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Marijuana and Motivation

Researchers Say Marijuana Smokers Are Less Motivated at Work

posted 06:31 AM EST, Sat February 25, 2012

Norwegian researchers say that the myth of the laid back pot smoker might have more than a kernel of truth to it - basing their assertion on the results of a research study on marijuana use and motivation at work.

Are marijuana users less motivated on the job?

That’s what Norwegian researcher Christer Hyggen wanted to know; and to find out he tapped into data from a 25 year long study on almost 1500 Norwegian subjects.

The subjects, who were in their late teens and early twenties at the onset of the study in 1987, filled out surveys at five intervals over the 25 year study period. The surveys included questions on marijuana use habits and attitudes about work and work commitments.

The Findings

After controlling for extraneous factors like drinking habits, work satisfaction, mental health and socio-economic factors, Hyggen found that:
  • People who reported smoking marijuana within a year of being asked reported less commitment to work than abstainers
  • People who reported smoking marijuana within 12 months of being asked on only one of the 5 questionnaires (the experimenters) became as committed to work as the never-users over time.
  • People who continued to report marijuana use over the 5 surveys became less committed to work as they aged into adulthood.  

Commenting on the findings, Hyggen explained that he cannot say that marijuana use causes lower work performance, only that it is associated with it, but that in general, "people who quit smoking cannabis increase their work commitment, and people who take up smoking cannabis reduce their work commitment."

The full research results can be found the journal, Addiction.

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Story Highlights
  • Marijuana and Job Performance: Adult marijuana smokers are less likely to be very committed to their work.
  • Experimenting Has Little Impact: In the study, those subjects who experimented with marijuana but gave it up as they aged scored equally on measures of work commitment to those who had never smoked.
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