Medical Marijuana Advocacy as a Nurse

  1. I am an advocate of the use of medical marijuana for clients. I reside in California, where medicinal use is recognized at the state level. I am highly in favor of a non-judgmental and compassionate resource for clients using medical marijuana, and have been toying with the idea of providing non-medical care services to those with a recommendation for medical marijuana use. This would include transportation to and from dispensaries & medical marijuana practitioners, accompaniment inside dispensaries (one cannot do this without possessing a MMJ card), and/or preparation of medicinal substances for the client's SELF-ADMINISTRATION.

    However, nursing care, as a Licensed Vocational Nurse, is a large part of my identity, and I am curious as how to provide nursing care services as a private duty nurse to these clients, should the need exist. I do, however, tread lightly, as I fear the wrath of the BON; I hold my license very dear to me. (As a side note- I, myself, do not use medicinal marijuana, though I do possess a recommendation. My professionalism and responsibility to my license comes first and foremost.)

    I was wondering as to the general outlook of nursing practice relative to medical marijuana. What is your experience with it (in the medical field) and do any of you work in the industry (ie Nursing Pracititioners writing recommendations, long term care facilities accepting client use), or do any of your clients use it?
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    About loladevilleLVN

    Joined: Mar '13; Posts: 4


  3. by   jadelpn
    I think in some cases, it could be a useful tool in combating some side effects and conditions. I am not sure I would take it upon myself to want to dispense it, but that is just me. Like anything, some will use it appropriately, some will not and it is the patients who will not that you will be relentlessly interrrupted by--I have seen in the past people who have had the pill form of THC. And personally, when one is dying and is so ill that the quality of one's life suffers then I would say have at it then. Like pain medications, some abuse it, some will not--if you are an advocate, I would see how others (in other counties) set this all up. NP's and MD's are state and not county. And it is my understanding that each county needs a dispensery. Make an appointment to speak to the practioner in the next county. Perhaps they may be willing to back you on this.
  4. by   loladevilleLVN
    I should make it clear that I would not be DISPENSING anything. Even as LVN, it is not within my scope of practice to dispense pharmaceuticals or prescribed medications. I can, however, ADMINISTER medicine to a patient, pharmaceutical or not, as long as it is prescribed by a practitioner.

    I may be mistaken, but I believe that ownership of a MMJ card prohibits any sharing of personal marijuana with another MMJ cardholder. It is my explicit belief that any and all access to medical marijuana need occur through collectives and dispensaries. However, ownership of an MMJ card allows an individual to grow plants, or another MMJ user's plants as their assigned MMJ plant caregiver, and states the amount of marijuana they are allowed to be in possession of, or present of.

    Though any and all marijuana I would be in contact with, would strictly be the patient's possession, the ownership of such a card would allow me to prepare the marijuana through various means (ie. oral through baking, cooking; vapor; smoking via joint, cigarillo, what-have-you), for the patient to self-administer.

    While there are plenty of NPs and MDs writing recommendations, my scope of practice as an LVN would not allow for this. Though I hear of a few LTC facilities accepting client's rights to use medical marijuana, they are far and few inbetween. For patients who live independently, but still require help, both medical and non-medical, I have not heard of a home health service that identifies with this. Though I am still exploring the overlap of nursing provider and MMJ card holder, I hope I can find my niche!
  5. by   elkpark
    If it were me, I'd make darned sure the BON wouldn't have any problems with this before I got involved in helping anyone use their weed. I would even want to get that in writing, not just get a verbal response from one individual on the 'phone.
    Last edit by elkpark on Mar 6, '13
  6. by   loladevilleLVN
    Although I've searched their website, I have not found an explicit standpoint from my state's board of nursing. I do, however, appreciate the advice and this is something I will look into doing. Thanks!
  7. by   nisteber
    Medical marijuana is just a scam. Just wait til its completely legal in Cali. It's not going to be long. Get in on the business then.
  8. by   tewdles
    Even though medicinal mj is legal in Michigan, the local police in many communities shut down the dispensaries for a variety of reasons. That made it necessary for those with MD provided cards to obtain their mj illegally or go without.

    There remains a good deal of backward thinking about marijuana in the country.
    It is sad that people who might benefit from the medicinal affects of the drug do not have better access.
  9. by   forrester
    This is ridiculous.
    We should legalize pot now. Throwing people in jail or prohibitting terminally ill people from using it is the real crime.
    I've spent over 40 years in healthcare, more often than not on the front line, ER/critical care units/trauma/burn etc.
    The number of pot related cases I've had to deal with are exactly 2- and they were minor.

    We're either a free country or we're not a free country, and if we pass laws resrtricting this freedom, or depriving someone of their freedom, needs to be evidence based.

    This is BS and reasonable people understand this.
  10. by   shermrn
    I support the use of medical marijuana, as well as the general legalization of drugs. If you are in favor of medical marijuana you want to be able to advocate for it's use without comming accross as some Cheech and Chong style pothead. That has largely been the problem with advancing marijuana for medical uses, the large number of people who over use it fit right into the stereotype. If you are going to advocate for it's use be sure you have all the facts and can come off as inteligent and well informed. I would advise not being in the presence of marijuana however because of the federal laws against it, even though some states have legalized it you don't want to end up on the wrong side of the law and jeopardize your license or your reputation as a professional.

    I guess my point is we walk a fine line in advocating for the use of a substance that is widely abused. I think it would be best to stay on the scientific and legal side of the argument until the laws are clear.
  11. by   DMDC
    I think it should be legalized and there are companies that do not test for it. As they hire patients that use it. However No one should go to work high no matter what med. etc. it is. As MJ stays in your fat cells you can test positive when not high. I have seen patients it helps quite a bit. I think it should be legal recreationally also. People need to make informed choices. Is alcohol going to be illigal again? People use that to excess frequently. You could get a script for that when it was illegal. For me, my license is too important to risk even as a caregiver until there becomes some firm guidelines. I have been licensed since 1979 and value my license.
  12. by   amygarside
    legalized or not im not sure if hospitals and other health care facilities would allow its use in the facility though they can provide special department for it..