Once primarily aimed at gamers, Discord now offers public and private channels for a range of popular topics, including, but far from limited to, NFTs, politics, school, and cannabis.
Discord has collected just about every possible way for a person to connect online. Community members can connect through chat rooms, video calls, and voice chats. Unlike social media apps that have had varying degrees of success with multi-chat options, Discord has done so quite successfully so far.
The platform has gained users and funders. Today, it has 150 million active monthly users and $482 million in venture capital funds raised to date, according to Earthweb.
Discord’s cannabis community isn’t as large as enthusiasts might like. But sources say Highlights that it changes as new servers are launched, either focusing entirely on the factory or having a dedicated space to discuss it.
Discord did not respond to a request for advice regarding cannabis servers and forums. Even so, the plant’s popularity on the platform is a refreshing change. While much of the internet can’t or won’t allow cannabis communities to thrive, Discord seems to.
Discord: A world of subjects, cannabis or otherwise
Multiple sources say Discord offers a change of pace from social media, where US federal law prevents much presence. Kassia Graham, director of community and strategy for equity advocacy group Cannaclusive, has become a regular user.
“Discord is becoming more popular every day due to the limitations of many social media platforms when it comes to discussing cannabis and other ‘vice’ topics,” she said. Today, most social media apps prohibit or restrict cannabis-related content and accounts due to US federal laws. Graham says he uses the app five to seven times a week, exploring the servers and channels for cannabis, politics and culture. She said she felt more free to talk about cannabis with a great sense of security on Discord.
Others say they enjoy building a community through Discord.
“I love how easy it is to find and connect with communities whose interests are similar to mine,” said Wilfred Maina, a Kenya-based cannabis public relations professional for NisonCo. He uses Discord daily to connect with professionals and personal interests like Dungeons and Dragons.
Several niche interests have taken off in part thanks to the platform. Discord has played an important role in helping grow the NFT community while providing a platform for the growing crypto community. Today, many popular NFT communities thrive on Discord, with some using the platform to authenticate purchases.
Business operations have also turned to Discord, especially during the pandemic. Steven Phan, owner of New York-based CBD retail brand Come Back Daily, used Discord for gaming early on. Over time, it branched out, using it for business conversations and cannabis use. He appreciated the range of topics and the ways to connect.
Phan said, “I love being able to do almost everything I need on one platform: video calls, voice calls, and dab.”
Various cannabis servers take shape
Compared to games, NFTs, and other popular topics, cannabis isn’t as well represented on public Discord servers. Some of the most popular public cannabis servers have between tens and a few thousand members. Many public NFT servers have groups ranging from 1,000 to over 15,000 members.
Despite the low number of subscribers, new Discord users may want to use these public servers as a starting point in the cannabis conversation. Using tags such as “cannabis”, “weed”, and “marijuana” can bring up several popular pot servers focusing on growing, growing, and various plant-related topics. Some of the most well-populated public servers include:
Quantity does not equal quality. Discord servers with fewer enthusiasts can still produce valuable connections and conversations. Smaller groups like Tokin’ Up 3.0 only had 280 members in May 2022, but had nearly half that in assets.
Maina highlighted two smaller servers, Canna Wiki (69 members) and Grows R Us (over 700 members), as destinations to learn more about growing and caring for plants. He finds the discussions valuable and full of information “quite hard to find in Kenya because cannabis is quite taboo”.
Servers can target specific regions of the world. Ryan McHale, a multimedia journalism student at Dublin City University, runs the 800+ Discord server for Crainn, an Ireland-based organization that advocates for cannabis reform and education in the country. On its server, the group discusses country-specific cannabis topics. Like most other Discords, additional channels deviate from the group’s agenda, providing various places to share memes or discuss other similar topics.
McHale compared Discord to Reddit and said each allows users to focus on specific interests.
“Discord is definitely growing in popularity, but it certainly seems to be used more by those with a passionate interest,” he said.
Private servers are also popular destinations if you can access them through purchases or invites. Some servers are cannabis-exclusive, while others loop into the factory as part of a more robust community. Phan is part of the Rasta Rabbits NFT server.
“I use their channel to keep up to date with new developments and milestones from the creators/owners of the NFT project,” Phan said, adding that he’s also owned by a private server for cannabis growers. Additional sources report that they are part of private culture servers that target certain states or the market as a whole.
Discord’s growth also allows businesses to sense opportunities. Those that stand out seem to embrace the spirit of community building. Graham thinks the cannabis events group ontherevel has done a good job of replicating their years of in-person community, creating events on their server, which is part of their Dope People community. She credits the group with creating a robust server discussing topics ranging from activism to fashion, but cautions that the group largely discusses New York-centric topics. Additional features include weekly expert-led discussions.
“It’s all really well organized and very intentional about maintaining contact with industry professionals between onthevel’s bespoke events,” Graham said.
She also praised the Hybrid cannabis platform server as a source of products, networking, and reviews. Calling the vibe “laid back and welcoming”, Graham added: “It’s a good place for professionals and consumers alike to see what’s new in product innovation, and perhaps the next.”
While cannabis communities aren’t as big as games or NFTs, cannabis enthusiasts and businesses are finding ways to learn and connect. Only time will tell if the plant remains accepted on the platform.