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Photo via Flickr/Nick Hardcastle
Photo via Flickr/Nick Hardcastle

The Twitter-verse loves its marijuana. As if we didn’t know how popular a topic weed was on social media, a new study by Washington University School of Medicine researchers proves that, collectively, we can’t rave enough about the green stuff on Twitter.

After analyzing every marijuana-related tweet for a month in early 2014 — searching for terms like “joint,” “blunt,” “weed,” “stoner” and “bong” — researchers found that of the more than 7.6 million tweets, there were 15 times as many fans as those tweeting anti-pot sentiments.

While examining a random sample of 7,000 tweets of users who had a high number of followers and Klout score greater than 44, they found that 77 percent were pro-marijuana, while only 5 percent were against, and 18 percent were neutral. Most pro-pot tweets were “aimed at encouraging the use of marijuana and its legalization and made claims about the drug’s health benefits.”

Only 10 percent of the pro-marijuana tweets were sent by those claiming to be high or using pot.

The researchers are crediting the boom in marijuana-friendly tweets with that fact that “most of those sending and receiving pot tweets were under age 25, with many in their teens,” they reported.

“It’s a concern because frequent marijuana use can affect brain structures and interfere with cognitive function, emotional development and academic performance,” said first author Patricia A. Cavazos-Rehg, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry and scholar in the Washington University Institute for Public Health. “The younger people are when they begin using marijuana, the more likely they are to become dependent. A lot of young people will phase out of marijuana use as they get older, but unfortunately, we’re not good at predicting who those individuals are.”

However, as the Washington Post points out, it shouldn’t be surprising to researchers that they had such a young crowd. Most young adults, ages 18 to 26, are “the most active users of marijuana,” and even recent studies are showing that pot use among teens is falling.

In other words, don’t start picketing local legislators with signs that say, “But what about the children?”

Funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the official results will be published in the February issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health

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