New evidence is challenging the argument that marijuana is a perfect cure-all: Pot has surpassed cocaine as the number one drug of abuse (excluding alcohol) in Denver, where medical admissions resulting from the drug increased from 29.2 percent to 36.1 percent between 2001 and the first half of 2009, according to 9News, which cites a report by the city’s Office of Drug Strategy. Karla Maraccini, director of the Office of Community Impact at Denver Human Services, says the trend is worrying: “Not only does [marijuana] release 400 chemicals when smoked…it can be very detrimental to decision-making.” The news comes as The Psychiatric Times cites a detailed Institute of Medicine report highlighting the benefits of medical marijuana. Limited use of cannabis can be effective as medicine: “Accumulated data indicate a potential therapeutic value for cannabinoid drugs, particularly for symptoms such as pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation.” Meanwhile, it is unknown from where, exactly, Colorado’s growing number of dispensaries are getting their marijuana.
“It’s very clear to me that there’s outside sources,” Jeff Sweetin, special agent In charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in Colorado, tells 7News. Sweetin claims a large percentage of the pot consumed by medical marijuana patients originates from foreign cartels, including, “absolutely,” from Mexico.