Consumers often turn to medical marijuana websites to help cure ailments, but one pharmaceutical “app” is gaining popularity, according to a new Health Insurance News analysis of “trending topics” that are being listed on Facebook. The apps are convincing users that, by manually entering information into a smartphone, one can purportedly cure various ailments.
Famed musician Johnny Cash would know what it’s like to experience an uncontrollable urge to pick a fight with a bar patron during a moment of frustration. The local radio DJ was somehow almost always correct in his judgment of his choices for the tough caller. And, as for the medical marijuana website WeedMaps, who knew it can actually treat addiction?
Don’t be fooled.
While these apps may seem like useful ways to interact with a doctor or potential health service provider, the Health Insurance News analysis indicates that they’re not only false prophets, but also wildly disreputable.
This particular “app” provides a pseudo-physician office where a user can accept a $5 deposit, and then put their information into a database. This can then allegedly help them gain medical access from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) (as well as a variety of other federal and state government agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services). One app claims that it is immediately in touch with a doctor on the spot, who then texts back with “expert” suggestions for a remedy.
“I also saw a recent Facebook post suggesting that you can afford to not get a doctor’s appointment, but instead stick your own diagnosis to a small stone,” reported Health Insurance News, adding that its story had been shared tens of thousands of times since its original publication.
Another suggested remedy for anxiety involves oral “paracetamol pills in a capsule” intended to be swallowed: a single tablet, has a “full-strength anti-inflammatory” action. The “medicine” is claimed to have been “tested” on giant rats “without even shaking a human being,” and then “replaced by the same powerful steroid.”
An additional app works on Facebook’s Messenger mobile messaging application, claiming to provide free quality care. But the only thing free is money to pay for this service: people are allegedly given “low-priced” health consultations in return for charging $99 for “a trial of two days” of the service.
These are indeed expensive-looking advertisements on the Medical Marijuana website, and there’s a reason for it: many companies running these apps want access to consumers’ health information, to gain more credit card data, or just to sell them more of their products.
Faced with the immense competition in the industry, these companies tend to spend big sums on advertising – including some hefty media budgets.
And despite publicly professing to support marijuana law reform, Facebook doesn’t hesitate to advertise for cannabis advertisements.