Many individuals now seek out product reviews in order to make an informed decision prior to making a purchase. In this study, we investigate consumers’ exposure to and content within product reviews about marijuana because of their potential to shape marijuana purchasing decisions. The terms “weed review,” “marijuana review,” and “cannabis review” were searched on YouTube on June 10–11, 2015; the team viewed and coded the content of 83 product review videos about marijuana. In addition, we surveyed young adult (18–34 years old) current (past month) marijuana users (n = 742) from across the USA online to assess exposure to product reviews about marijuana and associations with socio-demographic characteristics and marijuana use behaviors. In our content analysis of videos, we observed that the reviewers tended to consume marijuana during the video and often shared personal, favorable experiences towards the marijuana they ingested (e.g., became as high as possible or experienced positive effects on physical and mental health). Most videos normalized marijuana use and could be easily accessed by underage youth. About one third (34%) of the survey participants viewed/sought a product review about marijuana in the past 30 days. In a multivariable logistic regression model, living in a state where recreational use is legal or using multiple forms of marijuana was associated with increased odds of viewing/seeking marijuana reviews. Prevention messages should counter product reviews about marijuana that tend to normalize and promote marijuana use given that they are more readily viewed by individuals who are increasingly susceptible to marijuana’s potential harms.
- Internet advertising
- Social networking
- Substance abuse and addiction