As cannabis becomes more and more mainstream, the way it is marketed is changing as well.
With legalisation always discussed, cannabis marketers are looking for new and innovative ways to reach their target demographic: young people. This can be a dangerous thing, as marijuana can have serious negative effects on developing brains.
In this blog post, we will discuss some of the dangers of cannabis marketing and how you can protect your kids from being influenced by it.
What is Cannabis Marketing?
Cannabis marketing is the promotion of marijuana products or services to consumers. The goal of cannabis marketing is to increase sales and brand awareness among certain target demographics, such as young people.
Cannabis marketing can be done through traditional media channels such as radio, television and print, or via digital platforms like social media and websites.
Cannabis marketing can be as subtle as product placement in movies or television shows, or as explicit as ads for marijuana products. Cannabis marketers use tactics such as celebrity endorsements, influencer presence, product giveaways and special discounts to entice young people to buy their products.
The Dangers of Cannabis Marketing and Its Usage
Cannabis marketing can have an especially negative impact on young people who are still developing cognitively and physically. It has been linked to higher levels of marijuana use among teens, which in turn can lead to serious physical, mental and behavioural health issues.
Cannabis marketers often target teens by using language, images and themes that are appealing to young people.
Studies have linked marijuana use in adolescents to lower IQ scores, memory loss, poor school performance and increased risk of developing mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
Psychosis is a rare but serious mental health condition associated with marijuana use. Symptoms of psychosis can include hallucinations, delusions, disorganised thinking and impaired functioning. Psychosis is more likely to develop in people who start using cannabis at an early age or who use above average amounts.
Cannabis use also leads to impaired cardiovascular and respiratory functions. It has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and lung cancer. In addition, marijuana used by teenagers can increase the risk of addiction in adulthood.
Marijuana use is associated with an increased risk of developing problems with other drugs and alcohol, as well as car accidents caused by driving while impaired.
How is Cannabis Marketed?
There are several ways in which cannabis marketing takes place:
The most common ones are:
CBD TV Advertising
TV advertising is the most common form of cannabis marketing, with brands paying to air ads in prime time slots. The aim here is to educate viewers on the benefits of CBD while making them aware of the brand’s products and services.
In the UK, it is now permissible to advertise CBD products on television – as long as they have been approved by the Food Standards Agency for ‘novel food status‘. This means that all ingested CBD items must meet specific requirements before being allowed onto TV screens.
Paid Search and Paid Social
Paid searches involve companies paying to have their product ads appear at the top of search engine results and social media timelines. Through this kind of targeted marketing, cannabis brands can reach out to people interested in purchasing their products.
With its extraordinary targeting capabilities, Facebook and Instagram exist as the optimal platform to engage cannabis consumers. It acts as a great opportunity to reach out potential customers and gain more followers.
Influencers are people who have built a large online following, usually in their particular niche or field of expertise. Cannabis brands collaborate with influencers to promote their products on social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.
Influencer marketing has allowed brands to reach out to potential customers in a more personal way, since influencers can post genuine reviews and experiences with their products.
These are just a few examples of cannabis marketing methods.
Role of Advertising in Marijuana Use
Advertising plays a major role in influencing people’s decisions about consuming cannabis. Studies have shown that advertising can increase the perception of marijuana use as being socially acceptable and glamorise its usage.
Cannabis has been the most commonly used drug in England and Wales since statistics began being collected in 1995. In 2022, 7.4% of adults aged 16 to 59 years old reported having used cannabis within the last 12 months, along with 16.2% of those aged 16 to 24 years old.
Advertising for marijuana products can also lead to an underestimation of the potential harms associated with using cannabis, which may make young people more likely to use it.
The message in marijuana ads tends to emphasise the positive aspects of cannabis, while minimising or ignoring any potential risks associated with its use.
The Importance of Media Literacy for Children
Media literacy is a concept that refers to the ability to critically evaluate and analyse media messages one receives in everyday life. It is an essential skill as the media plays a vital role in shaping public opinion, influencing beliefs, and forming attitudes. Media literacy helps people to become informed citizens who can question the information they receive from different sources and make informed decisions.
Teaching media literacy to children is especially important as they are more likely to be influenced by the messages they receive from different sources. Media literacy education can help children understand how marijuana is represented in the media, and distinguish between fact and fiction.
Parents and teachers should discuss with children what responsible cannabis use looks like, including talking about the potential risks associated with its use.
By teaching media literacy, we can empower young people to make informed decisions and reduce the potential harms of cannabis marketing.
How to Protect Your Kids from Cannabis Marketing?
If you are around teens, it is important to protect them from the potential harms of cannabis marketing.
Here are some tips to help keep your children safe:
Communicate Openly With them
As a parent, you need to communicate openly with your children. Talk to them about marijuana use, the potential risks associated with it and why they should avoid using cannabis. Let them share whatever they think and be open to their questions.
Teach them Media Literacy Skills
Help your children develop media literacy skills so they can identify and evaluate marketing messages. This will enable them to understand the potential harms of cannabis use and make informed decisions.
Monitor their Social Media Use
Closely monitor your children’s social media activity, since marijuana advertising is often targeted at teenagers on popular platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat. Make sure they understand which accounts are credible sources of information and which ones are not.
Set clear rules for your children regarding cannabis use. Tell them the ill-effects and potential harm associated with marijuana use, and make sure they know what the consequences are if they break these rules.
Be Aware of Popular Culture
Be aware of popular culture that may be influencing your children’s attitudes towards marijuana use. Be sure to point out potential pitfalls and risks associated with cannabis when discussing these issues and ask them to think critically about the messages they receive from different sources.
Set Restrictions on Advertising
Limit access to marijuana-related advertising by adjusting settings in streaming services or blocking certain websites. This can help prevent your children from being exposed to marketing messages.
Create a Positive Environment
Lastly, create an environment where your children feel comfortable talking to you about any questions or concerns they have regarding marijuana. Encourage honest dialogue and create an atmosphere of understanding and openness.
By taking these steps, you can help reduce the potential harms of cannabis marketing and ensure that your children stay safe.
The Bottom Line
It is important to remember that marijuana use is not necessarily a bad thing – it can provide therapeutic benefits for those who need it.
However, cannabis marketing has the potential to glamorise marijuana and make young people more likely to use it.
It is up to parents and teachers to teach media literacy and help young people understand the potential risks and harms associated with cannabis use. This is the only way we can keep our children safe and ensure they make informed decisions about marijuana.