The American Nurses Association (ANA) has released a formal statement recognizing marijuana as a specialty practice area for nursing. The statement, which was released last week, highlighted that cannabis nurses would play a crucial role in providing patients with guidance and education on how to incorporate cannabis into treatment.
Currently, the ANA represents more than 5 million nurses across the United States. The organization’s president, Jennifer Mensik Kennedy, stated that this move underscored the crucial role and special contribution of marijuana nurses to the healthcare system and promoted integration of marijuana treatments for health care consumers in different healthcare settings.
The ANA also credited the American Cannabis Nurses Association for contributing to the extensive landscape of nursing practice and patient care and pioneering the marijuana nursing field. The ACNA advocates for studies on medical cannabis, as well as education and policy reform on the same. ACNA president Rachel Parmelee stated that the organization was gratified by the establishment of marijuana nursing as a recognized nursing specialty.
In her statement, Parmelee observed that cannabis nursing needed specialized knowledge and competencies to address the stigma linked to the use of medical marijuana, navigate care and support a healthy society. She then noted that the organization’s objective was to establish lasting and transformative change that would enrich both general and specialized nursing practices, helping serve the needs of patients across the country.
In its statement, the ANA also voiced its support for urgent clinical studies informing patients on the effectiveness of cannabis and associated cannabinoids, quoting its 2021 statement on the therapeutic use of marijuana. The 2021 statement suggested that cannabis be reclassified as a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act to facilitate research. The statement also called for the development of evidence-based standards for dosing and use of marijuana and the protection of patients who used cannabis from criminal or civil penalties.
Generally speaking, nurses in America have favorably supported the legalization of cannabis. One survey conducted in 2018 determined that 82% of polled nurses were in favor of legalizing medical cannabis while almost 60% supported the legalization of adult-use marijuana.
While there has been an increase in studies on marijuana in the last few years, certain obstacles continue to hinder progression. A good example would be marijuana’s current classification as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. This schedule makes it hard for researchers to obtain marijuana for research and even harder to study it.
This formal recognition of marijuana as a nursing specialty practice field is likely to be positively received by the wider cannabis industry, including entities such as Cresco Labs Inc. (CSE: CL) (OTCQX: CRLBF) since it inches cannabis closer to being integrated fully into mainstream medical care.
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