Holistic cannabis nursing is a specialty within the specialties of holistic nursing and cannabis nursing.
Holistic nursing focuses on treating the whole person, including their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, by prioritizing the use of natural and alternative treatments. Furthermore, holistic nurses strive to build strong relationships with their patients, taking a compassionate and empathetic approach to care. Moreover, holistic nursing is an attitude, a philosophy, and a way of being that requires nurses to integrate self-care, self-responsibility, spirituality, and reflection in their lives
Holistic nurses view medical cannabis as a natural adjunctive tool to traditional medical therapies.
Cannabis nurses can be licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, or doctors of nursing practice. Once licensed, they acquired additional education regarding the endocannabinoid system, the benefits of cannabis, product types, dosing guidelines of cannabis, and how to prevent adverse effects. Additionally, cannabis nurses educate patients and other healthcare professionals on the use of medical cannabis, monitor their progress, and provide cannabis nursing care through endocannabinoid therapeutics for symptom management while identifying the safety considerations for patient use of cannabis.
Ultimately, the goal of holistic cannabis nursing is to support the patient’s healing and enhance well-being with the use of medical cannabis and endocannabinoid therapeutics.
Still, there are specific regulations that govern cannabis nurses. First, holistic cannabis nurses must know and adhere to their specific state laws as well as federal laws in regard to medical cannabis legalities and what their state nurse practice act act says about holistic nursing. In addition to cannabis laws, nurses must adhere to nursing-specific regulations. In July 2018, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) released The NCSBN National Nursing Guidelines for Medical Marijuana. These six guidelines apply to all nurses regardless of specialty or clinical environment:
- The nurse shall have a working knowledge of the current state of legalization of medical and recreational cannabis use.
- The nurse shall have a working knowledge of the patient’s state’s Medical Marijuana Program.
- The nurse shall have an understanding of the endocannabinoid system, cannabinoid receptors, cannabinoids, and the interactions between them.
- The nurse shall have an understanding of cannabis pharmacology and the research associated with the medical use of cannabis.
- The nurse shall be able to identify the safety considerations for patient use of cannabis.
- The nurse shall approach the patient without judgment regarding the patient’s choice of treatment or preferences in managing pain and other distressing symptoms.
Finally, holistic cannabis nurses should understand the Holistic Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice set forth by the American Holistic Nurses Association and the Cannabis Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice set forth by the American Cannabis Nurses Association.
The holistic cannabis nurse’s practice environment is highly autonomous, patient-centered, and nurtures each patient in their unique vision of health and wellness.
Many holistic cannabis nurses are entrepreneurs and practice without the supervision of a medical doctor. Using the nursing process, patient encounters are still guided by assessment, diagnosis, planning, intervention, and evaluation. However, interventions do not solely focus on the use of cannabis. In fact, educating patients on the art of self-care is key. Patients who engage in self-assessment through purposeful self-reflection discover their unique vision of health and wellness. Understanding the patient’s vision emboldens the nurse as a premier patient advocate. Most importantly, the holistic cannabis nurse-patient relationship honors each patient’s values, health beliefs, and health experiences through the healing process.
Specialization opportunities for Holistic cannabis nurses exist in specific patient populations, education, advocacy, and policy development.
Aspiring holistic cannabis nurses have many roles to explore. First, direct patient care allows for specialization in specific patient populations, such as women’s health, palliative and hospice care, pediatrics, as well as mental health. Second, holistic cannabis nurse educators provide cannabis-specific education to both patients and providers in the clinical and academic setting. The third role of an advocate is to facilitate awareness of cannabis as medicine. By telling your cannabis story or supporting patients to tell their cannabis story to further safe access, use, and reduce the stigma surrounding cannabis. Last, but certainly not least, holistic cannabis nurses can lend a medically educated voice to governmental policy development at local, state, and federal levels.
Pathways to becoming a qualified Holistic Cannabis Nurse can be through cannabis-specific education certificates or by way of advanced degree programs.
At the time of writing this, there is no “one size fits all” in the pathway towards becoming a qualified holistic cannabis nurse whether the nurse is a licensed practical nurse (LPN), registered nurse (RN), or an advanced practice nurse such as a nurse practitioner (NP). Currently, several entities offer cannabis-specific education certificates. The American Holistic Nurses Association and the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation now include education in regard to the endocannabinoid system in the Holistic Nursing certification curriculum. Next, The Medical Cannabis Institute provides several state-specific courses, a basic knowledge course, and a Clinical Cannabinoid Medicine Curriculum for medical professionals. Finally, Healer.com is a certificate program created by Dr. Dustin Sulak that offers clinical education, dosing guidance, webinars, and products.
Next, advanced degrees such as a Master of Science in integrative medicine, cannabis science, or an advanced practice holistic nursing program. Of course, these pathways require significant time and monetary investment.
Finally, if you are a registered nurse or advanced practice nurse looking to be a qualified holistic cannabis nurse, click here to grab our free lesson on becoming a Cannabis Nurse Coach and or Cannabis Nurse Consultant.
How to partner with a Holistic Cannabis Nurse
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There are professional nursing organizations such as the Cannabis Nurses Network, and the American Cannabis Nurses Association, and the National Nurses in Business Association that provide directories of cannabis professionals.
At Sage Integrative Wellness, we have a qualified holistic cannabis nurse who guides patients and nurses on how to utilize cannabis as medicine; click here to book a free consultation.
Holistic cannabis nursing are specialties within holistic nursing and cannabis nursing that focuses on treating the whole person by using natural and alternative treatments and building strong relationships with patients. Holistic cannabis nurses educate patients on medical cannabis, monitor their progress, and provide cannabis nursing care through endocannabinoid therapeutics for symptom management. At the time of writing this article, to become a holistic cannabis nurse, aspiring nurse professionals can obtain cannabis-specific certificate, holistic nursing specific board certification, pursue an advanced professional degree or enroll in an advanced practice holistic nursing program. Holistic cannabis nurses have a highly autonomous practice environment that allows for specialization in specific patient populations, education, advocacy, and policy development. The goal of holistic cannabis nursing is to support the patient’s healing and enhance well-being with the use of medical cannabis while adhering to specific state laws and nursing regulations.
Nurse Author Dominique Fontaine, BSN, RN, HNB-BC, HWNC-BC is a double board certified holistic nurse, holistic medical content writer, and medical content reviewer for Sage Integrative Wellness, LLC, and various national and international wellness companies and media companies. Dominique offers holistic nurse consulting for businesses, media companies, and organizations in holistic medical content writing and medical content reviewing upon request. She’s a passionate neurodiverse nurse and disability advocate striving to transform healthcare and culture through brain health awareness, holistic education and research, and integrative nurse coaching.