The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has thrown its weight behind a campaign to have the endocannabinoid system and medicinal cannabis included in the curriculum for nursing and midwifery schools throughout the country.

As well as a commitment to boosting nurses’ education, the ANMF and its branches will lobby the government for better patient access and use its reach in the healthcare sector and wider community to reduce the stigma surrounding the medicine.

Lucy Haslam - Medical Cannabis Australia - Cannabiz
UIC founder Lucy Haslam

The move comes after a dedicated nurses’ conference was held for the first time at United in Compassion’s Australian Medicinal Cannabis Symposium in May.

UIC founder Lucy Haslam said nurses are at the frontline of patient care and have a key role to play in increasing access.

“That puts them in the ideal position of supporting and advocating for patients who wish to access medicinal cannabis as their preferred medication,” she said.

“For this, they must be educated and, after years of lobbying, the major nursing bodies at state, territory and federal levels have now given a firm commitment to not only ensure nurses receive the required education, but also to support patient choice.

“This is despite the ongoing reluctance of many of the colleges representing the medical profession to do the same.

“Nurses are not financially incentivised to provide a particular form of treatment as many doctors are. They just want what is best for their patients.”

ANMF president Sally-Anne Jones

ANMF president Sally-Anne Jones said: “It is through relentless advocacy, determination, resilience, perseverance and everlasting compassion that we are finally seeing changes to legislation such as the decriminalisation of the termination of pregnancy, voluntary assisted dying and, of course, the use of medicinal cannabis.”

Australian Natural Therapeutics Group chief scientific officer Justin Sinclair said the involvement of nurses and midwives in dispensing medicinal cannabis and monitoring health results will be a “gamechanger” for patients.

He added: “They have a close relationship with patients and will naturally have those conversations which can educate them on the potential benefits, or side effects, of treatment.

“In other countries like Canada, nurses are already playing a significant role in this area.”

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...