The American Cannabis Nursing Association (ACNA)  held their virtual conference on December 5th to 8th with over two hundred attendees. The organization has seen an influx of members this year mimicking the 68% of US adults who believe weed should be legal.

The seed for ACNA was planted in 2006 by two visionary nurses, Mary Lynn Mathre and Julia Glick. They saw the need to represent the emerging field of endocannabinoid therapeutics to professional nurses, providing scientific, patient educational opportunities, and research. The vision was born in 2015 when the tax except status was granted for ACNA.

Nurses provide the missing link between the physician and the dispensary. Yes, many users can view the plethora of products behind the counter, receive advice from the nonprofessional budtender, and effectively treat their symptoms. But a majority of clients with complex medical conditions require a medical professional to discern the best mode of administration, storage, the ability to adjust dosage requirements, and the coordination with physicians on the possible elimination of pharmaceuticals.


The National Council of State Boards of Nursing, (NCSBN), released guidelines in 2018 for caring for patients using marijuana. It allows nurses to legally teach about marijuana like they teach many other medications either prescribed by a physician or over the counter. The ACNA provides the vehicle for nurses to attain these guidelines. The innovation and “out of the box” mentality of nurses helps mitigate the outrageous price seniors pay for a drug that is more effective than many pharmaceuticals.

Topics discussed were legal policy issues, the history of cannabis, the endocannabinoid system, cannabis extraction methods, organic home growing practices, the making of cannabis edibles, effective use of vape pens, using DNA, the science behind treating Crohn’s Disease, replacing opiates with cannabis, modes of administration, interactions with pharmaceuticals, cannabis and spirituality, cannabis and end of life, and many more science based research topics.

Uwe Bleshing PhD discussed a rating system for scientific studies. His book: The Cannabis Health Index is a source book containing over 1000 evidence based studies for over 100 chronic diseases. Mary Bailey discussed the Last Prisoner Project (LPP),  LPP advocates for the release of prisoners with life sentences for nonviolent cannabis crimes. LPP helped release Richard DeLisi the year, after 31 years. He is the longest serving nonviolent cannabis prisoner in the US.

The ACNA is seeking nurse certification for the specialty of cannabis through the American Nurses Credential Center, (ANCC).  ANCC determines the guidelines for certification in many areas of nurse specialists i.e. cardiology, oncology, critical care, infusion, obstetrics, hospice, and palliative care to name a few. Cannabis Nurse Navigator certification from the ANCC will give the public confidence in the competence of this specialty.

ACNA and Radical Health by Eliose Theison are developing a protocol for advanced practiced nurses and medical institutions. Once marijuana is legalized federally, the industry must be ready for hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, home health and hospice agencies onslaught of demand for policies and procedures. Currently there is a Jewish Convalescent Home in NY that allows patients to self administer their own cannabis products. This will be an emerging practice in the next few years.

Nurses across the country who offer professional counseling services to clients can be found on the ACNA website. The UN this week has removed cannabis from its dangerous drug category. On November 3rd seven new states decriminalized marijuana, thirty-eight ballot measures in CA in thirty-six cities or counties across the state won by large margins. The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, passed in the House 228-164 last Friday. Five Republicans voted for the bill. There is so much great news for the industry, 2021 looks even better.

I invite my nurse readers to check out the ANCA website for education and networking with other specialists. If you need a coach to improve on your self medication of cannabis/marijuana, email  Enjoy entering into a spiritual journey to wellbeing with marijuana. Marijuana is a blessed Hanukkah or Christmas gift for your aging parents, loved one, or yourself.

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