Survey: Many Canadian Nurses Don’t Receive Any Training on the Use of Medical Cannabis

Winnipeg, Canada: Fewer than four in ten Canadian nursing students say that they receive information about the use of medical cannabis during their training, according to survey data published in the journal Nurse Education Today.

Over three hundred nursing students participated in the survey. Only 38 percent acknowledged “receiving any education on cannabis in their nursing program.” Over 90 percent of respondents acknowledged that they would feel uncomfortable discussing cannabis with their patients without further educational training. 

“Education on both medical and non-medical cannabis is needed to support future nurses addressing cannabis use in their clinical practice,” the study’s authors concluded. “Nursing institutions must implement and evaluate curricula to ensure nursing students are adequately prepared to address cannabis use in their clinical practice and their own fitness to practice.”

Cannabis has been legally available in Canada via a doctor’s authorization since 2001. The Canadian government legalized marijuana products for adults in 2018.

The study’s findings are consistent with those of prior surveys of health professionals in Canada and the United States which report that most doctors and nurses believe that they receive insufficient training with regard to cannabis.

Full text of the study, “Baccalaureate nursing students’ knowledge, attitudes, educational needs, and use of medical and non-medical cannabis at five institutions in Manitoba, Canada: A cross-sectional analysis,” appears in Nurse Education Today.