140 characters of green love: 70% of cannabis tweets are positive

A curious study about marijuana-related tweets, has been attracted the attention of the cannabis community since three weeks ago. The study was published in June 2015, so it is not really the ‘newest paper about cannabis out there’, but has surprised many people since it links few interesting elements: Weed, Twitter, teenagers… and their parents.

The name of the study is “Prevalence of Marijuana-Related Traffic on Twitter, 2012–2013: A Content Analysis“, and it has been released on “Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking” issue number six. Three experts in Public Health, History, and Pediatrics at University of Massachusetts Amherst, were analysing in raw 71901 tweets from users on Twitter, identified as adolescents.

How the authors started the project

To carry through their study and see up close the best keywords to find what teenagers were writing about, they started to search cannabis related posts on the most popular social sites among teenagers on 2011-2012 Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MySpace, YouTube, and Tumblr.

The authors decided to research the relation of teenagers with marijuana only on Twitter for two good and simple reasons:

  • It was the first time that a kind of study like this have been conceived
  • Twitter bring users more anonymity than other social media sites

The authors also used a related marijuana slang list from “Urban Dictionary”, in order to identify more accurately all the keywords used by this age group on their social media posts.

After excluding the non-relevant tweets and filtering the tweets from re tweets, the final sample for the analysis included 36969 original tweets. According to the authors of the study

“About 70% of both the original tweets and re tweets had a positive tone, and approximately 5% had a negative tone”.

But there is more in this study. The vast majority of original tweets by teenagers (65.6%) manifest positive thoughts related to cannabis, and a far from negligible percent of the tweets (42.9%) shows personal use of weed.

This trend increased from 2012 to 2013 at the same moment as positive perception about cannabis was increasing, mainly in mass media all around the United States.

Parents support

However the most surprising part of the mentioned study, is that there is a permissive attitude from the side of the families: An 36% of teenager’s tweets that mentioned the parents, shows that they support the use of marijuana by their children, in very positive and encouraging way.

We don’t know what Twitter will bring to us in the future, but the good news related with the positive attitude of this new generation of cannabis users, and their parents, are truly inspiring.