The U.S. Surgeon General on Thursday issued a warning about pregnant women and youths using marijuana because of risks both groups take for developmental issues, either in the womb or as teenagers. File Photo by Circe Denyer/publicdomainpictures
Aug. 29 (UPI) -- The surgeon general warned pregnant women and teens today that smoking marijuana can have dangerous effects on development, in the womb and during adolescence.
Based on a raft of recent data suggesting that youths and young adults "widely" use marijuana, and that pregnant women are increasingly using it to counter nausea and other conditions, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued a warning Thursday to reiterate the health risks of either group using the substance.
"There is a false perception that marijuana is not as harmful as other drugs. I want to be very clear -- no amount of marijuana use during pregnancy or adolescence is known to be safe," Adams said in a press release.
So far, 33 states have legalized marijuana for either medical or recreational use, with some groups exposed to the drug for whom it poses a health risk.
Between 2002 and 2017, marijuana use among pregnant women has more than doubled, putting them at twice the risk of giving birth to a preterm baby. Overall, pregnant women use marijuana more than any other illicit drug.
Studies have shown pregnant women who use marijuana also put their unborn children at a higher risk for developing paranoia and schizophrenia later in life.
Some strains of marijuana used by teens and young adults are highly potent, with the surgeon general warning specifically about their levels of THC, the compound makes people high.
The substance has also been linked to other risky behavior, including opioid abuse, heavy alcohol drinking and major depressive events.
Some research has reported the use of potent forms of marijuana also can increase risk for psychosis.
Adams said the advisory is focused on the two populations specifically to highlight the risks marijuana poses, "which have been well-established by scientific evidence."