Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN
Written by Denise Gonzalez-Walker

Most calls to our non-profit, RN-staffed Leaf411 hotline are from people who voluntarily self-identify as over the age of 55. That’s no surprise to us—after all, older adults have CBD and marijuana questions that are typically more medically focused in nature, and they’re looking for guidance they can trust.

Close-up of feet standing on asphalt, with arrows pointing all different ways, signaling challenges in finding cannabis information.

Older adults face challenges in finding medically sound cannabis information

Many primary care providers struggle to answer patient questions about the therapeutic benefits of marijuana. (We use the terms “cannabis” and “marijuana” interchangeably when talking about products containing over 0.3% THC which are legally sold in medical and recreational dispensaries.) 

Why do clinicians struggle to answer patients’ questions? In part, it’s due to some clinicians’ lack of knowledge on current cannabis research. Also, many clinicians are restricted by their employers from providing guidance on medical marijuana even when they do have the knowledge. These restrictions are primarily due to marijuana’s ongoing status as a prohibited, federally illegal substance, even though it’s legal in most states.

Hospital employee handbook binder containing policies prohibiting clinicians from discussing cannabis therapeutics with patients.

Several of our Leaf hotline nurses come from hospitals and clinics where they experienced these restrictions firsthand. In fact, one of our Leaf nurses, Natalie Murdoch, BSN, RN, shared her perspective in her guest blog last month (check it out at this link).

Doctors and nurses are leading the effort to de-stigmatize cannabis

Despite the challenges posed by cannabis’s federal status and risk-averse healthcare employers, a growing number of healthcare providers are forging ahead, including Natali and our other Leaf nurses.

Trailblazing doctors are also leading the way in shifting attitudes about cannabis in the medical field. Dr. Peter Grinspoon, who will be featured at our free Leaf Learning Series event “Demystifying Cannabis for Older Adults,” on April 22, 2021, is an outspoken advocate on the therapeutic potential of cannabis.

Equally as passionate is our advisory board member Dr. Dave Gordon at 4Pillars Health & Wellness in Denver and our business supporting member Dr. Margaret Gedde at Vibrant Health Clinic in Colorado Springs. Organizations like Americans for Safe Access, American Cannabis Nurses Association, Radicle Health and our own Eloise Theisen, Chief Nursing Officer at Leaf411, are also working hard to change attitudes around cannabis in healthcare.

While we believe the federal government will make progress soon, either decriminalizing or legalizing cannabis, the reality is that you need answers now.

Smiling nurse with a phone headset on, ready to answer callers’ medical marijuana questions.

Leaf411 is ready to help with your cannabis and CBD hemp questions

If you’re an older adult with questions about marijuana or CBD hemp, we encourage you to join us at our free Leaf Learning Series event, “Demystifying Cannabis for Older Adults,” on April 22, 2021. Click on this link to sign up.

Also, you can find many answers in our online Leaf Library and blog posts covering common questions and concerns we hear from older adults, including:

Don’t forget that our fully-licensed Leaf RNs are ready to help with your questions as well! Our free, anonymous Leaf411 hotline is open Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. to answer your cannabis and CBD hemp questions. Call 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411).  

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides free, anonymous education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.