Educating Health Care Workers About Medical Cannabis









Guest blog by Amanda Reiman, PhD MSW, Director of Research and Patient Services at Berkeley Patients Group

Since California passed Proposition 215 in 1996, great effort has been made to educate patients, caregivers and dispensary operators on the use, benefits, and risks of cannabis. Recently, there has been a move to include those who work with patients outside of the medical cannabis realm in the education process. Home health care workers, hospice care workers, social workers and substance abuse counselors are all professionals who work with medical cannabis patients. Therefore, part of their continuing education should include medical cannabis education. I myself have presented information on medical cannabis to audiences of social workers, psychiatrists and substance abuse counselors, and, next fall, I am planning to teach a day long workshop for Continuing Education Credits (CEU’s) for University of California, Berkeley Extension on medical cannabis.

Recently, the State of California has licensed the Medical Cannabis Caregivers Training Program to develop and teach aspects of California's Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) to Adult Residential Facility (ARF) licensee’s as part of their CEU requirement. The course will be held under the Department of Social Services Continuing Education Program. The course, titled "California's Medical Marijuana Program and How It Relates to Adult Residential Facility Access", will provide four (4) units of credit toward the 40-hour Continuing Education requirement for the Department of Social Services Renewal of the ARF License. One of the goals of the course is to assist the ARF Licensee in making an informed decision regarding a client’s request to participate in the Medical Marijuana Program.

As more people make the decision to utilize cannabis as a therapeutic agent, health and social service workers will undoubtedly gain more clients who are also medical cannabis patients. Education around the safe use of cannabis, legal issues and patient care will empower these workers in their ability to work with medical cannabis patients effectively and with the appropriate care and understanding.