The American Nurses Association (ANA) recently took the step of recognizing cannabis nursing as an official specialty within their profession. This type of recognition from the highest levels of the nursing profession is a landmark event.
The ANA ranks among one of the most respected organizations in the nursing profession and healthcare in general. It represents more than 5 million nurses. The organization took the formal step of naming cannabis nursing as a specialty nursing practice focused on the care of healthcare patients who seek education and guidance in the therapeutic use of cannabis.
“ANA is pleased to officially recognize cannabis nursing practice as a nursing specialty,” ANA President Jennifer Mensik Kennedy said in a statement. “This recognition highlights the essential role and special contribution of cannabis nurses to the health care system and promotes enhanced integration of cannabis therapies for health care consumers across diverse health care settings.”
Recognition of Cannabis Nursing Advocacy Organization
In making the announcement, the ANA also recognized the American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA) for working as advocates for research, education and policy reform around medical marijuana. The group’s efforts support cannabis education and competency through “wisdom, compassion, integrity, and social justice principles.” the ANA wrote in the statement.
ACNA President Rachel Parmelee said in the statement that the “groundbreaking establishment of cannabis nursing as an ANA-recognized nursing specialty” is an important step as nurses, the largest group of healthcare professionals. Nurses have the ability to change healthcare and include diverse wellness modalities that originate outside of traditional Western medicine.
“Cannabis nursing requires specialized knowledge and competencies to navigate care and address the stigma associated with medical cannabis use to support a healthy society. We seek to create lasting, transformative change that enriches both specialized and general nursing practices, ultimately serving the well-being of patients nationwide,” Parmelee said.
ANA Supports Cannabis Nursing as Part of Overall Mission
The ANA statement notes that the organization is the “sole reviewing body of specialty nursing scope of practice and standards of practice.” It also mentions the official position taken by the ANA in relation to cannabis..
That position recognizes the potential of cannabinoids for treatment of disease and symptom management. It also calls for removal of marijuana from the federal government’s list of Schedule I drugs. A similar recommendation recently came from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The ANA calls for development of prescribing standards for cannabis that includes indications for use, specific dose, expected effect and possible side effects. The organization also wants to establish “evidence-based standards for the use of marijuana and related cannabinoids.”
The ANA also calls for protection from criminal or civil penalties for patients who use medical cannabis and related cannabinoids “as permitted under state laws” and an exemption from criminal prosecution, civil liability or professional sanctioning for healthcare practitioners who discuss treatment alternatives concerning cannabis or who “prescribe, dispense or administer marijuana in accordance with professional standards and state laws.”