We’ve all felt a little lazy at some point in our lives when consuming cannabis. Especially if what we were consuming was Delta 9 THC. But even more so if we’re consuming an Indica-derived cannabinoid.
We have the knowledge necessary to make claims like this one because cannabis and cannabinoid research have come a very long way since the 1960s when all we knew about cannabis was that it ‘got you high’. Now we know that cannabis isn’t only marijuana or THC. Now we know that there are multiple types of cannabis strains with different cannabinoid compositions. We now also know about hemp and its 113+ cannabinoids, cannabis terpenes, and other components.
The point is:
We are now well aware that cannabis and motivation may in fact be related or that motivation may be affected by cannabis consumption. But that relationship is not necessarily negative. There are no conclusive research results that point us in that direction.
How is it that the ‘lazy stoner’ stereotype became a thing without any cannabis and cannabinoid research to prove it?
In a 2022 study on “Effort-related decision making and cannabis use among college students”, scientists found that the so-called “amotivation syndrome” that is allegedly caused by cannabis consumption has failed to be proven. In fact, the study states that “investigations of this hypothesis have used divergent methodology and have not controlled for key confounding variables.”
The study took a sample of 47 college students; 25 that met the criteria for a cannabis use disorder and 22 non-cannabis-using students. All students had to complete an “Effort Expenditure for Reward Task”. The results did not show issues among the participants but found that cannabis consumption could, in turn, improve symptoms of ADHD, distress tolerance, and other conditions that may impede goal completion.
The study concluded that “The results provide preliminary evidence suggesting that college students who use cannabis are more likely to expend effort to obtain reward.”
Like the studies that do support the “amotivational syndrome”, further research with a larger sample is required to evaluate possible associations between cannabis use and patterns of real-world effortful behavior over time.”
Cannabis and motivation are deeply intertwined; just how deeply remains to be discovered. Most of the evidence we have at our disposal is considered anecdotal, but the study mentioned in this article considers it much more likely for cannabis users to select high-effort trials than non-cannabis users.