What You Need to Know About Cannabis Nurses
As the number of people using medical marijuana continues to grow, nursing with a focus on treating patients with cannabis has emerged as a new career field
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The term “cannabis nurse” has emerged recently to describe a new and growing career field in the cannabis industry. Typically, it refers to registered nurses who have become experts on using medical marijuana to treat a variety of ailments.
Customers might find a cannabis nurse on staff at their local dispensary. Other cannabis nurses have formed their own consulting companies to help patients who may have nowhere else to turn for authoritative information on the use of cannabis.
The popularity of the nursing field has led to the creation of the American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA), which works “to advance excellence in cannabis nursing practice through advocacy, collaboration, education, research, and policy development.”
About the ACNA
The ACNA was founded in Oregon in 2010. It received tax-exempt status in 2015 and elected its first Board of Directors in 2016. Its growth follows the expansion of medical marijuana legalization state-by-state in the last decade. According to the association, 49 states now have medical cannabis programs.
The ACNA works to help cannabis nurses better understand the laws in their state and to “influence in positive ways the importance of medical cannabis and to shepherd its acceptance into mainstream medicine.” That includes dispelling misinformation and cannabis myths that can confuse patients.
DeDee Culley, a nurse in Missouri, provides an example of how fast the cannabis nurse profession has grown. A registered nurse, Culley told Greenway, a magazine for the Missouri Cannabis Industry, that she became interested in cannabis after researching its use to deal with her chronic pain and anxiety issues and her husband as he battles cancer.
“We didn’t go looking for cannabis. Cannabis found us,” Culley said. Her company, 2LeafNurses, consults with dispensaries on providing customers accurate information on the medicinal uses of cannabis. Culley also said she has moved into telehealth to advise patients directly and is working on a four-part program for the Missouri Nurses Association to educate clinicians on medical marijuana.
Greenway also featured one cannabis nurse who runs her own CBD stores and another who owns a consulting company that works directly with patients and trains dispensary staff to advise on medical marijuana.
Another example comes from Michigan, where the recently opened Hayat Provisioning dispensary in Oakland County north of Detroit has contracted with a nurse to work on staff, according to the Daily Detroit News. Cathleen S. Graham runs a company called Cannabis Nurse, which offers medical marijuana counseling and wellness plans.
Graham will offer wellness plans that include diet, lifestyle and cannabinoid support. She told the Daily News: “It is especially important to me and all of our staff that we provide patients with a welcoming, confidential, and non-judgmental space to share the journey that led them to seek cannabis as an option.”
That attitude, backed by extensive experience and education in nursing, has made cannabis nurses popular among cannabis consumers across the country. It also offers entrepreneurial nurses with an interest in cannabis an avenue to break into the growing industry.