The lazy stoner stigma or stereotype has now lost any remaining validity, according to new research.
On Thursday, the University of Cambridge released new data indicating that cannabis users are not any more likely to lack motivation or drive in their lives than those who refrain from using the plant.
The university says that cannabis consumers do not exhibit different levels of motivation for rewards, varying levels of pleasure derived from rewards or a different neurological response when seeking rewards compared to those who abstain from pot.
#Cannabis users are no more likely than non-users to lack motivation or be unable to enjoy life’s pleasure.
— Cambridge University (@Cambridge_Uni) September 2, 2022
According to the English institution, a team led by scientists at University College London; the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London; and the University of Cambridge engaged in a study intended to determine whether cannabis users exhibited higher levels of apathy and anhedonia (lacking motivation and lack of interest or pleasure from rewards) in comparison to non-users. They also examined whether pot consumers were less likely to exert themselves physically in order to receive a reward.
For the study, the team of researchers recruited 274 youth and adult cannabis consumers who had indulged at least once per week and four times on average over the past three months. They then matched them up with non-consumers of the same gender and age.
Study participants then completed questionnaires to assess their level of apathy and anhedonia and there was no substantial difference in the results between cannabis users and non-users. The researchers also discovered that there was no link between frequency of consumption and lack of motivation/interest from pot consumers either.
The research now published by the University of Cambridge was part of the CannTEEN study in the Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit at University College London and the full body of research was published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology.
“We were surprised to see that there was really very little difference between cannabis users and non-users when it came to lack of motivation or lack of enjoyment, even among those who used cannabis every day. This is contrary to the stereotypical portrayal we see on TV and in movies,” said Martine Skumlien, PhD candidate in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge.
“We’re so used to seeing ‘lazy stoners’ on our screens that we don’t stop to ask whether they’re an accurate representation of cannabis users. Our work implies that this is in itself a lazy stereotype and that people who use cannabis are no more likely to lack motivation or be lazier than people who don’t,” she added.
This research endeavour was funded by the Medical Research Council, the Aker Foundation, Wellcome Trust and the National Institute for Health Research.
“Our evidence indicates that cannabis use does not appear to have an effect on motivation for recreational users. The participants in our study included users who took cannabis on average four days a week and they were no more likely to lack motivation,” said Professor Barbara Sahakian, researcher in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge.