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Marijuana Legalization in Hospitals

Medical marijuana legalization in hospital has soared in the space of just two years, but cannabis use in hospitals is a segment on its own. The legalization of cannabis hasn’t influenced hospital drug policy in any way. Medical cannabis patients can’t still use cannabis in a hospital setting, even in legal medical marijuana states.

Marijuana May be the only Medication

Medical marijuana may be the only medication for severe symptoms of chemotherapy such as nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and extreme pain. When a cancer patient begins receiving treatment at a hospital, they may lose access to their legal medical marijuana prescription and forced to use dangerous addictive opioid medications.

Hospital officials also have concerns about medical marijuana patients but are unable to revise their policies due to the federal ban on cannabis. While most states have legalized medical marijuana, it is still a Schedule 1 drug.

If hospitals defy federal regulations by allowing their patients to use cannabis, it will put them at a risk for serious legal action; federal funding could be denied, and hospitals, administrators, and staff could lose their licenses. Doctors also refuse to prescribe or offer medical cannabis in a hospital setting because it’s not approved by the FDA. Cannabis advocates in several states are now putting pressure on lawmakers to allow them to bring their supply of medical marijuana into the hospital for their private use.

Sadly, taking your medical marijuana into the hospital isn’t allowed as hospitals must respect The Joint Commission Standard MM.03.01.05 policy which states that hospitals must “safely control medications” brought in by patients, their families, or licensed independent practitioners. According to this standard, the hospital must conduct analyses on the medication and determine if it’s permitted or not. This standard has been a major issue for medical marijuana patients who like to use their medication while on their hospital beds. Some lawmakers have considered implementing policies that could revise these standards but only time will tell.

While Marijuana Legalization in Hospitals as medicine very complex at the moment, several leading health care organizations are trying to fix this by pushing lawmakers for high-quality cannabis research and patient care considerations. A 2017 National Institute of Health (NIH) report states that while the federal Schedule I status of cannabis makes cannabis illegal, 28 states including Washington, D.C., have passed laws related to medical cannabis. Also, 16 additional states have passed laws related to cannabidiol (CBD). Since most of the United States have enacted laws that involve the cannabis plant or at least a cannabis compound (i.e., CBD), its essential for pharmacists and other health practitioners to acknowledge the effects of cannabis use for hospital policies and operations.

Bottom line

Medical cannabis legalization is still on the rise and there is a need for fewer regulations concerning the use of medical cannabis in hospitals. With the rise in public opinion favoring the use of medical marijuana, hospital drug policy will change in the long run. Hospital administrators and medical practitioners need to understand the basics of medical cannabis as well as the hospital’s medical cannabis policy.