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Unexpected Health Effects Of The Colorado Marijuana Experiment

Unexpected Health Effects Of The Colorado Marijuana Experiment

David Kroll  Contributor 12/09/2014

Back in the 1990s, I taught and did cancer research at the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy in Denver. Among my teaching assignments was the pharmacology and toxicology of marijuana and other drugs that are misused for recreational purposes, both prescription and illicit.

So, I’ve followed Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana with more than a passing interest.

Yesterday, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a viewpoint article online from three Colorado emergency physicians who offered their firsthand perspective on the first year of this experiment.

For background, the authors mention that Colorado has permitted the use of marijuana for medical purposes by patients with “chronic debilitating medical conditions” since late 2000. Obtaining a medical marijuana license was relatively straightforward, especially for patients suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy. But licenses became more simple to come by after October 2009 when the US Attorney General released guidance that largely ceded to local governments the responsibility for prosecuting marijuana offenses. As a result, the authors state, “The number of licenses increased from 4,819 on December 30, 2008, to 116,287 on September 30, 2014.”

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