College students who use marijuana show signs of higher motivation than non-users, study finds

Written by on 4 March, 2022

Although there are still many people who think that marijuana users lack motivation, a study of college students suggests the opposite.

That’s right, the research, published in the journal Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, tested the stereotype by recruiting 47 college students, of whom 25 were frequent marijuana users and 22 were non-users.

The students who took part in the study were asked to participate in a series of behavioral assessments known as the Effort Expenditure for Rewards Task.

Previous research on the topic has “used divergent methodology and has not controlled for key confounding variables,” the researchers wrote. This new study sought to adjust for those variables and found that “cannabis days in the past month and symptoms of cannabis use disorder predicted the likelihood of selecting a high-effort test,” Marijuana Moment reviewed.

The study specifically notes that “frequent marijuana users were more likely than the control group to select tasks that indicate higher levels of motivation,” as published by the aforementioned media outlet.

“The results provide preliminary evidence suggesting that college students who use cannabis are more likely to strive for a reward, even after controlling for the magnitude of the reward and the likelihood of receiving the reward,” they wrote. “Therefore, these results do not support the motivational syndrome hypothesis.”

Of note, according to Marijuana Moment, the authors of the University of Memphis study cautioned that the results do not necessarily indicate that frequent marijuana users employ “unimpaired goal-directed behavior.” And they noted is that further studies with larger sample groups are ideal.

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