Does Marijuana Make You Lazy? Scientists Find That Cannabis Users Are Just As Likely To Be Motivated

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Marijuana customers are usually depicted as lazy. Might this stereotype be false?

The research demonstrated that hashish customers are not any much less more likely to be motivated or in a position to get pleasure from life’s pleasure. 

In keeping with a brand new research, hashish customers of all ages are not any extra seemingly than non-users to lack motivation or be unable to understand life’s pleasures, displaying that the stereotype usually depicted within the media has no scientific foundation.

Moreover, in comparison with non-users, hashish customers exhibit no variations in reward-seeking motivation, enjoyment from rewards, or the mind’s response to rewards.

After alcohol and nicotine, hashish is the third most frequently used managed substance globally. In keeping with 2018 analysis from the NHS Digital Existence Crew, 19% of 15-year-olds in England reported utilizing hashish within the earlier 12 months. This quantity was larger in the USA, with the Nationwide Institute on Drug Abuse reporting that 28% of 15 to 16-year-olds used hashish within the earlier 12 months in 2020.

The “stoner” is a prevalent stereotype of hashish people who smoke; assume Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Unhealthy, The Dude in The Huge Lebowski, or, extra not too long ago, Argyle in Stranger Issues. These are people who find themselves usually portrayed as lazy and uncaring.

On the identical time, there was an excessive amount of fear in regards to the doable results of hashish utilization on the rising mind and the chance that consuming hashish all through adolescence might have unfavourable results at an important time in an individual’s life.

A research was performed to find out whether or not hashish customers exhibit larger ranges of apathy (lack of motivation) and anhedonia (lack of curiosity in or pleasure from rewards) when in comparison with controls and whether or not they had been much less keen to exert bodily effort to obtain a reward. The research was led by a crew of researchers from College School London, the College of Cambridge, and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s School London. The analysis was a part of the CannTEEN research.

The findings had been not too long ago revealed within the Worldwide Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology.

The crew recruited 274 adolescent and grownup hashish customers who had used hashish not less than weekly over the previous three months, with a mean of 4 days per week, and matched them with non-users of the identical age and gender.

Individuals accomplished questionnaires to measure anhedonia, asking them to fee statements reminiscent of “I’d get pleasure from being with household or shut mates”. In addition they accomplished questionnaires to measure their ranges of apathy, which requested them to fee traits reminiscent of how they had been in studying new issues or how seemingly they had been to see a job by to the top.

Hashish customers scored barely decrease than non-users on anhedonia – in different phrases, they appeared higher in a position to get pleasure from themselves – however there was no important distinction when it got here to apathy. The researchers additionally discovered no hyperlink between the frequency of hashish use and both apathy or anhedonia within the individuals who used hashish.

Martine Skumlien, a Ph.D. candidate within the Division of Psychiatry on the College of Cambridge, stated: “We had been stunned to see that there was actually little or no distinction between hashish customers and non-users when it got here to lack of motivation or lack of enjoyment, even amongst those that used hashish day by day. That is opposite to the stereotypical portrayal we see on TV and in motion pictures.”

On the whole, adolescents tended to attain larger than adults on anhedonia and apathy in each consumer and non-user teams, however hashish use didn’t increase this distinction.

Dr. Will Garden, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience at King’s School London, stated: “There’s been plenty of concern that hashish use in adolescence would possibly result in worse outcomes than hashish use throughout maturity. However our research, one of many first to instantly examine adolescents and adults who use hashish, means that adolescents are not any extra weak than adults to the dangerous results of hashish on motivation, the expertise of enjoyment, or the mind’s response to reward. The truth is, it appears hashish might haven’t any hyperlink – or at most solely weak associations – with these outcomes generally. Nevertheless, we’d like research that search for these associations over a protracted time frame to substantiate these findings.”

Simply over half of the members additionally carried out a lot of behavioral duties. The primary of those assessed bodily efforts. Individuals got the choice to carry out button-presses to be able to win factors, which had been later exchanged for sweets or sweets to take house. There have been three issue ranges and three reward ranges; tougher trials required quicker button urgent. On every trial the participant may select to simply accept or reject the supply; factors had been solely accrued if the trial was accepted and accomplished.

In a second activity, measuring how a lot pleasure they obtained from rewards, members had been first instructed to estimate how a lot they wished to obtain every of three rewards (30 seconds of one in all their favourite songs, one piece of chocolate or a candy, and a £1 coin) on a scale from “are not looking for in any respect” to “intensely need”. They then obtained every reward in flip and had been requested to fee how pleasurable they discovered them on a scale from “don’t like in any respect” to “intensely like”.

The researchers discovered no distinction between customers and non-users or between age teams on both the bodily effort activity or the true reward pleasure activity, confirming proof from different research that discovered no, or little or no, distinction.

Skumlien added: “We’re so used to seeing ‘lazy stoners’ on our screens that we don’t cease to ask whether or not they’re an correct illustration of hashish customers. Our work implies that that is in itself a lazy stereotype and that individuals who use hashish are not any extra more likely to lack motivation or be lazier than individuals who don’t. Unfair assumptions may be stigmatizing and will get in the way in which of messages round hurt discount. We should be trustworthy and frank about what are and should not the dangerous penalties of drug use.”

Earlier this 12 months, the crew revealed a research that used practical magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to take a look at mind exercise in the identical members as they took half in a mind imaging activity measuring reward processing. The duty concerned members viewing orange or blue squares whereas within the scanner. The orange squares would result in a financial reward, after a delay, if the participant made a response.

The researchers used this setup to research how the mind responds to rewards, focusing specifically on the ventral striatum, a key area within the mind’s reward system. They discovered no relationship between exercise on this area and hashish use, suggesting that hashish customers had related reward techniques as non-users.

Professor Barbara Sahakian, from the Division of Psychiatry on the College of Cambridge, stated: “Our proof signifies that hashish use doesn’t seem to affect motivation for leisure customers. The members in our research included customers who took hashish day by day they usually had been no extra more likely to lack motivation. Nevertheless, we can not rule out the chance that better use, as seen in some individuals with cannabis-use dysfunction, has an impact. Till now we have future analysis research that comply with adolescent customers, ranging from onset by to younger maturity, and which mix measures of motivation and mind imaging, we can not decide for sure that common hashish use received’t negatively influence motivation and the creating mind.”


“Anhedonia, apathy, pleasure, and effort-based decision-making in grownup and adolescent hashish customers and controls” by Martine Skumlien, MRes, Claire Mokrysz, Ph.D., Tom P Freeman, Ph.D., Vincent Valton, Ph.D., Matthew B Wall, Ph.D., Michael Bloomfield, Ph.D., Rachel Lees, MSc, Anna Borissova, MBBS, Kat Petrilli, MRes, Manuela Giugliano, MSc, Denisa Clisu, MSci, Christelle Langley, Ph.D., Barbara J Sahakian, Ph.D. DSc, H Valerie Curran, Ph.D. and Will Garden, Ph.D., 24 August 2022, Worldwide Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology.
DOI: 10.1093/ijnp/pyac056

“Neural responses to reward anticipation and suggestions in grownup and adolescent hashish customers and controls” by Martine Skumlien, Claire Mokrysz, Tom P. Freeman, Matthew B. Wall, Michael Bloomfield, Rachel Lees, Anna Borissova, Kat Petrilli, James Carson, Tiernan Coughlan, Shelan Ofori, Christelle Langley, Barbara J. Sahakian, H. Valerie Curran and Will Garden, 6 April 2022, Neuropsychopharmacology.
DOI: 10.1038/s41386-022-01316-2

The research was funded by the Medical Analysis Council with extra help from the Aker Basis, Nationwide Institute for Well being Analysis, and Wellcome.

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