California nurses and medical marijuana - page 2

by DirtyBlackSocks

48,402 Views | 41 Comments

We had an interesting topic in discussion today about how the State Board Of Nursing is pro medical marijuana. For many people suffering from chronic pain it's a great alternative to narcotics - which in my opinion hold a much... Read More


  1. 0
    Quote from HouTx
    I'm a bit confused - pardon my 'non California-ness'. If you are using medical marijuana - do you smoke it, eat it or what? Since hospitals are now non-smoking, how does that work from a practical standpoint.

    Let's try to think of this from the patient's & employer's perspective. How would you feel if something bad happened to you or a loved one and you (or your lawyer) discovers that the nurse (who was involved) tested positive for a narcotic???? Hmm? How do you think a jury would feel? Any employer with a halfway competent risk management department would refuse to hire or maintain clinical staff who are consuming narcotics - no matter how 'legitimate' the reason. It's just too risky.

    The user is NEVER able to objectively assess his/her own capability. People under the influence never realize how buzzed they are - cause their brain is too impaired to make this judgement. Maybe if there was a device they had to use periodically to check cognition or hand/eye coordination or something - just to make sure.... nah, I still don't think its right to subject unsuspecting patients to potentially impaired care providers. It's hard enough to deliver safe care under normal (understaffed, over-worked, stressed out) conditions.
    I don't personally use marijuana - but it is available in all sorts of forms. Marinol (I may be wrong on the name) pills are actually a prescription drug of concentrated THC, you can bake it into foods, etc. It does not have to be smoked.

    My question is not should nurses use narcotics on the job, though you raise a new point. If a nurse tested positive for prescribed marijuana after a mistake - versus testing positive for prescribed percocet after making a mistake do you think it would be handled differently?

    My question centers around if whether RN's are allowed to use medical marijuana for their own purposes as an alternative to narcotic pain killers in states where medical marijuana is legal.

    Taking a vicodin and taking a hit from a joint are an equally stupid thing to do during a shift - obviously. People who say you don't function properly when high on marijuana versus vicodin say it because there have been no studies to show potency equivalency between the two drugs. (i.e. 1 mg of xanax is equal to 6 mg of ativan).
  2. 0
    I just watched a story on the news a couple of days ago concerning something similar. According to the news, this issue was challenged in court in a few States. The court ruled that someone can be fired for testing positive for marijuana even if it was medically prescribed. That is all I remember from the story, sorry. I'll talk to my wife when she gets back, maybe she will remember more. If she does, I'll let you know and try to provide a link.
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    last i heard, pashark is right. the two laws regarding marijuana - state and federal kinda disagree with each other. federal is supposed to override so.... it's legal and illegal at the same time. i'm not an expert on the topic so i might be wrong but basically, script or not, you CAN be arrested, but since cali police have more important things to worry about, you probably won't.
    elprup likes this.
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    I live out here where all the medical shops are.

    California police can't arrest you for it. I have friends with cards who have been pulled over with 10 actual plants in their car, no repercussions.

    However, the DEA are always harassing the vendors.

    Anyone who is a Federal Agent can do as they please, California employed officers are bound by the laws of California.
  5. 0
    Hee Hee - So if I fallow my Dr's order should it be MJ - I can also be fired for not fallowing Dr's order? Haa Haa
  6. 0
    Until people are more out in the open with it and the ones in higher positions start to back it then nothing will change. Its gonna take nurses and doctors in this current generation to be in those positions and have an open mind. I have watched several documentries where they are trying to get it passed thru congress. Hell in texas it was passed that if caught with a certain amount the police can give a ticket instead of arresting the individual but they don't do that. Have a joint, go to jail. The problem with mj is that it stays in your system for so long if you did have an on job injury they would automatically say it was because you were under the influence. And with nursing, because our profession is held to a higher standard, the ones who do use do not want to come out and say it due to repercussions. This is definately a question for the board of nursing in ca. Have you tried them
  7. 1
    Quote from DirtyBlackSocks
    Oh I totally agree on never using before or during a work shift - I would think that applies to any narcotic!

    Which is a dilemma I will ultimately face when I obtain my RN - due to chronic pain disorders I do take narcotic medications, and it comes down to a question of whether I feel my competency is high enough to do my job - or if the pain will affect my performance. How do you answer a question like that? If anyone knows, I'm all ears - because I haven't figured it out.

    My own personal opinion on Marijuana is that it should be federally legalized as a prescription medication - with the same strict laws of adherence that all narcotic medications hold.

    I was just curious what actual nurses in the field think about it - or if their hospitals actually hold a policy based around this specific issue.
    I can't speak to the medical marijuana issue....I don't have any experience with it personally. I think in states where it is legal, it is overprescribed. My niece and nephew's stepmom had her doctor bring it up for pain management (they're in a bordering state, it's not legal where I live) and she has been a pain patient for less than six months....with conditions that (I'm sorry, I feel strongly about this) IMO could very well be fabricated. They are subjective ONLY, and that I have a problem with. I mean, muscle-tendon disorder? Where your muscles are too "strong" for your tendons, causing pain? Happens in women 30-35? How does this even happen when, in your words, you lay in bed and take baths all day? Not a recipe for "too strong of muscles." Also a little suspect when you've been fine your whole life, until you hook up with a man who's never held a steady job due to this problem or that one, and now you both want on disability. Anyway. I'm on a rant. Being a chronic pain patient (IC and endo) and newly found degenerated disks, I know how my pain clinic constantly asked about the "proof" (rad and op reports, etc) during my first visits...so I have an issue with overprescribing. I also recently had a pt from California who is prescribed med marijuana for sleep. In his 40's. Really? There are no other safer alternatives for SLEEP meds?

    Anyway, I got off topic . Just had to comment on the not using narcotics before a shift. I believe this can be safely done, when a person has been on them long term. They do not, after long term use, cause impairment, but they DO cause pain relief, and IMO that can make you sharper than having the distraction of severe pain that is not controlled well. Having never used MJ, I don't know if that same "high" effect goes away (I am thinking it does not, from what others have said, and if it doesn't, therein lies the difference).
    leslie :-D likes this.
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    It is definitely over prescribed. Out here in California there are countless Doctors abusing their title who open up little shops and basically write out a script for anyone that forks over $100.

    A lot of people get it so they can start to grow and sell illegally - where I used to work, one of the customers came in one day telling me about how he was going to get rich off of it. He went into a clinic, said his wrist hurt - the doctor did nothing but push down on both of his hands and gave him a license. Now the guy grows in his house and sells illegally to make a living.

    By the same token there are tons of Doctors out here in the Hollywood area that will give anyone with money a never ending prescription of oxycontin or norco for just about anything you can think up.

    As far as tolerance development, I really couldn't tell you because I don't use. I wish there were more studies done to correlate how much marijuana is equivalent to other narcotics so that it could be properly dosed out - but I don't see that happening unless it becomes legalized on the Federal side of things.

    I think a lot of honest doctors who are pro-marijuana are in it because of the lessened side effects when compared to narcotic medications. If you orally ingest THC there is next to no harm done to your body. Versus all of the acetaminophen in most narcotic pain killers that lead to liver, kidney, stomach problems etc.

    I called the State Board and they said they'd never been asked the question before - which I thought was really weird. There much be a huge stigma and fear of it in nursing, if that's the case.

    What does happen to nurses who end up popping hot for prescribed narcotic medications if they make a mistake? Are they penalized differently from nurses who would be totally clean, even though they hold a prescription?
    squidbilly and jelly221,RN like this.
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    Quote from cherrybreeze
    I also recently had a pt from California who is prescribed med marijuana for sleep. In his 40's. Really? There are no other safer alternatives for SLEEP meds?
    Really? Never heard of anyone smoking themself to death to go to sleep..but I think I remember some sleep meds that do kill. Sorry, I'm all for the one without the death consequence
    squidbilly, chels0641, and jelly221,RN like this.
  10. 1
    It just needs to be legalized period.

    Alcohol is more deadly and addictive.

    Also, regarding marijuana being "overprescribed," so are narcotics and antibiotics. What's your point?
    leslie :-D likes this.


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