London, United Kingdom: Neither adults nor young people who consume cannabis exhibit symptoms of so-called ‘a-motivational syndrome,’ according to case control data published in The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology.
British researchers assessed apathy, anhedonia (an inability to feel pleasure), and effort-based decision making in a cohort of late-adolescent and young adult cannabis consumers. Their performance was compared to that of age-matched controls (non-cannabis consumers).
Researchers identified no significant differences between the two groups.
“Cannabis use has historically been linked with a-motivation, which is reflected in prevalent, pejorative ‘lazy stoner’ stereotypes. In this study, we counter this cliché by showing that a relatively large group of adult and adolescent cannabis users and controls did not differ on several measures of reward and motivation,” they concluded. “Specifically, people who used cannabis on average four days per week did not report greater apathy or anhedonia, reduced willingness to expend effort for reward, or reduced reward wanting or liking compared to people who did not use cannabis. … Our results add to the growing body of evidence suggesting that non-acute cannabis use is not linked with amotivation, which may help to reduce stigma experienced by people who use cannabis.”
Full text of the study, “Anhedonia, apathy, pleasure, and effort-based decision-making in adult and adolescent cannabis users and controls,” appears in The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology.