Comparison of the Users' Attitudes Toward Cannabidiol on Social Media Platforms: Topic Modeling Study

JMIR Public Health Surveill. 2023 Jan 11:9:e34132. doi: 10.2196/34132.

Abstract

Background: As one of the major constituents of the cannabis sativa plant, cannabidiol (CBD) is approved for use in medical treatment and cosmetics because of its potential health benefits. With the rapid growth of the CBD market, customers purchase these products, and relevant discussions are becoming more active on social media.

Objective: In this study, we aimed to understand the users' attitudes toward CBD products in various countries by conducting text mining on social media in countries with different substance management policies.

Methods: We collected posts from Reddit and Xiaohongshu, conducted topic mining using the latent Dirichlet allocation model, and analyzed the characteristics of topics on different social media. Subsequently, a co-occurrence network of high-frequency keywords was constructed to explore potential relationships among topics. Moreover, we conducted sentiment analysis on the posts' comments and compared users' attitudes toward CBD products on Reddit and Xiaohongshu using chi-square test.

Results: CBD-related posts on social media have been rapidly increasing, especially on Xiaohongshu since 2019. A total of 1790 posts from Reddit and 1951 posts from Xiaohongshu were included in the final analysis. The posts on the 2 social media platforms, Reddit and Xiaohongshu, were categorized into 7 and 8 topics, respectively, by the latent Dirichlet allocation model, and these topics on the 2 social media were grouped into 5 themes. Our study showed that the themes on Reddit were mainly related to the therapeutic effects of CBD, whereas the themes on Xiaohongshu concentrated on cosmetics, such as facial masks. Theme 2 (CBD market information) and theme 3 (attitudes toward CBD) on Reddit had more connections with other themes in the co-occurrence network, and theme 3 and theme 1 (CBD therapeutic effects) had a high co-occurrence frequency (22,803/73,865, 30.87%). Meanwhile, theme 1 (CBD cosmetics) on Xiaohongshu had various connections with others (169,961/384,575, 44.19%), and the co-occurrence frequency of theme 4 (CBD ingredients) and theme 1 was relatively prominent (27,128/49,312, 55.01%). Overall, users' comments tended to be positive for CBD-related information on both Reddit and Xiaohongshu, but the percentage was higher on Xiaohongshu (82.25% vs 86.18%; P<.001), especially in cosmetics and medical health care products.

Conclusions: The CBD market has grown rapidly, and the topics related to CBD on social media have become active. There are apparent differences in users' attitudes toward CBD in countries with different substance management policies. Targeted CBD management measures should be formulated to suit the prevalence of CBD use of each country.

Keywords: cannabidiol; drug policy; latent Dirichlet allocation; sentiment analysis; social media.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude
  • Cannabidiol* / therapeutic use
  • Cannabis*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Humans
  • Social Media*

Substances

  • Cannabidiol