Cannabis Education – A Vital Piece of the Cannabis Industry Puzzle

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Cannabis use is becoming more normalized and increasingly common among all demographics. Because the illicit market still exists, it is more difficult to determine if the number of cannabis users is really increasing or if we are just seeing a transfer to the legal market. Reality is likely a combination of both increased admittances, with an uptick in “new” users. When the 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act (2018 Farm Bill) was enacted, the spectrum of legally available cannabis products dramatically increased. The availability of CBD products not only sparked a craze, more importantly – it sparked conversations.

Cannabis Education for Cannabis Industry

New legal industry needs an educated community.

As the cannabis conversation continues among the general population, certain patterns are emerging. As this industry finds its place in an ever-changing economic environment, questions are being answered with more questions. The science behind cannabis isn’t just for chemists or geneticists. From common cannabis FAQs to data details – more information needs to make it to the streets. Not only are average consumers actively seeking these resources, major organizations are working intensely to be heard by larger more specific audience demographics.

Cannabis education should be as common as cannabis.

While cannabis is bringing record sales quarter after quarter, there is little profitability in solely advocating and presenting cannabis education. Yet, plenty of companies have made cannabis education one of their main priorities. As a matter of community and consumer safety; cannabis education should now be added to standard continuing education topics for law enforcement, medical staff, community advocates, legislative representatives and most all governmental positions. The sad truth is, access to and use of cannabis education is not keeping pace with cannabis industry expansions.

The gap of cannabis knowledge is widening.

Community workers that need to have access and utilize cannabis education include the healthcare industry, law enforcement, legislative representatives, and other governmental representatives. While we are seeing an increase in task forces and committees created to provide relevant education to intended demographics, the fast paced growth of the cannabis industry has led to a gap in knowledge about cannabis. This lack of factual and applicable information is leading to regressive regulations and restrictions.

Not all cannabis education is neutral.

When it comes to cannabis education for community workers and the general community, despite its growing legal status – it is still difficult to find non-bias educational material. In addition to material being either for or against cannabis use, much has not been sufficiently scientifically backed to qualify to be redistributed as approved educational material. Cannabis’ schedule 1 status in the US inhibits educational material; as government funding for educational material that could be perceived as an encouraging use of a schedule 1 drug is not allowed.

Companies and Organizations are filling the cannabis education gap.

Inconsistent, yet growing levels of acceptance in cannabis’ medical and recreational uses has unfortunately fed this lack of available non-bias education and resources. Certain companies, organizations, and community groups are making waves trying to spread cannabis information to varying demographics. Utilizing contemporary methods of community outreach and conversation, these groups are filling a need in the market and community. Thanks to them – accurate, non-bias cannabis educational material is out there and growing.

Education for the Medical Field

There are a few groups who provide Continuing Medical Education (CME) for physicians and hold an accreditation to certify education for the entire spectrum of healthcare professionals, including nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, psychologists, dentists, and dieticians. The Medical Cannabis Institute Global provides online medical education for healthcare professionals who want to learn about medical cannabis and its potential clinical application. Their science-based, accredited courses help professionals deliver quality care and address patient questions.

Community Education and Resources

Veriheal has been focusing on streamlining access to medical cannabis cards nationwide, but they boast an extensive collection of originally curated articles for the community and the industry. With the many resources from Veriheal, it’s easy to stay in the know with the latest cannabis news, tips, tricks, recipes, and findings. The first FREE cannabis nurse hotline has been up and running since last year and Leaf 411’s “Leaf Library” is chalked full of resources and medically backed articles and links.

Legislators and Lawmakers

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws’ (NORML)- mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of cannabis by adults. In addition, they serve as an advocate for consumers and community members to assure access to high quality cannabis that is safe, convenient and affordable. Often NORML representatives and volunteers spend much of their time providing cannabis education to current and upcoming community representatives. Known as “Lobby Days”, each representative session cannabis advocates visit state representatives ready to educate on cannabis in person.

More research equals more legitimacy.

While thankful for these organizations and companies out there spreading cannabis knowledge; many anticipate the day when information doesn’t have to be biased to be heard. When factual, scientifically backed, cannabis education is overwhelmingly available – anyone in a position of community representation, even in non-legal states, should have a basic understanding of cannabis in context.

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Natasha Winkler

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