Lazy stoners have existed forever. Depicted heavily in pop culture, the stereotype is perhaps the most popular of all, one that has been harmful to a lot of people. A couple of new studies show that this isn’t true, not even when applied to teens and young adults.
Two new studies
The most recent study, published in the journal Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, examined 47 college students split into two groups: one comprised of non-users and another of recurrent cannabis users. Both groups were asked to complete behavioral assessment tasks called Effort Expenditure for Rewards Task. Results showed that cannabis consumers were more likely to choose tasks associated with higher motivations.
The second study, published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, in July of last year, was conducted by researchers of the Florida International University and took two years to complete.They recruited over 400 participants from ages 14 to 17, and asked them to complete five biannual assessments over the course of the study. These assessments consisted of two motivational questionnaires — the Apathy Evaluation Scale and the Motivation and Engagement Scale — and questions about the participants’ use of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana.
While results showed that higher cannabis use correlates with a higher loss of motivation, once factors like tobacco and alcohol use, and age, sex and levels of depression were accounted for, there was little evidence that suggested marijuana alone had an impact on motivation.
“Our findings do not support a relationship between cannabis use and reductions in motivation over time in a sample of adolescents at risk for escalation in cannabis use,” wrote the study’s authors. “The current study contributes to the extant literature by examining these associations longitudinally in a large sample of adolescent cannabis users while controlling for important and often overlooked confounds, including sex and depression.”
Lack of motivation is natural for teens
Motivation in teens and young adults is a complex issue, one that’s influenced by a lot of factors. According to Psychology Today, teenagers are more difficult to motivate since they’re growing out of their childhood mindsets. “External factors are typically reliable as sources of motivation for children, but after 12, the factors, such as the desire for parental and social approval, start to diminish as core sources of motivation.” Outside distractions like social life, home life and substances like marijuana and alcohol, can all impact their levels of motivation.
Scientific data on cannabis and its effects on people is important for debunking myths that have long tampered with the plant. Having this knowledge and providing it to people makes it harder for legislators to continue the war on drugs by spreading fear and misinformation.