U.S. Surgeon General Issues Warning on Cannabis Youth Among Youth, Pregnant Women

On Thursday, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued a national health advisory, warning that consuming cannabis is particularly dangerous to pregnant women, developing babies, and teenagers. Surgeon General Adams, during a news conference, expressed concern that many Americans are unaware of the health hazards posed by professionally grown cannabis crops, describing today’s cannabis as far more potent than it was in previous decades. Adams indicated THC levels in cannabis produced today have a range of 12 percent to 25 percent, much higher than four percent 20 years ago.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar joined Adams in warning the American public about the potential dangers of cannabis by declaring, “This is a dangerous drug. No amount of marijuana use during pregnancy or adolescence is safe.” According to the Surgeon General’s warning, cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S. and its potentially harmful effects include memory and motor impairments, as well as anxiety, agitation, paranoia, and psychosis is newer and more potent strains. Adams also warns of risks of physical dependence, addiction, and other negative consequences associated with exposure to high concentrations of THC and the younger age of initiation.

The warning details actions available to state and local governments, public health professionals, clinicians, educators, and parents and expecting parents. Specifically, the advisory calls for science-based messaging campaigns and targeted prevention programming to clearly communicate and amplify risks of cannabis use. Relatedly, HHS Secretary Azar on Thursday indicated President Donald Trump donated $100,000 from his salary to pay for a digital campaign to make the American public aware of the hazards of cannabis use.

The full U.S. Surgeon General advisory is available here.