Cannabis Nursing: What You Need to Know About This Emerging Nursing Role

There are few subjects that can stir up stronger emotions among doctors, policy makers, and the public than medical cannabis. How effective is it? Should it be legal? Is it safe?

Medical cannabis is now becoming the go-to treatment for over two million Americans since January 2020 who suffer from chronic pain because, first and foremost, it provides relief. Patients share a similar experience of being prescribed opioids and other aggressive painkillers that either didn’t provide relief, included unwanted and dangerous side effects, or both.

As more states begin to evolve their laws and increase access to medical cannabis, there is a growing need for healthcare professionals who can help patients navigate the medical use of cannabis. Thus, the birth of the cannabis nurse.

What is a Cannabis Nurse and what do they do?

Think of a cannabis nurse as a nurse navigator helping you with the details of your cannabis medicine. Much like a diabetic educator, or cancer nurse navigator, cannabis nurses help you through the intricacies of medical cannabis and making sure that you get the most benefit out of your medicine. Cannabis nursing requires that the nurse is educated in multiple areas above and beyond all registered nurse competencies. Therefore, the American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA) was created in 2006. The ACNA is an alliance of trained professionals that aim to increase nurse’s knowledge of endocannabinoid therapeutics.

According to the ANCA, cannabis nursing is defined as care that incorporates the knowledge of: • The endocannabinoid system which includes the group of cannabinoid receptors located in the brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. • The safe use of herbal cannabis products. • The legal complexities associated with the use of herbal cannabis products.

A nurse specializing in cannabis doesn’t handle the substance nor administer it to patients. Instead, cannabis nurses incorporate standard nursing practice with knowledge and the use of cannabis plant products to help incorporate cannabis into your current health regime and considering your present health status. .

Currently, cannabis nurses serve primarily as educators and advocates for their patients. A cannabis nurse can provide guidance on what routes of administration will be most beneficial— whether inhalation, a tincture, or a topical. They can explain potential side effects, evaluate possible interactions with their other medications, and show patients how to read a product label to determine the appropriate serving size for their needs.

Why chose a Cannabis Nurse through Dose?

Dose’s mission is to shatter the stigma surrounding medical cannabis and make cannabis education accessible to all. Founder Jeri Schulz MSN, RN, recognizes that patients who truly need help cannot just walk into a dispensary and get correct answers for their specific needs. Because of this, Jeri founded Dose so that medical cannabis users could receive legitimate guidance on how to use and purchase medical cannabis for their condition, without feeling confused and overwhelmed.

With a long history of serving as a nursing faculty, Jeri has taught hundreds of nursing students the clinical skills they need to take care of their patients with kindness, compassion, and skill. You can expect nothing short of the best when you chose to begin your medical cannabis journey with Dose.

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