For over 20 years Julie Monteiro has worked in the medical field specializing in internal medicine, orthopedics, pediatric ER/trauma and adult ER, outpatient surgery, and pain management. Using her wealth of knowledge, Monteiro started Cannabis Nurses magazine a year ago. As the magazine celebrates its one-year anniversary this month, she shares the trials and tribulations of making the switch from healthcare provider to editor as well as creating a national platform to promote cannabis information and education.

It is the first for nurses — we are the pioneers. The other nursing organizations won’t touch it yet due to it (cannabis) being Schedule I.

It was extremely important to try to provide evidenced-based research and education to our profession. I notice there is a gap of information every time I talk to anyone in our field, whether it’s a nurse or a physician, their reaction is that it’s great information but there’s no research to back it up. I thought to myself I know we have tons of research out there, I have read many, many studies, hundreds across the world, and it was important to have a place to be able to publish this for nurses to have easy access to education.

Anything we put into our magazine has to have evidence-based research. We take journal articles and regular research and put it into an easy-to-read format. We had the intention of promoting it to nurses first and that’s who was going to be picking it up, which they are and they absolutely love it. Even physicians, pharmacists, and other ancillary professionals have been reading it. But what has been happening is the public and the patients are picking up the magazine and they are able to read it because it’s in a very readable format.

I have been lecturing nationally, which has been a phenomenal experience. This platform has allowed me to meet physicians who are practicing with cannabis and are doing new research and through that they are being incorporated into our magazine. So their information is hot off the press. Knowledge is power. Cannabis is a very unique field of medicine and every single modality and practice that is out there can somehow fit into cannabis. A lot of people don’t understand the paradigm shift that is happening. Cannabis nursing is now a new topic that nurses aren’t just talking about, they are actually going out and doing it. They are getting educated first with a core curriculum and from there they take that knowledge back to their communities, whether they are in a legal state or not. We are planting seeds and they are growing and it’s having a ripple effect.

It has been extremely revered as a very good, reliable and well documented source for information. It’s a part of history. It’s a part of a movement. In fact, we are being inducted into the Southern Pueblo Library System in Colorado on October 4. That’s where we record history. I had no idea that this was the direction it would take. I needed to educate and couldn’t do it from the emergency room so this was a bigger platform to scream from to educate and inform people. I am just a conduit for information, I am just redirecting it. The education is out there, it’s just putting it in a place where people can easily access and understand it in simple layman’s terms.

Absolutely, without a doubt. I always encourage patients if they want to introduce something to their physician, bring it (the magazine) to them during a visit and encourage them to read the articles. And ask to discuss it on their return visit, which gives the physician the opportunity to read and digest it. I guarantee you once they read it, they will already be doing their research because they are critical thinkers and if they are proactive in their healthcare profession they will seek out the answer. And if they don’t, go find a new doctor. Do not stay with someone who is stuck in traditional medicine, they have to be on the cutting edge and understand that this is a method of treatment. Physicians usually have a change of heart and I think that’s the most impact I am making with medical providers.