Integrative and Functional Medicine-Cannabinoid Medical Sciences
Why Pursue a Career in Integrative and Functional Medicine-Cannabinoid Medical Sciences?
Integrative and Functional Medicine-Cannabinoid Medical Sciences is a part of integrative and functional medicine. Integrative medicine is a combination of traditional treatments and alternative therapies in order to treat the whole person with a holistic approach. It works to correct the mind, body, and spirit so the entire body is able to heal. Functional medicine is an approach that focuses on the optimal function of the body and helps the body function in the best way possible. Functional medicine looks deeper than just managing symptoms.
Going into Integrative and Functional Medicine-Cannabinoid Medical Sciences combines these two fields while also learning about cannabis with regard to researchers, scientists, or healthcare providers. Those going into this field can support those in need of alternative treatment options, learning about the different options of cannabis, and the science as well as the business behind it.
Whether you decide to work in a private business, a public health office, a community organization, or another type of healthcare setting, going into Integrative and Functional Medicine-Cannabinoid Medical Sciences would allow you to help those in need of pain relief, help with mental help, or other types of conditions with the help of cannabis.
If you have the desire to learn more about cannabis from how to administer it to the science behind it, this could be the career path for you.
Integrative and Functional Medicine-Cannabinoid Medical Sciences Career Outlook
The career outlook for the Integrative and Functional Medicine-Cannabinoid Medical Sciences field is good as more and more people look to this type of holistic medicine to seek answers to people’s health situations and find alternative pain relief methods from the norm.
According to BLS, which is the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Health Education Specialists and Community Health Workers are projected to grow 12% from 2021 through 2031, which is much faster than average for all occupations. 16,000 job openings for Health Education Specialists and Community Health Workers are projected each year for the next decade.
When it comes to salaries, a Health Education Specialist or a Community Health Worker can make an average of $54,081, according to Salary.com.
Here is a breakdown of similar careers and how much you can expect to make from each of them.
Annual Salaries – Integrative and Functional Medicine-Cannabinoid Medical Sciences
|JOB TITLE||Lower Range||Average||Higher Range|
|Health Education and Coaching Director||$134,204||$143,095||$161,168|
|Health and Wellness Coach||$54,908||$62,847||$70,631|
Location can also play a part in your salary. In California, the average annual salary for a Health Education Specialist or a Community Health Worker is $70,650, and in Texas, it is $54,440. You can read more about locations at BLS.
Skills Gained with an Integrative and Functional Medicine-Cannabinoid Medical Sciences Degree
Within the Integrative and Functional Medicine-Cannabinoid Medical Sciences field, there are a variety of degrees you can pursue. Some examples are:
- Integrative and Functional Medicine
- Alternative Medicine
- Nutritional Science
Within these degree programs, a student will develop the skills they need for a career in Integrative and Functional Medicine-Cannabinoid Medical Sciences. These skills include:
- Communication skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Scientific knowledge
- Written communication
- Interpersonal skills
- Organizational skills
- Logic skills
Integrative and Functional Medicine-Cannabinoid Medical Sciences Career Paths
There are different types of careers you can pursue within the Integrative and Functional Medicine-Cannabinoid Medical Sciences field. Here are a few examples:
- Health and Wellness Coach – Where you would work one-on-one with people who want to work on their health and overall wellness.
- Death Doula – Where you provide non-medical, emotional, physical, and spiritual support to dying individuals.
- Herbalist – Where you would try to find the root of an illness, choosing which plants can help based on what an individual’s symptoms may be.
- Nutritionist – Where you would counsel clients on healthy eating habits and nutritional issues and are knowledgeable in what foods can help promote health.
- Holistic Doctor – Where you would treat the body as a whole and use more alternative therapies to help patients with illness and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Cannabis Consultant – Where you would know the cannabis industry, be informed about changes in legislation, and be able to consult others on your knowledge.
How to Start Your Career in Integrative and Functional Medicine-Cannabinoid Medical Sciences
Ideally, you would get your master’s degree in order to have a career in Integrative and Functional Medicine-Cannabinoid Medical Sciences. In order to get a master’s degree, you would first need a bachelor’s degree, which takes 4 years. A master’s degree would take you around 2 years to complete.
Master’s Degrees in Integrative and Functional Medicine-Cannabinoid Medical Sciences
You can go on to get a Master’s in:
- Integrative and Functional Medicine with a Concentration in Cannabinoid Medical Sciences
- Health Promotion
- Integrative Medicine Research
- Nutritional Science
Bachelor’s Degrees in Integrative and Functional Medicine-Cannabinoid Medical Sciences
For a bachelor’s degree, you can get a Bachelor’s in:
- Alternative Medicine
- Integrative Health and Lifestyle Medicine
- Herbal Sciences
Doctoral Degrees in Integrative and Functional Medicine-Cannabinoid Medical Sciences
For a doctorate or Ph.D., you can get a Ph.D. in:
- Naturopathic Medicine
- Health Sciences in Complementary Medicine
- Natural or Integrative Medicine
Of course, there are more options than those listed, but that should give you a good idea of what your options might be. The name of the program depends on where you go to school and what type of program you are looking for.
Certifications for a Career in Integrative and Functional Medicine-Cannabinoid Medical Sciences
You would also need to look into being licensed in your state once you get your degree. Each state might have different qualifications. While not all will be required by your state, certifications are a great way to set yourself apart in the job market. Here are three certifications for this field.
This agency sets and maintains standards for the assessment and credentialing of physicians and Ph.D./Masters level health professionals in Lifestyle Medicine globally.
- Need to be licensed to practice as a physician, hold a master’s degree or doctorate in a health or allied health discipline, or be certified as a Lifestyle Medicine physician by IBLM
- Proof of required CMEs, credentials, or case studies that are required.
- Take and pass the exam.
With ACE you can choose between two different programs. The Health Coach Study Program is rooted in behavior-change science and the principles of lifestyle medicine that address the core competencies of health coaching. They are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). The other program is the Health Coach Advanced Study Program which is a comprehensive, expert-led program with advanced coaching skills, hands-on training, and practical experience. It is also accredited by NCCA and approved by the National Board for Health Wellness Coaching (NBHWC).
The Institute of Cannabinoid Medicine offers the Diplomate of Medical Cannabinoid Science® certification. Those who receive this will distinguish themselves as a specialist within the field. When getting this certification there are a variety of application pathways from John Patrick University that offers a Masters’s in Integrative and Functional Medicine with a Concentration in Cannabinoid Medical Sciences to a general application.
After you graduate and receive your certification, it will be time to start applying for jobs. You will be on your way to a career in Integrative and Functional Medicine-Cannabinoid Medical Sciences.
Hear from an Industry Expert
Industry Pathway: Integrative and Functional Medicine-Cannabinoid Medical Sciences
Janice Bissex, MS, RDN, FAND, Diplomate of Medical Cannabinoid Science®
- Program Director of Cannabinoid Medical Sciences at John Patrick University
- Fellow from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- Holistic Cannabis Practitioner
How do I get into this Industry?
I am a Holistic Cannabis Practitioner, culinary nutritionist, cookbook author, speaker, and End-of-Life-Doula. My mission is to help clients find relief from anxiety, pain, insomnia, chemo-induced side effects, IBD/IBS, autoimmune diseases, and other ailments through the use of medical cannabis and CBD. I am also the Program Director, MS in Integrative and Functional Medicine – Cannabinoid Medical Sciences – at John Patrick University School of Integrative and Functional Medicine and the author of Simple Guide to CBD: Fact, Fiction, and a Path Forward and Simple Guide to Cannabis Gardening: From Seed to Weed.
My cannabis education began in 2016 when my dad turned to medical cannabis after traditional treatment for his chronic pain and discomfort caused severe side effects. The transition from debilitating pain en route to the dispensary to the words “Wow, I’m not in pain!” minutes after his first dose was astounding. It was at that moment that Janice decided to change my career focus and pursue training and education on the science behind the benefits of cannabis. One year later, I became certified as a Holistic Cannabis Practitioner through the Holistic Cannabis Academy and in then a Diplomate of Medical Cannabinoid Science® from The Institute of Cannabinoid Medicine.
What Certifications do I need in this industry?
States vary on scope of services and practices within the field of integrative and functional medicine. It is always best to review the specific state on laws and rules as each state is permitted to interpret and define scope of services for their residents. It is recommended to earn the following board certifications: ACE Health Coach and Diplomate of Medical Cannabinoid Science®
What degrees or education pathways should I take?
It would be best to complete a master’s degree in Integrative and Functional Medicine. MS degrees can last from 16 months – 24 months.
Translating my military experience specifically for this industry:
Many universities will transfer in previous college credits or military experience to meet the common general education classes.
Entry-level/mid-level experience I need for this industry:
Experience and college coursework in Anatomy & Physiology, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry and Microbiology are highly recommended to understand the base of integrative health. Completing advanced coursework in Cannabinoid Medicine, Herbal Medicine, and Natural Medicine at a master’s degree or higher is advised as this will allow a deeper understanding of integrative health and wellness.
How do you advance in this industry?
The field of integrative and functional medicine is broad. One can go into private health coaching to working at the state level in public health. It is imperative to earn board certifications as an ACE Health Coach and Diplomate of Medical Cannabinoid Science® to differentiate yourself as a qualified and competent clinician/consultant/coach or educator.
What are they looking for from me to communicate in an interview?
A conferred and accredited advanced degree in integrative health/functional medicine with a specialization in cannabinoid medical sciences is preferred. This showcases you have advanced your training within the growing field.
Tips and tricks to getting into this industry:
The industry is growing and being redefined every day. As more clients and patients are in search of natural healing solutions it would be best to work or shadow Health Coaches, Registered Dietitians (trained in cannabinoid medicine), Chiropractors, and Naturopathic Doctors would give a great foundation.
What can I do while still in the service to prepare for this industry once I get out?
If you have the opportunity to take general education science college courses (Anatomy & Physiology, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry and Microbiology), this will allow you to focus on the core courses in your studies.
What is the work life balance like in this industry?
Because the industry of integrative health is continuing to grow, one can work fully online, part-time/hybrid or full-time in a clinic or public health setting. The balance can come from only working part-time to being one’s own boss. The best part of this growing field of integrative and functional medicine, you decide what is best for you and your life, career and goals.