A Look Into the Impact of Marijuana on Productivity

by | Apr 3, 2024 | Addiction, Adolescent Treatment, Adult Treatment, Marijuana, Mental Health, Stress, Substance Abuse, Well-being | 0 comments

Stereotypes and media portrayals of marijuana have painted a picture of total inactivity when it comes to its use. For decades, we’ve seen the classic “stoner” type showcased as a lazy, unproductive member of society. But is this the case for those who use marijuana either recreationally or medicinally? In this blog, we look at the latest research and statistics relative to the relationship between marijuana use and productivity.

Marijuana Usage Trends

Marijuana usage has been rising for decades now, especially among young adults and working professionals. This trend is partly attributed to its legalization in various regions and a shift in public opinion. Reports suggest a noticeable increase in marijuana consumption among college students and working adults, indicating a changing landscape of substance use in educational and professional settings. It’s no longer taboo to discuss smoking marijuana, nor is it rare to see students partaking before class or work. Due to this huge spike, it’s become more important than ever to investigate the effects of increased marijuana use.

What Are the Effects of Marijuana on the Brain?

Marijuana primarily affects the brain by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in quite a few critical functions, including memory, concentration, and motor coordination. Short-term cognitive effects of marijuana use include altered memory, reduced concentration, and impaired decision-making. Studies have shown that these effects impact tasks requiring high cognitive function, though individual responses will inevitably vary.

How Does Marijuana Impact Student Productivity?

Research indicates that regular marijuana use might negatively impact academic performance, leading to lower grades and decreased learning capabilities. A study by the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse found that students who used marijuana regularly had significantly lower GPAs than their non-using counterparts. On this same note, heavy marijuana use has been linked to increased absenteeism and a higher likelihood of dropping out of school. With these facts in mind, it stands to reason that marijuana negatively impacts student productivity to some degree.

How Does Marijuana Impact Professional Productivity?

In the professional space, the effects of marijuana on productivity can be equally concerning, just in a different capacity. While research in this area is still evolving, preliminary findings suggest that marijuana use impairs work performance, particularly in jobs requiring high levels of cognitive function or physical coordination. Professionals who use marijuana tend to experience difficulties in decision-making, problem-solving, and focusing on tasks. Now that we are seeing an increase in jobs related to marijuana or in the cannabis industry, it will be interesting to see how this varies for these specific roles.

Final Thoughts

While there is evidence to suggest that marijuana use negatively affects productivity in students and professionals, individual responses are going to vary. The need for further research in this area is evident, as understanding the full scope of marijuana’s effects is important for our society. 

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Keywords: Marijuana; Productivity; Marijuana usage; Medical marijuana


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McCartney D, Suraev A, McGregor IS. The “Next Day” Effects of Cannabis Use: A Systematic Review. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2023 Feb;8(1):92-114. doi: 10.1089/can.2022.0185. Epub 2022 Dec 6. PMID: 36475998; PMCID: PMC9940812.