Twitter’s recent move to allow ads from cannabis and THC brands in the U.S. has led to a flurry of paid campaigns, advertisers say. Along with those media buys, firms have also claimed an array of Twitter “firsts” in their various cannabis categories.

Among them was Balanced Health Botanicals (BHB), which owns and operates the CBDistillery and Bota brands of hemp-derived CBD products like CBD- and THC-infused gummies, oils and capsules. U.S.-based BHB, which is a unit of Village Farms International, says it was the first CBD brand to go live with its ads, debuting February 22.

“We knew we had to move quickly to lead the future of digital advertising in the space,” explained BHB CEO Chase Terwilliger.

Twitter revised its policy on Feb. 15 to allow THC and CBD brands, well as related accessories and services, to advertise. However, they have to meet a host of requirements, including “pre-authorization” by Twitter and being operable only in states where cannabis is legal

Perhaps the most notable requirement is that they can’t promote or offer for sale cannabis products. Advertisers can promote brand preference and informational cannabis-related content. As well, companies say, ads can direct consumers to their website for purchase.

Chase said BHB’s ads highlight the benefits of its products, within Twitter’s guidelines, and drive traffic directly to its site.

“We wanted to drive home the benefits of CBD and the fact that consumers have the potential to experience things like relaxation, reduced tension, mental clarity and increased focus while using our products,” he said.

Also making their initial advertising forays onto the platform were cannabis firm Trulieve, which said it was first out of the gate with a multi-state ad campaign, and Amuse, which claimed to be the first cannabis delivery company to launch a paid effort.

“Having a global social media platform recognize our industry is another step forward in the normalization of cannabis in the U.S.,” stated Gina Collins, Trulieve’s chief marketing officer, in a press release about its campaign. 

Companies’ press statements were often laudatory to Twitter owner Elon Musk for enabling the change. 

The network’s business pivot is “a victory for cannabis marketers and the legal industry as a whole,” commented Daniel Schwartz, head of marketing for Amuse, which describes itself as an e-commerce and delivery company operating in the state of California. 

After thanking Musk, Schwartz went on to say that the company created a discount code — ELON30 — and that it’s hopeful that Google, Meta and others follow suit by accommodating cannabis ads.

Indeed, Twitter is thus far the only mainstream social network to allow cannabis ads on its platform, Axios pointed out. Meta and Reddit allow ads for some hemp-derived or topical CBD products, respectively, while Google sanctions ads in certain states.

U.S. businesses weren’t the only ones claiming to be first to field ads. On the international scene, Swedish cannabis investment firm Aureum Life said it launched a paid educational campaign to promote medical cannabis for use in treating pain. 

The campaign, which a spokesman said was accepted by Twitter three days prior to when the platform’s policy change went public, includes a short animation depicting a vision for accessible medical cannabis. 

An operator of medical cannabis clinics in Sweden, Aureum said the film is designed to “increase access to medical cannabis for pain patients in Sweden who currently suffer from the over-prescription of opioids.”

“In Sweden, cannabis is still surrounded by a lot of stigma, even medical cannabis, so many advertising platforms refuse cannabis-related ads even though the services advertised are perfectly legal,” said the spokesman. “We hope that Twitter’s policy change will inspire other platforms to update their policies in the same way.”

Of course, Twitter’s litany of guidelines mean many other cannabis players will continue to be shut out of the platform. Terwilliger noted that compliance in this case is a differentiator.

“CBDistillery was ready to capitalize on this opportunity,” he said. On the other hand, “‘Bad actor’ brands won’t be able to take advantage of it due to their lack of compliance and safety efforts required by the social platform’s policy guidelines.

“Being the first,” he added, “means being a part of the future of where this industry can, and needs to, go.”

Then again, the growing legality of cannabis hasn’t necessarily led to widespread investor support. Canada-based pot producer Canopy Growth said this month it was streamlining itself by laying off 800 workers, closing stores and exiting certain markets in an effort to turn a profit.

“Canopy is now in a position where its success will largely depend on investor enthusiasm amid an environment where cannabis sentiment is at best apathetic,” one analyst noted.