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.