What’s the Deal with CNN?


In less than 24 hours, two stories were posted online by CNN, both about marijuana and both by the same writer. One discussed a study that supposedly debunked the notion that cannabis helps people with cancer pain; the other debunked cannabis helping people sleep.

There were other similarities in the articles as well, including the use in each of the phrase “gold standard” to describe randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies and referring in each article to Morgan Fox of the National Cannabis Industry Association as “she”.

These are small things to be sure, and as someone who used to write four to five 300-word stories a day, 5 days a week, I understand that things can run together. Some go-to phrases are used a little too much and details are missed. 

It may just be the author’s personal point of view and not a CNN issue at all, but the efforts in each article to make the studies seem like the definitive answers to these questions despite millions of anecdotal stories to the contrary is something I would expect from a more “right-wing” outlet, for lack of a better term. This is CNN, home of the never-ending Sanjay Gupta “Weed” docuseries.

Millions of people find relief from cancer pain and help with sleep from cannabis. To be fair, the articles are not completely one-sided, but in the end these are just two studies that looked at a combined (roughly) 1,600 people. Gold standard or not, that doesn’t wipe away what all these people feel on a daily basis.

I understand the need to know more about the cannabis plant, but we have to be careful that we don’t dispute what we see with our own eyes and feel with our own bodies based on the results of a study we took no part in.

As someone who sees multiple studies a day, I can attest to the fact that new ones rebut and contradict older ones all the time. Much depends on the people involved in the study and the way it is conducted. To pretend a study of 128 people can in any way override the millions of people who use cannabis to help them sleep is ridiculous and surprising coming from CNN.

As I said, maybe it’s the author or a coincidence. In any case, it’s just two more studies to throw on the mountain of research that already exists. More research can be helpful, but nothing definitive is going to come from a few cherry-picked studies.


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