Cannabis users are no more likely to be lazy than non-users, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Cambridge, U.K.
The research was based on data from a representative sample of almost 8,000 adolescents and adults in the United Kingdom. The authors found that the stereotype of lazy stoners actually had no scientific backing, which is exciting news for weed smokers around the world.
Laziness And The Devil’s Lettuce
Let’s be real: stoners are lazy. Or at least, that’s what the government wants you to think…
The idea that stoners are lazy is so ingrained in our culture that it’s hard to remember a time when it wasn’t true. But who started this myth? And why? Is there actually any science behind it?
Well, we did some digging and found out some pretty interesting stuff. First, let’s talk about how this stereotype of lazy stoners got started. Allen St. Pierre executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (or NORML) said in a statement to VICE News in 2015, that those stereotypes have been around since the Nixon administration, who used them to wrest legitimacy from anti-Vietnam War activists. The reason this was so powerful in the US is because the protestant work ethic has infiltrated the cultural zeitgeist, and a lack of productivity is seen as amoral, Godless, and almost evil This implicit association of evilness with laziness helped not only to vilify stoners, but minorities and anti-war activists as well.
The myth of slacker stoners has grown since Nixon thanks to the Partnership for a Drug Free America (PDFA), the organization behind the notorious “This Is Your Brain on Drugs” ads. PDFA was bankrolled in part by Big Alcohol, Big Tobacco, and Big Pharma — exposed in 1997.
The Science Behind The Stereotype
Researchers at King’s College London, UCL and the University of Cambridge recently studied whether cannabis users show higher levels of apathy (loss of motivation) and anhedonia (loss of interest or the pleasure of rewards) compared to controls and whether they were less willing to exert physical effort to receive a reward.
The scientists examined 274 adolescent and adult cannabis users who had used cannabis at least weekly over the past three months. Participants completed questionnaires, which were then examined by the team of researchers.
“We were surprised to see that there was really very little difference between cannabis users and non-users when it came to lack of motivation or lack of enjoyment, even among those who used cannabis every day,” Martine Skumlien, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge said after seeing the results.
The scientists concluded that their results were diametrically opposed to the stereotype played out on TV and movies.
It’s no surprise scientists are finding this myth to be false. There were no studies being done on cannabis during the Nixon or Reagan or even Clinton administrations, yet they all pushed this narrative weed will make you stupid, fry your brain, and ruin your life with zero evidence for those claims. These stick politicians slandered a perfectly good plant for their political agenda.
But now we know better! We’ve seen the light (and maybe smoked some weed). These days, there are medical studies showing how cannabis can help people with PTSD and a whole host of other conditions. There are plenty of studies showing cannabis doesn’t cause lung cancer or any other side effects like smoking tobacco does. And there are tons of stories from people who have successfully used cannabis to get off opioids and manage pain without resorting to synthetic drugs like OxyContin or fentanyl—sometimes saving themselves thousands of dollars in the process!
So if you’re still holding onto this old school idea about potheads being lazy stoners who don’t care about anything except getting high… well, let’s just say you’re not in touch with reality.
We need to start promoting the idea that stoners are normal people who have all sorts of interests and hobbies: some grind 24/7; some grind 2-4 grams; some of us meditate; some of us work…we’re all just regular people who like to smoke weed.
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