We’ve made it through the holiday season, the days are getting slightly longer and most of us are ready to start getting shit done after vacation. This is also the time of year that goal setting and planning are in full swing for our new years to come, but does cannabis hinder your productivity? Let’s dive into how cannabis may or may not have an impact on motivation. We would like to point out that most areas within cannabis research are young, and lacking the proper studies and testing to be considered conclusive.
We’ve all heard the accusations and stereotypes of “the chronic stoner” who lives in his/her mom's basement and does nothing but watch Netflix reruns, or, in the worst scenarios, stares blankly off into the distance with little to no thought about much of anything. How much truth is behind these dramatic claims and harsh stereotypes? While we are faced with these stories, accusations and scenarios often, how many successful “stoners” out there are unknown?
The Hidden Successful Users
If you think about extremely successful people in mainstream media or that you know from your own life, they aren't exactly running around parading their cannabis use to everyone. Cannabis has only very recently become legal, and if you ask us it makes perfect sense that many “successful” motivated individuals who find themselves in professional environments with responsibilities and reputations to uphold wouldn't be sharing their use of, at the time, an illegal substance.
Cannabis Strain Roles
If you’ve dabbled in cannabis for a while, you have no doubt experienced both ends of this plants spectrum of effects. Sativa strains of cannabis are known to engage and stimulate the brain, activating creativity and allowing people to focus in on a task, or becoming more present at the moment, giving their undivided attention to a situation or project at hand.
At the other end of this spectrum, we have indica strains. Indica strains have strong sedating and relaxing effects. These have been used to help “turn off” the brain when people are overstimulated from busy days and ready to sit on the couch, veg out and stop thinking. With a plant as unique and diverse as cannabis, it only makes sense that the experiences and effects that individuals would have would be similar.
The Science Behind the Stereotype
We could go back and forth between the “he said she said” nature of this debate for hours, but we prefer to look at some more concrete evidence. Studies show that yes, cannabis directly affects the area of our brain that controls emotion and motivation, more specifically our dopamine levels. Dopamine is responsible for most of the happiness you experience in life and is also responsible for the feeling of “reward” after accomplishing something. Impeding the production of dopamine can affect our motivation to do something.
The Science Behind the Successful Users
This side of the debate is supported by human psychology itself and has less to do with the actual plant. The theory here is that people who are lazy under the influence of cannabis, are generally lazier people and use cannabis as a scapegoat and justification for their laziness. In other words, they now have a reason and have given themselves “permission” to relax because they're influenced by cannabis. Successful, motivated people have behavioural similarities that lead to their success, these suggestions are displayed in many articles and “self help” blogs or books. Not to go all Tony Robbins on you, but these “success behaviors” can be chalked up to good, productive habits, but the point is, successful motivated people know how to embody the phrase “mind over matter” and accomplish a goal or task, whether they want to or not.
The truth is, cannabis is likely an effect of someone who is motivated or unmotivated, rather than a cause. There are examples that can easily fit into both sides of this discussion, largely due to the fact that cannabis has varying effects. Each person not only has very different interactions with cannabis, but also a very unique psychological make-up around motivation and success WITHOUT the plant being involved.
What do we think? We all have the power to direct our own lives and create productive, healthy habits. Working towards a world that loses the stigma around cannabis is one of our biggest focuses. To do that, we need to understand how cannabis interacts with ourselves individually.
If you are someone who can't manage to be productive or motivated while intoxicated by cannabis, then we suggest you cut back or schedule appropriate times to indulge. For everyone else, we hope that we get to a point in our society that people can openly discuss their cannabis use, including those who work in professional environments. Having educated, productive and motivated individuals who can help shed the stigma of cannabis and give the world a new perspective is something we can get behind!
What do you think? Does cannabis help or hinder your productivity? Let us know what you think on our social channels and as always consume responsibly and good luck in the new year!