Cannabis hasn’t typically been associated with getting s***t done. But despite the rampant “stoner” stereotype—listless, lazy, apathetic, etc.— recent research suggests cannabis may actually increase productivity.
With the right strain and correct dosage, users often report feeling enhanced focus and motivation after consuming cannabis. Of course, motivation is largely perception based. Cannabis may not directly increase focus on tasks, but by reducing anxiety or physical pain, it may improve one’s everyday abilities. Here, we’ll uncover some of the recent science linking cannabis to productivity.
One study by Whistler Therapeutics’ study published in Frontiers of Neuroscience looked at the correlation between cannabis and treating symptoms of anxiety. Researchers were able to identify certain strains that greatly reduced symptoms. Anxiety sufferers know racing thoughts can be distracting. The right blend of cannabinoids may help you focus on work and be more productive day today.
Cannabis users often report feeling more creative and uplifted, which can be motivating in tackling creative tasks. An article on Psychology Today looked at a 2011 study about the link between cannabis and creativity. Admittedly, the mechanisms by which cannabis stimulates creativity are not well understood, but as Psychology Today explains, “Cannabis produces psychotomimetic symptoms, which in turn might lead to connecting seemingly unrelated concepts, an aspect of divergent thinking considered primary to creative thinking.”
Become a canna-athlete
One of the main reasons most of us don’t exercise as much as we should is lack of motivation. Interestingly, cannabis could be a great motivator for getting us moving. Researchers at the University of Colorado surveyed more than 600 cannabis users to figure out how they use cannabis in relation to exercise. Almost 500 of those participants said they endorse using marijuana one hour before, or up to four hours after, exercising.
Additionally, those who did use cannabis in that timeframe worked out longer, for an average of 43 minutes longer for aerobic exercise and 30 minutes longer for anaerobic exercise. Respondents listed a number of reasons why, with 70% agreeing or strongly agreeing that cannabis “increases enjoyment of exercise,” 78% saying it “enhances recovery from exercise,” and just over 50% saying it “increases motivation.” Indeed, many people are now microdosing cannabis as a means to fuel their runs or yoga routines. How’s that for a productive workout?
Cannabis at work
There’s even evidence to suggest cannabis users are more happy, more productive and more successful in their careers compared to total abstainers. According to a BD Analytics Survey, the average income for marijuana users in California is $93,800 compared to $75,900 for those who reject it completely. Cannabis users were also more likely to have a master’s degree and reported being happier at work; 64% for users versus 54% for teetotalers. Granted, they may not be sparking up in their cubicles, but using cannabis generally seems to have a positive correlation with overall happiness and productivity at the office.
The pain equation
When it comes to managing pain, the effects on productivity may be more pronounced for older users. A study conducted by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Temple University looked into the effects of how cannabis legalization impacted older adults at work, surveying 100,00 patients over age 51 who qualified for medical marijuana. They reported 4.8% decrease in pain and a 6.6% increase in “excellent health.” Researchers concluded that medical marijuana increases productivity in full-time jobs.
Cannabis as a reward
Motivation is a key aspect of improving productivity. We often use a reward as motivation, treating ourselves to a nice dinner or a splurge purchase after a job well done. (“If I finish this report/run that extra mile/finish two more chapters, I can enjoy a glass of wine and Netflix.”) Treating cannabis as self-care can be a great way to self-motivate and an excellent means to treat yourself after a long day.
The bottom line
This isn’t to say that cannabis won’t improve your performance on every task. If you need quick reflexes, for example, smoking a THC-heavy Indica strain may not be the best idea. On the other hand, activities like chores, repetitive tasks, pursuits that stimulate the senses and creative ventures can all be enhanced with cannabis and may make you more productive overall.
Bear in mind different levels of THC can cause impairment and CBD has little impairment effect at all. This can make a big difference in terms of its psychoactive effects and their relation to productivity.
Given how cannabis consumers have been typically portrayed in the media, it’s exciting to see research combatting the “lazy stoner” stereotype. We’re only now discovering that users actually engage in more active, productive lifestyles.
Does cannabis help with your productivity levels? Share with us at @commoncitizenry.