Scientific drug information in newspapers: sensationalism and low quality. The example of therapeutic use of cannabinoids

  • Eva Montané
  • Marta Duran
  • Dolors Capellà
  • Albert Figueras
Short Communication



We aimed to analyse the quality of newspaper articles (NAs) concerning the therapeutic use of cannabis published in Spanish newspapers.


A preliminary questionnaire of the Index of Scientific Quality was used [scores ranged from 0 (no misleading) to 14 (misinformation in each item)].


Of the 29 NAs analysed, 16 (55.2%) were scored as 4 or lower, and 6 (20.7%) scored 7 or higher. Up to 23 NAs (79.3%) did not manage the knowledge related to cannabinoids; 20 (69%) gave a sensationalist message; 11 (37.9%) were able to wrongly influence clinical decision taking; and 8 (27.6%) misled medical concepts.


The leading medical journals could play an especially relevant role while preparing their press releases if they specify study limitations and context.


Medical Journal Press Release Newspaper Article Scientific Quality Medical Concept 



This study did not have any financial support.

Conflict of interest:

No information supplied


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eva Montané
    • 1
  • Marta Duran
    • 1
  • Dolors Capellà
    • 1
  • Albert Figueras
    • 1
  1. 1.Fundació Institut Català de Farmacologia, Hospitals Vall d’HebronUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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