This entire dialogue is ripe for rational discussion, but reading the posts I see many posts that reflect uninformed or emotionally loaded responses.
I think a few major points need to be addressed so I'll give it a shot.
- I read several here conflating the use of cannabis by nurses or healthy people with Medical Use by patients with intractable or end stage symptomology.
- Cannabis use by patients is rarely even discussed in hospital settings. In the outpatient settings such as home care, outpatient palliative, and hospice, it is a different story. It is a necessary and relevant conversation to have here.
- In states with legal cannabis, many patients are using cannabis whether or not its officially on their medication list. It's better to be open and honest with clinicians and take that into account rather than "looking the other way".
- Hospice RNs in states where medical cannabis is widely used see ALOT of patients using cannabis for symptom mgmt. Cannabis is not physically addictive, does not create side effects like constipation, and relieves a variety of symptoms like pain
- Smoking is not the sole or even preferred method used by most patients in a palliative/hospice setting. Tinctures, topical oils/balms.
- There are at least 5 therapeutic cannabinoids OTHER THAN THC (the only significantly psychoactive one) such as THCA, CBDA, CBD, CBN, CBG, CBC as well as numerous terpenes and other constituents. Many people use the raw plant which consumed raw does not actually yield converted THC and thus does not have any noticeable psychoactive effect.
- the endocannabinoid system within the human body modulates pain reception indirectly, can improve intractable nausea & improve appetite, and to some extend delay the need for or reduce the overall use of opioids, meaning less constipation and sedation in many cases.
- Nurses who advocate for the use of medical cannabis should not be considered potheads any more than nurses who advocate assertive pain management with opioids aren't treated like drug addicts/users/junkies. I see this in some posts and just shake my head. Among the strongest advocates for cannabis are nurses who have cared for dying patients at end of life with intractable symptoms, or watched their own loved ones suffer at end of life and learned from the experience.
- Cannabis can be an alternative to the use of opioids which can address the opioid epidemic in this country.
- Cannabis is often helpful where no other drugs have been effective.