The Cannabis Industry Needs Nurses

Eloise Theisen

By Eloise Theisen, AGPCNP-BC, CEO of Radicle Health and Executive Board Member of Leaf411

Republished with permission from Radicle Health 

The cannabis industry (and particularly the hemp space) has been gaining momentum. Last year was a monumental year for cannabis legislation. With 36 states and the District of Columbia allowing some form of medical cannabis, 15 states plus D.C. allowing adult use, and the descheduling of hemp, it is safe to say that cannabinoid therapy is here to stay.

It is estimated that there are around 3,000 CBD companies in the United States alone.1 Many of those companies are not expected to survive, with COVID-19 playing a significant role in their demise. According to Hemp Industry Daily,1 the top 20 hemp CBD companies account for 17% of the market share. The rest of the market is made of new CBD enthusiasts who are not well-established brands, and they are finding it harder to survive in the crowded space.

Cannabis companies like Acreage, Tilray, Aurora, Canopy, Cresco Labs, GW Pharmaceuticals, and Tikun Olam are hoping to position themselves as leaders in the cannabis space. These companies have multistate operations in medical and adult-use states. More states are predicted to put cannabis legalization on the ballot in 2021 and there is talk of federal decriminalization happening by 2022. As these national brands expand, they too will need to consider unique ways to positions themselves among the competition.

So how do brands establish brand loyalty and secure a piece of the market? A leading data analyst and consulting company2 speculated that survival will depend on brand differentiation. Companies can position themselves by increasing distribution through multistate operators, aligning with well-established nutraceutical companies, and working with large retail chains. What else can they do to establish brand differentiation? They can hire a nurse.

As the market becomes more competitive, brands will need to be creative about offering services that help them stand out. Nurses are an excellent way for brands to craft credibility, brand differentiation, and brand loyalty.

For 19 years in a row, consumers have voted nurses as the most trusted profession. Beyond gaining the public’s trust and respect, nurses are educators, counselors, leaders, and advocates. Nurses promote health and wellness, interpret patient information, conduct research, and improve practices and patient outcomes. And yet nurses are rarely employed by cannabis companies.

Nurses can bring incredible value to cannabis companies. In addition to offering instant credibility, they can collect data, identify trends, provide training and education, and coach patients through the medical cannabis process. Cannabis companies: what are you waiting for? We need more nurses in the industry.

References
1. Nichols K. Chart: 2020 an ‘extinction event’ for thousands of CBD companies, but industry remains crowded. Hemp Industry Daily. https://hempindustrydaily.com/chart-2020-an-extinction-event-for-thousands-of-cbd-companies-but-industry-remains-crowded/. Published August 3, 2020. Accessed February 25, 2021.

2. Skelly C. Top CBD Companies. https://blog.brightfieldgroup.com/top-5-cbd-companies. Accessed February 25, 2021. Skelly C. Top CBD Companies.

Eloise is a board-certified adult geriatric nurse practitioner with over 20 years experience in nursing. Prior to working with cannabis medicine, Eloise worked for 14 years in oncology at John Muir. She started her own cannabis practice in 2014 and has since treated over 6000 patients using cannabis. Eloise is the President of the American Cannabis Nurses Association through 2022 and an instructor at the Pacific College of Health and Science. 

Are you interested in learning more about the proper use, indications and contra-indications of medical cannabis as part of an integrative healthcare approach? Pacific College’s 8-credit medical cannabis certificate program is also available as an elective in the holistic nursing, public health education and health & human performance programs! Pacific College is regionally accredited by WASC’s WSCUC and offers financial aid to those who qualify. Visit our calendar page to see a schedule of our free upcoming info sessions.

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