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AMERICAN CANNABIS
NURSES ASSOCIATION

PRESIDENT-ELECT CANDIDATES


Mary Lynn Mathre, RN, MSN

Hometown: Howardsville, VA

Position: President

Employer: Patients Out of Time (POT)

Years as ACNA Member: 8

Statement: 

I believe cannabis is a highly beneficial plant as a source of food and medicine and when grown as hemp it provides a wide range of eco-friendly products for our environment. I believe access to grow and use this plant is a human right and its prohibition is a crime against humanity.

Nursing Background:

I graduated from the College of St. Teresa in Winona, MN in 1975 earning my bachelor’s degree in nursing and began my nursing career as an officer in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps, serving 6 years. I earned my MSN degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1985 and did my thesis on Marijuana Disclosure to Health Care Professionals, from which I first learned about the historical medical use of the cannabis plant. Originally a medical–surgical nurse, I changed specialties in 1987 and became a certified addictions registered nurse (CARN) in 1989. At the University of Virginia, I began as an instructor at the School of Nursing and then became the charge nurse on the Addiction Treatment Unit at the UVA Health System. I was the first nurse to become a Clinician 5 (expert level) and worked as the Addictions Consult Nurse for UVA Health System until 2002. I later was Exec. Dir. of ARS Pantops Clinic, an opioid dependence treatment center in Charlottesville, VA.

Cannabis Background:

I am the co-founder and President of Patients Out of Time, an educational charity dedicated to educating healthcare professionals and the public about the therapeutic use of cannabis. Founded in 1995, Patients Out of Time created the longest running and most respected accredited conference series (beginning in 2000) on the ECS and cannabis therapeutics, bringing international scientists, clinicians, patients and policy makers together to present the state-of-the-art science and current events related to medical cannabis. Over the past 3 decades I have served on the planning committee for the conference series, authored numerous papers and chapters on medical cannabis, testified before numerous state legislative committees in support of medical cannabis, and have spoken on the topic of medical cannabis at numerous local, regional, national and international conferences. I am the editor of Cannabis in Medical Practice: A Legal, Historical and Pharmacological Overview of the Therapeutic Use of Marijuana (1997) and co-editor of Women and Cannabis: Medicine, Science and Sociology (2002). I have authored resolutions in support of medical cannabis for several professional organizations including the Virginia Nurses Association, the American Public Health Association, the National Nurses Society on Addictions (now the International Nurses Society on Addictions), and the American Nurses Association.

In 2010, I and a small group of nurses who had been attending the interdisciplinary conferences sponsored by Patients Out of Time and who recognized the importance of the ECS and the need for this new nursing specialty founded the ACNA. I firmly believe that nurses have been in the forefront in pushing for an end to the marijuana myths and prohibition and we need to continue to be a force to ensure safe access to cannabis for patients throughout the U.S. Change is in the air and as a founding member and past President of the ACNA, I am running for the office of President-Elect with the goal of advancing the role of cannabis nurses in this emerging specialty.

In January 2017 I spoke before the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) regarding the need for the boards to support nurses as patient educators on the safe and appropriate use of cannabis, to include content on the ECS in future board exams, and to support nurses who may need to use cannabis as their medicine. As a result, the NCSBN has just approved the Marijuana Guidelines for Nurses and published them in the latest issue in the Journal of Nursing Regulation. Since the fall of last year I was invited to present a 6 hour cannabis course to nurses in Canada (now fully legal) and so far I have conducted 10 courses throughout the provinces. Following my course in Vancouver a few nurses took the initiative and created the Canadian Cannabis Nurses Association.

ACNA Goals:

If elected, I will advocate for the ACNA to return to the practice of holding a conference for cannabis nurses in conjunction with Patients Out of Time’s annual conference. This provides nurses with the opportunity to focus on our specialty and network with the multidisciplinary and global faculty of the POT conference, along with physician and pharmacist organizations specializing in cannabis. This also provides a venue for our annual business meeting where we can all meet on a face-to-face basis to learn from and network with each other.

In addition, I will support the creation of state chapters (as members are motivated to do so in their state). Because the state laws vary from state to state I believe this will enable the ACNA members to focus on the needs within their state.

I will support Carey’s leadership in working to get the ACNA recognized as a specialty nursing organization by the ANA and foster efforts to get ACNA present at other specialty organization’s conferences – as an exhibit booth and/or our nurse leaders to present on the topic of medical cannabis.

In addition, I will work to highlight the value of cannabis nurses and the creation of job opportunities in the cannabis industry as well as the healthcare community.

As the most trusted profession, nurses are in the key position to lead this movement on the local, state, national and global levels. Together we are stronger!



Eloise Theisen, AGPCNP-BC

Hometown: Concord, CA

Position: Nurse Practitioner

Employer: Radicle Health Clinician Network

Years as ACNA Member: 4.5

Statement: 

I believe my background would enable me to provide strong leadership in this important role and help grow the ACNA's members. I have a significant amount of experience treating patients, developing and providing education, and providing leadership and advocacy to help expand safe and responsible access to cannabis. 

Patient Experience 

I begun my work in nursing in 2000 as an oncology nurse at John Muir Health in Walnut Creek. During this time I worked with over several thousand patiences in a hospital setting, and in 2008 I was nominated for Nurse of the Year at John Muir Health. 

In 2014 I decided to focus on providing cannabinoid therapy for patients and I founded Green Health Consultants(GHC). My goal is GHC was to bring a clinical dosing regimen to the cannabis space and to cultivate knowledge for using cannabis to treat a broad range of conditions and diseases, especially those that commonly affect seniors. I successfully quadrupled my business in under three years, and during this time I trained three nurses who joined Green Health to help serve the patient population. 

In 2018, Green Health Consultants rebranded into Radicle Health Clinician Network (RHCH) and partnered with Radicle Health, which is another organization that I've co-founded. Radicle Health is a management services organization that provided RHCN with professional management support as well as education and advocacy for clinicians, patients, and the general population. The goal for these two organizations is to expand patient access, promote education, and help influence communities to provide safe and responsible access to cannabis. 

While the average age of my patient is 76, I treat patients of all ages and from all over the world. To date, I've worked with over 4,500 patients and my work has consisted of developing treatment plan and best practices with cannabinoid therapies while maintaining an awareness of quality products on the marker and the retail services that can best serve my patients. My reputation in the field of cannabis therapeutics has gained interest from a number of media outlets. I've been featured in Newsweek, the SF Chronicle, Leafly, Weedmaps, Merry Jane, and Green Flower Media. 

This diverse experience in patient care will enable me to help advise and lead other nurses in the ACNA who want to expand their work with cannabinoid therapy. 

Education

I have a varied background in education that I believe would serve ACNA well. From 2008 to 2009 and again from 2014 to 2016, I taught nurses at Cal State Hayward and introduced cannabinoid therapy curriculum in this conservative and traditional setting. During this time I successfully introduced the concepts of cannabinoid therapy to over 200+ nursing students. 

While I am no longer teaching at Cal State Hayward, education remains integral to my work today. At Radicle Health, we've developed an extensive training program for nursing, including an intensive five week cohort program. I also offer a mentorship program at RHCN where nurses are invited to shadow me as I work with patients throughout the day. To date I have had 25 nurses and nurse practitioners participate in this program. 

I also provide education via in-person presentations for clinicians. Over the last five years, I've been retained by medical organizations such as Stanford, Kaiser, John Muir Health, Samuel Merritt, UC Davis, Sonoma State, UCSF, Alta Bates Grand Rounds to provide educational talks on cannabinoid therapy and best practices. I've also been invited to be the commencement speaker at two graduation ceremonies. 

In 2015 I helped develop ACNA's first online core curriculum for nurses bringing over eight hours of educational content as well as continuing education credits for nurses. This core curriculum has been the biggest revenue source for ACNA to date. 

This extensive and varied background in cannabis education will inform my ability to help the ACNA establish educational programs as well as advise ACNA members on how they can integrate their own educational programs into their practice. 

Leadership and Advocacy

As the President of the ACNA I will bring leadership experience that can help elevate the ACNA's presence as an organized clinical presence, increase membership, and meet the goals of the organization. 

As an oncology nurse at John Muir I worked hard to ensure quality care for the patients while supporting my fellow nurses. During the course of this time my role evolved and in 2010 I was promoted to manager of medical surgical services where I managed over 400+ full time employees. I also served as the chair on the nurse/physician communication/collaboration committee that was designed to increase nurse/physician relationships and the quality of patient care. I was keen on empowering nurses to speak up and improve relationships with some of the toughest physicians in the health system. I also precepted and mentored dozens of nurses throughout my career at John Muir. 

I served on the board of the ACNA from 2014 to 2016, and during this time I was instrumental in bringing cannabis education to nurses through the on-line curriculum. 

I continue to bring this leadership to the cannabis space by way of advocacy. Over the past five years I have successfully advocated for increased cannabis access in Contra Costa County. I speak at city council meetings and hold meetings with local officials. I was a strong advocate for local access in Walnut Creek, CA and in the end the city permitted two licenses for cannabis delivery services in Walnut Creek, CA. 

What I will do for ACNA

As president of ACNA, I will elevate the importance of cannabinoid care as a nursing speciality while laying the foundation for cannabis to become a certified nursing speciality through ANCC and ANA. Additionally, I will work towards raising the level of cannabis education available to nurses through current research as well as Radicle Health’s data collection. I believe that quality of this curriculum will increase membership and participation. 

If elected as president, I will focus on the following initiatives: 

  • Membership growth: Initiate membership drives, increase online engagements, enact a virtual journal club, promote ACNAs participation at conventional nursing conferences, and develop additional membership benefits.
  • Collaboration with the ANA and other organizations: I will explore opportunities for the ACNA to inform and educate individual state boards as well as traditional nursing/medical organizations on the importance of cannabinoid therapy.
  • Increase ACNA member engagement: I will identify ways to generate more participation at ACNA conferences and meetings and to facilitate dialogue that will motivate members. I will also introduce membership guidelines to promote communication and participation standards within the ACNA.
  • Develop and promote education: I will help develop and promote cannabis education through on-line options and annual conferences in collaboration with other medical cannabis organizations.
As a 4 year member of the ACNA, I am aware of the history of this organization and understand its membership base, and its goals. I believe my experience with the ACNA, as well as my background described in this letter, will enable me to provide the leadership that the ACNA is seeking in its next presidential term. I hope you will consider me for this opportunity.


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