From 2016 to 2020, University of Queensland’s (UQ) National Centre for Youth Substance Use Research spent countless hours and resources documenting and researching cannabis vaping videos on Youtube.
Vaping, whether cannabis or not, has massively increased in popularity over the past decade. In 2011, it was estimated there were around 6 million global ‘vapers’, increasing to more than 40 million by 2018. So it’s no surprise vaping content across social media has also dramatically increased. And UQ though it’d be a good idea to study the trends.
Having analysed 200 videos across the study period, Lead Author and PHD student Carmen Lim came to the conclusion that “volume and accessibility of YouTube videos promoting cannabis vaping was concerning.”
Co-lead author Dr Gary Chan was also concerned with the findings, calling for tougher age restrictions on the vaping videos, as 52% of them had no age restrictions.
As YouTube has become a popular source of accessing cannabis-related information, we need to reduce the accessibility of cannabis-related content to adolescents.
What we would like to know is, instead of spending all this time simply sitting back and studying what other people are doing, why not actually do something about it? UQ could’ve spent those five years creating educational content targeted at Australian youth, helping bring more awareness surrounding vaping cannabis, including the benefits as opposed to smoking it via joints or through a bong and the potential negatives of consuming cannabis.
On top of that, surely there are more dangerous topics UQ should be concerned about regarding age restrictions. How to build a homemade bomb, how to kill yourself at home, and how to dispose of a body all contain many videos with no age restrictions detailing grimacing information.
While researching and studying cannabis-related content available to the Australian youth is an important task, surely it’s a wiser idea to be taking pro-active action rather than reactive.