Does Smoking Weed Make You Lazy?

Decades of raunchy comedy flicks, absurd anti-cannabis public service announcements, and pop culture pothead tropes have ingrained several stoner stereotypes into our collective unconscious. 

Does smoking weed make you lazy?

You know what I’m talking about. 

When many people think about cannabis users, the first thing they picture is an unmotivated young person, too lazy to get off the couch, gorging themselves on hot Cheetos and sugary sodas. But does this hackneyed idea actually hold water? 

Does weed make you lazy, or is that just a myth? Keep reading to find out.

How THC Works 

CB1 and CB2 receptors

First, let’s start by explaining the science behind a marijuana high. 

Inside all of our bodies is a complex cell-signaling system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). It’s made up of two main components—neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids and neurotransmitter receptors called endocannabinoid receptors. Endocannabinoids activate the endocannabinoid receptors to help the body maintain homeostasis and stay balanced. Memory, reproduction, mood, sleep patterns, and appetite are all partially regulated by the endocannabinoid system. 

However, endocannabinoids aren’t the only things that can activate endocannabinoid receptors.

The resin glands on cannabis buds are chock full of psychoactive compounds, but for our purpose today, we’ll just be looking at one—delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the primary compound in cannabis responsible for producing the high associated marijuana consumption. 

When we consume THC, either with a weed edible or by smoking marijuana flower, the THC compounds bind to CB1 endocannabinoid receptors located throughout the brain and nervous system. This creates the feeling of intoxication we know as being high and impacts several of the endocannabinoid system’s functions. 

Side Effects Of Smoking Weed 

Side effects of smoking weed

On top of getting you high, THC’s interaction with the CB1 endocannabinoid receptors can result in several side effects. Some of the most common of these side effects include:

  • dry mouth 

  • dry or irritated eyes

  • drowsiness 

  • impaired motor function 

  • shifts in perception 

  • increased appetite 

  • anxiety and paranoia 

But what about general laziness? Is it true that weed makes you unmotivated and lethargic?

Marijuana And Laziness 

There’s some disagreement in the community on whether or not cannabis use makes people lazy. Part of the problem is that laziness is challenging to quantify using the scientific method. However, there have been some attempts. 

For example, One study published in 2016 presented volunteers with two options: press the spacebar of their keyboard 30 times in 7 seconds to win 50p, or press the spacebar 100 times in 21 seconds to win between 80p and £2. The study determined volunteers who had consumed marijuana prior to testing were more likely to pick the easier of the two options, with the implication that because those under the influence chose the simpler option for less money, they must be less motivated. Unfortunately, the sample size was incredibly small, and the supposed motivator only amounted to meager pocket change. 

Cannabis users workout more

A separate study found that people who consume marijuana were reportedly more active than those who didn’t. Additionally, Colorado researchers surveyed 600 adult marijuana users and determined that cannabis surprisingly aided exercise motivation. 

So, as you can see, current scientific research can provide a clear-cut answer to the question of marijuana and motivation. 

It Depends 

Cannabis affects us all differently

Everyone will have a different experience with cannabis. For some, weed edibles effects may have an uplifting quality, while others could find the same edible makes them want to take a nap. 

Biological factors like gender and metabolism, as well as environmental factors like your location or headspace, can all have an impact on how THC will affect you. If you’re someone who lives an active lifestyle, it’s likely that smoking cannabis will enhance your energetic behavior rather than stifle it. If you’re already having problems with motivation, then frequent cannabis use could potentially exacerbate that issue.