Are people less interested in work to make money when they’re high on pot?
That’s the suggestion behind a new study, although the researchers said the effect seems to be temporary.
When the study participants weren’t high, long-term marijuana users were just as motivated as non-users, according to researchers at University College London in England.
The researchers believe their study is the first reliable test of a common belief that marijuana makes people less motivated to work.
To find out, the investigators led two studies. In one, 17 occasional pot users were asked to choose between an easy or more complex task to win money. When they were high, people usually went for the easy task, even though it paid less.
A second study compared motivation levels of 20 long-term marijuana users to motivation levels of 20 people who used drugs other than marijuana (the “control” group).
“It has also been proposed that long-term cannabis users might also have problems with motivation even when they are not high. However, we compared people dependent on cannabis to similar controls, when neither group was intoxicated, and did not find a difference in motivation,” lead author Will Lawn said in a university news release.
“This tentatively suggests that long-term cannabis use may not result in residual motivation problems when people stop using it. However, longitudinal research is needed to provide more conclusive evidence,” he said. Lawn is a research associate in the department of clinical, educational and health psychology.
The study was published Sept. 1 in the journal Psychopharmacology.
The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about marijuana.