Why Marijuana Kills Motivation – FACT or CRAP Part 12

Is the following statement FACT or CRAP?

12. You’ll feel more motivated if you use marijuana for a long time.

Answer: CRAP

Long-term marijuana users have lower levels of dopamine and are less ambitious and motivated. http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/newsandeventspggrp/imperialcollege/newssummary/news_1-7-2013-11-49-21

Many people say they like using marijuana because it makes them feel “mellow.” For years, researchers thought that might be because every toke rewards the user with a dopamine boost, a natural feel-good chemical. To test the theory, researchers in a 2013 brain scan study initially thought marijuana users would exhibit high dopamine levels. All 19 users in their study had experienced “psychotic-like symptoms” while using, and other studies have linked increased dopamine production to psychosis. Plus, heavy users of marijuana often experience amotivational syndrome, a lack of interest in achievement of any kind (we’re all familiar with the “stoner” stereotype).

However, to the researchers’ surprise, the users in their study — who had all started using between the ages of 12 and 18 —had lower dopamine levels than non-users. Those who had started the youngest and used the most had the lowest levels. It seems their lack of motivation wasn’t due to over-rewarding by dopamine. Rather, it was because they had abused their brains so much, they had blunted their dopamine reward systems, like overused knives they had never sharpened.

This helps explain amotivational syndrome. Luckily, this may be reversible, as other brain studies saw no differences in dopamine production between former users and non-users. So, stop using, and your dopamine system can sharpen itself. Of course, it’s better not to start than to have to fix yourself later.

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