Title

Public perception of medicinal and recreational cannabis and its effect on mental health: a survey of a regional Australian town

Publication Name

Australasian Psychiatry

Abstract

Objective: To investigate beliefs about treatment capabilities of medicinal cannabis (MC), the effect of recreational cannabis (RC) on mental health and online cannabis search trends. Method: Participants (n = 117) completed an online survey, and search engine optimisation software was used to analyse internet search trends. Results: Half the participants perceived RC as harmful to mental health but were uncertain if it impairs treatment for depression or prevents anxiety. Participants believed MC can treat depression and/or anxiety. The Google keyword ‘CBD oil’ is most popular when seeking cannabis information and provides misinformation. Conclusion: Australians are exposed to misinformation about MC online, explaining why participants believed that MC could treat anxiety and/or depression and why there is a reduction in the belief that RC is harmful to mental health. Health authorities should incorporate search engine optimisation strategies to provide accurate information about cannabis.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access

Volume

29

Issue

2

First Page

124

Last Page

128

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Link to publisher version (DOI)

http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1039856220970047