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Scientific Quality of Health-Related Articles in Specialty Cannabis and General Newspapers in San Francisco.


ABSTRACT: Recreational cannabis is being legalized in states across the USA. The public relies on popular media for health information about cannabis. We assessed the accuracy of reporting on health effects of cannabis use in GreenState, a specialty publication on cannabis published by the San Francisco Chronicle and the main newspaper using the Index of Scientific Quality for Health Related News Reports. Results were compared using t-tests. Seventeen GreenState articles and four San Francisco Chronicle articles were identified for analysis. Health articles in GreenState scored 2.9 (±1.1 [SD]) Global, with the highest scoring category Applicability (4.5 ± 0.4) and the lowest Precision (2.4 ± 1.0) on a scale of 1-5. In contrast, the San Francisco Chronicle articles received a Global rating of 4.6 (±0.2), ranging from Applicability (5.0 ± 0) to Benefits (3.8 ± 0.9). Articles in the San Francisco Chronicle scored significantly higher in all categories but Benefits which was not significantly different for the San Francisco Chronicle compared with GreenState (3.8 vs. 3.6, p = 0.77). The public, clinicians, and policymakers need to be aware of this pattern and treat information in publications like GreenState with an appropriate level of skepticism until the quality of reporting improves to general journalistic standards.

SUBMITTER: Halvorson RT 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6298831 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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