As state marijuana laws continue to evolve, there are a number of issues nurses will need to consider. Here are some facts that provide an overview of some of the issues related to medical marijuana use and legislation.
- The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 made the use and cultivation of marijuana illegal in the U.S.
- There are differences between marijuana legalization, marijuana decriminalization and medical marijuana laws.
- The American Nurses Association supports the right for patients to have safe access to medical marijuana.
- There is an American Cannabis Nurses Association, which aims to advance excellence in cannabis nursing practice through advocacy, collaboration, education and policy development.
- A number of clinical trials studying marijuana and cannabinoids are currently in process and recruiting participants.
- The IOM published “Marijuana and Medicine” in 1999, which can be read for free as a PDF download.
- Medical marijuana can be authorized by a prescribing healthcare provider, but is not actually prescribed.
- RNs and LPNs cannot authorize medical marijuana use, but APRNs can.
According to the National Conference of State Legislation, 23 states (along with the District of Columbia and Guam) have medical marijuana programs. Another 15 have allowed use in limited situations, or as a legal defense. That leaves 12 states that currently do not have medical marijuana programs in place.
Want to learn more?
Check out this presentation on the National Council of State Boards of Nursing website: Medical Marijuana and Nursing Practice in Washington State.
What’s your professional opinion on medical marijuana? It’s an interesting topic that the profession has only begun to explore. Scrubbed In is interested to hear your thoughts.