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Calls for workplace cannabis drug-testing to be scrapped for nurses

Drug-testing for cannabis should be discontinued for nurses with a documented medical condition



covid-19 cannabis
The committee recommends that nurses should have safe access to therapeutic cannabis.

The American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA) has called for the elimination of pre-employment and random drug testing for nurses.

In a new position statement released on Wednesday 12 May, the body’s Policy and Government Affairs (PG&A) committee suggests that a ‘reliable test’ for impairment while on the job should be used instead. 

As cannabis legalisation becomes more prevalent in the US, the ACNA says it recognises that many nurses will be looking to cannabis as an option for symptoms such as chronic pain, anxiety and insomnia as the evidence emerges to support the use of cannabinoids for these conditions. 

Chair of the committee Michael Rochlin commented: “It is clear that the war on drugs’ punitive measures such as mandatory cannabis drug testing, can impact critical availability of nurses, especially now during this pandemic.

“Drug-testing for cannabis is discriminatory and does not ensure safety.”

The committee recommends that nurses should have safe access to therapeutic cannabis to treat conditions such as PTSD, depression, sleep disturbances, chronic pain and anxiety, due to the ‘physical and psychological demands of nursing’. 

It goes on to say that drug-testing for cannabis should be discontinued for nurses with a qualified and documented medical condition, and that testing for signs of impairment should use a ‘validated test for cognitive impairment’, rather than testing levels of THC in urine or blood samples.

The ACNA adds that these tests should be delivered by a trained and qualified Medical Review Officer or other designated medical professional.

Eloise Theisen, ACNA President, said: “Testing for cannabinoids, especially THC, is not a reliable test for impairment and there is no evidence to support that testing improves workplace performance or decreases workplace accidents.” 

“As more and more states move towards legalising medical and adult use of cannabis, employers will need to start reviewing the evidence and make policy changes that are based on evidence and not fear.”

Read the full position statement

Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister titles, Cannabis Wealth and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag


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