Several states in the U.S. have legalized cannabis for recreational or medical uses. In this context, cannabis edibles have drawn considerable attention after adverse effects were reported. This paper investigates Twitter users’ perceptions concerning edibles and evaluates the association edibles-related tweeting activity and local cannabis legislation. Methods
Tweets were collected between May 1 and July 31, 2015, using Twitter API and filtered through the eDrugTrends/Twitris platform. A random sample of geolocated tweets was manually coded to evaluate Twitter users’ perceptions regarding edibles. Raw state proportions of Twitter users mentioning edibles were ajusted relative to the total number of Twitter users per state. Differences in adjusted proportions of Twitter users mentioning edibles between states with different cannabis legislation status were assesed via a permutation test. Results
We collected 100,182 tweets mentioning cannabis edibles with 26.9% (n = 26,975) containing state-level geolocation. Adjusted percentages of geolocated Twitter users posting about edibles were significantly greater in states that allow recreational and/or medical use of cannabis. The differences were statistically significant. Overall, cannabis edibles were generally positively perceived among Twitter users despite some negative tweets expressing the unreliability of edible consumption linked to variability in effect intensity and duration. Conclusion
Our findings suggest that Twitter data analysis is an important tool for epidemiological monitoring of emerging drug use practices and trends. Results tend to indicate greater tweeting activity about cannabis edibles in states where medical THC and/or recreational use are legal. Although the majority of tweets conveyed positive attitudes about cannabis edibles, analysis of experiences expressed in negative tweets confirms the potential adverse effects of edibles and calls for educating edibles-naïve users, improving edibles labeling, and testing their THC content.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/robert_carlson/198/