There are a tonne of TikTok videos depicting weed positively

Happy Mag article

A lack of regulation on TikTok is exposing teenage users to videos that overwhelmingly frame weed use as positive, according to a new study in Drug and Alcohol Review.

In the latest episode of “look what our kids are doing”, the boomer edition, University of Queensland researchers have found that 54.1% of videos on Tik Tok promote weed use and 41.3% are ambiguous and present no clear stance.

Meanwhile, only 2.7%  warned audiences of the dangers of indulging in the devil’s lettuce (namely: munchies and not being able to move off the couch, we assume).

Image credit: Unsplash.
Image credit: Unsplash

Analysing almost 900 publicly available videos, the study found that over 70 per cent of these videos employed humour when discussing weed. Almost a quarter illustrated the social and cultural acceptability of ingesting cannabis by mentioning online and offline communities, peer groups, social activities and weed-centric events.

Future regulatory frameworks for social media platforms should consider mandatory age restrictions on content related to the use of licit or illicit substances as well as more stringent content moderation practices”, the paper’s authors write. “At present, US TikTok users under the age of 13 are still allowed to use the platform without the ability to create content. However, this restriction does not prevent possible exposure to content depicting high-risk behaviours such as substance use.

The study largely confirms what we already know: weed, the most commonly enjoyed illicit drug in Australia, maybe even the world, has hit the mainstream. According to the National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2019, 11.% of Australians used weed in the 12 months. Just last year the Legalise Cannabis Western Australia Party won two seats in the upper house.

Furthermore, the vast majority of Australians back changing legislation to permit access to medicinal cannabis – 85% according to the National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016. A 2018 survey by researchers from The Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics at the University of Sydney revealed that 61.5% of Australian general practitioners had been asked by at least one patient about medicinal cannabis in the three months prior to the investigation. Even far-right politicians and shock jocks such as Tony Abbott, Pauline Hanson and Alan Jones have publicly expressed support for medicinal cannabis.

Discussions around weed use entered the public arena prior to the explosion of TikTok worldwide. But the paper’s authors argue that the increasing ease of access to positive weed content for teenagers necessitates “more effective age restrictions”. In their own words, this is now a “public health priority”.

We hate to say it but, they have a point.

While partaking in the jolly green is certainly a good time for many, studies show that it isn’t great for developing minds.

For those of us with a fully formed prefrontal cortex, we’re just glad to see the general attitude around weed is a whole lot happier.

Shock, horror: there are a tonne of TikTok videos depicting weed positively

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