Press Releases

  • 27 Jul 2020 2:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The America Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA), strongly opposes the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) policy that will prevents individuals and organizations from receiving grants that may be used to directly or indirectly to provide for cannabis treatment. In response to this new policy, ACAN issues a statement voicing their opposition. As we continue to monitor mental health and opioid use in our nation, this policy is another attempt to prevent some of our most vulnerable citizens from accessing a medicine that can provide significant benefits.  To read more click here.

  • 13 May 2020 5:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA), recognizing its own members and all the brave medical and healthcare professionals who are on the frontlines of combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, today releases a position statement on Cannabis Use for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

    “The ACNA has continued to work on fulfilling our mission to advance excellence in cannabis nursing practice through advocacy, collaboration, education, research and policy development” said ACNA President Eloise Theisen, MSN, RN, AGPCNP-BC. “In light of the pandemic, we recognize that many people will experience trauma from it. Traumatic events can lead to a possible PTSD diagnosis which has been linked to increased rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Recognizing that a high percentage of patients cannot tolerate conventional treatment options for PTSD, ACNA drafted a position statement on cannabis use for PTSD. Understanding that the endocannabinoid system plays a role in PTSD, the ACNA supports the use of cannabis for PTSD and is calling on our Nation’s governing bodies to acknowledge cannabis as a treatment for PTSD.”

    Currently in two states, PTSD does not qualify for a medical cannabis program. A total of 17 states still have no medical cannabis program or safe access. “We hope that more states will adopt PTSD as a qualifying condition while we work on descheduling the plant and continue to provide patients with safe access" said Eloise Theisen, MSN, RN, AGPCNP-BC.

    ACNA Board of Directors member and Chair of the Government Affairs Committee Michael Rochlin, RN, MN, COHN-S, CSP stated, “This unusual crisis demands innovative thinking, and ACNA has professional members to provide a meaningful impact.” Non-stop and unrelenting service in the face of this public health crisis can bring about PTSD and it is important for the American healthcare system, policy makers, medical personnel and the general public to know about the important role that cannabinoids can play in the treatment of PTSD.

    About the American Cannabis Nurses Association

    The ACNA is a national organization dedicated to expanding the knowledge base of endo-cannabinoid therapeutics among nurses. The organization was founded by a small group of dedicated nurses who saw the need for an organization to bring nurses together in a collegial and informational capacity to discuss the growing use of cannabis in medicine. The ACNA is a national 501C3 organization


  • 14 Jan 2019 9:04 AM | Anonymous member


    The American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA) is writing in response to Alex Berenson’s recent opinion in the New York Times on January 4, 2019. The ACNA is a national nursing organization dedicated advancing excellence in cannabis nursing practice through advocacy, collaboration, education, research, and policy development. After reading Mr. Berenson’s opinion, ACNA felt it was within our mission to publicly comment on our concerns with the misinformation represented in his opinion piece. Mr. Berenson claims that the push for legalization is largely due to lobbyist and for-profit cannabis companies, but the process of ending prohibition of the plant has been ongoing for decades. This response offers another perspective from a non-profit nursing organization. 

    Unfortunately, Mr. Berenson focuses on only one component of the cannabis plant known as tetrahydrocannabiniol (THC), which has been associated with euphoria and impairing effects. What Mr. Berenson failed to recognize is the other 99+ potentially beneficial cannabinoids in the plant, as well as how the human Endocannabinoid System (ECS) interacts with the over 400 potentially therapeutic compounds found in cannabis. Cannabis science is an emerging scientific field, and research supports that many components of the plant, including THC, have therapeutic properties. In fact, activation of the human endocannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2) have been shown to mediate stress and anxiety,1 decrease pain and inflammation, 2 and palliate many symptoms, or support healing,  related to:  multiple sclerosis, 3,4, 17 neurodegenerative disorders,5 post traumatic stress,6 depression,7 intestinal inflammation,8 blood pressure,9 Inflammation,10,11 neuroprotection(especially in Alzheimer's disease),12 Parkinson’s disease,13,14 Huntington's disease,15,16 a7 addiction and drug-seeking behaviors,18 depression,19 bipolar disorder,20 schizophrenia,21,22 alcoholism,23 and eating disorders24. Many of the sources listed here contradict Berenson’s claims that cannabis causes psychosis and schizophrenia, increases opioid use, and negatively impacts mental health issues that might lead to violent crimes. In fact, Berenson has attempted to correlate legalization of cannabis in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington with an increase in violent crimes, such as murder, in those states. There are too many other confounding variables to conclude that cannabis is solely responsible for the increase in murder and aggravated assaults, and we are concerned about how he presented this confabulation of data. 

    The ACNA urges the NYT’s and its readership to review Mr. Berenson’s opinion, which is not completely based in scientific fact, and consider that of a professional nursing organization that understands the difference between low quality and moderate to high quality research. As patient’s acceptance and interest in cannabis grows, it is imperative that healthcare professionals take a stand against misinformation that potentially impacts patients’ access to herbal medicine. For the past 17 years, nurses have remained the most trusted of all professionals25

    Additionally, nursing organizations have started to develop guidelines around caring for the patient using cannabis. The National Council for State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) has issued recommendations26 that all nurses become educated in the following areas

    1. The nurse shall have a working knowledge of the current state of legalization of medical and adult-use cannabis.​​
    2. The nurse shall have a working knowledge of the jurisdiction’s medical cannabis program.
    3. The nurse shall have an understanding of the endocannabinoid system, the receptors, ligands, enzymes, and the interactions among them.
    4. The nurse shall have an understanding of cannabis pharmacology and the research associated with the medical use of cannabis.​
    5. The nurse shall be able to identify the safety considerations for patient use of cannabis.​ The nurse shall be able to identify the safety considerations for patient use of cannabis.​
    6. The nurse shall approach the patient without judgment regarding the patient’s choice of treatment or preferences in managing pain and other distressing symptoms. ​​​

    The NCSBN went on to state “Nurses need practical information to care for the increasing number of patients who utilize cannabis...and 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.”


    It would be remiss for us to state that cannabis is not without side effects or risks. As the research and science around cannabis evolves, it behooves us all to stay neutral to the research and let the science speak for itself. We are ethically obligated to advocate for our patients and populations who are experiencing great benefits when they use cannabis effectively, safely, and responsibly and we encourage all of the NYT readers to consider the growing scientific basis that supports cannabis as an effective, healing plant medicine.



     Eloise Theisen, MSN, AGPCNP-BC, President Elect American Cannabis Nurses Association


    Carey S. Clark, PhD, RN, AHN-BC, President American Cannabis Nurses Association












    12.Ramírez, B. G., Blázquez, C., Gómez del Pulgar, T., Guzmán, M., and de Ceballos, M. L. (2005).

    Prevention of Alzheimer's disease pathology by cannabinoids: neuroprotection mediated by blockade of microglial activation. J. Neurosci. 25, 1904–1913. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4540-04.2005


    14. Price, D. A., Martinez, A. A., Seillier, A., Koek, W., Acosta, Y., Fernandez, E., et al. (2009). WIN55, 212–2, a cannabinoid receptor agonist, protects against nigrostriatal cell loss in the MPTP mouse model of Parkinson's disease. Eur. J. Neuroscience. 29, 2177–2186. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2009.06764.x

    15. Palazuelos, J., Davoust, N., Julien, B., Hatterer, E., Aguado, T., Mechoulam, R., et al. (2008). The CB2 cannabinoid receptor controls myeloid progenitor trafficking: involvement in the pathogenesis of an animal model of multiple sclerosis. J. Biol.Chem. 283, 13320–13329. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M707960200via

    16 Sagredo, O., González, S., Aroyo, I., Pazos, M. R., Benito, C., Lastres-Becker, I., et al. (2009). Cannabinoid CB2 receptoragonists protect the striatum against malonate toxicity: relevance for Huntington's disease. Glia 57, 1154–1167. doi:10.1002/glia.20838 via

    17. Palazuelos, J., Davoust, N., Julien, B., Hatterer, E., Aguado, T., Mechoulam, R., et al. (2008). The CB2 cannabinoid receptor controls myeloid progenitor trafficking: involvement in the pathogenesis of an animal model of multiple sclerosis. J. Biol.Chem. 283, 13320–13329. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M707960200 via










  • 04 Oct 2018 6:13 PM | Deleted user

    The American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA) wholeheartedly supports the National Council of State Boards of Nursing’s (NCSBN) stance on the nurse’s role in caring for medical cannabis patients. Details of the NCSBN’s vision can be found in the July 2018 edition of the Journal of Nursing Regulation in the multi-part article, including Nursing Care of the Patient Using Medical Marijuana and Medical Marijuana Education in Pre-Licensure Nursing Programs.

    The multi-part article states that nurses and nursing students must have a basic understanding of the mammalian endocannabinoid system, the scientific evidence base related to cannabis and symptom management, and how cannabis works in the body to relieve pain and many other distressing symptoms. Nurses are responsible for knowing the cannabis policies and legislation in their state. ACNA wholeheartedly agrees that nurses must be accepting of patients' choice to use cannabis medicinally. 

    ACNA welcomes this positive shift in clinical focus that the NCSBN’s position underscores. ACNA's President, Dr. Carey S. Clark, Ph.D., RN, AHN-BC, stated, "Cannabis is medicine. Patients across our nation are using it as medicine. All clinicians have an ethical obligation to be knowledgeable about cannabis therapeutics and to share this knowledge to improve patient outcomes. Patients want to receive their medicinal cannabis information from healthcare providers, but currently, patients are left undereducated and unsupported as they journey through their use of cannabis as medicine.”

    “ACNA encourages nurses around the world who care for cannabis patients to consider the implications of the NCSBN documents. We are the first point of contact for our patients, and these guidelines will help ensure that the community of global nurses are guided by standards of practice and that all patients are treated ethically. We are aware that there are nurses acting as advocates for cannabis patients in Canada, Australia, and the EU, and these are guidelines they can share with their own nursing practice governing bodies,” stated ACNA Past President, Eileen Konieczny, RN.

    Kudos to NCSBN for taking this ethical stance and helping change the stigma around medicinal cannabis.

  • 12 Sep 2017 9:19 AM | Anonymous member

    September 12, 2017 – Wheat Ridge, CO – A survey of nurses conducted by the American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA), has led to a call for Congress to amend the 1970 Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and create a new schedule specific and restricted to cannabis and its many uses.  The CSA currently has only five drug schedules and cannabis is in the most severely restricted category, Schedule I.

    “Congress created the drug schedules nearly half a century ago and it is past time for review and amendment, especially in light of the modern research on cannabis,” said Eileen Konieczny, president of ACNA. “We are proposing a new schedule, Schedule VI, which would be specific to cannabis. There are many nations that have more than five schedules for drug control and it is time for the U.S. to enter the 21st Century with respect to the classification of cannabis.”

    When surveyed, ACNA’s membership overwhelmingly supported re-scheduling with the majority supporting creation of a new schedule. ACNA has released a Resolution that “calls on the United States Congress to increase the health, safety and well-being of our citizens by establishing a new cannabis-only schedule – Schedule VI – in the Controlled Substances Act that will accommodate all cannabis products.”

    “Nurses are, by tradition, the caregivers in the health care system.  Our members have seen first-hand the harm that has been perpetuated by the Schedule I classification,” Konieczny said. “Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have established state programs of medical access yet the federal government continues to impede access and research. That is criminal.”

    ACNA is the only professional nursing association dedicated to advancing the knowledge and use of medical cannabis in the United States. Currently the group has over 600 members, many of whom are actively treating patients with cannabis in states that allow it.  This has led the group to create a Scope of Practice and Standards for Cannabis Nurses which was recently approved by the group’s Board of Directors.

    Carey S. Clark, PhD, RN, AHN-BC, authored the Standards and Scope of Cannabis Nursing Practice which was unanimously approved by the ACNA Board of Directors.  Dr. Clark is an associate professor at the University of Maine and president-elect of ACNA.

    “The need for this type of document was overwhelming and I am very proud of ACNA for taking the lead in this area of public health,” Clark said. “Discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) two decades ago has changed how we look at cannabis and has created the need for nurse specialists who understand the intricacies of this fascinating physiological system. The science is maturing so quickly and I am certain the Standards and Scope of Cannabis Nursing Practice will continue to mature with it.”

    For further information contact:  Eileen Konieczy,

    For copies of the documents cited in this media release please follow these links:

    ACNA Resolution

    ACNA Survey

    Scope of Practice and Standards

    For further information about ACNA please visit the website at

    About the American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA) – ACNA, founded in 2006, is a nonprofit organization formed as a nursing organization that represented the emerging field of endocannabinoid therapeutics to professional nurses, providing scientific, patient, and educational opportunities to assist nurses in understanding and advocating for their patients' needs.

  • 07 Mar 2017 7:43 AM | Anonymous


    DENVER, CO (March 7, 2017) – The American Cannabis Nurses Association has selected Kellen, a global leader in association services and communications, for full-service management of their professional society.

    The American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA) is a national organization dedicated to expanding the knowledge base of endo-cannabinoid therapeutics among nurses. The small founding group of dedicated nurses has grown to over 600 healthcare and medical professionals, working together in a collegial and informational capacity to discuss the growing use of cannabis in medicine. 

    “Kellen’s depth and breadth of services and extensive experience working with organizations in the nursing and patient care space will bring exciting new opportunities to ACNA,” said ACNA President Eileen Konieczny, RN.  “Working with a professional management company was the next step for ACNA, as we look to expand our programs and services to provide better patient outcomes and quality of life through the safe, managed use of medical cannabis.”

    “The benefit of medical cannabis for the safe and effective treatment of certain conditions has continued to evolve,” said Peter Rush, Chief Executive Officer of Kellen.  “As more states adopt its use, there is a greater need for cannabis-treatment trained nurses.  We look forward to leveraging our expertise in the medical and healthcare sectors to support ACNA’s growth and mission.”

    ACNA will be headquartered in Kellen’s Denver office, with additional service provided by Kellen’s Washington, D.C. and Chicago offices.

    About Kellen:

    Kellen is a global management and communications company serving more than 105 trade associations, professional societies and charitable organizations representing over 10,000 companies and 100,000 professionals worldwide. We specialize in management, communications, digital strategy, regulatory affairs, meetings and events, and consulting across a diverse range of industries.  Founded in 1964 and charter-accredited through the AMC Institute, Kellen has offices in Atlanta, Beijing, Brussels, Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, New York City and Washington, D.C.

    About ACNA: In 2006, the American Cannabis Nurses Association was envisioned as a nursing organization that represented the emerging field of endocannabinoid therapeutics to professional nurses, providing scientific, patient, and educational opportunities to assist nurses in understanding and advocating for their patients' needs. ACNA was formally organized as an Oregon non-profit organization in 2010, and its first meeting was held in 2010. In 2014, ACNA was re-chartered as a New Jersey non-profit organization and recognized as an IRS code 501(C)(3) in November 2015.

  • 10 Mar 2015 11:02 AM | Anonymous member

    Date: March 10, 2015

    For immediate release: The American Cannabis Nurses Association has endorsed The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act (CARERS) introduced in the U.S. Senate today by Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

    “Finally we seeing some movement on the federal level with regard to this important matter of public health,” said Alice O’Leary-Randall, member of the Board and chairman of the ACNA Communications Committee. “We wish the CARERS Act every success and call on our sister nursing organizations to support this measure.”

    The Senate bill represents the most far-reaching reform of the nation’s drug laws since passage of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970. If enacted in its present form the bill would end the federal prohibition of medical marijuana, allowing states to set their own policies. The bill also reschedules marijuana, overhauls the banking laws, allows Veterans to have access to medical marijuana, and eliminates barriers to research.

    “ACNA was particularly pleased to see specific mentioning of our Veterans who have been struggling with post traumatic stress in epidemic proportion,” said O’Leary-Randall. “Many have found cannabis to be an effective medication and the VHA should be able to recommend cannabis to their patients.”

    If enacted CARERS would:

    • End the federal prohibition of medical marijuana
    • Reschedule marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II
    • Allow states to import CBD
    • Allow banks to provide financial services to marijuana dispensaries
    • Eliminate the PHS Review obstacle for marijuana research
    • End the NIDA monopoly on marijuana research
    • Allow VA physicians to recommend medical marijuana to patients
    “Rescheduling marijuana is particularly important,” said O’Leary-Randall. “Schedule I has served as a barrier to knowledge. It has not stopped the use of marijuana but it has stopped our discovery of this plant’s properties. It has driven a wedge between the people and their health care providers.”

  • 27 Apr 2012 6:41 PM | Deleted user

    ACNA Logo 


    FOR RELEASE ON: Saturday, April 27, 2012



    Mary Lynn Mathre, RN, CARN, President (434-987-2514)

    Ed Glick, ADN, BS, Secretary (541-224-4039)

    The founding of the American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA) was announced today by its Board of Directors. The ACNA is an association of nurses active in the field of medical cannabis and endocannabinoid therapeutics.

    The ACNA recognizes that there are hundreds of thousands of patients in the United States using cannabis within or outside of state statutes under the care of nurses who may or may not understand the complicated medical, legal and pharmacological issues surrounding its use as a therapeutic substance.

    The Code For Nurses requires that nurses function as advocates and educators for patients and in this regard the ACNA is empowered to bridge the knowledge gap through educational, professional, patient advocacy, collegial networking and supportive nursing practices which integrate cannabis patients-and the nurses who care for them- into nursing practice rather than marginalize them.

    The ACNA is the professional organization which will develop nursing standards, credentialing and certification procedures with a view to reducing the stigmatization of cannabis patients, and the nurses who support them.

    Contact Info:

    67 Gorham Road
    Scarbourough ME, 04074

    Download File

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