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CannyNurse® Certificate Program

12-week Comprehensive Cannabis Nursing Course

Cannabis Nurse

Become a Cannabis Nurse – CannyNurse® Certificate Program

Become a Cannabis Nurse!

This 12-week cannabis nursing program is comprehensive enough to teach you what you need to know to start your career as a cannabis nurse in just 4 hours per week. Complete your annual CEU requirements and learn all you need to know to help your patients navigate the therapeutic world of cannabis.

Open to LPNs/LVNs, RNs, and NPs!


Program Overview

The CannyNurse™ Training is an evidence-based, esoteric, and experiential journey into the realm of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). There are 12 modules, each is to be completed over the course of one week, and should take 4 hours of study (48 hours). Students are allotted 2 hours for the final exam (open-book), making the program total 50 hours of contact hours*.

Cannabis nursing is not about one plant…

it’s about the body’s “universal regulator,” the system charged with maintaining homeostasis in the body: the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). All animals (except insects and protozoa) have an ECS. The ANA has listed cannabis competencies, yet few nurses feel comfortable with it. As a CannyNurse® you will be on the cutting edge of clinical cannabis care.

Everyone is talking about cannabis…

but few clinicians know enough to safely advise their patients. Whether you’re in a legal state or not, at least some of your patients are using cannabis. If they don’t feel comfortable talking to you, their healthcare is in the hands of budtenders.

*This nursing continuing professional development activity was approved by the American Holistic Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. Approval #1556. Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number 17700 for 50 contact hours.
12 Weeks -
50 Contact Hours*
  • Module 1 - Scope and Standards of Practice

    • Cannabis nursing may seem like a new specialty, but the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) wrote national nursing guidelines for care of patients using medical cannabis in 2018.

    • In the first module, we will look at the competencies cannabis nurses are expected to have as well as opportunities for nurses at the bedside, in private practice, and in the greater cannabis industry.
    • Nurses will explore options for their own practice and begin to learn about the historic and current issues surrounding cannabis, cannabis prohibition, and its impact on social and racial justice.
  • Module 2 - The Endocannabinoid System

    • Now understood to be the master regulatory system charged with maintaining homeostasis (aka balance) in the human body, the Endocannabinoid (pronounced: en-do-can-NAB-in-oid) System (ECS) is not only present in humans, but in nearly all animal species except insects and protozoa.
    • In this module, nurses will learn the 5 main functions of the ECS as well as the component parts of this master system.
    • Nurses are encouraged to start thinking of themselves as endocannabinologists, rather than “just” nurses who understand the cannabis plant and its interactions with the human body.
  • Module 3 - Cannabinoids & The Entourage Effect

    • Cannabidiol, or CBD, has quickly become viewed by some as a “miracle drug.” Learn to separate the “hype” from the evidence with regard to CBD as well as its intoxicating counterpart, THC (delta-9-tetrohydrocannabinol).
    • Differing from pharmaceutical medicine, herbal medicine relies of the synergistic (entourage) effects of the many compounds present in plants for their combined healing potential.
    • In this module, nurses will learn about the many compounds found in the cannabis plant that contribute to its healing properties. Learn when isolates are useful (i.e. CBD or THC alone) as well as the benefits of using the whole plant.
    • Additionally, nurses will learn about terpenes — the scent / flavor molecules that make certain varieties of cannabis more or less desirable for a variety of health conditions and temperaments.
  • Module 4 - The Current State of Cannabis Research

    • Cannabis prohibition in the 1900s led to a dearth of research for most of the 20th century, but cannabis research has exploded internationally since the discovery of the ECS in the 1980s.
    • In this module, nurses will learn where to find the most up-to-date research, which countries are widely considered to produce the best cannabis research (and why), and the state of cannabis research today.
    • Issues regarding cannabis research quality will be discussed, as well as what to look for when reading research articles. This module prepares nurses to be discerning clinicians and differentiate between marketing “hype” and evidence-based practice.
  • Module 5 - Cannabis Dosage and Administration Types

    • Cannabis preparations can be consumed in a variety of ways such as: inhalation, ingestion, topical, and suppositories.
    • In this module, nurses will explore the pros and cons of each route of administration and the most appropriate routes for different conditions. Additionally, nurses will learn about cannabis’ notorious biphasic effects — for example, why some preparations/ doses can cause anxiety while other preparations/ doses help reduce it.
    • Evidence-based dosing strategies will be presented along with best practices for tracking ones cannabis use and its effects. Nurses will also understand how to mitigate the euphoric effects of THC for patients who want relief without “the high.”
  • Module 6 - Contraindications, Vulnerable Populations, & Justice

    • Like all herbs and medications, cannabis is not for everyone.
    • In this module, nurses will learn what contraindications exist for cannabis and how to approach its use in vulnerable populations, such as: children, the elderly, pregnancy/ breastfeeding, and people with mental health challenges.
    • Nurses will also learn about the legal, social, and racial implications of cannabis prohibition, decriminalization, and legalization. Despite most cannabis-related arrests being for simple possession, there are dire consequences for those who’ve been charged with these nonviolent offenses.
    • According to research published by the ACLU, Black Americans are almost 4 times as likely to be arrested than white Americans, despite similar rates of cannabis usage. Additionally, these offenses carry steep penalties and can even be used to deny one’s right to vote. Understanding of this complex social and legal issue is critical for nurses to provide culturally competent care.
  • Module 7 - Medical Conditions & Therapeutic Cannabis

    • Despite the many marketing claims that cannabis is safe and effective for everyone, there are many conditions for which we do not yet have enough evidence to know whether or not cannabis is useful.
    • In this module, nurses will learn which medical conditions have sufficient evidence to recommend cannabis, which conditions have moderate evidence, and where there is insufficient evidence of cannabis’ efficacy.
    • Nurses will understand where/ how to find the most recent evidence for specific conditions as well, so they are prepared and informed as and when new research is published.
  • Module 8 - Cannabis Product Selection and Safety

    • Wax, shatter, dabs, vapes, tinctures—today’s cannabis market is complex and can be incredibly disorienting for new patients—even for those who have “smoked pot” since the 1960s and 70s.
    • In this module, nurses will learn about the types of products that are available, how they are used, and if/ when they’re appropriate.
    • While product availability varies dramatically between jurisdictions, there are also widespread variations on how these products are tested and deemed “safe” for consumption.
    • Nurses will explore how products are tested in their own jurisdiction, learn of the bioremediation properties of hemp, and why illicit or “street cannabis” can be a safety hazard for vulnerable patients.
  • Module 9 - Cannabis Use Disorder

    • Cannabis and cannabis derivatives (such as CBD) have an excellent safety profile, but that does not mean they come without unintended effects or medication interactions.
    • In this module, nurses will learn about normal effects of cannabis as well as possible unintended or adverse effects.
    • Additionally, nurses will understand the DSM criteria for the mental health diagnosis of Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD) as well as the disqualifiers that relate to patients with valid medical use.
    • Clinicians who view cannabis as a “bad and addictive drug” may not understand its therapeutic nature and wrongly give a diagnosis of CUD (which can impact a patient’s life and livelihood in multiple ways). Alternatively, patients who use cannabis can suffer negative effects (such as withdrawal symptoms) even when using it in an evidence-based way. Learn how to identify cannabis-related problems and advocate for your patients as needed.
  • Module 10 - Holistic Modalities that balance the ECS

    • The ECS is all about maintaining balance, and as such requires more than just one plant to keep it functioning optimally.
    • This module will look at the evidence for holistic modalities that support and balance the ECS.
    • Nurses will discover practical ways to help patients find and maintain balance in their bodies and lives beyond the cannabis plant. Just as a pharmaceutical will not resolve all of a patients’ complaints, cannabis is not a cure-all, and should not be treated as such.
  • Module 11 - Current Research: Lifestyle Medicine and the ECS

    • Lifestyle medicine refers to evidence-based therapeutic behaviors that support a healthy body and mind. As the system in charge of all other body systems, the ECS is strongly impacted by ones daily choices.
    • In this module, nurses will learn specific health promoting (and often free) interventions that can help patients balance their ECS at home and in their day-to-day lives.
  • Module 12 - CannyNurse™ Careplans

    • This final module helps nurses look at the entire picture of a client’s health and put together a plan of action based in nursing theory and practice.
    • In this module, nurses will bring together all they have learned about cannabis and the ECS with the business of coaching and working with clients.
    • Upon completion of this module (including the final open-book exam), nurses will be ready to educate, advocate for, and work with cannabis patients in their chosen setting with confidence.

Course Faculty

ariana ayu

Ariana Ayu

Specialty Program Faculty
Author, activist, international speaker, multi-preneur, mentor, wife, and mom, Ariana Ayu is a Transformational Mystic and a Catalyst for Constructive Change. An ordained priestess, holistic healer, and lifelong student of ancient/ modern wisdom, Ariana’s nursing background includes pediatrics, labor & delivery, nurse education, and Holistic Health/ Integrative Nurse Coaching. She earned her MSc in Advancing Nursing Practice from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland (UK), and her Cannabis Nursing training from Pacific College of Health and Science. She is passionate about racial justice, social equity, environmental preservation and conservation, and empowered health, wellness, and joy for all. Her practice is governed by the ethical principles of integrity, nonjudgment, empowerment, and respect for her clients’ autonomy.

Scholarship Opportunity

In recognition of the additional challenges Black, Indigenous, and People of Color face in society, and particularly with regard to cannabis, we are offering THREE $500 scholarships for nurses of color per cohort of the CannyNurse™ Certificate Program.

While we recognize this does not come close to fixing the overall problems of systemic racism and need for equity within all industries, we hope this will decrease the barriers for nurses of color who desire to enter the field of cannabis nursing.

  • To apply, please write a 300-word essay on why you want to participate in this program and receive this scholarship.
  • Must submit scholarship application before registering for the program.
  • Scholarship recipients will be notified via email and provided with a code to use at checkout that will reduce tuition by $500.  Code must be used within 5 days of notification.

Apply Now!


We are pleased to offer a $50 discount* to members of the following organizations:

*Only one discount may be applied for a maximum of $50. To claim your discount, contact your membership organization for your coupon code.

Frequently Asked Questions

Dates and Tuition

This program will be offered multiple times per year. Select the cohort you are registering for.



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