Aims: Media reports suggest increasing popularity of marijuana concentrates ("dabs"; "earwax"; "budder"; "shatter; "butane hash oil") that are typically vaporized and inhaled via a bong, vaporizer or electronic cigarette. However, data on the epidemiology of marijuana concentrate use remain limited. This study aims to explore Twitter data on marijuana concentrate use in the U.S. and identify differences across regions of the country with varying cannabis legalization policies.
Methods: Tweets were collected between October 20 and December 20, 2014, using Twitter's streaming API. Twitter data filtering framework was available through the eDrugTrends platform. Raw and adjusted percentages of dabs-related tweets per state were calculated. A permutation test was used to examine differences in the adjusted percentages of dabs-related tweets among U.S. states with different cannabis legalization policies.
Results: eDrugTrends collected a total of 125,255 tweets. Almost 22% (n=27,018) of these tweets contained identifiable state-level geolocation information. Dabs-related tweet volume for each state was adjusted using a general sample of tweets to account for different levels of overall tweeting activity for each state. Adjusted percentages of dabs-related tweets were highest in states that allowed recreational and/or medicinal cannabis use and lowest in states that have not passed medical cannabis use laws. The differences were statistically significant.
Conclusions: Twitter data suggest greater popularity of dabs in the states that legalized recreational and/or medical use of cannabis. The study provides new information on the epidemiology of marijuana concentrate use and contributes to the emerging field of social media analysis for drug abuse research.
Keywords: Cannabis; Marijuana concentrates; Marijuana legalization; Social media; Twitter.
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