Cannabis use in pediatric cancer patients : what are they reading ? A review of the online literature.
Support Care Cancer, 2020.
Recent changes to the legal status of marijuana in Canada warrant a review of the information that patients and families are accessing online regarding the role of cannabis in cancer. The aims of the current research were to identify the quality of literature available online as well as the themes, and opinion (i.e., pro-, neutral, or anti-cannabis) of online articles.
Searches were conducted using three primary search engines: Google, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo. Articles were assessed for quality based on a modified scale for evaluating online sources. Content of all unique articles was coded using a qualitative thematic methodology in a line-by-line fashion. Codes were clustered to determine themes within articles. Finally, opinions were determined by examining all articles in a line-by-line fashion. Each statement was coded as either pro-cannabis (positive) or anti-cannabis (negative).
We found most articles were authored by journalists (39.4%) and MDs (14.1%) and published as news (35.2%) or web articles (28.2%). The content of articles focused on four themes: the reasons for and against cannabis use; the opinions of health care providers; the restrictions placed by governing bodies and the need for additional research, education, and standardization. Article opinions were neutral-pro-cannabis.
Health care providers should be aware that the overall quality of information found online is considered “satisfactory.” The majority of articles present a pro-cannabis opinion.
KEYWORDS : Cannabis; Oncology; Pediatric; Review