What is Cannabis Nursing?

Cannabis Nursing FAQ

What is cannabis nursing?

Cannabis nursing is the incorporation of knowledge of the endocannabinoid system and the safe use of herbal cannabis products into standard nursing practice and the awareness of legal complexities attached to this herb. Cannabis nurses recognize the many important considerations this treatment ushers in. This includes: guiding use of the drug to minimize unwanted effects, identifying drug interactions, recognizing clean safe medicine, assisting in titrating or tapering doses, test strains, teaching about strain differences...the list is long. Mostly, cannabis nurses understand that cannabis is a treatment within a continuum of care which involves interacting components, like other drugs and treatments, the law and the physiology of wellness and illness. 

Who can become a cannabis nurse?
Any licensed or registered nurse can become a "cannabis nurse."

Are there special courses?

The ACNA has developed three curriculum courses that provide basic information on cannabis and its use in medicine. The Core Curriculum class is an eight-hour seminar that provides an extensive overview and awards the attendee six (6) continuing education units (CEUs).  Upon completion of the course attendees are tested and, if they pass, receive a Certificate of Competency from ACNA.

The Advanced Curriculum class provides additional training in medical cannabis and provides attendees with four (4) continuing education units (CEUs).

In collaboration with The Medical Cannabis Institute~ Global (TMCI) the ACNA has developed the MEDICAL CANNABIS CURRICULUM FOR NURSES, our online version of the core which awards nurses eight (8) continuing education units (CEUs)

Where can I take these classes?

The classes are offered throughout the year as pre-conference workshops in conjunction with educational conferences and venues. The events section of the ACNA website has more information about these classes.

Are the classes available online?

The American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA) and TMCI have collaborated to develop the first comprehensive online medical cannabis curriculum for nurses. Topics include the Endocannabinoid System, Dosing, Psychiatry, Medical Risks and Legal Implications. The curriculum features 12 lessons from 11 different authors and is certified for 8 Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) contact hours.  You can find the course here: MEDICAL CANNABIS CURRICULUM FOR NURSES.  

Will I be a "certified cannabis nurse" if I pass the test?

Not exactly.  Individuals who pass the test are deemed "competent" in cannabis nursing.

To become certified in a specialty, nurses must gain additional education and clinical hours, pass an exam, and periodically renew their credentials. ACNA is working to put the framework in place to meet these stringent requirements and establish a true certification, recognized by ANCC.

"Certification" is a term that is used by professional organizations to indicate a special level of achievement. In the case of nursing there are numerous sub-specialty certifications available. Some examples are oncology, pediatrics, coronary and pulmonary, or renal care.  In each case there is a sub-specialty organization that has been recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
When will that happen?

Achieving recognition by the ANCC is, frankly, several years in the future. There are rigorous criteria that must be met, additional education and clinical hours to track, exams and renewing qualifications to be developed and approved.  Even under the best of circumstances this is a time consuming and difficult process.  In the case of cannabis nursing it is further complicated by the Schedule I status of cannabis in the United States.

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