Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
A: My name is Elizabeth (Beth) Dost, and I am a cannabis nurse. I am currently a Senior Executive Healthcare Consultant in Medical Cannabis.
When I started, in 2012, I was the first nurse in Massachusetts to publicly advocate for the Humanitarian Use of Medical Marijuana. I have also donated lecture time to the Hospice and Palliative Care Federation of Massachusetts, having presented in 2017 and 2018 on “Cannabis and Hospice”. It is my great honor to sit on the Board for the ACS. I have known ACS President Dr. Jordan Tishler for many years and have always been impressed with his attention to and respect for cannabis as medicine, and the very real suffering patients who use it experience. Being a Board member, we are able to effect change and promote education for all our members.
Q: What got you interested in cannabis as medicine?
A: My interest in cannabis began early as a registered nurse when I worked with cancer patients. We all noted the positive impact cannabis had on nausea from chemotherapy, and in the hospital where I worked, the staff were very supportive of their patients using medical cannabis. Shortly thereafter I entered the business of healthcare when I started what turned out to be the largest privately held pediatric home care company in the state. For the mission, along with the rapid growth of this endeavor, I was awarded Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year in Healthcare, New England Region and am an alumnus of this elite group. I continued to participate in healthcare start-ups and in 2013 was named the COO of a Medical Marijuana Dispensary in that very first round of applicants for licensure which, along with 87 others, we didn’t get. However, I was hooked on cannabis science, so I stayed in the cannabis industry.
Q: How did you get involved with medical cannabis advocacy?
A: I was fortunate enough to serve as the Clinical Director of the MPAA from 2014-2019. My healthcare business background helped as it was a dynamic time, and I did quite a bit of lobbying and testifying at the local and state levels. This was very interesting and as a nurse I had not been politically active, and so I am excited that the ACS intends to continue work on cannabis legislation. However, the majority of my work in cannabis has been patient education and even more so, the education of voters who often have questions about cannabis and dispensaries as they grow, change, and become more accessible.
Q: What does ACS mean to you?
A: The ACS is a great resource for patients, interested individuals and professionals. The level of expertise in the organization is vast and sophisticated, so I learn something every day. The breadth of the medical application for cannabis is large and growing, thus we have many MDs, PhDs, DOs, NPs, PAs and PharmD’s as members and working in different departments. As a nurse it is my role to voice patient concerns as well as teach health care professionals about dosing, route of administration, action, frequency, safety, work implication, children, and social concerns. The ACS recognizes that a growing understanding of the plant’s action is the answer to improved cannabis use. The ACS is an international group of healthcare professionals from all areas of interest and specialty. Cannabis therapeutics is currently federally illegal, yet therapeutically relevant and legal to use in numerous states but not all. The social stigma still associated with this medicine is also very real as evidenced by the known benefits to humans and those who suffer, yet its use is still questioned, and access remains erratic. If cannabis medicine is interesting to you, if you are a patient or a practitioner, the ACS can not only provide information and education, but its members are also willing to tackle the challenges of working with this amazing plant.
Elizabeth G. Dost, RN, is a senior health care executive with more than 25 years’ experience in the Boston market. She currently is a Senior Executive Healthcare Consultant in Medical Cannabis.
Ms. Dost has participated on panels at NECANN in Boston for two years, lectured for Patients Out of Time on HIPAA and Cannabis; and at Dartmouth Hitchcock Parkinson’s Conference on Cannabis and Parkinson’s Disease. She presented a full year on cannabis, the ECS and patient/nurse implications for the Massachusetts Nurses Association. Additionally, Beth appears in the seven-episode docuseries, “The Sacred Plant”. She has been a featured guest on national radio.
Ms. Dost has testified on cannabis before the State of Massachusetts’ Department of Public Health, the Senate, and House of Representatives of Massachusetts, to state representatives and senators, and via invitation to the Cannabis Control Commission both in public forum and by personal appointment.