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When Teens 'Tweet' About Pot, It's Typically Positive

Study finds few messages mention potential harmful effects

FRIDAY, July 17, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- American teens' tweets about marijuana are mostly positive, a new study finds.

Researchers examined marijuana-related messages posted by teens on Twitter during two 3-week periods: one before and one after the 2012 U.S. elections in which two states -- Colorado and Washington -- legalized recreational marijuana use.

The analysis showed that two-thirds of the messages contained positive comments about the medical and social benefits of marijuana, with little mention of possible harmful effects.

The researchers also found that nearly 43 percent of the teens' tweets suggested personal use of the drug.

Sharing positive opinions and acceptance of marijuana use on social media contributes to normalization of the drug's use, according to the study published recently in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

"As marijuana legalization continues across the U.S., providing accurate information concerning its benefits and potential harm will become ever more important," journal editor-in-chief Brenda Wiederhold said in a journal news release.

"Social media networks such as Twitter may be one of the key sources with which to disseminate this information to teens," she added.

The tweets were analyzed by researchers from the University of Washington, Amherst College and University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about marijuana.

SOURCE: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, news release, July 15, 2015
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