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Cannabis reduces people’s motivation

Cannabis reduces people’s motivation

A single joint of cannabis can lower a person’s drive to work, a new study has found.

Scientists have for the first time found a link between marijuana users and motivation, as those who inhale just a small amount are more likely to choose a low-effort activity while under the influence.

The research involved 17 occasional cannabis smokers, who were asked to breathe in the equivalent of a single joint through a balloon, before being asked to choose between two tasks, each earning them different amounts of money.

The more difficult task involved pressing a space bar on a computer with their little finger 100 times in 21 seconds, earning anything between 80p to £2. Meanwhile, the easier task required participants to press the key 30 times in seven seconds for 50p.

“We found that people on cannabis were significantly less likely to choose the high-effort option,” researcher Professor Val Curran, of University College London, said.

Repeating the task on a second occasion, the same group inhaled a placebo vapour with no cannabis.

“On average, volunteers on placebo chose the high-effort option 50 per cent of the time for a £2 reward, whereas volunteers on cannabis only chose the high-effort option 42 per cent of the time,” Professor Curran added.

A second study saw 20 people addicted to the plant matched with 20 people who had never smoked it. None of them were allowed to consume drugs or alcohol, other than coffee or tobacco, in the 12 hours leading up to the test.

The individuals were given the same task as those in the first batch, with findings noting that cannabis-dependent participants weren’t less motivated than the control group. However, authors pointed out that further research is necessary to verify conclusions.

Study leader Dr Will Lawn, from University College London, explained: “Although cannabis is commonly thought to reduce motivation, this is the first time it has been reliably tested and quantified using an appropriate sample size and methodology.”

Director of U.K. charity Drugwise, Harry Shaprio, added: “It has always been known that cannabis is a depressant and slows everything down, so it is hardly surprising that if you smoke cannabis you would end up less motivated to do what you planned.”

Findings were published in the Psychopharmacology Journal.

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