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Debunking The Myth Of The Unmotivated Stoner: Facts On Cannabis And Motivation

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The stoner stereotype has plagued cannabis lovers for decades. Non-stoners like to say that people like us are unmotivated, but this is simply not true. Every stoner I know has a job, pays their bills, and watches their kids; they are what you would consider “responsible citizens.” The stereotype still persists.

Cannabis Is Not Associated With Changes In Brain Structure

In 2014, a study was released by Jodi Gilman published in the Journal Of Neuroscience, which focused on cannabis users between the ages of 18-25. The results showed that cannabis users showed abnormalities in brain function, specifically the amygdala, which helps to regulate emotions. The study results also reported that cannabis use decreased the brain’s ability to produce dopamine. There were a couple issues with this study. First of all, it relied on a very small sample. Secondly, during young adulthood the brain is still going through a lot of changes; the fact that some of these subjects happened to be using cannabis does not necessarily have any correlation with the changes their brains are already going through. Another study conducted by Barbara Weiland in 2015 at the University of Colorado refuted the findings in the Gilman study, Weiland’s study showed that cannabis use was not related to changes in the brain. Other studies have shown that use of opioids result in far more changes in the brain. By opioids I’m not only referring to heroin, but also prescription painkillers which are legal and prescribed everywhere.

It Depends On The Strain

How motivated you feel after smoking has a lot to do with the strain. Sativas are great for when you need a burst of energy and are thought to help creativity; indicas seem to curb motivation for the short term. After smoking a good sativa I am highly motivated to do things like cleaning my house, or playing music. Indicas are good for some things like relaxation and pain relief, while sativas are better suited for being social and other activities.

Many Successful People Have Used Or Currently Use Cannabis

Many successful people currently use or have used cannabis and have no issues staying motivated. People like Morgan Freeman, Carl Sagan, and Olympic gold medal winner Michael Phelps have all been frequent users of cannabis. Even President Obama smoked in his younger days. The people who criticize others for their cannabis use are not gold medal athletes, famous cosmologists, or academy award winning actors.

Daily Users Are Less Depressed Than Non-Users

We all know what depression can do to motivation. A poll conducted by Tom Denson in the Journal of Addictive Behaviors reported that cannabis users were less depressed and felt better about their lives in general than people who did not partake. Sativa in particular, is great for fighting depression. If you’re feeling good about life then you are probably more motivated than someone who’s not.

The truth is that there really needs to be more research on cannabis and the way that it affects the brain, and motivation in general.

Some studies have been published that show cannabis negatively affects the amygdala, but the research methods were not entirely sound as they relied on a small sample of research subjects, and researchers seemed to be forgetting that correlation does not equal causation. I know how I feel when I smoke. Sometimes I want to chill on the couch and watch Netflix, other times I want to do crafts or go on a long bike ride. If you ask me, the stereotype of the unmotivated stoner is based on prejudice and bad science.

Featured Image Source: True Romance (1993)

Thoughts on cannabis and motivation? Share in the comments!