Misinformation abounds on social media, and it’s especially pernicious when these mistruths are about medicine. So Jon-Patrick Allem, a University of Southern California health researcher, decided to look into six months of tweets about cannabis. He found rampant mistruths. One even said that marijuana slows the growth of cancer cells, despite the fact that no evidence supports such a claim. Part of the problem, writes Allem, is that bots, or automated accounts that try to promote specific ideas or products on social media, are spreading falsehoods about the benefits of cannabis.

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Thomas Uhle, a grow manager, tends to marijuana plants growing at GB Sciences Louisiana in Baton Rouge in August 2019. Gerald Herbert/AP Photo

Tweets about cannabis’ health benefits are full of mistruths

Jon-Patrick Allem, University of Southern California

Claims about the medical benefits of cannabis are greatly exaggerated on Twitter, a recent study found. Most of the mistruths came from bots. How can the medical falsehoods online be stopped?

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