Employee Drug Testing for Medical Marijuana

By: Medical Marijuana Card Doctor

May 14th, 2015

Drug testing reduces the risk of accidents in the workplace, reduces legal liability for companies, and lowers insurance rates.  Occupations that are related to transportation and other safety related professions are required by federal law to undergo drug testing. In most occupations, however, employee drug testing is not required by law but many of the larger companies still utilize it to reap to financial and legal benefits.

Most drug testing procedures test for the presence of (or a predetermined concentration of) medical marijuana in your system that may have been taken anytime in the last 1 to 30 days (1 day for saliva, 4 days for urine, and about 30 days for blood). Arguably, this may be a good thing for the most addictive and destructive drugs, but many states now have laws legalizing the use of marijuana for medical. Should employees have to refrain from using their medication outside of work hours? What if there are no performance issues with this employee? In California, the courts have so far said that employers do have the right to drug test without the presence of performance issues and terminate employees that test positive for banned substances even if they have a recommendation for medical marijuana.

The most common drug testing technique utilized in company medical marijuana testing is urine analysis.  11-nor-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid (9cTHC) is the marijuana metabolite that most tests detect in your urine.  The length of time 9c THC shows up in the urine after cannabis administration depends on the dose, method of administration and the frequency of use. THC and its metabolites have a high fat solubility meaning it gets easily stored in your body fat. On average if a person who has never had marijuana before smokes one joint of marijuana (approximately 1 gram), 9CTHC will test positive in urine tests about 4 days after use and for those with higher body fat percentage up to one week.  For the frequent smoker of marijuana positive results can show in the urine 46 days after stopping.[1]

There are chances for employees that are not treated with medical marijuana to test positive for marijuana. These test results are called false positives and can be especially troubling for employees.  An employee can have false positive results from taking by mouth nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen, fenoprofen, so it is important to avoid these medications prior to urine testing. Proton pump inhibitors such as pantoprazole and nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors can also cause a false positive and must be avoided as well.

An employee can also have negative results after using medical marijuana; these test results are called false negative results.  Testing negative for an employee drug test when using medical marijuana can be advantageous to many employees and has created a market for products to assist with false negative test results. This is evident in the many types of synthetic urines and ingestible products available that are designed to produce a clean urine sample.  It is often difficult to detect if an employee has taken ingestible products as the employee will consume the product prior to taking a drug test.  Synthetic urine is often difficult to detect because employees know to warm the urine to body temperature at the time of the test. Obviously, synthetics are more difficult to use if a witness is required, which is why products like the “Wizzinator” were invented.

Additionally, false negative results can happen after adding Visine eye drops to urine samples.

Another common form of testing is through a saliva sample.  Saliva tests are designed to test for the presence of banned substances taken within the last 24 hours.  Holding the sample collector in the mouth without getting any saliva on the collector can produce false negative results so it is important to ensure saturation of the collector.

Hair samples are also a method of testing for medical marijuana. An employee has to be a frequent user of medicinal marijuana with multiple high doses in order to be positive on this test. This method of testing can have false negatives as well if a patient shaves their hair off.

[1] Ellis GM Jr, Mann MA, Judson BA, Schramm NT, Tashchian A. Excretion patterns of cannabinoid metabolites after last use in a group of chronic users. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1985;38(5):572-578

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Emotional Support Animal: Do I need a letter from a doctor? Do I need to register my animal online?

By: Sean Darcy (Dr. Sean Darcy MD)

An Emotional Support Animal is an animal (typically a dog,but there is no legal restriction…so it could be a cat, ferret, bird, miniature pig, etc.) that belongs to a person that is emotionally or psychologically disabled.  In order to qualify as an Emotional Support Animal, a doctor must provide a letter stating that the presence of the service animal is necessary for the patient’s mental health.  The format of the letter has very specific guidelines that must be followed and the doctor must be fully licensed. The animal doesn’t have to be trained to perform any specific task, but you must be able to demonstrate to the doctor that the animal is obedient, calm, and well behaved.

Obtaining this letter from the doctor is necessary in all cases. There are many administrative organizations that claim to have a registry as an Emotional Support Animal that will enable you access with your animal, but aren’t what are needed for dwellings, hotels, rentals, and airlines. A letter by a licensed medical professional is what is required before allowing your animal entry.  As long as the letter you receive from the doctor meets all the guidelines, you will have an official document to help avoid any hassles with businesses and diffuse confrontations from the public.

Flying on commercial airlines:  Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, an Emotional Support Animal is protected to fly in the cabin of a commercial airline without charging the owner any fee.  Advanced notice and presentation of your letter are usually required.  Check in advance with your specific airline to make sure they don’t have any additional requirements. United and American usually require their specific documentation to be signed in advance and faxed to a specific number.

Housing and “no pets”policies:  As far as housing is concerned, Emotional Support Animals are also protected from “no pets” policies under fair housing laws.  The law states that landlords and property managers are to make “reasonable accommodations”for patients with Emotional Support Animals for any and all types of living dwellings regardless of standing “no pets” policies.  Landlords may charge a reasonable fee for allowing the animal into the residence and they may require your doctor to signoff on their own form (separate from the original letter).

So if you have an animal that is necessary for your mental health, and it accompanies you on your daily activities, it makes sense to have it officially registered as an Emotional Support Animal. Even with a letter, some businesses can and will refuse to allow your animal entry, but having it at least gives you something to show them and, as mentioned above, it can also help you to diffuse confrontations. Obtaining a vest that identifies your animal and his or her function is also helpful. We can provide this vest and the ID card for your animal for those who qualify.

Make sure to make copies and keep your original protected so you don’t lose or damage it.  Most doctors will replace it for a small fee, but that won’t help you if you’re in another location. And lastly, make sure you bring along dog poop bags and do your best to make sure your animal doesn’t harm a business in any way. In the end, this system only works if everyone shows mutual consideration.

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4 tips on Cold Sores: Treat herpes with natural medicine, over the counter medicine and with the help of your doctor.

By: Sean Darcy (Dr. Sean Darcy MD)

January 19th, 2015

Is there a new bump on your lip? First it gets red, then that itchy tingly area puffs out into a big embarrassing cold sore. Why, you wonder, does it have to happen to me?

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus. For most of the time, these viruses are homebodies. They stay put, but from time to time the virus family likes to take a little trip down the nerve highways until it reaches the skin surface. When this happens, you start to feel that awful tingling sensation that signals the start of another cold sore.

What can you do about it ?

  1. Zap It With Zinc. Several studies have shown that a water-based zinc solution applied the minute you feel that tingling, will help speed the healing time. Some suggest that zinc irons crosslink with the DNA molecule of the herpes virus and this means the virus can’t replicate. Zinc gluconate, available at health food stores, is kinder to the skin than zinc sulphate.
  2. Soften It With An OTC. Topical hydrocortisone (available over the counter) will help reduce the redness and the size of the bump. You can apply it multiple times a day.There are numerous products that claim to heal cold sores. In general, they contain some emollient to reduce cracking and soften scabs, and a numbing agent like phenol or camphor. Phenol may have some antiviral properties, and it’s possible that it could kill the virus.
  3. Avoid Arginine-Rich Foods.
  4. Start taking an antiviral medication. There are multiple antiviral medications including acyclovir or valacyclovir that you can take to combat the virus outbreak. Your doctor can also put you on a prescription regimen for preventing new outbreaks. Set up an appointment as soon as possible to reduce the time you have this cold sore outbreak. Or even email or text a picture to your doctor so that he/she can send you a prescription.
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Benefits of Weight Training for Women

By Sean Darcy (Dr. Sean Darcy MD)

12/31/2014

Regular weight training can help reduce body fat, help strengthen your bones, prevent arthritis, reduce pain  and increase your ability to burn calories at a faster rate.  I won’t bore you with the math of how long it takes with cardio exercise to lose weight, but its to your advantage to increase your muscle mass.

The actual amount of time it would take you to burn calories depends on how much you weigh, your chosen activity and the intensity of exercise.  You don’t need to exercise daily.  Aim for 5 minutes per day.  Consistency is necessary if you are really serious about losing weight.  Gradually increases your intensity as you get more physically fit.

Fighting bone loss is another great reason to start lifting weights.  Early in the bone loss process, you may not see any signs, but eventually it can lead to stress franctures, loss of height and certain types of back pain.

It is important to have the right strength training program that includes all of the major muscle groups.  For the upper body this includes pushups , pull-ups,  crunches or sit- ups.  For the lower body, squats or lunges.  And don’t forget the abdominal and lower back muscles which can improve posture, help relieve lower back pain and assist in everyday movements. For best results join a pilates class at least weekly

Be patient with yourself.  You won’t achieve significant gains in the short-term.  Exercise needs to be a part of your lifestyle, not just a short-term activity for a limited period of time.  You are never too old to start exercising.

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Tips for Healthy Skin

Tips to Keep Your Skin Healthy

healthy skin

By: Sean Darcy (Dr Sean Darcy MD)

Beautiful, healthy skin is a telltale indicator that a person is healthy and feels good on the inside too. Follow these tips to keep your skin healthy and glowing which will leave your feeling the health and emanating the glow.

  1. Protect Yourself from the SunToo much sun exposure can cause wrinkles, age spots, increased risk of skin cancer, as well as other skin problems.  So make sure to
  • Wear sunscreen when outdoors.
  • Seek shade or shelter between 10am and 4pm when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  • Wear protective clothing like hats and long sleeves when you are in the sun during the middle of the day.
2.     Don’t SmokeSmoking narrows the tiny blood vessels in the outermost layers of the skin, which decreases blood flow.  This depletes the skin of oxygen and nutrients that are important to skin health. Smoking also damages collagen and elastin (the fibers that give your skin its strength and elasticity).
3.     Treat Your Skin Gently: Daily cleaning and shaving can have damaging effects on your skin. To make sure your are being gentle, make sure to
  •  Reduce the duration and temperature of showers and baths.  Taking baths and showers that are too hot or too long contributes to removing essential oils from your skin.
  • Avoid strong soaps. Strong soaps and detergents tend to strip oils from skin. Shop for a more mild soap.
  • Shave carefully. To protect and lubricate your skin, apply shaving cream, lotion or gel before shaving. For the closest shave, use a clean, sharp razor. Shave in the direction the hair grows, not against it.
  • Pat dry. After washing or bathing, gently pat or blot your skin dry with a towel so that some moisture remains on your skin.
  • Moisturize dry skin. If your skin is dry, use a moisturizer that fits your skin type. For daily use, consider a moisturizer that contains SPF.
3.     Eat a healthy diet: A healthy diet can help you look and feel your best. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. The association between diet and acne isn’t clear — but some research suggests that a diet rich in vitamin C and low in unhealthy fats and processed or refined carbohydrates might promote younger looking skin
4.     Manage Stress: Uncontrolled stress can make your skin more sensitive and trigger acne breakouts and other skin problems. To encourage healthy skin — and a healthy state of mind — take steps to manage your stress. Set reasonable limits, scale back your to-do list and make time to do the things you enjoy. The results might be more dramatic than you expect.
5.     Cosmetic Procedures: Sometimes we need a little extra help to fix skin issues that affect our self-confidence. When selecting a cosmetic procedure to reduce the appearance of wrinkles or sagging, make sure to seek treatment plans that are natural and minimally invasive. Give us a call to schedule a consultation with our cosmetic surgeon and he can provide you with a personalized recommended treatment plan.
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Sean Darcy – About Me

Sean Darcy grew up in the San Francisco bay area where his career choices were influenced by his family. He had multiple family members in law and medicine. Sean Darcy learned significantly about enforcement of the law and about the taking care of life from his male family role models but also learned from them about the care of life, animals and humans. From the women in his family Sean Darcy learned about the importance of service to others, the poor first, the sick second. 

Sean Darcy learned from his family about farming and agriculture at a very young age. His family took care of multiple animals including cattle, sheep and horses. His family also learned to grow grapes as well on their ranch in Northern California. 

Sean Darcy had a very close relationship with his San Francisco community through his Catholic Community. He was catechized mostly through his mother but also through his classes at his local church. Sean became of service to the church as an altar server for multiple years. His mother who worked for the San Francisco Department of Social Services.

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