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    Dr. Paddo - Wednesday 30 November 2023

    Does cannabis affect your motivation and what can you do with it?

    Many weed smokers probably know that cannabis can affect your motivation. Sometimes after smoking a joint you feel very energetic, and you actively start studying or working. On the other hand, you can also feel so lethargic and stoned that nothing comes out of your hands. So cannabis can have quite different effects when it comes to motivation. In this blog, we list what research shows.

     

    Cannabis and motivation: Research into the effects


    Cannabis
    is a drug with a broad spectrum of effects. And not only do the effects change, those effects can also differ per user. That's because everybody is unique and responds in its own way. In addition, there are many different strains, which can also cause a different effect to a certain extent.

     

    It is therefore not easy to list the effects that cannabis can cause. It is true that cannabis affects your emotions and thoughts and therefore also affects motivation. Some users indicate that they are much more motivated with cannabis and that they exercise more or work harder. Others become apathetic and lose interest in things they would otherwise be passionate about.

     

    What does science say about this? Cannabis can have positive and negative effects on motivation.

     

    Positive effects

    • Research in 2022, 274 cannabis users participated (adults and adolescents). There appeared to be no connection between relatively heavy cannabis use (an average of four times a week) and apathy. Weed users also suffered slightly less from anhedonia (no longer being able to enjoy pleasant experiences) than non-weed users. The researchers conclude that cannabis does not negatively affect your motivation and does not cause apathy or anhedonia.
    • A research from 2023 actually links cannabis use to a positive effect on motivation. Students who use marijuana make more effort for a reward, even if that reward is made smaller and it is uncertain whether they will get that reward.

     

    Possible negative effects of cannabis on motivation

    However, there are also studies that show the opposite. In 2022, scientists did research among a group of young women. They received a placebo or 7.5 mg or 15 mg THC. The participants had to complete assignments where they had to choose between a difficult or an easy task. The more difficult the task was, the higher the financial reward would be.

    The study found that cannabis immediately reduced the motivation to receive a financial reward.

     

    There are therefore different studies with contradictory results. As mentioned, cannabis (with its cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids) can cause all kinds of effects. But the personalities and characters of the users also come into play. Not everyone is equally motivated to achieve a certain goal. Below we will discuss the connection between cannabis and motivation in more detail.

     

    How weed affects your motivation


    It is therefore not immediately clear to what extent cannabis has a positive or negative effect on how driven you are to do a task. Yet there are a number of effects that can boost your inner drive.

     

    Dopamine

    The cannabinoids in cannabis, such as THC and CBD, can increase the production of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in motivation and how you respond to rewards. Moreover, the substance has a positive effect on your mood. As a result, cannabis could give your motivation a significant boost.

     

    Increased well-being

    Many people also use cannabis for its medicinal effects. For example, it can have a pain-relieving or soothing effect. If you are in pain or suffer from anxiety or stress, cannabis can help you focus better on work or studies, making you feel more motivated.

     

    More creativity

    It has not really been proven whether cannabis really stimulates your creativity. But of course there are many stories of famous artists who used cannabissmells to support their creativity.

     

    Influence on cognition

    Cannabis is rich in cannabinoids that can affect your mental and physical energy. Instead of feeling sluggish and heavy, you actually feel bursting with energy. Cannabis can have positive effects on your concentration and inspiration.

     

    These are all positive effects. But it is also known that cannabis can have negative effects on motivation. This is due to the following reasons:

     

    Side effects of cannabis

    Depending on which strain you use, you may experience side effects. Some strains are deeply relaxing and even narcotic. In that case, you would rather stretch out on the couch than exercise or finish your work.

     

    Less creative

    In some cases, cannabis can also have a negative effect on your creativity. There is research that indicates that cannabis hinders divergent thinking, which prevents you from thinking well can think out-of-the-box and get fewer unique ideas. It may also be that during your high you are more cheerful than creative.

     

    Decreased responsiveness to dopamine

    Your brain becomes accustomed to the higher levels of dopamine, the substance that can boost your motivation. As a result, you no longer respond as you did in the beginning and you no longer experience those feelings of euphoria and motivation from cannabis.

     

    What can you do to stay motivated?

    Do you usually have a languid and lazy high? Then you want to know how you can use cannabis and still feel more motivated. If you feel energetic and motivated when you use cannabis, you naturally want to keep it that way. There are a few things you can do.

     

    Make sure your strain contains the right cannabinoids. With a strain with too high a percentage of THC, this can cause a numbing feeling. THC can boost your motivation, but make sure you don't suffer from habituation.

     

    Choose a strain with a high percentage of CBD is a good idea. CBD can promote a feeling of clarity and concentration. Instead of cannabis you can also use CBD oil if you would like to take a natural remedy to boost your motivation.

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