Weed and mushroom companies are getting banned from social media, but they’re still going viral

weed social media

Every consumer brand is in the content business, whether they know it or not.

The attention economy centered on timelines across digital platforms is sought for leverage by virtually every consumer-facing brand on the planet, be they solopreneurs accelerating their passion projects or multinational behemoths like McDonald’s and Toyota trying to reach new demographics and expand their market share. 

Social media has the power to catapult a brand from total obscurity to insatiable international demand overnight—and the smart money stays behind creators who understand what moves the needle on building a social following that’s intensely devoted to the brand story behind the product or service being exhibited on their timelines.

The power of virality 

For many companies operating in the legally compliant cannabis and emerging psychedelic spaces, creating compelling digital content to scale their brands via social media traction carries its own set of risks and complications driven by ambiguous interpretation and seemingly arbitrary enforcement of community guidelines on the respective platforms they’re using. 

Meta platforms are notoriously unfriendly to cannabis and psychedelic brands, prompting a growing number of people in these communities to stop using the platform altogether and focus their energy on building a following on the much more tolerant LinkedIn, X, or via a podcast or newsletter. Oftentimes, brands will work to establish a presence across each of the aforementioned avenues.

The possibility for social media to amplify a brand to global recognition with a well-executed strategy or even a single viral video is as enticing a draw for founders and marketing teams across the cannabis and psychedelic sector as it is for clothing companies or any other vertical.

For example, the cannabis and functional mushroom-infused effervescent drink brand BRĒZ scaled from zero to well over $1 million in sales in under a year after its founding in Q1 of 2023. February 2024 was its biggest month ever, with $850,000 in sales—including a recent $50k day. This stratospheric rise has been due in large part to its digital content strategy. 

Social media platforms are notorious for their wishy-washy enforcement of community guidelines against cannabis and psychedelic brands, but BRĒZ offers us a compelling case study with regards to their virality and corresponding sales increase courtesy of TikTok shop and other online marketplaces. 

The brand’s recent TikTok campaign eschewed traditional high-budget ad agency production aesthetics and instead featured founder Aaron Nosbisch sitting by a campfire, intimately sharing the origin story of BRĒZ while drinking their Lion’s Mane ‘microdosed mushrooms in a can’ offering—a product that fits squarely within the platform’s community guidelines. This video skyrocketed to over  2.2 million views within a week, driving a deluge of sales on the TikTok shop. 

“The game is no longer about talking at your customers; it’s instead having a relationship with them directly, and ideally personally—the internet is breaking the borders between brand and consumer that once existed, and the conscious consumer of the future knows this,” Nosbisch said.

Also, e-commerce and social media have traditionally been non-existent for the cannabis industry—with the rise of hemp and adaptogens, it’s quickly becoming a requirement for success,” he added.

The transparent sharing of the behind-the-scenes dynamics of BRĒZ’s rise is a further testament to this breaking down of boundaries between brand and consumer. Nosbisch and his team have extensively documented their brand journey on social media by posting screenshots of metrics and coupling them with expenditures, such as how much money they pumped into ad spend on various platforms and what kind of ROI they got from them.


Even so, the brand’s overnight success on the TikTok platform landed them an account warning thanks to the nature of their product. Even squeaky-clean, family-friendly mushroom educators documenting their outdoor forays often run into account restrictions and policy violations on the app.

Necessity is the mother of invention for social media marketing

I personally know the sting of heavy-handed TikTok and Meta community guideline enforcement coming out of left field, given that my own brand, Mycopreneur, has been de-platformed from each at 12k and 25k followers, respectively, without any actual violation of community guidelines. Though TikTok gave me several questionable account warnings beforehand, the original Instagram account I maintained for Mycopreneur was permanently disabled with zero warnings or content strikes against it.

This de-platforming forced me to get creative and think about how to adapt my communications strategy in this era of digital uncertainty for cannabis and psychedelic content-driven companies; though I did, in fact, launch a new account (@mycopreneurofficial) on IG that has grown to nearly 4,200 followers in under four months. I also launched the Mycopreneur Newsletter on the Beehiiv platform – which specifically allows for ‘Psychedelics’ as a category of newsletter, differentiating it from other current platforms in their space—and also doubled down on building my X following, LinkedIn presence, and TikTok community (again). 

To help navigate the increasingly ambiguous community guidelines for cannabis and psychedelic content creators across digital platforms, journalist Sofie Mikhaylova recently launched a newsletter called High Notes that’s intended as a guide to help entrepreneurs navigate their brand’s online presence across digital platforms. 

Educational and informational content is less likely to be taken down, so focus on providing information rather than directly promoting product sales” says Mikhaylova in regards to best practices for cannabis and psychedelic marketers on social media. 

“A good rule of thumb is this: If you can’t find it as a hashtag, it’s best not to use it.”

An unlevel playing field

Oftentimes, the community guidelines framing what you can and cannot say or show on social media as a cannabis or psychedelic brand seem arbitrary and extremely context-dependent. For example, the viral sensation Psychedelic Water brand crossed $1 million in sales within seven months of launching, almost exclusively thanks to their explosive virality on TikTok, yet many smaller accounts are routinely censored or slapped with a shadow ban for using the word “psychedelic” in a post on the platform.

The #psychedelicwater hashtag had over 10 million views within months of launch, and the company leveraged its virality to prominently appear IRL at high-visibility events with globally recognized social media influencers at music festivals and exclusive parties.

Though the incredible fervor around the brand has somewhat subsided since they burst onto the scene in 2019, that didn’t stop them from raising a $4 million Series A round at a pre-money valuation of $45 million in May of 2022.

Closer to home, I’ve leveraged the principles of viral content marketing to raise brand awareness for my partners at Mycroboost, purveyors of ultra-premium functional mushroom products—in particular, the satirical video I made of my experience at the Ozora Festival in Hungary in August 2023 prominently featured a plug for the Mycroboost products I had on hand with me, racking up over 3 million views across platforms.

Part of the success of this particular campaign came in the form of numerous popular meme pages across platforms reposting the reel—one of these pages hit 2 million views all on its own. ‘Meme Marketing’ has massively unharnessed potential and is a viable way of connecting with hard-to-reach Gen Z audiences, who are a different breed entirely than their ad agency-addled predecessors in many cases. 

Social media take note: cannabis and psychedelics aren’t going away

As cannabis and psychedelics become more normalized and integrated into mainstream culture, an onslaught of new brands catering to each of these emerging markets will continue to populate the digital landscape with innovative ad campaigns centered around content marketing. How the platforms themselves will adapt their community guidelines to accommodate these shifting societal norms remains in question. 

But for now, the cannabis and psychedelic brands that have cracked the content marketing code across social media platforms have been rewarded with a distinct competitive edge that often correlates to rapid scaling and massive sales growth.

This article was submitted by a guest contributor to GreenState. The author is solely responsible for the content.

dennis walker

Dennis Walker is a satirist and journalist who is primarily known as the founder and host of Mycopreneur Podcast. He writes and produces content for numerous platforms in the cannabis and psychedelic space and loves learning about and participating in cannabis culture around the world.