JMIR Form Res. 2022 Feb 25;6(2):e35027. doi: 10.2196/35027.


BACKGROUND: The cannabis product and regulatory landscape is changing in the United States. Against the backdrop of these changes, there have been increasing reports on health-related motives for cannabis use and adverse events from its use. The use of social media data in monitoring cannabis-related health conversations may be useful to state- and federal-level regulatory agencies as they grapple with identifying cannabis safety signals in a comprehensive and scalable fashion.

OBJECTIVE: This study attempted to determine the extent to which a medical dictionary-the Unified Medical Language System Consumer Health Vocabulary-could identify cannabis-related motivations for use and health consequences of cannabis use based on Twitter posts in 2020.

METHODS: Twitter posts containing cannabis-related terms were obtained from January 1 to August 31, 2020. Each post from the sample (N=353,353) was classified into at least 1 of 17 a priori categories of common health-related topics by using a rule-based classifier. Each category was defined by the terms in the medical dictionary. A subsample of posts (n=1092) was then manually annotated to help validate the rule-based classifier and determine if each post pertained to health-related motivations for cannabis use, perceived adverse health effects from its use, or neither.

RESULTS: The validation process indicated that the medical dictionary could identify health-related conversations in 31.2% (341/1092) of posts. Specifically, 20.4% (223/1092) of posts were accurately identified as posts related to a health-related motivation for cannabis use, while 10.8% (118/1092) of posts were accurately identified as posts related to a health-related consequence from cannabis use. The health-related conversations about cannabis use included those about issues with the respiratory system, stress to the immune system, and gastrointestinal issues, among others.

CONCLUSIONS: The mining of social media data may prove helpful in improving the surveillance of cannabis products and their adverse health effects. However, future research needs to develop and validate a dictionary and codebook that capture cannabis use-specific health conversations on Twitter.

PMID:35212637 | DOI:10.2196/35027

Source: ncbi 2

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