Cannabis Nursing: A Paradigm Shift in Healthcare, a PreConference Workshop at Cannabis Science Conference Spring 2024

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Columns | <b>Cannabis Voices</b>

Hear exclusive details about the pre-conference workshop for nurses and the latest on cannabis nursing from two of the presenters.

Designed with the dedicated nursing community in mind, and in honor of National Nurses Week (May 6–May 12), this comprehensive workshop aims to provide nurses with invaluable insights into the therapeutic potential of cannabis in patient care. Powered by Cannabis Nurses Network™ (CNN), the Cannabis Nursing: A Paradigm Shift in Healthcare workshop is scheduled for May 7, 2024, in Kansas City, Missouri.

In this interview, CNN founding members Heather Manus RN, HN-BC, HWNC-BC and Marcie Cooper MSN, RN, AHN-BC, HWNC-BC, GHNA, share their insights into the upcoming workshop and their experiences in cannabis nursing. In the Medical Track at the conference, Manus will co-present “PTSD and Trauma-Informed Cannabis Care,” and Cooper will present “Reducing Polypharmacy for the Aging Population."

Get a sneak peek into the workshop with the video, read the transcript below, and register here for Cannabis Science Conference Spring 2024!


Read more on what’s next with cannabis nursing:

What are some of the exciting topics that will be featured in the upcoming workshop Cannabis Nursing: A Paradigm Shift in Healthcare?

Heather Manus: We're really excited to be bringing this information about cannabis nursing and how there is this paradigm shift in healthcare that's occurring, since the American Nurses Association acknowledged that cannabis nursing is a specialty in the nursing profession. This has been huge for us. I know my colleague, Marcie here and myself have both been cannabis nurses for well over a decade. And so this is a big deal and we want to share all of the knowledge that we've accumulated over our time as cannabis nurses.

We have nine nurses that will be there during this preconference workshop for Cannabis Science Conference, and it's actually happening during Nurses Week. So we're really thrilled to be celebrating Nurses Week with our colleagues and helping to bring this information to the forefront. We'll be talking about the journey through history, science and therapeutics and cannabis nursing, we're looking at legal considerations. We'll also be talking about essential knowledge as outlined in the NCSBN National Nursing guidelines. A lot of nurses don't even know that we have nursing guidelines nationally. So this is exciting to bring this information to the forefront. We'll be talking about cannabis use across the lifespan, where we'll really be diving into some patient narratives and some case studies looking at cannabis research and how nurses have a role in that. And then also we'll take some time talking about the future. And where we see cannabis nursing going as time goes on and we're able to care for patients in this way.

Marcie Cooper: I would say that we are just ready to see the future of cannabis nursing, we have been waiting for a long time for patients to have access and have nurses be able to educate them. And I'm grateful for this paradigm shift for all of the patients in cannabis.

What will attendees learn in your presentation on PTSD and Trauma-Informed Cannabis Care?

Manus: I have been working with trauma survivors and trauma thrivers for my entire career. And so to bring this information about PTSD and cannabis therapeutics, really touches my heart and I'm excited to have this opportunity to share the knowledge that I've acquired with those who are in attendance during the Cannabis Science Conference.

What will you cover in your presentation on reducing polypharmacy for the aging population?

Cooper: I have been a hospice and palliative care nurse for about 20 years now. And a lot of times we do see really horrible side effects that patients have from the polypharmacy. And working as a hospice nurse in Colorado for the past 15 years has been really eye opening, being able to see how cannabis can help relieve a lot of those interactions that happen with multiple drugs. So I'm excited to talk about that with everyone too.

What are you most looking forward to learning at Cannabis Science Conference?

Manus: What I'm most excited about learning at Cannabis Science Conference is what our colleagues are doing, what other nurses are seeking as far as information; we really want to be able to support them and their continued education and knowledge-seeking process so that they can begin to help their patient populations to utilize cannabinoid therapeutics in the most effective way possible for them.

Cooper: I'm excited to see the reactions of the other nurses that are there because I remember what it was like to start to learn about cannabis and just be—I was just completely in shock that we were not taught this in nursing school and this plant had been used for so many centuries and we were demonizing it in this country. So I think it's going to be nice for these nurses that come, if they don't have this education that they can be embraced by us that are here that have worked through all of that already and we can be supportive to them.

How have you seen cannabis nursing change over time?

Cooper: I really think that the change has been moving slowly, but it is coming up on just advancing at an unbelievable pace because as Heather has said, the ANA has recognized cannabis nursing as a specialty. And in moving forward, more nurses are going to learn about the endocannabinoid system and then endocannabinoid therapeutics. They're going to be able to talk to patients more and they're going to need to talk to patients more, especially if we end up having a schedule change which is kind of rumored to be happening really soon. So, you know, I think that's going to spark a lot of interest in the nursing field.

Manus: Cannabis nursing is changing because the gap in knowledge is starting to narrow through opportunities like this preconference workshop where nurses can become more knowledgeable. The truth is, as nurses, we have been caring for patients who are using cannabis. And they're using cannabis with or without our input, without medical support, without medical advice. And so as cannabis nurses, we can now step into that role of having these higher level conversations with our patients and truly be able to be beneficial to them with our communication, and part of it is that nurses, many times are afraid to have those conversations. But our hope is through this paradigm shift, and cannabis nursing becoming a specialty, that those therapeutic relationships will be fostered and emboldened and that we can begin to have truly therapeutic conversations with our patients, that we can assess their cannabis use that we'll be able to document how cannabis is being beneficial and really be able to utilize these cannabinoid therapeutics in a very beneficial way because we as nurses have that knowledge and know how to approach our patients with this conversation.