What is a Cannabis Nurse?
We all know what a nurse is. If you have ever been in the hospital or the healthcare system chances are you have come in contact with a nurse. Oftentimes, in the midst of a stressful situation, the nurses are the ones you remember who provided comfort and support during a time of need. In fact, nurses are the most trusted profession according to Gallup, and have been for 18 years straight!
So what does this have to do with cannabis?
As cannabis legalization has come to states throughout the U.S., more and more people are turning to medical marijuana and CBD products as part of their healthcare regimen. Unfortunately, most healthcare professionals are not trained or knowledgeable about cannabis and there is still a stigma that prevents many from even talking with their doctors about cannabis use. While this is beginning to change, it is nurses who are taking the lead and providing the education and support for individuals choosing medical marijuana and CBD to support their healthcare. The most trusted profession is bringing their knowledge, compassion, and caring to cannabis.
Enter the Cannabis Nurse
Nurses who specialize in cannabis therapeutics are known as “Cannabis Nurses”. These individuals already have the formal education and training needed to become a licensed nurse and at the same time, they have studied in-depth knowledge of the medical benefits of cannabis. A cannabis nurse has knowledge of the endocannabinoid system, the effects of marijuana and CBD on the human body, and how to best choose and use cannabis as a medicine.
While the cannabis nurse specialty has not yet been officially recognized by the American Nurses Association (ANA), the ANA has supported legalization for medical cannabis for years (you can read their position statement here). Nurses who wish to specialize in cannabis can turn to the American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA) for support and education. The ACNA has officially defined the standards of practice for cannabis nurses and describe the duties of a cannabis nurse as:
“The cannabis nurse aims to not only support and educate patients but also to work toward supporting wellness and healing through a caring presence, which supports the patient’s needs. Cannabis nursing requires that the nurse be educated in multiple areas above and beyond all registered nurse competencies, including knowledge of the endocannabinoid system, cannabis therapeutics, cannabinoids, terpenoids, cannabis laboratory testing requirements, potential medication interactions, advocacy, ethics, and the law. The cannabis nurse’s role expands as he or she act as an advocate, coach, and navigator to guide patients through a sea of cannabis information and misinformation.”
How do you find a Cannabis Nurse?
Now that you know that there is such a thing as a cannabis nurse, and you can get needed support and guidance that you can trust, it’s important to know how to find a cannabis nurse in your area. The easiest way is to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can help connect you with a cannabis nurse in your state.
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Jessilynn is the Vice President of VT ANA, and chair of the sponsorship board for ACNA.