Can you lose your medical license over the use of legal marijuana?

On Behalf of | Jul 19, 2021 | Professional License Issues |

These days, products containing THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) — the psychoactive ingredient present in marijuana — are everywhere. Thanks to changes in public opinion and the laws around the nation, it’s possible to find regular CBD products that contain trace amounts of THC as well, and medical marijuana has been legalized in the majority of states — including here in Pennsylvania.

But doctors and nurses don’t necessarily live under the same rules as everybody else. If you’re a physician or nurse, the use of a product that has THC in it could put your license in danger — even if you obtained and used the product legally.

What to consider when you’re a physician or nurse using cannabis

Generally, any substance use that affects your ability to practice medicine safely and competently can lead to the loss of your license — including alcohol. Doctors and nurses are free to have a drink at will, however, as long as they don’t show up drunk to work and try to practice medicine while intoxicated.

Unlike alcohol, however, wherein detectable levels leave your system at about the same rate as the intoxicating effects start to wane, THC can stay in your system a long time after you use it. If your employer subjects you to a drug test, you could test positive for THC days or weeks after you last used any marijuana products.

Because there’s no way to tell when THC was last used, a positive drug test could lead to a referal to the licensing board and disciplinary actions by both the board and your employer.

When you’re worried about losing your medical license

If you’re worried about losing your medical license after a drug test showed that there was THC in your system, you cannot afford to stand idle while the licensing board decides your fate. A proactive defense could save your career.