Marijuana Nurse: What Is It and How Do I Become One?

Marijuana Nurse: What Is It and How Do I Become One?

The world of cannabis has continued to explode as more states legalize marijuana, especially for medical use. Medical marijuana is logistically similar to any other healthcare treatment in the sense that a doctor prescribes it. It is an alternative medicine practice that requires healthcare provider guidance, including nurses, to use safely for multiple ailments. Let’s take a look at what medical marijuana is used for, what Marijuana Nurses do, and how you can become one.

Common Use Cases for Medical Marijuana

There are a variety of conditions in which medical marijuana is being studied; however, there are only a few use cases that the research has had statistically significant findings. Currently, the researched backed symptoms that medical marijuana can help include: 

  • Chronic pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tight muscles

Furthermore, some more limited research has suggested that medical marijuana can help: 

  • Anxiety
  • Inflammation
  • Slow tumor girth
  • Stimulate appetite

Because of the symptoms that it can help, one of the most common patients it can help are cancer patients since they regularly experience chronic pain, nausea and vomiting, tight muscles, and appetite loss due to traditional cancer treatments like chemotherapy. 

What Do Marijuana Nurses Do?

Marijuana nurses are mostly about patient education. They educate medical marijuana patients on topics such as: 

  • Dosing
  • Side effects
  • Correct products
  • How cannabinoids affect the body
  • Methods of taking – oral, inhalation, and more
  • Drug interactions

How Do I Become a Marijuana Nurse?

Though Marijuana isn’t covered much in nursing school especially in the way of using it medicinally, there is a lot of education that goes into becoming a Marijuana Nurse. 

Education

Though any registered nurse can become a Marijuana Nurse and there is not any advanced degree required, the American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA) has led the way as far as preparing nurses for the marijuana industry. Not only have they defined the scope and standards of practice for Marijuana Nurses, but they have also developed a comprehensive online course to provide a tangible resource. 

Certification

Most nursing specialties have certifications through organizations. Oftentimes, they are national certifications. With the legal challenges of cannabis as it is only legal in individual states and not federally, the national certification has not yet come about. However, nurses can still join the ACNA to keep up with the industry and network with others. The ACNA is also currently in the process of creating a framework to develop a national certification recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). 

Marijuana Nurse Salary

Salaries in different nursing specialties are always something that is interesting to review. The Cannabis Nurse specialty is particularly interesting because since it is still so unregulated, there is a wide range in salaries. According to ZipRecruiter, a Cannabis or Marijuana Nurse can make between $20,000 and $141,000 per year with the average salary coming in at just over $65,000 per year. 

Things to Remember as Marijuana Nurse 

Marijuana Nursing is still a relatively new field so there is still a lot to consider. In addition to the other aspects we have talked about like the legalities, here are some things to remember as a Marijuana Nurse: 

  • There is still a stigma, so be prepared to have thick skin from not only patients but also from colleagues. 
  • There are other medications that contain cannabinoids that aren’t strictly marijuana in the traditional way we think of it.
  • Marijuana doesn’t have to get you high. In fact, most patients who seek medical marijuana want something that won’t get them high.
  • Becoming a Marijuana Nurse is a skill that has to be developed, honed, and reflected on.

 

Are you in the medical marijuana field? What has your experience been? Let’s chat!

Katelyn Johnson

Katelyn Johnson

Author

Katelyn has a Master’s in Healthcare Administration and five years of clinical experience. She has made the shift to full-time freelance writing and enjoys covering topics on nursing careers, lifestyle, and community. Her goal is to help start a conversation and spread awareness around the many ups and downs of the healthcare field.

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