Center for Interventions, Treatment, and Addictions Research (CITAR)


Trending: Social media analysis to monitor cannabis and synthetic cannabinoid use

edrug trends logoSubmitted in response to NIDA RFA-CA-14-008, this multi-PI study builds on interdisciplinary collaboration between the researchers in the Center for Interventions, Treatment, and Addictions Research and the Ohio Center of Excellence in Knowledge-enabled Computing ( at Wright State University. The main goal is to develop an innovative software platform, eDrugTrends, that will facilitate analysis of trends in knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to the use of cannabis and synthetic cannabinoids as discussed on Web forums and Twitter. We will build on the existing infrastructure developed by our interdisciplinary research team: Twitris, a robust and highly scalable platform designed to analyze Twitter data, and PREDOSE, a platform developed for our collaborative NIH grant (R21 DA030571) to analyze Web forum data on illicit buprenorphine use. Key elements of Twitris and PREDOSE will be adapted and enhanced using Semantic Web, Natural Language Processing, and Machine Learning techniques to advance the analysis of social media data for drug abuse research.

The Specific Aims are to:

  1. Develop a comprehensive software platform, eDrugTrends, for semi-automated processing and visualization of thematic, sentiment, spatio-temporal, and social network dimensions of social media data (Twitter and Web forums) on cannabis and synthetic cannabinoid use.
  2. Deploy eDrugTrends to:
    1. Identify and compare trends in knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to cannabis and synthetic cannabinoid use across U.S. regions with different cannabis legalization policies using Twitter and Web forum data.
    2. Analyze social network characteristics and identify key influencers (opinions leaders) in cannabis and synthetic cannabinoid-related discussions on Twitter.

Cannabis remains one of the most commonly used psychoactive substances in the U.S., and current changes in legalization policies indicate broadening acceptability. At the same time, substance abusers have sought similar, or more enhanced highs, through use of synthetic cannabinoids, new designer drugs with constantly changing chemical formulations that have been linked to adverse health effects. The development of eDrugTrends will advance the field’s technological and methodological capabilities, and our deployment of the platform will inform the field on new trends regarding the use of cannabis, synthetic cannabinoids and other drugs.

This study is funded by the NIH/NIDA Grant No. R01 DA039454-01.

Principal Investigators: Raminta Daniulaityte (CITAR), Amit P. Sheth (knoesis)

Co-Investigators: T.K.Prasad (knoesis), Ramzi Nahhas (Department of Population and Public Health Sciences, WSU), Silvia Martins (Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health), Edward W. Boyer (University of Massachusetts Medical School).

Consultant: Monica Barratt (Drug Policy Modelling Program, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW Australia).


Daniulaityte, R., Zatreh, M.  Lamy, F.R., Nahhas, R.W., Martins, S.S., Sheth, A., Carlson, R.G.. A Twitter-Based Survey on Marijuana Concentrate Use. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, In Press.

Lamy, F.R., Daniulaityte, R., Zatreh, M.,  Nahhas, R.W., Sheth, A., Martins, S.S., Boyer, E.W., Carlson, R.G. "You got to love rosin”: Solventless dabs, pure, clean, natural medicine." Exploring Twitter Data on Emerging Trends in Rosin Tech Marijuana Concentrates. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 183, 248-252.

Daniulaityte, R., Lamy, F.R., Smith, G. A., Nahhas, R.W., Carlson, R.G., Thirunarayan K., Martins, S.S., Boyer, E.W., Sheth, A., “Retweet to pass the blunt”: Analyzing geographic and content features of cannabis-related tweeting across the U.S. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 78, 910-915.

Daniulaityte, R., Lamy, F.R., Barratt, M.J., Nahhas, R.W., Martins, S.S., Boyer, E.W., Sheth, A., Carlson, R.G. Characterizing Marijuana Concentrate Users: A Web-Based Survey. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 178:399-407.

Lamy, F.R., Daniulaityte, R., Nahhas, R.W.,  Barratt, M.J., Smith, G. A., Sheth, A.,Martins, S.S., Boyer, E.W., Carlson, R.G. Increased in synthetic cannabinoids-related harms: Results from a longitudinal web-based content analysis, International Journal of Drug Policy, Volume 44, Pages 121-129.
Lamy, F.R., Daniulaityte, R., Sheth, A., Nahhas, R.W., Martins, S.S., Martins, S.S., Boyer, E.W., Carlson, R.G.  “Those edibles hit hard”: Exploration of Twitter data on cannabis edibles in the U.S. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 164:64-70.

Daniulaityte, R. Chen, L., Lamy, F, Carlson, RG, Thirunarayan, K, Sheth, A. "“When ‘bad’ is ‘good’”: Identifying personal communication and sentiment in drug-related tweets." Journal of Medical Internet Research: Public Health and Surveillance. October 24 2(2):e162.

Daniulaityte, R., Nahhas, R.W., Wijeratne, S., Carlson, R.G., Lamy, F.R., Martins, S.S., Boyer, E.W., Smith, G.A., Sheth, A. “Time for dabs”: Analyzing Twitter data on marijuana concentrates across the U.S. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 155: 307-311.

Daniulaityte, R., Carlson, R.G., Falck, R., Cameron, D., Perera, S., Chen, L., and Sheth, A. “I just want to tell you that loperamide WILL WORK”: A web-based study of extra-medical use of loperamide. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 130:241-244.

Last edited on 04/09/2021.