Cannabis Nursing is a Specialty!!!
My Journey to Becoming a Cannabis Nurse Health Coach
On September 27th, 2023 The American Nurses Association (ANA), representing the interests of the nation’s more than 5 million nurses, announced the formal recognition of cannabis nursing as a nursing specialty. Cannabis nursing is led in America by the American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA), a membership organization dedicated to education, advocacy, collaboration, and care excellence so that our specialty nursing practice focuses on meeting the needs of consumers seeking education and guidance in the therapeutic use of cannabis.
My name is Sherri Mack and I am Chief Nursing Officer and co-founder of Holistic Caring and The Green Nurse. The Green Nurse is a holistic Cannabis Nurse who teaches on the endocannabinoid system and safe utilization of cannabis as medicine and other tools to support the endocannabinoidome and whole person health. The Green Nurse was born upon the discovery that I had an endocannabinoid system and this is my story of becoming a cannabis nurse.
Like many of you, I experimented with cannabis in college and enjoyed the ability to relax and laugh more at the world. But I was a serious nurse and wanted to excel at my work in the teaching hospitals of Boston, and cannabis was not part of my life. This all changed in 2012 when I found myself on the other side of the bed, and nearly died at 47 years old. I had contracted Chronic C-Diff from the hospital I worked in, and despite multiple procedures and pharmaceuticals, nothing gave me relief. Making it worse, I developed an autoimmune condition, PMR, and was in constant pain that no medication or alternative therapy relieved. My mental, emotional, and spiritual health suffered, and I developed crushing anxiety, panic disorder, depression, agoraphobia, and a diagnosis of “failure to thrive”.
Miraculously, a retired Registered Nurse paid me a visit, and generously shared her knowledge about the rich history of cannabis, and how her pharmacist father stocked cannabis formulations in his 1920’s pharmacy. She revealed that she had been utilizing cannabis since she was 17, and at age 70, took no pharmaceuticals and had not been hospitalized. She got me to take a couple of puffs off a joint, and for the first time in years my pain suddenly stopped. I got my medical cannabis certification card and began experimenting with these new healing options that were taught to me from the caregiver community. I learned everything I needed to know to grow, extract, and make my own medicines.
It took time to figure out the products, compounds, ratios, dosing, and timing with my other treatment regimen. I had to work through my own stigma about using cannabis daily as medicine, but when I researched the science of cannabis I was both shocked and relieved. I knew that if I could figure this out for myself, I would help others and declared that I would be called The Green Nurse!
Over time, I learned that cannabis was a much safer alternative to opioids and other pharmaceuticals. Studying the reports of the risks associated with chronic opioid use, I knew that I was lucky to escape their grip on my condition. Not only was I managing my pain, I was simultaneously promoting systemic homeostasis in the rest of my body. Pharmaceuticals only robbed me of function and wholeness, and cannabis was now healing my body-mind-spirit in unimaginable ways. Based on the comprehensive analysis of over 35,000 scientifically valid articles, I now shared the wealth of evidence of the profound healing properties of cannabis.
As I began to regain my health, I delved into cannabis research and discovered the ECS and Endocannabinoidome, and how it influences all of our biological processes and organ systems. Understanding how cannabinoids can correct cell signaling for root healing was an eye-opening revelation, especially since I was never taught this in my BSN curriculum at Boston College. Cannabis once held a prominent place in mainstream medicine, but the racially motivated Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 removed access to the extracts carried in pharmacies since 1850.
The American Medical Association (AMA) objected to this taxation as it targeted physicians, retail pharmacists, and medical cannabis cultivation/manufacturing. Physicians were perplexed by the term, unaware that “marihuana” would now remove the cannabis extract, a pleiotropic workhorse in family medicine. This drove medicine to only focus on the synthetic medications preferred by the prohibitionists and drug developers who were set on removing cannabis as competition to the new pharmaceutical products that they sold.
Cannabis has been utilized by humans worldwide for at least 5,000 years to promote whole body health, without any recorded incidents of death. Cannabis established itself as a safe and efficacious remedy suitable for all ages and is now reclaiming its status as a healing element with an unparalleled safety profile. It remains my mission to live my life as a testimony to help others learn to heal so that they can become their own hero, and then go help heal the world.
I’d love to introduce you to two remarkable organizations in the field of Cannabis Nursing that I am actively involved with. Take a moment to explore and consider getting involved with them as well. Let’s together embark on this journey of knowledge and collaboration!
The American Cannabis Nurses Association, (ACNA) established in 2006 as an extension of the Patients Out of Time Conference in Santa Barbara, California. It represented the growing field of cannabinoid therapeutics to nurses, providing scientific and educational opportunities. Nurse Mary Lynn Mathre, the Patients Out of Time co-founder, formally established ACNA as a 501c3 organization in 2010. The ACNA Mission Statement is to advance excellence in cannabis nursing practice through advocacy, collaboration, education, research, and policy development. I am proud to serve as a Board Member for the 2022-2024 term.
The Cannabis Nurses Network™, (CNN) established in 2015 as a professional development organization for nurses around the globe. By educating nurses on the science behind the plant and providing a global network, nurses are supported and empowered to implement their knowledge within their community. The mission of CNN is to Empower Nurses through Education, Opportunity, Recognition and Advocacy. I became a founding member in 2018 and am grateful for the opportunities provided by Nurse Heather Manus. Check out the speakers bureau training and the amazing educational and social events allowing nurses to connect and collaborate, elevating our consciousness for healing.
These two organizations were my support system as I built The Green Nurse platform before merging with Elisabeth Mack at Holistic Caring. I invite you to explore both organizations and to join us as a Cannabis Nurse Health Coach!
Live Your Best Life & Help Others Do The Same
Sherri Mack, RN, BSN
Chief Nursing Officer & Co-founder of Holistic Caring & The Green Nurse
- Welcome to the American Nurses Association | ANA
- ANA Officially Recognizes Cannabis Nursing as a Specialty Nursing Practice
- American Cannabis Nurses Association
- Sherri Mack
- Holistic Caring
- Endocannabinoidome (eCBome) – Cannakeys
- Changes in Prescribed Opioid Dosages Among Patients Receiving Medical Cannabis for Chronic Pain, New York State, 2017-2019
- Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 – Wikipedia
- Medicinal Cannabis: History, Pharmacology, And Implications for the Acute Care Setting – PMC
- 2021 STATE OF THE STATES REPORT
- Scope and Standards of Practice for Cannabis Nurses 2019
- Cannabis Nurses Network
- Become a Cannabis Nurse – Holistic Caring