Glowing Experience or Bad Trip? A Quantitative Analysis of User Reported Drug Experiences on Erowid.org

Authors

  • Angelina Mooseder School of Social Sciences and Technology, Technical University of Munich
  • Momin M. Malik Harvard University
  • Hemank Lamba Carnegie Mellon University
  • Earth Erowid Erowid.org
  • Sylvia Thyssen Erowid.org
  • Jürgen Pfeffer School of Social Sciences and Technology, Technical University of Munich

Keywords:

Measuring predictability of real world phenomena based on social media, e.g., spanning politics, finance, and health, Psychological, personality-based and ethnographic studies of social media, Qualitative and quantitative studies of social media, Trend identification and tracking; time series forecasting

Abstract

Erowid.org is a website dedicated to documenting information about psychoactive substances, with over 36,000 user-submitted drug Experience Reports. We study the potential of these reports to provide information about characteristic experiences with drugs. First, we assess different kinds of drug experiences, such as 'addiction' or 'bad trips'. We quantitatively analyze how such experiences are related to substances and user variables. Furthermore, we classify positive and negative experiences as well as reported addiction using information about the consumer, substance, context and location of the drug experience. While variables based only on objective characteristics yield poor predictive performance for subjective experiences, we find subjective user reports can help to identify new patterns and impact factors on drug experiences. In particular, we found a positive association between addiction experiences and dextromethorphan, a substance with largely unknown withdrawal effects. Our research can help to gain a deeper sociological understanding of drug consumption and to identify relationships which may have clinical relevance. Moreover, it can show how non-mainstream social media platforms can be utilized to study characteristics of human behavior and how this can be done in an ethical way in collaboration with the platform providers.

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Published

2022-05-31

How to Cite

Mooseder, A., Malik, M. M., Lamba, H., Erowid, E., Thyssen, S., & Pfeffer, J. (2022). Glowing Experience or Bad Trip? A Quantitative Analysis of User Reported Drug Experiences on Erowid.org. Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 16(1), 675-686. Retrieved from https://ojs.aaai.org/index.php/ICWSM/article/view/19325