The unemployed couch potato has always been the perfect example when educators talked about cannabis.
For a long time, cannabis has been associated with unproductiveness and laziness. Since the 30’s that society has developed a very specific stigma for stoner. The unemployed couch potato has always been the perfect example when educators talked about cannabis.
It’s a given fact that endocannabinoid system is directly related to the release of dopamine in the brain. Cannabinoids increase the flow of dopamine by blocking off the function of another neurotransmitter, called GABA. But the real stigma relates not to the chemical reactions of the plant but what this implies on the consumer’s behavior and how he/she functions according to society’s “standard conduct”.
A study that followed seven men found that productivity decreased when marijuana was easily available and continued to decline as consumed quantity increased. As soon as access was cut off productivity went back up. This is essentially the trend found in most reports.
But the real argument lies beyond what results the study yielded. These seven subjects where assessed under a micro-economical system within a high security hospital. Is this really the best environment to test any recreational drug? They analyzed the time each patient spent working as a demonstration of productivity. The researchers saw that patients spent more hours working while off cannabis than when they had access to it.
This is a very specific set of conditions to test such behavior. Could a real-world application be drawn from this information? The test was done for time spent working and not efficiency. There was no test done to the quality of their work. Efficiency and efficacy are two very distinct factors that contribute to productivity. One might argue that one is more important than the other, but the truth is that it will always depend on the job. If the job is factory-based, then efficacy is more important, while if the task is more creative and less tangible, efficiency is more relevant.
Research has also shown that marijuana’s negative implication on factors like attention, memory, and learning can last for days or weeks after consumption. It is all dependent on the person’s history with the substance and obviously on the person and quality of the drug itself.
The “stoner” stigma does not help. When consuming cannabis, what every person will relate to is what they see other consumers do. And what they see other so is shown only on movies and series. Very few productive and intelligent stoners have come forward with their habit and cannabis routine. If media portrayed cannabis smokers as efficient and motivated, maybe we would see more working consumers. This way, when taking a few puffs, each person will think they should be feeling lazy and they will do so, even if simply by the placebo effect. Marketing a drug for lazy people will obviously attract them. Giving people a reason to feel satisfied with their unproductive because they’re high is misleading and unfair for those who don’t want to be associated with this.
There is still a lot to research and find out about cannabis. Would the results of the studies above be different if the subjects had been artists or athletes? Would it be different if the activities had been of social interaction or brainstorming? There never is a test that considers every variable nor is there one that can be applied to everyone in the world. Cannabis is certainly not the best option for everyone, but there might be certain individuals who benefit from it.
Alex Walker, a professional gamer, on an interviewed for Gameplayer, said: “I’ve seen a number of players at national tournaments who came in ‘baked’ purely so they could play better.”
This has been made prohibited by the Electronic Sports League (ESL) now. Athletes are only allowed to smoke after their games. This proves that the sole reason for prohibiting weed at these events is because of how cannabis is considered a performance-enhancing drug in such a scenario. If cannabis had been authorized, this would motivate every single athlete to consume, even the one who previously didn’t. This would not be healthy for the players and so the organization’s decision was more than fair. If gamers take advantage of the ganja for their professional improvement, could this be an option for more conventional jobs?
When studying for the effects of cannabis on ADHD patient’s productivity, the study concluded: “There was evidence, that the consumption of cannabis had a positive impact on performance, behavior and mental state of the subject.”  But this is in people who have a previous condition that cannabis seems to help normalize.
Not many studies have been done on this issue and the activities depend. A study has linked cannabis to enhanced creativity but the same study also concluded that further research is necessary in the field of enhanced productivity with cannabis. Further research seems to be something that all studies agree on.
Many artists, athletes and creative individuals, have attributed some part of their success to their consumption. But people in a standard 9-to-5 and how they can benefit from a few puffs during the work day is a subject with very little information on. With scarce authorized research on cannabis, these more in-depth issues will take time to even be considered for larger samples and more extensive studies.
If you really want to hit the bong before answering your e-mails just make sure you do it the best way possible. There will never be a perfect strain or time for every person but researching the best strains for motivation and testing which ones works best for you, is a good start. All research shows that if you’re going to work while high, choosing sativa strains is the best way to go. But you also need to know how much to consume. Next time you decide to toke ask yourself: how much is too much for the task I’m doing? Take a real honest look at yourself and your functionality. Each case will be deferent and the success cannabis has on you will depend on how true you are. Many people in Silicon Valley are micro dosing LSD. This does not mean they are constantly high on acid while coding. It means that they take advantage of the creative benefits of LSD and but not enough to make them trip out.
Try out CBD-dominant strains if you have access to them. Try the relaxing benefits of the herb without getting stoned. Everything for now is up to your personal research and opinion.
No one is in the right to judge you on whether or not you should smoke during your productive hours. It’s your choice to do this or just do so when relaxing at night before bed. The only thing that we were able to conclude was that there is not enough research to back up any opinion. There is still a lot to know about cannabis and its effects on the human body and mind. It might be adequate for certain people with certain occupations but it might not be right for you. It’s still up to you to discover your answer, good luck on your journey.
 Schweinsburg AD, Brown SA, Tapert SF. The influence of marijuana use on neurocognitive functioning in adolescents. Curr Drug Abuse Rev. 2008;1(1):99-111
 Peter Strohbeck-Kuehner, Gisela Skopp, Rainer Mattern. Cannabis improves symptoms of ADHD. Cannabinoids 2008;3(1):1-3
Originally published in Weed World Magazine issue 130
Image – Rawpixels