I have been a nurse for 15 years. I began my nursing career as a pediatric nurse. Later I transitioned into oncology providing care to inpatient and outpatient institutions. For the past ten years, I have been full-time nursing faculty at Nevada State College. I teach fundamentals, pathophysiology, and pharmacology. During my free time, I like to go bird watching. I have a wonderful husband, one daughter, one beautiful granddaughter and another one on the way.
The purpose of this presentation is to provide nurses with information about medicinal marijuana and how to provide the best care to patients who are prescribed medicinal marijuana. The cannabis plant has been around forever. However, “in 1996, California became the first state to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes” (Renehan, 2014). As health care providers and because medicinal marijuana is being legislated in many states, it is essential that nurses understand the difference of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) and its medicinal effects to provide safe patient care. Is there a difference between THC and CBD? Once nurses learn about its medicinal use, it will be necessary to learn how to provide the best care to patients who are prescribed marijuana for medicinal purposes. It is essential that nurses can answer these questions: Are there any interactions with medications with the patient’s current pharmacological therapy? Is it prudent to allow patients to use edible marijuana while in the hospital? What safety concerns will nurses need to monitor for patients who have been taking medicinal marijuana for many years? What are signs and symptoms of marijuana withdrawal and what can nurses do to help patients during this withdrawal period? Many patients find it easier to talk with nurses and is why being informed and able to answer the above questions about medicinal marijuana is pertinent as these laws become more enacted across the globe.