Truth in the Tweets

By Cori Petersen

According to the Journal of Adolescent Health a study to be published in Vol. 56 Iss. 2, February 2015 the influence of our expression of and desire for freedom is having an effect! …even though the six scientists involved may word it otherwise.

At the Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri the following individuals took twitters’ temperature on the matter of Cannabis: Patricia A. Cavazos-Rehg, Ph.D, Melissa Krauss, M.P.H., Sherri L. Fisher, M.S., Patricia Salyer, M.Ed., Richard A. Grucza, Ph.D., Laura Jean Bierut, M.D.

For one month in 2014, an analytics group (Simply Measured) helped researchers scour social media for tweets relating to various Cannabis related terms including: “joint”, “blunt”, “weed”, “stoner” and “bong”… and over 7.6 million tweets were found in relation to Cannabis.

To make that huge number more manageable, a random sampling of nearly 7,000 tweets reflected that 77% were pro-marijuana, 5% nay, and 18% neutral. Now, these numbers sound like a real sampling. When polls on Cannabis legalization come out at nearly a 50/50 split I always cringe, because it feels like something is skewing that result.

Doctor Patricia A. Cavazos-Rehg was quoted as saying, “It’s a concern because frequent marijuana use can affect brain structures and interfere with cognitive function, emotional development and academic performance.” If this line of reasoning is to be held to be correct, then one might argue that those under 25 should be educated in caution if they watch “The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon” because of it’s pro-Cannabis sentiments nightly.  I’ve sent an email to her and am awaiting a response as to where these concerns are coming from. With limited research being conducted, where does this information come from? A call to the organization just rang and rang, as well. Perhaps Friday afternoon had something to do with it… could have skewed my result.  Feel free to voice your opinion too, (314) 747-9212.

Over and over the study cites a 12-to-1 ratio of pro-Cannabis posters and their posts being shared, viewed and otherwise seen… even some of those posters being under the influence of Cannabis while posting! On no, will we see “don’t smoke and type” ads coming soon? Honestly, this is a new community developing where people support and communicate with one another in a more organic way. It might benefit those in authority if individuals did not share their personal truth… but then again, that’s always the case: truth is the number-one enemy of authoritarianism.

There have been several threats which turned out to be hoaxes, claiming that all Cannabis content would be stripped from FaceBook. However, this study by Journal of Adolescent Health is all too real. The education suggested by this study really seems to be biased in the wrong direction. Perhaps the health benefits of the plant need more studies?

Additionally I’d like to thank those who are bringing attention to this, some of the articles are simply putting those pro-Cannabis tweets directly into the article, so it was easy to start following those great tweets and tweeters.