2, and 4 others like this.
  3. 2
    While I can see your side of things OP (and I disagree with your logic), the BON, as well as your employer is mainly concerned with nurses upholding the standards and ethics of nursing. Smoking pot during your off hours is a slippery slope. You can't guarantee them that your using won't affect your performance, at some point. I do not take any drugs, although I have experimented with pot in my younger days. Even smoking a minute amount of pot left me tired and I had a hangover from it a day later. Sure, you may be different. However, is this worth risking when people's lives are at stake? No.
    JZ_RN and redhead_NURSE98! like this.
  4. 4
    Interesting. First of all just go out on a weekend night to a club and see how much alcohol is being consumed. These people enjoying their night out do not drink before coming to work or drink at work. It is the same with pot. Their professional judgement is not impaired because they had a drink or two or three two nights ago. I am in CA and I will say that our hospital would never test for THC why? Because too many people would test positive. It is very easy to get a medical card in this state. I work with staff who have them. I am not advocating for pot or alcohol or anything else. Just stating that for those of you here who are so against pot because of it being a drug, you just have little clue as to how prevalent it is. You all know how it is at a major football or baseball game with many drinking beer? Well that is exactly how it is at most concerts with pot and beer. Perhaps I am just used to it having been around it my whole life (CA native) so I do not know how it is in other states?
  5. 2
    I won't disagree that pot and many other drugs are widely used. I'm not na´ve by any means. However, I'm still not in favour of nurses, policeman, fireman, or other professionals who are in the business of saving lives smoking pot. Do they do it? Absolutely! Doesn't mean I agree, and for sure I wouldn't broadcast using drugs to coworkers or employers. Also, marijuana has been known to cause psychosis, memory lapse, and hallucinations. It isn't necessarily the harmless drug some would think.
    JZ_RN and SarcasticLVN like this.
  6. 10
    Alcohol is also known to cause those side effects plus cancer, cirrhosis, violent actions, mood swings, impaired decision making, etc and I would be willing to bet a large majority of people on this site (professional nurses) regularly consume alcohol. Does it affect their day to day lives? Most likely not and it's the same with marijuana. If we test for pot, we should also test for alcohol. It's a widely known issue that many, many professional cops use and abuse alcohol and yet they still get to work and help save lives. If they are found to be under the influence, instead of being jailed for their offenses (unless they committed some kind of crime) are often offered help. People who smoke marijuana and have issues with it lose their jobs and often go to jail, usually with no crimes committed at all other than using. We need more education of the public on marijuana and alcohol and the realities of both.
  7. 2
    Quote from classicdame
    you did not pose a question for us to answer. So we assume you want opinions. Mine is, don't be my nurse if you are on dope
    lol, im sorry. but you sound like a 1992 "say no" commercial or my mom. "dope" is not marijuana.
    i agree that the poster didn't ask an actual question, and i agree most RNs who don't want any trouble with their license wouldn't even bother smoking weed, but i DO think you were trying to be sassy here, no?
    Last edit by SNB1014 on Sep 26, '12 : Reason: spelling
    NurseDiva08 and LPN2RNn2011 like this.
  8. 1
    I haven't read all of the comments, but all I can say is that you are a brave person for asking this question. Check with your state's BON and see what their policies are. Good luck with all of the negative comments you are probably receiving...
    LPN2RNn2011 likes this.
  9. 0
    Texas, I don't think someone who drinks a beer or two glasses of wine on a weekend is going to be having problems with cancer, violent mood swings, cirrhosis, etc. It is the same for someone who smokes a little pot. But I agree, this is not something to talk about to co-workers but what do you do when you go to a party or bbq and several of your co-workers are in the corner smoking pot and the others are having a drink? Everyone can smell it and knows but it is just not spoken about. True the problem is the law when it comes to our license. But as said earlier there is no way that a test for pot would be done in my area or at least 99% no. I have never been tested for anything and I do not know of anyone else who has either. And I happen to work in a very expensive part of the state.
  10. 1
    haldol- I don't either. But most people I know have never hallucinated or become psychotic from smoking marijuana. Just trying to offer some perspective.
    Wet Noodle likes this.


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