One study went viral, the other did not

Bad intent is not required for an article or broadcast segment to qualify as potentially harmful misinformation. It only needs to be present in the most provocative way in the right forum.

Two research findings, both involving cannabis, were released at approximately the same time. One study suggested that a medication derived from compounds present in cannabis could possibly help suppress COVID. The other, a survey of college students, suggested that cannabis use was likely contributing to increased anxiety and depression among college students followed over a 5-year period.

Which one went viral? The first, of course. The other barely drew a mention.

Neither study qualifies as “proof” of something – ultimately, both will be seen as simply presenting opportunities for further investigation and research. Nothing wrong with that, is there? It’s how science operates. The problem lies in the way new findings are presented and interpreted in the popular media.

Let’s take the COVID study first. It was so widely discussed that late-night TV comics actually saw reason to make fun of it.



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