Is Reddit the Most Pro-Cannabis Social Media Space?
In a sense, it's a perfect venue for all things marijuana.
Reddit isn't all trolls and memes, although that's a significant portion of the traffic. It's no surprise then that the most popular post in the history of the r/trees subreddit is about someone's parents accidentally eating cannabutter and having a meltdown. It received more than 64,000 upvotes and 3,700 comments.
The conversation on the micro-discussion website's most popular marijuana-themed subreddit gives a great indication of the type of cannabis posts that perform well on the site, and also how Reddit can for cannabis fans serve as everything from a fun diversion to a clearinghouse for weed tips, to an out-and-out weed crisis hotline of sorts.
But on the (relative) free-for-all that is Reddit, where do cannabis news, culture, and tips fit in?
The world of cannabis on Reddit
In a sense, Reddit is a perfect venue for all things marijuana. The back and the forth and conversational nature of the site fits the world of cannabis like a glove. For cultivators, it's a one-stop-shop for tips and tricks, and for anyone seeking to make edibles, there is always a community of a few thousand experts looking to weigh in.
Mainly though, it suits a subculture, hobby, and medicine that has always been the subject of long, passionate conversations where almost everybody has something to say. What separates Reddit from traditional blogs about cannabis is the amateur aspect and anonymity of posts and discussions. Regardless of your budget or skillset, there always seems to be solutions and tips to suit your needs. If not, you could start a new thread inviting others to share their knowledge, tips, tricks, and experiences.
For the most part, a look at the most popular posts on cannabis-themed "subreddits" doesn't reveal a lot of surprises.
On r/CannabisCultivation, the most popular posts include envy-inspiring pics of impressive weed gardens and huge plants. At the top of the most-read posts on r/Stonerprotips is a pretty self-explanatory thread about "handy tips for packing bowls."
Meanwhile, on r/cannabis, the most upvoted post of all time is a petition to support track star Sha'Carri Richardson (suspended from the Tokyo Olympics after she tested positive for cannabis), reflecting the subreddit's place as a weed news source. The same can arguably be said for r/marijuana, where the most read post is one from three years ago, highlighting Senator Bernie Sanders' support for marijuana legalization.
And while these countless sessions take place, an army of moderators is tasked with making sure everything runs smoothly.
"Let the community decide'
Redditor01020 has been an admin on r/marijuana for the past year, and a Reddit user for the past 8 years.
The admin told The Cannigma that the best approach is to hang back and not get involved too much.
"A lot of other moderators on Reddit take the responsibility too seriously and try to do too much. Personally, I find that kind of over-policing mentality counterproductive," Redditor01020 said, adding that when it comes to fact-checking and quality control, "there is no way to know what is genuine except blatantly obvious troll posts. Let the community decide for the most part with the upvote/downvote button."
Redditor01020 said that the most popular posts on r/marijuana are news stories about marijuana legalization, as well as "newbie questions like how much edibles to consume" and "peoples' experiences with smoking weed, especially smoking too much."
But unlike the r/trees post about the person whose family accidentally ate a stick of cannabis butter, any and all posts about drug testing advice are promptly removed, Redditor01020 said.
Any posts that are involved with buying or selling weed are removed, though Redditor01020 said that in general "compared to other tech platforms though, Reddit has always seemed to be pretty weed-tolerant."
This is perhaps because "the Reddit crowd leans pretty young and young people have much less stigma associated with weed than the younger generations. Also, I would guess that there are a lot more weed-smokers on Reddit than there are among the general public. I think this is because Redditors lean introverted and it is my belief that introverted people are more likely to use cannabis," Redditor01020 added.
"Take everything with a Dead Sea amount of salt'
The moderator on r/cannabiscultivation, who wishes to remain anonymous, has been a Reddit user for 8 years. They told The Cannigma that the biggest challenges "are people trying to sell and misinformation."
"I'd say the community has well over 75% of home growers and people who have grown for less than a few years and act like experts and know-it-alls. So it comes down to misinformation, there are people trying to sell, and lies."
But the moderator's role isn't just as a gatekeeper or fact-checker, they said the job also involves rewarding tags to users to show if they're a new grower or a veteran, to mixed reviews.
"The goal of this is to help people know who they're talking to. The problem is people don't want this tag because they want to act like experts about everything and people will be pretending they're experts while having maybe 1 harvest. Other than that we still are trying new ways to increase reliability."
It probably shouldn't come as a surprise that sponsors and brands are rife in and around the subreddit posts, which "gives the illusion to new growers that they're good products," no matter the reality.
Ultimately though, the admin's advice is one that can apply to countless realms of social media, including Reddit, "research everything, do not just use the basic sites people recommend. Google everything here with the Dead Sea amount of salt."