We had the good fortune of connecting with Eloise Theisen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Eloise, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
It was accidental actually. I saw a need in the community and decided that patients deserved to have a healthcare professional guide them to safe and effective use with cannabis
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I started my practice in 2014 after identifying a gap in the patient care. Back when CA only had medical cannabis, patients would need to see a doctor to obtain a medical card that allowed them to purchase cannabis in dispensaries. Often the patients received little to no guidance from the providing doctors and instead had to rely on the dispensary staff to guide them on product selection. Many of my oncology patients were curious as to how cannabis could help them but didn’t even know where to start. I started to notice that they had purchased products that were inappropriate for them and they were not having much success at alleviating their symptoms. I wanted to provide a service for them that gave them the education they needed to successfully use cannabis for symptom management. It was not easy to start my practice. Because cannabis remains federally illegal, it can be nearly impossible to find banking, insurance, and other services that are easily available to those in health care. Plus the stigma is still alive and well and many people did not want to rent an office space to me simply because it was cannabis. I had to keep my focus on the patients and the service that I was providing helped them use it safely and effectively. That focus allowed me to stay the course and keep pushing forward. It certainly has not been easy or traditional in any way. However, I have learned many lessons along the way with the most valuable being- act local. It still works. I have been active in my community and it has lead to some global exposure where others have begun to pave the way in their communities as well. Nurses are boots on the ground and we have great trust among the community.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
In my line of work, I get a lot of nurses who are curious about cannabis nursing. I would start by taking them on many dispensary tours in the area. The difference among the stores and select is eye-opening and it would give them an idea of what patients and healthcare consumers are experiencing when they enter a dispensary. That information is invaluable and allows the nurse to identify educational opportunities. Plus being in the Bay Area, there are great places to eat and visit.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The American Cannabis Nurses Association provided a space for me to connect with other like minded nurses who wanted to help patients use cannabis. In the last 7 years, I have seen the organization triple its membership. I would also not be here without the love and support of my husband, daughters, and countless friends who gave me unlimited encouragement and lifted me up when it felt like it was too much. I truly believe my success is because others believed in me more than I did at times. Without them, I am not sure I would be where I am today.
Katherine Golden, RN CEO Leaf411