Marijuana, Glaucoma, and Social Media
Ophthalmology Glaucoma, July/August 2021
Jia et al. conducted an analysis of social media content on glaucoma and medical cannabis. They found robust support of cannabis for glaucoma patients, despite recommendations against its use by such organizations as the American Glaucoma Society and the Academy.
For this internet-based study, the researchers identified online information on Google, Facebook, and YouTube. The top 20 searches for Google and YouTube and the posts from the top nine patient-based glaucoma groups on Facebook were aggregated and analyzed. Each post, website, or video was evaluated for quality using Sandvik and risk scoring methodology. Additional analysis included whether the source was professional; these were further separated into ophthalmology/optometry and non–eye care sources.
The search resulted in an aggregate of 51 websites on Google, 126 posts from Facebook groups, and 37 videos on YouTube. Of note, the number of members in the Facebook support groups ranged from 600 to more than 16,000. A significant portion of online material promoted cannabis use by glaucoma patients (24% of Google, 59% of YouTube, and 21% of Facebook results). Content from professional sources had a higher content quality score and a lower risk score and was less likely to support cannabis use. However, 11% and 27% of professional opinions on Google and YouTube, respectively, were pro-cannabis use. Upon further clarification, these professional opinions either were outdated, from non–eye care sources, or linked to cannabis organizations.
“It is important for physicians to be aware of the different platforms and opinions that are readily shared among patients,” the authors said, and they recommended directing patients to better-quality professional information on the topic.
The original article can be found here.