Public perception of marijuana use is changing, and teens are increasing their interest in and use of marijuana, which is concerning the Food and Drug Administration Commissioner.

Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says the recent trend of marijuana legalization not only makes it easier to obtain marijuana, but it’s providing teenagers with the impression that there’s no danger in smoking marijuana for recreational purposes.

Gottlieb says that the method of consumption – namely inhaling smoke into the lungs– is his chief problem with the use. Next, however, on his list of issues is that public perception at the teen level has changed dramatically. Recent studies show that around ¼ of teens studied are using the drug, while the vast majority do not voice disapproval of this particular drug and its use.

Gottlieb’s disapproval of e-cigarettes and teen nicotine consumption has taken a back seat, as he expressed the opinion that we as a society should be more concerned about rising use rates of marijuana and cannabis among teens.

One notable concern, at least per Gottlieb’s recent comments, is the fact that most studies have been based on only occasional use of marijuana. Since the drug is becoming more accepted, those who use the drug will be inhaling it on a regular basis, and the potential risks are unknown because the usage will be more significant.

The comments are somewhat surprising, considering the fact that a separate interview in recent weeks had Gottlieb saying that marijuana decriminalization could be pursued without actually legalizing it. He also spoke against promoting the use of marijuana, correlating that with legalization measures.

The vehemence against marijuana is also a bit surprising, since Gottlieb painted teen e-cigarette usage as an epidemic recently; yet, he says marijuana use is of more concern than e-cigarettes. That would put teen marijuana use on a very serious scale, which is a bit of an overreach considering the statistics currently in play.

Studies of teen opinion showed that teens were more likely to use nicotine than to smoke marijuana, as they perceive marijuana to be more dangerous. This statistic does not support Gottlieb’s contention that marijuana use is more of a concern than e-cigarettes, particularly since he considers that situation an “epidemic”.

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