Researchers are again challenging the idea that people who smoke marijuana lack motivation, with a recent study suggesting that the opposite may be true.
The study, published in the journal Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, tested the stereotype by recruiting 47 college students—25 frequent cannabis consumers and 22 non-users—and asking them to participate in a series of behavioral assessments known as Effort Expenditure for Rewards Task.
Past studies on the issue have “used divergent methodology and have not controlled for key confounding variables,” the researchers wrote. This new study sought to adjust for those variables and found that “past-month cannabis days and cannabis use disorder symptoms predicted the likelihood of selecting a high-effort trial.”
In other words, frequent marijuana consumers were actually more likely than the control group to select tasks that signal higher levels of motivation.
“The results provide preliminary evidence suggesting that college students who use cannabis are more likely to expend effort to obtain reward, even after controlling for the magnitude of the reward and the probability of reward receipt,” they wrote
. “Thus, these results do not support the amotivational syndrome hypothesis.”