FDA and DEA Admit to Using Social Media Monitoring in Cannabis Rescheduling Research

by | Feb 26, 2024

Written by Kristina Etter

Kristina is a digital content creator and designer. She has a talent for creating engaging and informative content that resonates with our professional audience. Kristina’s passion for the cannabis industry stems from her belief that it has the potential to revolutionize the world in many ways, and has a personal testimony of cannabis success.

In an era where social media platforms have become ubiquitous in our daily lives, monitoring our online activity for marketing purposes has been the norm. But who else is listening to social media?

A couple of weeks ago, during a conversation with Kim Stuck at Allay Consulting, I tongue-in-cheek suggested that the rumors of Schedule III and rescheduling had deliberately started to spur conversation amongst industry stakeholders. As it turns out, I may not have been far off.

Surprisingly, the FDA and the DEA are openly admitting to utilizing social media posts and commentary as part of their data-driven decision-making process to potentially reschedule cannabis. This marks a significant shift in how regulatory agencies harness the power of digital conversations to inform policy decisions.

Harnessing Digital Insights: The FDA’s Social Media Approach to Cannabis Rescheduling

The FDA’s recent publication of the “Drug Safety Priorities 2023” report sheds light on the agency’s comprehensive approach to evaluating cannabis’s scheduling under the Controlled Substances Act. As detailed in the report, the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) extensively reviewed various data sources, including social media platforms, to inform its scientific and medical assessment.

One of the key highlights of the report is the FDA’s proactive pharmacovigilance through social media monitoring and analysis. This approach involved tracking trending topics on social media and analyzing online conversations about marijuana, providing valuable insights into consumer perceptions and experiences with the plant.

The manual analysis of hundreds of posts on publicly available platforms allowed the FDA to capture firsthand accounts of cannabis’s therapeutic benefits, nonmedical uses, and challenges with access.

social media monitoring

Evaluating Anecdotal Evidence and Advocacy Efforts

While the FDA’s research lays the foundation for potential rescheduling, the DEA’s review process plays a crucial role in making the final determination. The agency’s consideration of anecdotal evidence and advocacy efforts surrounding cannabis rescheduling reflects a broader recognition of the importance of consumer voices in regulatory decision-making.

Recent letters from bipartisan lawmakers, advocacy groups, and former U.S. attorneys general urge the DEA to take into account the experiences of consumers and the growing momentum for cannabis reform. Additionally, the engagement of outspoken advocates and influencers within the cannabis community is a driving force behind the push for policy reform grounded in real-world experiences.

Empowering Consumer Voices

As discussions surrounding cannabis rescheduling continue, it is essential to acknowledge the role of outspoken advocates and consumers who aren’t ashamed to share their stories of cannabis success for health and wellness.

Their willingness to speak out promotes awareness and empowers others to do the same. In a landscape where regulatory agencies actively monitor social media conversations, the power of consumer stories cannot be understated.

In conclusion, as investors and stakeholders in the cannabis industry and mature, educated consumers continue to navigate the evolving regulatory landscape, it is crucial to recognize the significance of consumer voices and advocacy efforts.

Let us continue to amplify these voices and advocate for policies that prioritize the well-being and experiences of individuals within the cannabis community. Remember, Big Brother is watching, but our voices can drive change.