Surgeon General Warns Teens & Pregnant Women About Cannabis Use.

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by Dan Larkin.

On Thursday the US Surgeon General warned teens and pregnant women about cannabis use. Dr. Jerome Adams’ remarks came during a conference with other administration officials in Washington DC.

His warning wasn’t really surprising or groundbreaking. In fact, it was very reminiscent of the types of warnings that have been issued about alcohol use by pregnant women and teens.

What was the US Surgeon General’s warning?

The bottom line is that he feels it’s not a good idea for either group to use cannabis. To drive home his point he decided to increase the hyperbole level with some of his comments.

“The scary truth is that the actual potential for harm has increased. This ain’t your mother’s marijuana.” 

US Surgeon General-Dr. Jerome Adams

Not to be outdone by the US Surgeon General, the secretary of health and human services, Alex M. Azar II, concurred, referring to cannabis as a “dangerous drug” and saying that “no amount of marijuana” has been proven safe during pregnancy.

This is a common view by most groups opposing full adult-use legalization of cannabis. That’s actually in spite of the fact that most of them don’t consume cannabis. It also discounts the fact that cannabis consumers have learned to micro-dose their cannabis in order to only get the effect they desire.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s always important to provide information to the public regarding health concerns. That’s especially true in times of health emergencies, outbreaks, pandemics, etc. You know, like the opioid epidemic that is claiming tens of thousands of lives. (Oh, wait, they didn’t warn people about that one, did they?)

But the fact of the matter is that only a small percentage of pregnant women consume cannabis. In California (one of the few states to screen for cannabis use during pregnancy) a study found that cannabis use by pregnant women increased from 4 to 7% between 2009 and 2016.

What about teen use of cannabis?

Let’s examine the other concern by the surgeon general too. Teens’ brains are affected by frequent cannabis use. Well, that is true. But let’s also note that teen use of cannabis is actually decreasing.

According to an August 2019 federal report, past-year cannabis use by those ages 12 to 17 has fallen consistently since 2002. It’s dropped 15.8 percent to 12.5 percent. Since 2012, when Colorado and Washington became the first states to regulate adult-use access, past-year youth use has fallen eight percent.


At the end of the day, I just want to point out that when the US Surgeon General warns teens and pregnant women about cannabis it should be seen through the lens of an administration that has shown no interest in legalizing and regulating adult-use cannabis.

Let’s face it. With proper regulations in place on a federal level, cannabis can be safer for everyone. There should be age restrictions. We could better curb unlicensed commercial production and sale of cannabis. There could also be standardized rational limits to product marketing.

I think the executive director of NORML said it best.

“Our current model of federal prohibition represents the utter lack of control over any aspect of marijuana or the marijuana market. The Surgeon General’s time would be better spent advocating for a legally and tightly regulated cannabis market – one in which we educate Americans about the potential harms and benefits of cannabis through evidence-based public education campaigns – rather than through fear-mongering.”

Erik Altieri, Executive Director-NORML

So, now it’s your turn. What do you think? Email us your thoughts to

Read more from CannabisIRL about cannabis and health here.

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