Most of what you read about medical marijuana on the internet is true or false?
Cannabis is no longer viewed as a plant that only has the potential to induce euphoria. The natural herb has since found numerous medicinal uses that have helped promote its popularity.
Cannabis is currently used for a number of conditions that form the basis of medical marijuana therapy. With the advent of technology and the internet, most of the information about medical cannabis comes from internet sources. It is therefore important that the type of information these Internet sources make available to the public is properly assessed.
Very few people of this time saw the era of the comprehensive prohibition and war on drugs, in which cannabis was identified as an illegal drug. After a few decades, the natural herb is now widely regarded as a medicinal and recreational drug that is used by many for a variety of reasons. However, this change has not been supplemented by all the additives required for solidification. The educational aspect of the cannabis industry is still catching up with the trend of legalization as there is still so much to learn about the medicinal herb.
Trust of patients and doctors on Internet information
Drugs such as tobacco and alcohol have precisely defined limit values that are intended to help those interested in these products. However, these are not fully in place when it comes to cannabis. This is important because the laws that states govern regarding cannabis vary from state to state. Cannabis is still classified as a List 1 narcotic at the federal level, meaning it has high addiction potential and no medicinal value.
This classification has resulted in different regulations in different places and a lack of holistic information to guide the public and necessary stakeholders. With full legalization, the proper dissemination of information about the beneficial aspects of cannabinoids and their medicinal uses is inevitably in abundance. However, since this is not yet a reality, it is important to analyze the type of information that is available to the public through numerous internet sources.
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The lack of adequate information and education about medical marijuana and its full scope is not limited to consumers and patients alone. This also applies to doctors. Due to the apparent lack of adequate research, most doctors share the little knowledge they have about cannabis. This effect is also evident in the way some of these doctors care for patients in need of medical marijuana therapy.
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This situation is compounded by the fact that only three of the 33 states that legalize medical marijuana have certification requirements for their doctors. This means that, much like patients, doctors rely on internet sources for quality information about medical marijuana.
What is the internet saying
It is very easy to search the internet for various topics related to medical marijuana. Characterizing the type of information obtained through such internet research is critical to understanding what we are getting into. Common searches on Google include “medical marijuana,” “medical cannabis,” “types of medical marijuana,” “cannabis and health,” “marijuana and health.” These are examples of the top search terms searched on Google Search between November and December 2020. In a research report, these common search terms were used as the basis for cataloging search results from various websites in order to get a meaningful content analysis of the website output of such websites.
In this analysis, various criteria were used to classify and rank the results obtained from the sites. Some of the criteria include separating different pages found on the same website using different codes for content, record, and other information found on such websites. The report also coded whether these websites mentioned the health conditions treated by cannabis and whether or not the website mentioned certain strains, products, the level of THC potency, etc. These guidelines helped Daniel Kruger and his colleagues to conduct a well-defined content analysis of these Internet sources.
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On the 344 pages and 179 unique websites coded for this report, it was found that only 3% had age verification click boxes, while no other used strict form of age verification. The importance of this observation is that critical and sensitive information is made available without any measures to protect minors from accessing such information.
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Another important observation from the results of this report is that 92% of the sites mentioned specific health conditions that can be treated with cannabis. This is because there are often examples of medical conditions known to be treated with cannabis. Examples of such conditions are pain, seizures, insomnia, inflammation, and others. In the same report, a summary was given with the list of recommended conditions for the treatment of cannabis on identified websites.
Many of the locations used for the report mentioned specific strains of cannabis (66%), although very few mentioned the THC levels (13%) and CBD levels (7%) of such strains. 30% of the websites also looked at the harmful and undesirable side effects that plagued some conditions associated with cannabis use. There were other statistics in this report by Daniel Kruger that show how much information about medical marijuana is available on the internet and how balanced and disseminated that information is.
The study conducted by Daniel Kruger and his colleagues shows that there is a wealth of knowledge about medical cannabis available on the Internet. This is where the easy accessibility and availability of such information to anyone interested in cannabis is an advantage. However, there is nothing with advantages that have no disadvantages. One of the problems that can be noticed is that some of these websites tend to exaggerate while talking about possible actions of cannabis.
While some websites are known to do this to generate traffic for their websites, it ultimately defeats the purpose of having such information available. The credibility of the information published should play a bigger role.
This article originally appeared on Cannabis.net and was republished with permission.