-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, July 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Many American teens
and young adults receive pro-marijuana tweets several times a day,
according to a new study.
The findings are concerning because young people may be
especially receptive to social media influences, and a person's
drug use patterns tend to be established in the late teens and
early 20s, the study authors noted.
"I've been studying what is influencing attitudes to change dramatically and where people may be getting messages about marijuana that are leading them to believe the drug is not hazardous," principal investigator Patricia Cavazos-Rehg said in a news release from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
"As people are becoming more accepting of marijuana use and two states have legalized the drug for recreational use, it is important to remember that it remains a dangerous drug of abuse," added Cavazos-Rehg, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the university.
The researchers noted that in 2011, marijuana use contributed to
more than 455,000 emergency room visits, with 13 percent of those
for patients aged 12 to 17.
For the study, the researchers analyzed tweets sent between May
1 through Dec. 31, 2013 by a pro-marijuana twitter account. The
account has about 1 million followers, making it the largest
pro-marijuana Twitter account.
During the study period, the account posted a total of 2,285
tweets, or an average of 11 tweets a day, according to the
They also found that the account may be influencing young
people's attitudes about marijuana. Of the tweets posted by the
account, 82 percent were positive about the drug, 18 percent were
either neutral or did not focus on marijuana, and 0.3 percent were
The findings were published online June 27 in the
Journal of Medical Internet Research.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about
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