HIGHly Opinionated: Let’s Debunk The “lazy stoner” Myth

Weed doesn’t make you lazy, being lazy makes you lazy.

I’m sure you remember all those times when your high school teacher would bring up somebody like a cop or a psychologist to the front of the class so they can explain to you that smoking weed is basically the same as taking heroin. Ok, maybe not that far, but the whole “cannabis is a gateway drug, you will become a full-on drug addict if you smoke weed, you will fail drug tests, lose motivation and basically completely fail at life and even somehow end up in jail” speech is what I’m referring to. 

Well, fast-forward to 2020, cannabis is now mainstream and everybody and their grandma is now either using some CBD cream, eating edibles or even dabbing! (go follow dabbin grandma on Instagram because she’s awesome). Would you believe me if I tell you that a human being can lack motivation, inspiration, determination, dedication or any other “ation” without having smoked a joint or consumed cannabis at all their ENTIRE life? 

Well, as mainstream as it is, it seems like the “lazy stoner” stigma hasn’t really left. That’s not all, bringing up using cannabis in a conversation can STILL be awkward, depending on who you speak to. But discussing how you’re up to 4 bottles of wine per week just to “keep you going” is completely fine, because alcohol doesn’t make you lazy? I don’t know about you but when there’s a hangover involved, ALL productivity and plans go out the window completely, there is no motivation whatsoever, and I pretty much become as useful as Donald Trump’s comb. There has NEVER been a time where smoking any amount of cannabis made me completely useless to the world. Don’t get me wrong, we all lose motivation sometimes, we all have lazy days, even my non-cannabis-smoking friends.

Let’s talk about AMS (Amotivational Syndrome)

What is it? Well as the name itself points out, it is a complete and consistent lack of motivation. Someone that struggles with AMS usually has trouble finding meaning in their lives and their actions. Because of that, they find it quite difficult to keep up with their responsibilities and relationships (source). There has been some research that shows that frequent marijuanna use can sometimes cause AMS symptoms, but it isn’t clear yet because non-users also sometimes have those symptoms. 

According to Dr. George Simon, “Amotivational Syndrome doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand with chronic marijuana use, but it does appear to be associated with the use of reliable, easily accessible sources of instantaneous gratification”.  He goes on to explain that even though some of the AMS-afflicted individuals that he’s worked with were heavy, every-day cannabis users, many were not. Some weren’t even substance users or abusers, it wasn’t about the substance itself, but about an addiction of some sort. People with AMS tended to be addicted to specific activities that provided IMMEDIATE (very important here) relief from stress or tension, and experience pleasure right away. (whether that’s video games, porn or anything else)

Dr. Simon also states that in each individual case that he studied, the individuals seems to have lost the motivation to persist in certain situations in life that offer milder, and way more delayed “rewards”. They’ve basically become dependant on more reliable and way faster gratification that they didn’t care about pursuing longer “routes to satisfaction”.That brings me to my next point.

EVERYTHING in moderation (yup, even weed)

Let’s all be honest with ourselves for a minute, if you smoke your first joint before you brush your teeth and you smoke your 20th joint before going to sleep that night, and you aren’t doing it for medicinal purposes…..you guessed it, you probably have a problem. Now, there are way more dangerous addictions than cannabis, like alcohol for example, which kills more than 88,000 people per year in the US (source), or tobacco which kills close to 500,000 people per year in the US (source). If the only thing that weed is killing is your motivation, let’s be real, it’s not that bad. 

However, if you feel like weed is the main reason why you can’t function, then you should probably take a break and see if there are any changes. As human beings, it’s natural to always look for a reason if something isn’t working out too well, most human beings don’t look within for that reason though. Believe me, it’s not just weed, it’s you. Since turning 30, becoming the best version of myself is pretty important to me, probably my number one priority. So if the day comes where I feel like cannabis is putting sticks in my moving tires, then I will make a very strong effort to quit.

Please Don’t Judge 

Now for all the folks that don’t consume cannabis and judge us stoners and believe that we’re all half dead zombies with no ambition, you should really stop judging. I mean, nobody where I worked for years knew that I smoked joints in the morning, and at lunch time, because my productivity never dropped. And it’s not just me, the numbers are in, and according to Stats Canada, about 514,000 Canadians reported using cannabis at work or before work between 2018 and 2019. That’s a whole lot of high employees, can you imagine what would happen production-wise if all those people lost complete motivation to do anything after consuming cannabis? 

Most of those employers have no idea that their employees are baked, because their employees are doing as good of a job, or sometimes even better than when they’re not high. At the same time, many people use cannabis for medicinal purposes, which is actually making their day to day better by reducing pain, if you’re in less pain than you were before, you definitely wouldn’t be less motivated, right? With all that said, please stop giving me the side-eye when you pass me by and get hit by the wonderful aroma of that Tangerine Dream that I’m puffing on.

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