Cannabis Use Not Linked To So-Called “Amotivational Syndrome”

Los Angeles, CA: Cannabis use, including daily use of the drug, does not impair motivation, according to survey data published in the current issue of the journal Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy.

Four hundred and eighty seven volunteers (243 daily users and 244 non-users) completed items from the Apathy Evaluation Scale (AES). Participants responded to 12 statements regarding their own feelings of motivation on a four-point scale (e.g. Not at all; Slightly; Somewhat; Very much). Researchers have successfully used similar measures of apathy in previous studies of substance abuse and motivation.

“Participants who used cannabis seven days a week demonstrated no difference from non-cannabis users on indices of motivation,” investigators found.

After quantifying subjects’ responses through advanced statistical procedures designed to identify even slight differences between users and non-users, researchers still did not detect any decreases in motivation among daily users of cannabis.

“These findings refute hypothesized associations between heavy cannabis use and low motivation,” authors concluded. “Thus, emphasizing a cannabis-induced amotivational syndrome in drug prevention does not have empirical support and could harm the credibility of … [drug] prevention efforts.”

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. Full text of the study, “Cannabis, motivation, and life satisfaction in an internet sample,” is available online at: