How To Recognize Fake Cannabis News?

Fake news is nothing new. But, what is new is how easy it’s become to share information – both true and false – on a massive scale. Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn allow almost anyone to publish their thoughts or share stories to the world.

Fake news became a global phenomenon during the US presidential election race of 2016, but it was around long before then.

It has been around for centuries and is a type of propaganda tool used to spread hoaxes and disinformation. The rise of fake news correlates with the increase in technology as more stories can reach more people within minutes. Today it rules supreme on social media and the internet and has even found its way into traditional broadcast and print media, becoming a part of daily news and political reports.

While the cannabis community has perhaps one of the richest histories of what we’d now deem fake news (cue Anslinger and co.), modern myths and blatant lies about the plant have made for a colder reception as legalization dawns in many states.

How To Recognize Fake Cannabis News


Be wary of police sources

“One way to know it [might be fake] is if it’s coming from police” Dr. Ian Mitchell, an emergency physician at Royal Inland Hospital in British Columbia and a consultant at Medical Cannabis Resource Centre

Conventional authorities have statistically had little issue with lying to dissuade cannabis use, so approach police sources with extra caution.

Read beyond the headline

Easy though it is, don’t turn off your brain when scrolling through your choice of cannabis content. Read the content through till the end. Especially on social media.

Look for a GMP certificate on products

The spirit of fake news lives on in products that oversell their efficacy or don’t do proper testing. “At the minimum, try to find a GMP [Good Manufacturing Practice] certificate,” says Dr. Jahan Marcu, editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Endocannabinoid Medicine

Investigate the author

“Most credible news sources have a byline,” Dr. Kathleen Stansberry, Assistant professor of media analytics and communication at Elon University

If you can see who’s produced it, give their name a click and see what other sorts of stories they’ve published. If you can’t, that may be a red flag.

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You can start by googling the authenticity of the source and finding out more about its professionalism.

Read laterally

One of the best tools against disinformation “lateral reading”:

“Check out the website, then see if other websites are confirming the same thing,” Gordon Pennycook, an assistant professor of behavioral science at University of Regina. “It’s hard to reconstruct a universe of information.” Take it from only one source, and you’re more likely to get duped.

Identifying significant credible sources is crucial. If the story has been picked up by well-known and reliable publishers, it may not be fake news.


With so many platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and personal blogs, it’s easy to create and share legitimate looking news that has no founding in reality. It also has a higher chance of being believed or shared since the networks are segmented so that it’s being shared with people that already have a bias and want to believe the true story. Once it’s out there, fake news can cause massive mistrust and confusion.

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