Once primarily catering to 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 corralled just about every possible way a person can connect online. Community members can connect via chat rooms, video calls, and voice chats. Unlike social media apps that have succeeded to varying degrees with multi-chat options, Discord has done so rather successfully so far.
The platform has gained users and financial backers. Today, it boasts 150 million active monthly users and $482 million in venture capital funds raised to date, according to Earthweb.
Discord’s cannabis community is not as prominent as enthusiasts may desire. But sources tell High Times that it is changing as more servers launch, either entirely focusing on the plant or having a dedicated space to discuss it.
Discord did not answer a request for its opinion regarding cannabis servers and forums. Even so, the plant’s popularity on the platform is a refreshing change. When much of the Internet can’t or won’t allow pot communities to flourish, Discord appears to be doing so.
Discord: A World Of Topics, Cannabis Or Otherwise
Several sources say Discord offers a change of pace from social media, where federal U.S. law prevents much of a 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 the discussion of cannabis and other ‘vice’ topics,” she said. Today, most social media apps ban or limit cannabis content and accounts due to U.S. federal laws. Graham reports using the app five to seven times a week, exploring cannabis, politics and culture servers and channels. She said she feels freer to talk about cannabis with a great sense of security on Discord.
Others say they enjoy community building through Discord.
“I like how easy it is to find and connect with communities whose interests are similar to mine,” said Wilfred Maina, a Kenya-based cannabis PR professional for the firm 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 played a significant role in helping grow the NFT community while also 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 City-based CBD retail brand Come Back Daily, used Discord for gaming early on. Over time, he branched out, using it for business conversations and cannabis consumption. He enjoyed the range of topics and ways to connect.
Phan said, “I like that I can do almost everything I need on one platform: video calls, voice calls, and dab.”
Various Cannabis Servers Taking Shape
Compared to gaming, 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 a several dozen and a few thousand members. Many public NFT servers have groups hovering around 1,000 and over 15,000 members.
Despite the low subscriber numbers, new Discord users may want to use these public servers as a jumping-off point into the cannabis conversation. Using tags like ‘cannabis,’ ‘weed’ and ‘marijuana’ can turn up several popular pot servers geared towards cultivation, culture, and miscellaneous plant-related topics. Some of the more well-populated public servers include:
- PUFFCORD (Over 8800 members)
- Toke’ n Smoke (Over 7300 members)
- 420 Empire Support Server (Over 1800 members)
- Beyond Cultivation (Over 1100 members)
- After I Got High (Over 1100 members)
Quantity doesn’t equal quality. Discord servers with fewer enthusiasts can still produce valuable connections and conversations. Smaller groups like Tokin’ Up 3.0 have just 280 members as of May 2022 but had nearly half active.
Maina highlighted two smaller servers, Canna Wiki (69 members) and Grows R Us (over 700 members), as destinations to learn about plant cultivation and care. He finds the discussions valuable and full of “information that’s pretty hard to come by in Kenya because cannabis is pretty taboo.”
Servers may target specific regions of the world. Ryan McHale, a multimedia journalism student at Dublin City University, runs the 800+ person Discord server for Crainn, an Ireland-based organization advocating for cannabis reform and education in the country. On its server, the group discusses cannabis topics specific to the country. Like most other Discords, additional channels deviate from the group’s agenda, providing various places to share memes or discuss other like-minded topics.
McHale compared Discord to Reddit, and said each allowed users to focus on specific interests.
“Discord is definitely rising in popularity, but it certainly seems to be used more so by those who do have a passionate interest,” he said.
Private servers are also popular destinations if you can gain access through purchases or invitations. Some servers are exclusive to cannabis, while others loop in the plant as part of a more robust community. Phan is a part of the Rasta Rabbits NFT server.
“I use their channel to stay up to date on new developments and milestones from the creators/owners of the NFT project,” said Phan, adding that he also belongs to a private server for cannabis cultivators. Additional sources report they are part of private cultivation servers that target certain states or the market at large.
Discord’s growth has companies smelling opportunities as well. Those standing out appear to embrace the community-building spirit. Graham feels cannabis events group ontherevel has done a good job replicating its years of in-person community, building events on its server, which is part of its Dope People community. She credits the group for creating a robust server discussing topics from activism to fashion, though cautions the group largely discusses New York-centric topics. Additional features include weekly expert-led talks.
“It’s all really well organized and very intentional with regards to maintaining contact with industry professionals in between ontherevel’s bespoke events,” said Graham.
She also praised cannabis platform Hybrid‘s server as a source for product drops, networking, and reviews. Calling the vibe “chill and welcoming,” Graham added “It’s a good place for both professionals and consumers to see what’s new in product innovation, and possibly next.”
While cannabis communities aren’t as prominent as gaming or NFTs, cannabis enthusiasts and companies are finding ways to learn and connect. Only time will tell if the plant remains accepted on the platform.