• Katie Nunemaker

Why is CBD important for healthcare practitioners and dietitians?

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally-occurring chemical compound found in both hemp and marijuana plants that is known to induce a feeling of calm and relaxation in those that use it. CBD is often confused with 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive compound found in marijuana, but unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive, and it doesn't cause the "high" known from marijuana. CBD is gaining popularity as it has been shown to be beneficial for many things, including epilepsy, arthritis, chronic pain, nausea, and anxiety.

CBD Stats

More than 25% of the US population has tried CBD, and 40% of millennials have used CBD. Women account for 38% of all cannabis users. While this seems rather small, this amount is twice what it used to be. According to CannaHealth, 97% of cannabis users primarily took CBD for chronic pain relief. Additionally, stats from Data Trek Research show that 31% of millennials take CBD to manage their anxiety. The National Cancer Institute shows that bladder cancer rates dropped by 45% with CBD use. Levels of anxiety, fatigue, and pain among cancer patients were also reduced, while appetites increased.The global cannabis market was worth $14.5 billion in 2018, and it's continuing to increase at an expected growth rate of 200-300%, according to Business Insider.

Why is CBD important for healthcare practitioners and dietitians?

There are many reasons for healthcare professionals and dietitians to familiarize themselves with CBD. The CBD industry is multiplying, and according to statistics, more and more individuals have tried or are considering trying CBD. This means that many of your patients may be curious and come to you for advice regarding how to include CBD use in their lifestyle, or some of your patients may already be using it.

CBD can be harmful when used along with certain medications like blood thinners, antipsychotic drugs, cholesterol and blood pressure medications, GI medications, and others. Because of this, healthcare practitioners should be aware of their patient's use of CBD, and patients would benefit from having open conversations about their use with a medical professional. Healthcare practitioners and dietitians then play a vital role in ensuring the safe use of CBD among their clients and patients.

Enforcing open communication surrounding CBD use will also allow you, as a healthcare professional, to stay progressive and to reach more clients and patients. Understanding and working with CBD will not only lead to more referrals from medical marijuana doctors, but it'll also lead to your patients and clients feeling understood and heard, ultimately expanding your reach and your following.

Lastly, the effectiveness and wide range of uses of CBD will allow you to provide hope to your clients and patients who have otherwise hit a wall with their current treatment plans.

Who can/should implement in private practice?

Dietitians or healthcare providers that work with patients experiencing anxiety and nervousness, chronic pain or menstrual pain, troubles sleeping, nausea, and arthritis, can all benefit from the use of CBD in their practice, as long as it meets regulations set by their employer and state. Most healthcare providers can implement the use of CBD in their practice regardless of their location. Although CBD products from the marijuana plant aren't legal in many states, CBD oil from the hemp plant is legal in most and is easily obtained from health food stores and online shops.

Steps to learn how to implement in practice or where to go to learn how

One of the first steps to take when considering implementing CBD use in practice is to learn about the laws and regulations in the state that you're practicing in. While we provided a brief overview of the legality, we encourage you to dive deeper and research your location. A great place to start is the World Population Review's list of CBD Legal States in 2020.

The second step is to become a Certified Holistic Cannabis Practitioner. The Holistic Cannabis Academy, co-founded by Dietitian Laura Lagano, MS, RDN, CDN, provides a Cannabis Education Program for health professionals like nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, doctors, and physician's assistants that want to become holistic cannabis practitioners. The program includes 31 1-hour modules created by leading cannabis & holistic healthcare experts and cannabis clinicians & advocates. Upon completion of the program, students can take a 200-question exam to receive their Holistic Cannabis Practitioner Certificate of Training, and they receive a one-year membership in the Holistic Cannabis Network, which connects them to doctor recommenders and dispensaries in their area. As a bonus, the course awards dietitians 30 CPE units for completion of the practitioner program.


Cvetkovska, L. (2020, January 21). 42 CBD Statistics & Facts That Will Pique Your Interest. Retrieved February 24, 2020, from https://medalerthelp.org/cbd-statistics/

Felton, K., & Felton, K. (2019, December 12). Every Question You Have About CBD-Answered. Retrieved February 24, 2020, from https://www.health.com/condition/pain/what-is-cbd

Kooienga, M. K. (2019, June 11). What Is CBD Oil, and How Does It Work? Retrieved February 24, 2020, from https://nutritionstripped.com/what-is-cbd-oil/

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