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Celebrating Nurses And Cannabis

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Jessilyn Dolan 3 Jan 2020

Reflecting on 2019, nurses were again ranked the most trusted professions in the US for the 20th year according to the Gallups poll assessing ethics and honesty.

I wanted to recognize and thank all nurses for their tireless commitment and enormous hearts.

The World Health Organization has designated 2020 as the international year of the nurse and midwife.  According to the WHO, “Nurses and midwives play a vital role in providing health services. They are often the first and only point of care in their communities. The world needs 9 million more nurses and midwives if it is to achieve universal health coverage by 2030.” 

The WHO goes on campaigning to join them in a “year-long effort to celebrate the work of nurses and midwives, highlight the challenging conditions they often face, and advocate for increased investments in the nursing and midwifery workforce.”

Nurses need practical information to care for the increasing number of patients who utilize cannabis…who self-administer cannabis as a treatment for various symptomatology or for recreational purposes.

According to Eloise Theisen, MSN, AGPCNP-BC, and Eileen Konieczny, RN, BCPA in American Nurse Today, nurses frequently care for patients who use or are considering using medical cannabis. 

In 2018, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) released national nursing guidelines for nurses who care for patients who use medical cannabis, stating, “Nurses need practical information to care for the increasing number of patients who utilize cannabis…who self-administer cannabis as a treatment for various symptomatology or for recreational purposes. Individuals are using cannabis and nurses will care for these patients.”

This came after a two year comprehensive evidence based review showing scientific evidence DOES exist for the use of cannabis, validated through the gold standard of research, randomized placebo-controlled studies. The NCSBN guidelines require ALL nurses to have a working knowledge of national and local cannabis legalization, its uses medically, and recreationally. Nurses are also required to know the principles of their state’s Medical Marijuana Program, including qualifying conditions and practitioners, and have a general understanding of the endocannabinoid system.

The cannabis nurse is able to educate patients, their caregivers or support systems, and other healthcare providers about the most effective and safe uses of cannabis for specific health, healing, and illness concerns.

A trained cannabis nurse (in specific) “is educated on the use of cannabis as medicine and current cannabis scientific findings. The cannabis nurse is able to educate patients, their caregivers or support systems, and other healthcare providers about the most effective and safe uses of cannabis for specific health, healing, and illness concerns. This includes: guiding use to minimize unwanted effects, identifying drug interactions, recognizing clean safe medicine, assisting in titrating or tapering doses, test cultivars, teaching about cultivar differences…the list is long. The cannabis nurse upholds the highest ethical standards, and advocates for patients and populations” 

Let 2020 be the rise of the cannabis nurse while we celebrate with the WHO, the year of the nurse and midwife.  In 2020, VTCNA and NurseGrown Organics is offering free initial cannabis nurse consultations on a first come first serve basis. Just be sure to mention Heady…

Jessilyn Dolan is a nurse researcher, educator and consultant for medicinal cannabis, maternal child health, substance and opioid use and mental health disorders. She is the co-owner of Nurse Grown Organics, the Vermont Cannabis Nurses Association, co-owns HomeGrown Consulting and is a cannabis cultivating caregiver. She is a proud Clean Green Certified organic H.E.M.P. (Horticultural Excellence Medicinal Perfection) farmer and herbalist, crafting full spectrum hemp CBD medicinals.

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