Former top Trump health official says THC vaping should be banned

Former top Trump health official says THC vaping should be banned
© Getty Images

Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on Monday called for banning THC-based vaping products, as lung injuries tied to vaping have sickened more than a thousand people in the U.S.

“Hardware marketed explicitly for vaping THC oils helped popularize consumption through vaping. This vaping has dangerous consequences and should be prohibited,” Gottlieb, who stepped down in April, said on Twitter.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said a lung disease tied to vaping has sickened almost 1,300 people, with at least 26 deaths, as of Oct. 11. Public health officials said the majority of those people reported vaping THC products, “particularly those obtained off the street or from other informal sources.”

As a result, both the CDC and FDA have warned people not to use vaping products that contain THC.

Public health officials have not conclusively linked the vaping disease to THC, and have specified the data is unclear on whether the cause is THC itself or if it’s a substance associated with pre-filled THC cartridges, like a cutting agent.

Gottlieb has also called for a new approach to regulating marijuana, noting in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed that a blanket ban on marijuana “is no longer politically practicable.”

The conflict between states and the federal government over marijuana legalization has allowed THC products to largely fall into a regulatory grey zone. Eleven states and the District of Columbia have legalized the recreational use of marijuana in small amounts for adults, while 33 states and D.C. allow for the use of medical marijuana.

The federal government has been reluctant to enforce oversight on states that have legalized marijuana, but has also made it difficult for researchers to examine any legitimate medical use.

Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, and is classified as a Schedule 1 drug. 

Researchers have called on the government to change that, and lift restrictions to allow further study.