Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Janice Long


Marijuana is the most frequently used illegal substance in the United States and is most widely used among young people aged 12 to 21 years. Accurate screening and monitored issuance of medical cannabis recommendations have been shown to decrease abuse rates of the substance, create fewer deaths from opiates, reduce crime rates, reduce marijuana use in youths, decrease car crash deaths, and lessen prevalence of suicide in young men. The purpose of this project was to explore whether multiple screening methods for depression and anxiety in patients who seek medical cannabis referrals for anxiety and depression would improve screening and cannabis referral accuracy. A comprehensive review of the literature was conducted, and 2 screening tools were identified. The tools identified were the Zung self-rating anxiety scale and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 scale. The medical director at the project site reviewed the tools and approved them. These tools were then included in an education program for 12 staff members and providers with a pretest given to the participants prior to the staff education program. A posttest was then administered to the same group after the staff education program was completed and the new screening measures implemented. Results showed that referrals for cannabis were at 85% before the 2-step screening process was implemented; referrals for cannabis decreased to 60% with implementation of the dual screening method, suggesting increased accuracy in screening for depression and anxiety for cannabis referrals. This project might promote positive social change by increasing accuracy for cannabis referrals and reducing the risk of cannabis abuse.