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Study shows cannabis use not associated with a loss in motivation.

A US study examines if cannabis use in teenagers could lead to a lack of motivation or development of amotivational syndrome,



Motivation: A woman with blonde hair and a green jumper sits at a window looking outside with a bored expression

Cannabis use is not independently associated with a lack of motivation or increased risk of ‘amotivational syndrome,” according to data from a US study.

A US study that took over two years to complete has shown that cannabis alone isn’t associated with a loss of motivation. The research was conducted by a team at Florida International University and published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.

Amotivational syndrome is a psychiatric condition thought to cause changes to a person’s personality, emotions, and cognitive function. Symptoms can include a lack of apathy, concentration, activeness and a bad memory. It may cause a person to feel less joy or interest in things they would normally have enjoyed. It can be similar to depression.

The study

Researchers recruited over 400 participants aged 14 to 17 for the study. The group was asked to complete biannual assessments consisting of two motivational questionnaires. The questionnaires, the apathy evaluation scale and the motivation and engagement scale were combined with questions on their alcohol, cannabis and tobacco use.

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At first, the results showed that higher cannabis use may correspond to a higher loss of motivation. However, once factors us as tobacco, alcohol, age, sex and depression levels were taken into consideration, there was little evidence that cannabis alone had an impact.

It also showed that participants who increased their cannabis use showed no more loss of motivation.

The study’s authors noted: “Our findings do not support a relationship between cannabis use and reductions in motivation over time in a sample of adolescents at risk for escalation in cannabis use.”

“The current study contributes to the extant literature by examining these associations longitudinally in a large sample of adolescent cannabis users while controlling for important and often overlooked confounds, including sex and depression.”

“External factors are typically reliable as sources of motivation for children, but after 12, the factors, such as the desire for parental and social approval, start to diminish as core sources of motivation.”

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