Member Spotlight: Jesse Christianson



Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Jesse Christianson, and I have been a registered nurse (RN) since 2016. Currently, I am in the final stages of completing my graduate studies to become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), commonly known as a Nurse Practitioner (NP) for those unfamiliar with the terminology.

Q: What University do you attend?  What program are you enrolled in?  What do you like best about the program?

I'm currently enrolled in the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Go Badgers!) Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner program. This program has afforded me a fantastic opportunity to elevate my nursing practice to the next level. Additionally, it has provided ample opportunities and resources to delve deeply into my passion for cannabis therapy.

Throughout my nearly three years as a graduate student, every project I've undertaken has been centered around cannabis.

Q: Do you have a mentor in the program you attend? Tell us about them!

In my current studies, particularly now as we embark on a year-long project, I'm fortunate to have a wonderful mentor guiding me every step of the way. My scholarly project is titled “Cannabis: Building Practice Competencies and Political Will for Safe and Therapeutic Use in Wisconsin”.

My advisor has been tirelessly dedicated to ensuring this project reaches its full potential, given the political landscape in Wisconsin surrounding cannabis and the prevalent misinformation within our medical community on this topic.

While my advisor possesses a basic understanding of cannabis knowledge and the endocannabinoid system, she's enthusiastic about delving deeper into cannabis therapies throughout this project. It's worth noting that Wisconsin's politicization of cannabis can cast advocates in a negative light depending on the provider circle, which is very unfortunate.

Q: What do you plan to do after graduation?

Recognizing that cannabis is my passion, I continue to actively seek various resources and opportunities to further educate myself on cannabis as a therapy. The population of patients that I plan to serve are seeking a therapy to help alleviate different ailments for a better quality of life, which they aren't finding from conventional medications.

After graduation, I plan on continuing to push for better legislation, regulation, and policy reform, as well as furthering my advocacy through community engagement and patient empowerment.

Q: What got you interested in cannabis as medicine?

For many years, I've been intrigued by the potential of cannabis as a therapy. However, it wasn't until I entered the healthcare field that I truly grasped its possible impact. As a nurse, I encountered patients who either wanted to use cannabis products or were already using cannabis for various reasons.

Initially, I hadn't considered how cannabis works therapeutically; I was primarily aware of subjective outcomes. It was when my father, despite stigma and bias within our household, turned to cannabis for relief from the excessive opiates he was taking for pain until his final days that my interest deepened, now imbued with emotional attachment.

Q: What are some of your favorite ACS features (besides free student membership)?

I deeply value the opportunity to openly discuss cannabis pharmacotherapeutics with healthcare practitioners who possess a wealth of knowledge in this field. I find great satisfaction in exploring various topics and case studies shared during these discussions. Additionally, the availability of informative blogs offers excellent, quick educational readings.

One of the most valuable benefits for members is the access to high-quality websites and educational materials that facilitate furthering our knowledge.

Q: What does ACS mean to you?

The ACS is a welcoming organization comprised of individuals dedicated to advancing cannabis knowledge, advocacy, legislation, and research. I believe the ACS is genuinely committed to promoting cannabis safety, and that conviction is very important to me.