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Smoking cannabis makes you lazy, study suggests

Scientists say reduced wilingness to exert themselves may explain why marijuana users do less well in education and work

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Smoking cannabis could make you lazy, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia gave the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main brain-affecting ingredient in cannabis, to laboratory ra ts.

They found this made them less willing to carry out a complex task for a large reward, with most opting for an easier one despite a smaller prize.

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Mason Silveira, who led the study, said: “Perhaps unsurprisingly, we found that when we gave THC to these rats, they basically became cognitively lazy.

“What’s interesting, however, is that their ability to do the difficult challenge was unaffected by THC. The rats could still do the task— they just didn’t want to.”

The type of cannabis sold as a recreational drug contains much higher levels of damaging THC than cannabis produced for medicinal purposes, which has more of a chemical called cannabidiol that is better for the brain.

THC has been linked to anxiety and psychosis, as well as problems with learning, memory and attention.

But the new study suggests that rather than making people less able to complete tasks, cannabis simply makes them less motivated to do so.

The researchers said their findings might explain why cannabis use is linked to poorer education, lower earnings and worse employment prospects.

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Scientists gave 29 rats doses of THC to see whether it made them less likely to opt for tasks that required more effort.

Rats were presented with a choice of levers, with some resulting in low-effort tasks that delivered small food rewards and others leading to high-effort tasks that resulted in big food rewards.

Under normal circumstances, most rats choose a harder challenge to earn a bigger reward. But after being drugged they switched to the easier option.

THC was found to cause changes in the medial prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain involved in in decision-making.

1 /1 Smoking cannabis makes you lazy, study suggests

Smoking cannabis makes you lazy, study suggests

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Scientists say reduced wilingness to exert themselves may explain why marijuana users do less well in education and work

BREAKING NEWS: Study finds pot makes you lazy

For years, we’ve been debating whether or not pot actually has real behavioural consequences. And surprise, surprise, we finally have proof that it does. But we’re not completely surprised–let’s be honest.

A study out of the University of British Columbia from the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience made rats pick to complete an easy or hard challenge to earn sweets, depending on the level of hardness they chose. They were assessed before using pot and after. Generally, the rats took on the tougher challenges to get a better treat without being influenced by pot, but ended up picking the easier option after being exposed to the drug. BAM–proof that pot does something to us after all.

According to the study, “THC impairs a relevant cognitive function for long-term success, namely willingness to exert cognitive effort.” Although, who’s to say that the rats weren’t just more satisfied under the influence, instead of just being lazy? Perhaps we’ll never know for sure.

“There is also research pointing out that sometimes THC doesn’t affect all your cognitive abilities across the board. What’s interesting in our study is that it seems to primarily affect your ability to decide or choose whether you want to exert that cognitive ability,” said Mason Silveira, the lead author of the study. “This study suggests that you can still do the harder things, it’s just that you don’t want to.” In other words, the rats were still more than capable of tackling the difficult challenge after taking THC. They just didn’t want too. And yet, the debate continues…

“I don’t see any laziness in any of my patients, that’s the one thing I can say. That really is a myth.” said Jennifer Collet, an owner of a medical marijuana clinic in Ontario. As is true for any disagreement, looks like you’ll have to just decide for yourself. Or, you can wait until there’s a bigger and better study that looks at how pot influences humans.

Check out the video above for more information on the study.

Surprise?