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Recreational Marijuana

The term “recreational marijuana” refers to any form of marijuana, its derivatives, or synthetic derivatives used for recreational, non-medical purposes.


The two main cannabinoids, or active ingredients, in marijuana are tetrahydrocannabinol, also called THC, and cannabidiol, or CBD. THC is the euphoria-producing component sought by recreational users and levels have been steadily rising in marijuana plants and products. Recreational marijuana is federally illegal and is neither FDA-approved nor regulated.


Recreational marijuana use and legalization have profound social implications, including associated increases in the following: accidents and death, access to marijuana for minors, crime, drug abuse, black market activity, and environmental problems. The cost to society of recreational marijuana legalization is greater than tax revenues produced from its sales.

Because marijuana has been illegal in the United States until its recent, selective legalization in multiple states, and because it remains illegal federally, high-quality research regarding the safety or risks associated with current recreationally-used marijuana products (especially those containing high levels of THC) is sparse. However, a lack of studies on such products does not mean risk is absent. On the contrary, there is moderate to substantial evidence of health hazards with marijuana use, including associations with respiratory problems (when smoked), motor vehicle crashes, mental or psychosocial problems, increased incidence of schizophrenia and other mental health problems, and addiction. Maternal marijuana smoking is also associated with complications for unborn children. Future research on higher level THC products has the potential to demonstrate even more harm.

For these reasons, AAME does not support the legalization or use of recreational marijuana. AAME maintains that healthcare professionals should abstain and strongly advise against the use of recreational marijuana.

Resources on Marijuana

Select an issue to read its excerpt. To read more about each issue and/or download a statement document, select the issue's page.

Marijuana Fact Sheet