Twitter chatter about marijuana

J Adolesc Health. 2015 Feb;56(2):139-45. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2014.10.270.


Purpose: We sought to examine the sentiment and themes of marijuana-related chatter on Twitter sent by influential Twitter users and to describe the demographics of these Twitter users.

Methods: We assessed the sentiment and themes of a random sample (n = 7,000) of influential marijuana-related tweets (sent from February 5, 20114, to March 5, 2014). Demographics of the users tweeting about marijuana were inferred using a social media analytics company (Demographics Pro for Twitter).

Results: Most marijuana-related tweets reflected a positive sentiment toward marijuana use, with pro-marijuana tweets outnumbering anti-marijuana tweets by a factor of greater than 15. The most common theme of pro-marijuana tweets included the Tweeter stating that he/she wants/plans to use marijuana, followed by tweeting about frequent/heavy/or regular marijuana use, and that marijuana has health benefits and/or should be legalized. Tweeters of marijuana-related content were younger and a greater proportion was African-American compared with the Twitter average.

Conclusions: Marijuana Twitter chatter sent by influential Twitter users tends to be pro-marijuana and popular among African-Americans and youth/young adults. Marijuana-related harms may afflict some individuals; therefore, our findings should be used to inform online and offline prevention efforts that work to target individuals who are most at risk for harms associated with marijuana use.

Keywords: Marijuana; Social media; Youth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cannabis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking*
  • Social Media*
  • Young Adult