Knowledge gap identified on non-medical cannabis risks

January / February 2018   Comments

In a recent CNA national survey, less than two-thirds of nurses surveyed consider themselves knowledgeable or very knowledgeable about the health risks associated with non-medical cannabis use. These findings present a problem because all nurses will likely interact with patients on this issue.

The survey was developed to assess nurses’ knowledge of the health effects of recreational cannabis use and provide Health Canada with guidance on preparing for a public education campaign before the expected legalization of cannabis later this year. The nurses surveyed identified specific knowledge gaps in five areas:

  • cannabis use during pregnancy
  • health risks associated with different methods of cannabis consumption
  • the impact of cannabis on the developing brain
  • the risk of addiction
  • mental health risks associated with cannabis use

Given the results of a September Nanos survey, which found that nine in ten Canadians support the idea of having nurses provide information about the risks and harms of recreational cannabis use, these knowledge gaps also indicate a need for greater federal investments in nurses’ professional development and education. CNA has recommended that the government provide a one-time investment of $1.5 million to increase cannabis education for nurses and support their role as key sources of public information.

CNA president Barb Shellian responded to the results by noting how important it is that nurses are well prepared to respond to the related health questions patients will ask.

comments powered by Disqus