Select Page

Marijuana use is risky for teens and pregnant women and can be habit-forming, says the U.S. surgeon general.
Jane Khomi/Getty Images

At a time when more than 30 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of marijuana for either medical or recreational use, the U.S. surgeon general says no amount of the drug is safe for teens, young adults and pregnant women.

“While the perceived harm of marijuana is decreasing, the scary truth is that the actual potential for harm is increasing,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Thursday during a press conference to announce the new advisory.

Surveys show that an increasing number of adolescents and pregnant women use the drug, which can be eaten, smoked or vaped.

But the surgeon general told NPR in an interview that many people are not aware of just how potent the drug can be.

“This ain’t your mother’s marijuana,” he said. The THC concentration in marijuana plants has increased threefold between 1995 and 2014, according to the report, and concentrated products can contain up to 75% THC.

“The higher the THC delivery, the higher the risk,” Adams said.

Young people who regularly use marijuana are “more likely to show a decline in IQ and school performance [and] are more apt to miss classes,” Adams said. And frequent use of the drug can also impair a child’s attention, memory and decision-making.

In addition, it can be habit-forming.

“Nearly 1 in 5 people who begin marijuana use during adolescence become addicted,” Adams said. “That’s scary to me as the dad of a 15-, a 13- and a 9-year-old.”

Symptoms of marijuana dependency include “irritability, mood and sleep difficulties, decreased appetite, cravings, restlessness, and/or various forms of physical discomfort that peak within the first week after quitting and last up to 2 weeks,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. And marijuana becomes addictive “when the person cannot stop using the drug even though it interferes with many aspects of his or her life,” according to NIDA.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced that President Trump is donating part of his salary this quarter — about $100,000 — to fund a digital media campaign to bring attention to the risks of marijuana use.

There’s still a lot that’s unknown about the risks of marijuana, and federal officials say they support more local and federal research. Just this week, the Drug Enforcement Administration said it would start to process pending applications for permission to cultivate the plant for research, as NPR reported.

The Trump administration is not the first to sound the alarm about the rising use of marijuana. At a time when surveys point to a significant increase in the number of pregnant women using the drug, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is educating women about the risks. “Marijuana and pregnancy don’t mix,” the group urges.

The organization published an infographic that points to the range of risks for women and their fetuses, including disruption of brain development, smaller birth weight, higher risk of premature birth, and behavioral problems in childhood.

Bottom line, the surgeon general wants to remind people that despite what’s happening in states, federal law hasn’t changed. And there is good reason for caution.

From National Public Radio

D.A.R.E. Launches Public Service Announcement Campaign

D.A.R.E. Launches Public Service Announcement Campaign

D.A.R.E. America has launched a nationwide PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT CAMPAIGN promoting our K-12 Opioid & Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Lessons.

English and Spanish video and audio PSA’s have been distributed to more than 900 media outlets.

D.A.R.E. Fights Opioid Crisis with New Lesson Plans

D.A.R.E. Fights Opioid Crisis with New Lesson Plans

SALT LAKE CITY – The anti-drug program D.A.R.E. is tackling the opioid crisis by including it in its curriculum for the first time. Leaders made the announcement at the State Capitol on Tuesday. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, known as D.A.R.E., launched...

D.A.R.E. Officers Look to Educate Students on Opioid Addiction

D.A.R.E. Officers Look to Educate Students on Opioid Addiction

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (WKRN) - Opioid abuse is a startling problem that D.A.R.E. officers who teach drug education in public schools are trying to change. “It's just become such a problem,” said Brentwood Police Officer Mark Wood. From adults to kids, Wood says they get...

Adolescent Drug Abuse Prompts Improved School Prevention Programs

Adolescent Drug Abuse Prompts Improved School Prevention Programs

To fight adolescent drug abuse, schools across the U.S. have been striving to implement more effective drug abuse prevention and education programs. While the U.S. government has invested millions of dollars into producing anti-drug TV ads, the majority of them have...

Survey: One-Third of High Schoolers Use Tobacco Products

Survey: One-Third of High Schoolers Use Tobacco Products

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. -- Nearly one-third of high schoolers in eastern North Carolina use tobacco products, according to a recent release of North Carolina's 2017 Youth Tobacco Survey. Over half of those smokers use e-cigarettes. All Brunswick County fifth graders...

Copyright 2019 D.A.R.E. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 2019 D.A.R.E. All Rights Reserved.