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These two doctors are getting a cannabis education on TikTok

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Pharmaceutical scientists Dr. Riley Kirk and Dr. Miyabe Shields use social media to help their followers understand the pharmacology of cannabis. In the meantime, they are also collecting data on experiences, reports Forbes.



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When Dr. Miyabe Shields decided to create a video on TikTok about cannabis and mental health, she was amazed at people’s engagement with the subject. Shields also realized that she’s not the only cannabis scientist creating content on social media.

“I scrolled through the apps for the first time, and the second thing that came to my mind was Riley’s video on GPCR signaling,” Shields said. “How she explained the molecular mechanism. [g-protein coupled] receptors work. I haven’t seen anyone explain this in a better way than his 30 second TikTok. ”

“I started making videos about the pharmacology of cannabis and how it works in the body, but I thought no one would care,” Kirk said.

RELATED: The Pros and Cons of Cannabis Content on TikTok

sensational team of scientists

Additionally, Shields was living in Boston and Kirk was in graduate school and working as a teaching assistant at the University of Rhode Island’s cannabis program when they decided to make TikTok content for educational cannabis.

“We’re like two halves of a major building block in drug discovery. The molecule is Riley and I’m the target in the body,” Shields says. He talked about his specialty in drug discovery. .

“We have this opinion that we share about drug discovery, drug use, and lifestyles that are not reflected by other scientists, but by the general public,” Shields said. added. “We are seen as radical scientists, especially because we are open about cannabis use.”

“Together, we create educational content and engage with a specific group of nerdy cannabis users who want to understand the science,” added Kirk.

Additionally, they have written academic papers and recently published a chapter on the medicinal applications of hemp in a textbook.

RELATED: Tips for marketing cannabis on Instagram and TikTok

What does the TikTok data on cannabis tell us?

Audiences found that some users “couldn’t feel the cannabis food,” according to data on cannabis food use.

The team decided to create a TikTok asking followers if they could feel the food, and found that “out of about 25,000 respondents, about 21% said they were not affected.” I was.

Another video asked followers how old they were when they first started using cannabis. “There is scientific data on age, but existing datasets are often skewed towards 16 or 17 year olds because people are afraid of the consequences of answering truthfully. of 1,000 respondents, the average number of responses to the TikTok survey was 14 and 15,” argued Kirk and Shields.

“The main reason we did this was to start a conversation about moving cannabis education to young people.

their cannabis podcast

Additionally, Kirk and Shields have a podcast ‘Smoke N’ Science’ which provides a friendly space to showcase a variety of cannabis topics. “With online education, a certain amount of attention is paid. It’s like currency,” says Kirk. “With a podcast, it’s much more organic. You can put all this educational information into context.”

The podcast recently hit 50,000 downloads. “It would have taken him over a decade in academia for both of us to teach that many students, but we did it in less than a year,” says Shields.

Will TikTok data be accepted by academia?

Scientists say some colleagues don’t respond with the same gratitude as their followers. “For example, when we submitted a manuscript for academic review containing data collected by a video-dominant app, one reviewer told us that our data were considered less valid,” he said. explains Kirk. “They said we should repeatedly get data on apps like Facebook and Twitter, but now he has over a billion users on Instagram and about the same number on TikTok. increase.”

However, they care more about what their followers have to say. “People are contributing to our research, interacting with scientists right away, and getting answers to questions they had,” Kirk said. Research seems very far away because we don’t know the people participating in the research, the researchers, and probably don’t have access to the papers. I will tie you.”

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