Instagram is a highly visual social networking site whose audience continues to grow, especially among young adults. In the present study, we examine marijuana-related content on Instagram to better understand the varied types of marijuana-related social networking occurring on this popular social media platform. We collected 417,561 Instagram posts with marijuana-related hashtags from November 29 to December 12, 2014. We assessed content of a random sample (n = 5000) of these posts with marijuana-related hashtags. Approximately 2136 (43 %) were explicit about marijuana and further analyzed. Of the 2136 marijuana-related posts, images of marijuana were common (n = 1568). Among these 1568 marijuana images, traditional forms (i.e., buds/leaves) were the most common (63 %), followed by some novel forms of marijuana, including marijuana concentrates (20 %). Among the 568 posts that displayed marijuana being ingested, 20 % showed someone dabbing marijuana concentrates. Marijuana-related advertisements were also observed among the 2136 marijuana-related posts (9 %). Our findings signal the promotion of marijuana use in its traditional plant-based form; trendy and novel modes of marijuana ingestion were also endorsed. This content along with the explicit marketing of marijuana that we observed on Instagram have potential to influence social norms surrounding marijuana use.
Prevention Science – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 4, 2016
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