Engagement with medical cannabis information from online and mass media sources: Is it related to medical cannabis attitudes and support for legalization?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The legalization of medical and recreational cannabis is a topic of continued debate in countries around the world. It has been suggested that medical cannabis legalization influences cannabis legalization for recreational purposes through increased media attention toward the positive health effects of cannabis. However, the nature of media coverage is likely to vary across mass media and online sources (internet and social media). In addition, effects of information engagement on attitudes may vary depending on whether information was actively sought or obtained incidentally during patterns of regular media use (scanned). Methods: This study uses data from an online survey of Israeli adults (N = 554) to test the association between information seeking and scanning about medical cannabis (from mass media and online sources) and attitudes toward medical cannabis. Furthermore, we test indirect effects of media engagement on attitudes toward cannabis legalization through medical cannabis attitudes. Results: Seeking and scanning for information about medical cannabis from online sources, but not from mass media sources, were associated with positive attitudes toward medical cannabis. Engagement with medical cannabis information from online sources was also indirectly associated with greater support for cannabis legalization, through positive attitudes related to medical cannabis. Conclusion: The results suggest that one mechanism through which medical cannabis legalization is associated with cannabis legalization for all purposes is public engagement with information about medical cannabis in the media, particularly from the internet and social media channels. As increasingly more jurisdictions are expected to legalize medical cannabis, with resulting increase in media attention, support for recreational cannabis legalization may be expected to grow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-227
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
StatePublished - Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.


  • Cannabis legalization
  • Information seeking
  • Medical cannabis
  • Online survey
  • Scanning
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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