Cannabis-related content on TikTok is mostly positive, according to research published earlier this year in the Drug and Alcohol Review journal. The study coded videos related to cannabis on the platform with more than 100 million views by seven themes, using relevant hashtags, and the study used a final sample of 881 videos.
The researchers found humor/entertainment videos comprised most of the cannabis content on TikTok (71.7%) followed by experiences (42.9%), lifestyle acceptability (24.6%), informative/how-to (7.5%), creativity (5.4%), and warning (2.7%). The authors found “over half of videos portrayed cannabis use positively,” noting that “none were age restricted.”
The most viewed videos, with 417 million total views, portrayed cannabis positively and videos depicting cannabis neutrally were viewed less frequently – 331 million views – while videos with negative depictions of cannabis were viewed 28 million times. Most of the subjects in the videos were male, Caucasian, and between the age of 25 and 50 with just 50 of the 881 videos including subjects smoking, vaping, or consuming cannabis edibles, according to a PsyPost review.
Study author Brienna Rutherford, a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland, told PsyPost that “the next step is obviously to assess whether viewing this content has any impact on viewers’ attitudes, behaviors or risk / norms perceptions around substance use.”
The authors say the study builds on previous research that demonstrates “exposure to cannabis-related content can influence adolescents’ attitudes and problematic cannabis use” and suggests that “more effective age restrictions and regulations [should be] introduced to social media platforms” for accessing cannabis-related content.
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