Those who oppose the legalization of cannabis often recycle the same tired old lines, like marijuana is a gateway drug, or cannabis turns otherwise productive young people into layabouts. Even the CDC acknowledges that most people who smoke pot don’t go on to abuse other drugs. But what about the second point? I’m sure we all know some lethargic stoners, but does cannabis really make you lazy? Keep reading to learn more.
How Cannabinoids Affect Your Brain
To truly understand whether or not cannabis use may make someone lazy, it’s crucial to have a basic comprehension of how the molecules in cannabis affect our minds and bodies.
Inside all of us exists a complicated system of neurotransmitter receptors located throughout the brain and central nervous system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). By using chemical neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids to send signals to these receptors, the ECS helps support several key life functions. Things like memory retention, sleep patterns, mood, reproduction, and appetite are all partially regulated by this system.
When you smoke cannabis or experience the effects of edibles, the cannabinoids like THC or CBD inside the cannabis stimulate the receptors in the ECS. THC in a way mimics endocannabinoids, binding directly to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in your brain and nervous system. CBD, on the other hand, only partially binds to these receptors. So instead of fully activating the endocannabinoid receptors, CBD changes the way the receptors interact with other neurotransmitters, including both endocannabinoids and other cannabinoids like THC that may be present in the consumed cannabis. This interaction where CBD influences the way other cannabinoids interact with our body partially makes up the basis for the theory of the entourage effect.
Does Cannabis Make You Lazy?
So if the compounds in cannabis can influence your central nervous system, is it possible that they can make some lazy? It’s hard to get a clear picture.
The truth is, there’s not enough evidence to support the theory that cannabis causes laziness, but there’s also not a mountain of evidence to disprove it either. For example, one study using rodent models determined that mice administered THC experienced declined levels of motivation. However, this is only a single study, and the brains of mice are far different than humans.
Let’s look at another study, one that investigates actual humans. Researchers from the University of Colorado surveyed over 600 cannabis consumers to determine how the plant affected their relationship with exercising. Surprisingly, the study found that an overwhelming number of participants recommended using cannabis before working out, and those who did, reported exercising for longer periods of time.
Cannabis Use Effects Us All Differently
So, to answer the question posed in the title: it’s hard to say one way or another if cannabis makes you any lazier. There are certainly different strains that tend to be more sedating than others. Things like myrcene content or whether the plant is an indica or sativa, for example, can all influence how a particular cannabis product may affect the consumer.
Not to mention, all people respond to cannabinoids differently. Some find CBD to be a relaxing way to unwind after work, while others like to take CBD with their morning coffee for an extra kick of energy and focus. Ultimately, It’s unlikely that cannabis would drastically change an otherwise motivated and energetic person’s behavior and turn them into a couch potato.
Some of the most brilliant artists and intellectuals in the world have used cannabis. The stereotype of the couch-locked pot-head is just that, a stereotype without much basis in reality.