Professional License Lawyer in North Carolina

Will Using Legal Products with THC Affect My NC Nursing License?


Will Using Legal Products with THC Affect My NC Nursing License?

Tetrahydrocannabinol or ‘THC’ is the chemical in marijuana and hemp that is responsible for the plants’ psychological effects.  Marijuana is legal either recreationally or medicinally in 37 states.  North Carolina is one of the just 13 states where marijuana is still illegal.  However, North Carolina has opted into the Hemp Act.  Hemp Act is a federal law that allows farmers and retailers to grow and sell hemp, respectfully.  The hemp that is grown and used for retail sale must contain no more than .3% THC.  CBD oil that is purchased throughout North Carolina is not supposed to have more than .3% THC in it.  As we discuss below, just because something may be legal does not mean the Board of Nursing allows its use.

Although there are 37 states in which marijuana is legal in one form or another, the NC Board of Nursing states that consumption of marijuana anywhere is a violation of the NC Nursing Act.  Employers are required to report positive drug tests to the board, including positive tests for THC.  Licensees are also required to self-report a positive drug screen to the NC BON.  Nurses will commence the disciplinary process with NCBON whether the complaint was self-reported or filed by a third party.  What about CBD oil that is legal in NC? 

The Board of Nursing made it clear in the winter edition of their 2020 bulletin that use of CBO oil is prohibited.  The reason being is that over the past years nurses were stating that the THC for which he/she tested positive was from CBD oil and there is not a test to determine how much percentage of THC is in a testing sample.  As a result, the BON decided that any THC in a nurse’s system is a violation of the nursing act.

Remember, THC is in CBD cream, oil, rubs, and can get into your system just by contact with your skin.  However, a very small sample study concluded that CBD that comes into contact with skin will not show up in a drug test.  Nurses can obtain 1 CE contact hour about CBD and marijuana use through the NCBON here

Although marijuana is legal in 37 states and CBD use is legal in NC, use of any THC product by a nurse will result in a Board action.  The most common way that a nurse is reported comes from a drug screen after an allegation by an employer of diverting medication.  If a nurse is accused of diverting medication, then the policy of the employer will be that he/she has to submit to a drug screen.  Bottom line is that nurses have to avoid use of THC products unless the NC BON changes their position. Mistakes happen to all professionals, licensed or not.  Licensed professionals have to be concerned with a number of factors though. This includes complaints from licensing boards.  If you have an issue with the NC Board of Nursing or have a question, contact North State Law.