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The Cannabis Industry Needs Nurses

Eloise Theisen, AGPCNP-BC

CEO, Radicle Health

Executive Board Member, Leaf411


The cannabis industry (and particularly the hemp space) has been gaining momentum. Last year was a monumental year for cannabis legislation. With 36 states and the District of Columbia allowing some form of medical cannabis, 15 states plus D.C. allowing adult use, and the descheduling of hemp, it is safe to say that cannabinoid therapy is here to stay.


It is estimated that there are around 3,000 CBD companies in the United States alone.1 Many of those companies are not expected to survive, with COVID-19 playing a significant role in their demise. According to Hemp Industry Daily,1 the top 20 hemp CBD companies account for 17% of the market share. The rest of the market is made of new CBD enthusiasts who are not well-established brands, and they are finding it harder to survive in the crowded space.


Cannabis companies like Acreage, Tilray, Aurora, Canopy, Cresco Labs, GW Pharmaceuticals, and Tikun Olam are hoping to position themselves as leaders in the cannabis space. These companies have multistate operations in medical and adult-use states. More states are predicted to put cannabis legalization on the ballot in 2021 and there is talk of federal decriminalization happening by 2022. As these national brands expand, they too will need to consider unique ways to positions themselves among the competition.


So how do brands establish brand loyalty and secure a piece of the market? A leading data analyst and consulting company2 speculated that survival will depend on brand differentiation. Companies can position themselves by increasing distribution through multistate operators, aligning with well-established nutraceutical companies, and working with large retail chains. What else can they do to establish brand differentiation? They can hire a nurse.


As the market becomes more competitive, brands will need to be creative about offering services that help them stand out. Nurses are an excellent way for brands to craft credibility, brand differentiation, and brand loyalty.


For 19 years in a row, consumers have voted nurses as the most trusted profession. Beyond gaining the public’s trust and respect, nurses are educators, counselors, leaders, and advocates. Nurses promote health and wellness, interpret patient information, conduct research, and improve practices and patient outcomes. And yet nurses are rarely employed by cannabis companies.


Nurses can bring incredible value to cannabis companies. In addition to offering instant credibility, they can collect data, identify trends, provide training and education, and coach patients through the medical cannabis process. Cannabis companies: what are you waiting for? We need more nurses in the industry.


Eloise Theisen (CEO, Radicle Health) is a board-certified Adult Geriatric Nurse Practitioner with over 20 years experience in nursing. Prior to cannabis, Eloise worked for 14 years in oncology at John Muir. Eloise started her own cannabis practice in 2015 and has treated over 7000 patients using cannabis. Eloise is the current President of the American Cannabis Nurses Association and an Executive Board Member for Leaf411.


References

1. Nichols K. Chart: 2020 an 'extinction event' for thousands of CBD companies, but industry remains crowded. Hemp Industry Daily. https://hempindustrydaily.com/chart-2020-an-extinction-event-for-thousands-of-cbd-companies-but-industry-remains-crowded/. Published August 3, 2020. Accessed February 25, 2021.

2. Skelly C. Top CBD Companies. https://blog.brightfieldgroup.com/top-5-cbd-companies. Accessed February 25, 2021. Skelly C. Top CBD Companies.

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