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Marco Zenone receives Dean of Graduate Studies Convocation Medal
Marco Zenone’s Master of Science thesis, Cannabidiol (CBD) marketing and decision-making: Examining 164 crowdfunding campaigns and 2,165 CBD products for sale online in Canada, focused on CBD crowdfunding and online product marketing promoting its use for scientifically unsupported medical treatments.
His findings suggest that among crowdfunders, CBD is identified as a legitimate treatment that people have uncovered through self-directed research, a recommendation by a trusted care provider, or experiential insights from someone associated with or influencing the personal network. Product descriptions frame CBD as a treatment or cure for specific ailments, as a natural health product, or a or able to achieve particular results. However, there is little scientific or medical evidence to support CBD as useful for most medical conditions and as a result, current laws prohibit retailers from making such claims without Health Canada approval. There is a need for systematic auditing of CBD products for regulatory adherence.
During his studies, Marco led projects funded by Health Canada and Global Affairs Canada. He was a leader among health sciences students, serving as elected representatives on the Faculty Executive Council as well as on the Undergraduate Student Council. He also mentored, encouraged and supported other graduate students as well, assisting them in their own research and balance of work-life challenges.
“Even while completing his thesis, Marco worked with me as a research assistant on other projects related to using crowdfunding to generate funding for unproven medical treatments, including treatments for COVID-19. This research has been published in high impact journals including PLOS ONE and the American Journal of Public Health. This is very timely and important work in which Marco took a central role in obtaining and analyzing the data, working with researchers from outside of SFU,” says his supervisor, Jeremy Snyder.
Says Zenone, “My time at SFU has been memorable. I had the opportunity to be involved and lead innovative research, develop lifelong friendships, and receive mentorship from supportive faculty that fostered my curiosity.”
Zenone is pursuing PhD studies at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where he will study the role of social media platforms in spreading misinformation.
- Academic Unit: Faculty of Health Sciences
- Thesis: Cannabidiol (CBD) marketing and decision-making: Examining 164 crowdfunding campaigns and 2,165 CBD products for sale online in Canada
- Twitter: @marco_zenone
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marcoazenone/?originalSubdomain=ca
- Personal Website: marcozenone.ca
- Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=LWv7RnkAAAAJ&hl=en