Cyber-Ethnography of Cannabis Marketing on Social Media

July 7, 2022 Business No Comments

The Cyber-ethnography of cannabis marketing across social networks highlights a number of themes related to the use of marijuana in social media. The first major theme is the normalization of cannabis through direct and indirect means, such as community involvement, education and popular culture. The latter, on the other hand, involves integrating cannabis into non-cannabis images and enhancing personal relevance by using popular hashtags and group identity. The second major theme concerns the targeting of new and existing users and the use of cannabis-related slang and references to the cannabis community.

Content that normalizes cannabis use

Several methods were used to analyze social media content for influencing youth perceptions of cannabis use. One method involves using images that are unrelated to cannabis, including art and nature. The results indicated that cannabis use is often associated with themes such as friendship and happiness, but not with specific types of cannabis. Cyber-ethnography of cannabis marketing on social media that normalizes cannabis use highlights the importance of understanding the tactics used by marketers to influence youth.

The study also found that a significant portion of cannabis users remained subject to residual stigma, which persists even in decriminalized settings. The stigma is reinforced when marijuana users are compared with hard-drug users at coffeeshops. The findings have implications for legalization and decriminalization efforts. But, for now, we must continue to monitor cannabis marketing on social media to identify its consequences.

Content that appeals to youth

This study examines the effects of cannabis marketing on youth by analyzing posts made by participants through social media. Unlike a traditional ethnographic study, cyber-ethnography involves no direct interaction with participants and allows researchers to explore the meaning of social media content by identifying themes. For example, the category of Community Involvement encompassed a range of content. It would be difficult to define a priori what each theme means, but cyber-ethnography allows more complex analysis of the data.

Several studies have examined the influence of cannabis marketing on youth. For example, one study found that exposure to cannabis marketing was associated with an increased likelihood of past-year cannabis use among youth. Furthermore, exposure to cannabis advertisements occurred more often if youth actively sought them. The findings indicate that youth may be vulnerable to certain content marketing strategies used by cannabis businesses on social media. The findings also indicate that a more strict approach to marijuana advertising should be considered by prevention specialists and health practitioners to limit youth exposure to cannabis marketing on social media.

Community involvement as a way to normalize cannabis use

A new survey shows that 2/3 of Americans support the legalization of cannabis. But the movement is not as simple as implementing new laws. While many Americans support legalization, others are merely interested in medical use. Others are happy to accept laws that benefit their social group, and still others are content to be marginalized. Here are some examples of social media campaigns aimed at normalizing cannabis use:

The research on the racial divide in cannabis use reveals that people of color are disproportionately arrested than whites. For example, black people are three times more likely than whites to be arrested for cannabis possession or use. These statistics are particularly troubling, given that more than 1.2 million people were arrested for cannabis in the United States between 2018 and 2019.

Insider Language around cannabis use

While many cannabis-related social media posts target experienced users, many others include slang and technical terms to attract a larger audience. These posts often include the assumption that cannabis use is expected and include mentions of readers’ interests in using cannabis. This article explores the insider language surrounding cannabis on social media. It highlights several common social media terms and identifies a few trends to look out for. Here are five examples of insider language.

Kaitlyn Munro, the spokesperson for the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, told NY Cannabis Insider that such a scenario would not be illegal under current criminal penal law. In fact, she said, “There are no federal laws that prevent an adult from giving another adult cannabis.”

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