Alyssa Ridad BSN-RN, OCN; and Amanda McKaig, BSN, RN, OCN, discuss oncology nurse perceptions of medical cannabis.
Most oncology nurses who work at UCLA Health indicated that medical cannabis helped their patients manage anxiety and insomnia, according to findings of a survey presented at the 48th Annual Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Congress.1
In an interview with Oncology Nursing News®, study author Alyssa Ridad BSN-RN, OCN, explained that in California, “Ryan’s Law,” or Senate Bill (CA SB) 311, has mandated that health care facilities allow medical cannabis use for patients who are terminally ill. Ridad, and her co-investigator, Amanda McKaig, BSN, RN, OCN, sought to understand nurses’ comfortability in managing medical cannabis use in the inpatient, medical-surgical oncology population.
Findings from a literature suggest that research strongly supports the use of medical cannabis in the management of chronic pain, including nausea, vomiting, and anorexia.2-6 Moreover, research has demonstrated that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol/cannabidiol (THC/CBD), in combination with standard anti-emetic regimens, can be effective in reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Additionally, there is emerging evidence that THC/CBD may be effective in managing chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy and sleep disorders.
In accordance with Ryan’s Law, the institution updated their policy to allow for the interdisciplinary collaboration between nursing and pharmacy. The process is as follows:1
Ridad and McKaig created a survey, which was sent to all nurses who care for a patient who successfully oversaw cannabis use after the implementation of Ryan’s Law. This survey measured nurse comfort and their perception of the cannabis’ efficacy on symptom management. They queried participants to rate their responses to following questions:
I feel comfortable implementing Ryan’s Law into my practice.
I feel that Ryan’s Law helped my patients with their symptoms on reassessment.
I feel that Ryan’s Law had a positive impact on my patient stay.
Moreover, nurses responded that sleep and anxiety were the symptoms most likely to prompt their patients to use their cannabis products.