Stoner study: Regular marijuana use contributes to lack of motivation, foresight

There's a reason you're not motivated when you smoke weed: it ruins your episodic memory.

Marijuana is arguably mainstream now, but frequent use has its drawbacks. According to an Australian study, marijuana is detrimental to long-term goal planning. Specifically, it affects episodic memory, which is the motor of episodic foresight, or the ability to time-travel into your future in your head and plan your goals.


The study—available here—compared 57 pot smokers to 57 non-smokers in what the study called an Autobiographical Interview task. Every participant was asked to describe either an experience from their past or a possible scenario for their future based on a cue word. The frequent smokers, who smoked three or more times a week, found it more difficult to imagine future scenarios compared to the less-frequent (twice a week or less) smokers and the non-smoking group. 

Is this study indicative of all pot smokers being bad at planning? No. Even one of the co-authors of the study, Kimberly Mercuri of Australian Catholic University, said: “More research is needed to better understand the neurological underpinnings of this observed deficit as well as the exact functional implications of the observed future thinking deficit." Which is researcher talk for 'the test checks out but more studies should be done.' (A cursory Google search revealed this 2015 study with similar findings and perhaps the more alarming reveal that marijuana use directly messes with your hippocampus, i.e. the part of the brain that makes you 'you'.)

Although, before any hypothetical mom goes and posts this article on their children's Facebook wall and goes "I toldja so!", there are absolutely successful stoners out there—here's a list of 50. And it's not just the creative arts: one of Big Think's biggest inspirations, Carl Sagan, was a noted stoner. Also: marijuana is safer than alcohol by a very, very wide margin. Alcohol kills 88,000 people a year while pot has yet to do much more than cause you to eat an entire bag of Doritos in one sitting.


Getty Images

It appears in the study that those who partake in a lil' toke once or twice a week are off the hook. But for regular "smoke weed e'ryday" smokers? The study hits home the extremely common archetype of the directionless stoner, a look that not even Brad Pitt could make sexy.

It also pops the balloon of delusion—people like Willie Nelson, Seth Rogen, Margo Price, Jay-Z who smoke and are at the top of their game are likely 1% outliers: most daily stoners don't get shit done. In the wise words of rapper Smooth, "too much of anything makes you an addict." 

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

Videos
  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
Keep reading Show less