Therapeutic Claims in Cannabidiol (CBD) Marketing Messages on Twitter

Mohammad Soleymanpour, Sofia Saderholm, Ramakanth Kavuluru

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Although the U.S. FDA has only approved exactly one cannabidiol (CBD) drug product (specifically to treat seizures), CBD products are proliferating rapidly through different modes of usage including food products, cosmetics, vaping pods, and supplements (typically, oils). Despite the FDA clearly warning consumers about unproven health claims made by manufacturers selling CBD products over the counter, the CBD market share was nearly 3 billion USD in 2020 and is expected to top 55 billion USD in 2028. In this context, it is important to assess the presence of health claims being made on social media, especially claims that are part of marketing messages. To this end, we collected over two million English tweets discussing CBD themes. We created a hand-labeled dataset and built machine learned classifiers to identify marketing tweets from regular tweets that may be generated by consumers. The best classifier achieved 85% precision, 83% recall, and 84% F-score. Our analyses showed that pain, anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, and stress are the four main therapeutic claims made constituting 31.67%, 27.11%, 13.77%, and 10.37% of all medical claims made on Twitter, respectively. Also, more than 93% of advertised CBD products are edibles or oil/tinctures. Our effort is the first to demonstrate the feasibility of surveillance of marketing claims for CBD products. We believe this could pave way for more explorations into this indispensable task in the current landscape of social media driven health (mis)information and communication.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2021 IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine, BIBM 2021
EditorsYufei Huang, Lukasz Kurgan, Feng Luo, Xiaohua Tony Hu, Yidong Chen, Edward Dougherty, Andrzej Kloczkowski, Yaohang Li
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781665401265
StatePublished - 2021
Event2021 IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine, BIBM 2021 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Dec 9 2021Dec 12 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings - 2021 IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine, BIBM 2021


Conference2021 IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine, BIBM 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 IEEE.


  • CBD
  • Twitter
  • cannabidiol
  • classification
  • health claims
  • social media surveillance
  • text mining

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Health Informatics
  • Information Systems and Management


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