Top 4 Things Every Nurse Needs to Know About Cannabis

cannabis nursing Oct 10, 2023

... And many of our patients are doing just that! 

Smoking weed because they can....

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, has been a topic of increasing interest in recent years, especially with its growing acceptance for both medicinal and recreational use in various regions. For nurses, understanding cannabis is essential, as it can impact patient care and provide alternative treatment options. Here are the top four things every nurse should know about cannabis:

1. Different Strains, Different Effects:

Cannabis isn't a one-size-fits-all plant. It comprises numerous strains, each with its unique chemical profile. The two primary compounds of interest are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is known for its psychoactive effects, while CBD is non-psychoactive and has gained popularity for its potential therapeutic benefits.

Different strains have varying THC-to-CBD ratios, leading to distinct effects. Nurses should be aware that these strains can impact pain relief, mood, energy levels, and more. Patients may have different responses, so understanding these variations can help tailor recommendations for better symptom management.

2. Potential Drug Interactions:

Cannabis, particularly its active compounds, can interact with various medications. Nurses need to consider potential drug interactions when caring for patients who use cannabis, especially those taking medications for chronic conditions. For example, some medications may enhance or inhibit the effects of cannabis, potentially leading to unwanted side effects or reduced efficacy.

It's crucial for nurses to be knowledgeable about potential interactions and communicate effectively with patients to ensure their safety and well-being.

3. Administration Methods Matter:

Cannabis can be consumed in various ways, including smoking, vaporizing, edibles, tinctures, topicals, and nasal sprays. The choice of administration method significantly impacts how quickly and how strongly the effects are felt. For instance, smoking or vaporizing delivers almost immediate effects, while edibles may take longer to kick in but offer longer-lasting relief.

Understanding the different administration methods and their implications allows nurses to guide patients in selecting the most suitable approach based on their specific needs and preferences.

Beyond its recreational and medicinal use, cannabis is part of a broader conversation about holistic wellness. It's essential for nurses to recognize that some patients seek cannabis as a holistic approach to their well-being, addressing not only physical health but also mental and emotional aspects.

This holistic approach may involve integrating cannabis with other wellness practices like mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or nutritional changes. Nurses can support patients in their holistic wellness journey by offering guidance and resources to achieve a balanced, well-rounded approach to health.

In conclusion, as cannabis becomes more mainstream, nurses need to stay informed and prepared to address patient inquiries and concerns. By understanding the different strains, potential drug interactions, administration methods, and the holistic nature of wellness, nurses can provide valuable guidance and ensure the well-being of their patients in an evolving landscape of cannabis use.

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Our training allows nurses to understand potential benefits, interactions, and safety considerations associated with cannabis, ensuring they can offer informed guidance and support to patients incorporating cannabis into their healthcare regimen.

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