Date of Award

Summer 8-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Communications Media

First Advisor

B. Gail Wilson, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

James S. Lenze, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Mark J. Piwinsky, Ph.D.

Abstract

Medical marijuana is utilized to treat a variety of serious medical conditions. It is now legalized in 23 states, including Pennsylvania. Little research has been conducted on the relationship between communication channels and individuals’ perceptions on the legalization of medical marijuana or its effectiveness as a treatment option. Through a quantitative research study distributed through Qualtrics, 595 respondents from a mid-size university in Pennsylvania provided feedback for analysis. Utilizing Uses and Gratifications Theory as the framework for this research, results led the researcher to ascertain that communication channel utilization relates to opinions of medical marijuana as a treatment option. The research also displays a strong correlation between opinions of marijuana as a treatment option and individuals’ opinions on the legalization of medical marijuana. A limitation of this survey was the number of communication channels selected to investigate. This allows the opportunity for further research in this area on additional communication channels, including various web sites. Further research is necessary to understand how various communication channels relate to individuals’ perceptions of medical marijuana.

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