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Motivation and Marijuana


... smoke before they go to bed or when they can't sleep. Cont. ... Some users even report that they were pressured into smoking by a brother or sister that smoked ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Motivation and Marijuana

Motivation and Marijuana
What motivates people to smoke marijuana?
  • Possible reasons
  • Elevates mood
  • Causes drowsiness
  • Stimulates appetite
  • Eases nausea
  • Social situation
  • Medical reasons
  • Used as an escape

Who smokes?
  • http//
  • Among students surveyed yearly, one in six 10th
    graders report being marijuana users
  • Used in the past month
  • Fewer than one in five seniors report being
    current users
  • http//
  • One in five 10th graders reports being a
    marijuana user
  • Fewer than one in four high school seniors report
    being current users

Some motivations behind smoking marijuana
  • Euphoria
  • Some people smoke for the pure enjoyment of the
    mood elevation
  • Some believe that THC acts in the brains reward
    center, much like other drugs of abuse, by
    stimulating brain cells to release dopamine
  • Dopamine causes the person to feel high
  • This high can make you feel more relaxed and

Motivations cont.
  • Smoking marijuana can cause drowsiness and
  • Some people might smoke before they go to bed or
    when they cant sleep

  • Escape
  • As with other drugs, some people use marijuana to
  • Whether it be a problem with a peer/parent, a
    problematic feeling, or a responsibility the
    person wants to escape from, marijuana can be
    that outlet
  • Marijuana can change a persons outlook on
    things, such as their problem. They may forget
    about their problem for the time being or it
    might feel less important causing their mood to
    be uplifted.

  • Fun
  • A lot of people smoke purely for social reasons
  • As with drinking alcohol, people smoke with
    friends to have a good time
  • Smoking marijuana changes the way a person reacts
    to things that happen around them
  • It also changes how a person can react to things
    a person might laugh at things that a sober
    person might not

  • Peer pressure
  • Some users even report that they were pressured
    into smoking by a brother or sister that smoked

Medical Marijuana
  • Only thirteen states allow medical marijuana.
  • Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine,
    Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont,
    and Washington have legalized medical marijuana.
  • Arizona and Maryland have passed laws in favor of
    medical marijuana, but have not yet legalized it.

Medical Marijuana cont.
  • Who uses medical marijuana?
  • THC is said to have analgesic, anti-spasmodic,
    anti-emetic, anti-convulsant, anti-tremor,
    anti-psychotic, anti-inflammatory, and appetite
    stimulant properties.
  • (
  • Marijuana is reported to ease pain associated
    with chemotherapy as well as muscle spasms caused
    by multiple sclerosis.
  • Experts from NIH say that marijuana is an
    effective, safe, and inexpensive alternative for
    treating nausea caused by AIDs medications and
    cancer treatment.
  • AIDs patients use to stimulate their appetite
    because of loss due to meds

The Munchies
  • Marijuana is an appetite stimulant.
  • How?
  • We have speciality proteins called cannabinoid
    and endocannabinoid receptors (most well known
    THC) that work like neurotransmitters. They are
    produced as part of the built in apparatus by
    which peripheral parts of the body inform the
    brain that it is lunchtime.
  • These receptors are found in the hypothalamus,
    which is the region of the brain that plays a
    pivotal role in appetite regulation.
  • In other words, when you smoke dope, you are
    replicating an effect the body produces naturally
    for itself.
  • Research with cannabinoids.
  • Cecil Adams

Internet Survey
  • Participants Over 4400 users and non-users
  • Procedure Compared those who consumed marijuana
    daily, once a week or less, or never in their
  • Results Daily users reported less depressed
    mood and more positive affect than non-users
  • Separate analysis for medical vs. recreational
  • medical users reported more depressed mood and
    more somatic complaints, suggesting that medical
    conditions clearly contribute to depression
    scores and should be considered in studies of
    marijuana and depression
  • These data suggest that adults do not increase
    their risk for depression by using marijuana

Our survey
What is Marijuana?
  • What we know as pot is the dried leaves and
    flowers of Cannabis Sativa- the common hemp plant

What is in Marijuana?
  • THC and CBN
  • There are also about 80 other cannabinoids
    (chemicals of the same class as THC) that are
    mostly found in a sticky resin covering the
    leaves and flowers of the plant
  • THC (delta-9 tetrahhydrocannabinol)
  • Psychoactive constituent of marijuana
  • Produces an altered sense of reality and euphoric
  • CBN (cannabinol)
  • Produces depressant effects

How does it work?
  • Contradictory ideas in the literature- does THC
    act on dopamine pathways?
  • PRO- some say that THC acts on the brain reward
    system much like other drugs of abuse
  • CON- others say that the structure of the active
    constituents and their physiological and
    behavioral effects bear no resemblance to those
    of the other narcotics (I.e. cocaine, opiates)
    and therefore are not associated with these
  • Evidence cannabinoids generally do not lower the
    threshold needed to get animals to self-stimulate
    this system in laboratory studies (Office of
    Technological Assessment)

(No Transcript)
THC Receptor
  • In the last 20 years, the THC receptor was
  • Why does the brain have these receptors?
  • In 1992 a substance called anandamide (internal
    bliss) that naturally acts on these receptors
    was found, although its exact function is still
  • (the brains own THC, similar to how endorphin
    is the brains own morphine)

THC Receptors
  • Are found in
  • Hippocampus memory
  • Cerebral cortex (including sensory portions)
    concentration and perception
  • Cerebellum, substantia nigra, globus pallidus
  • Basal ganglia voluntary motor responses


  • The mammalian brain creates an equilibrium by
    manipulating the number of active THC receptors
    to put a ceiling on the drugs effectiveness (the
    more you smoke, fewer THC receptors remain
  • To maximize desired effects moderate use must be

Possible Harmful Effects on the Brain
  • Some evidence suggests that
  • The pituitary gland is damaged
  • Regulates hunger, thirst, blood pressure, sexual
    behavior, and release of sex hormones
  • The accumulation of THC in the synapses slows and
    impairs the transfer of critical information
  • Studies using MRI, SPECT (single photon emission
    computed tomography) show
  • White matter changes (info. transmission)
  • hypofrontality of the frontal ctx.
  • (national center for biotechnology information)

  • R.G. Heath et al.
  • 1979 study of rhesus monkeys
  • Anatomic changes in brain tissue including
  • Widening of synaptic cleft
  • Clumping of synaptic vesicles
  • (

Effects on Lifestyle
  • Evidence suggests that chronic marijuana use can
    cause problems in daily life or make existing
    problems worse
  • Linked to depression, anxiety, and personality
    disturbances (still some debate)

  • Smoking can compromise ability to learn and
    remember info.
  • Heavy users are more likely to fall behind in
    accumulating intellectual, job, or social skills
  • (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Some evidence of
  • Disruption in attention
  • Altered sense of time and space
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Impaired memory
  • Disorientation
  • Tremors
  • Nausea

  • A survey of over 2000 college students suggests
    that users have more difficulty deciding on
    career goals, lower school averages and higher
    dropout rates

Evidence continued
  • A study among workers suggests that marijuana use
    can be hazardous to working or to a motivation to
  • Users had 55 more accidents, 85 more injuries,
    and a 75 increase in absenteeism
  • (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Evidence continued..
  • Despite these claims, the Mendelson experiment
    may disprove the idea that marijuana causes a
    loss of motivation
  • Subjects hospitalized volunteers (casual users
    and heavy users)
  • Method asked participants to work on an operant
    task to earn money and marijuana for 26 days
  • Results the dose of marijuana smoked did not
    influence the amount of work done by either the
    casual-user group or the heavy-user group
  • all remained motivated to earn and take home a
    significant amount of money in addition to the
    work they did for the marijuana
  • (

What is Amotivational Syndrome?
  • Amotivational Syndrome is a theoretical condition
    that proposes the heavy use of marijuana may
    alter a smokers motivations, goals, and possibly
  • Better put, this syndrome may cause "... apathy,
    loss of effectiveness, and diminished capacity or
    willingness to carry out complex, long-term
    plans, endure frustration, concentrate for long
    periods, follow routines, or successfully master
    new material. Verbal facility is often impaired
    both in speaking and writing. Some individuals
    exhibit greater introversion, become totally
    involved with the present at the expense of
    future goals and demonstrate a strong tendency
    toward regressive, childlike, magical thinking.
    McGlothin, W.H.

History of Amotivational Syndrome
  • The 1960s are associated with an explosion of
    the use of marijuana.
  • Peak use was surveyed in 1979 with 24 million
  • Before this time, any record of amotivational
    syndrome was completely nonexistent.

Case Histories
  • The concept of this syndrome first appeared in
    the 1960s with a few case histories.
  • However, these case histories were unable to
  • How common amotivational syndrome is.
  • Whether marijuana caused the change in
  • If a change did occur, did it effect all facets
    of motivation or is it specific only to certain
    forms of motivation.
  • What do you think?

What is the culprit?
  • The big question is which comes first, the
    marijuana or the loss of motivation?
  • Lets look at a few surveys conducted on college
    and high school students.

Survey Research
  • A survey was conducted on 2000 college students
    in 1974 by Brill, N. et al.
  • The researchers concluded that there was no
    difference in grade point average or academic
    success between smokers and non smokers.
  • However, the marijuana smokers surveyed did have
    more trouble deciding on career goals and many
    did not pursue professional degrees.

Cultural Issue?
  • Cross-cultural studies were done in Jamaica and
    Costa Rica.
  • Jamaicans commonly take smoke breaks much like
    Americans take coffee breaks during the day.
  • In Jamaica, marijuana is considered an
  • Parents in these cultures sometimes encourage
    their youngsters to smoke marijuana to perform
    better in school ! (Duncan, 1987)

Jamaican Study
  • A study performed by Rubin and Comitas 1976,
    examined the effects of marijuana on the
    performance of Jamaican farmers who regularly
    smoked marijuana in the belief that it enhanced
    their physical energy and work productivity.
  • They used videotape to track the farmers
    movements and biochemical measures of exhaled
    breath to asses caloric expenditures before and
    after getting high.
  • After smoking ganja the workers engaged in more
    intense and concentrated labor, but this was done
    less efficiently, especially by heavy users.
  • "In all Jamaican settings observed, the workers
    are motivated to carry out difficult tasks with
    no decrease in heavy physical exertion, and their
    mistaken perception of increased output is a
    significant factor in bolstering their motivation
    to work. -Comitas

Costa Rican Study
  • This study performed by Carter et al. 1980 that
    compared Costa Ricans employment history of
    heavy users to non-users.
  • The comparison showed that non-users were more
    likely to have a stable employment history, have
    received promotions and raises, and to be in
    full-time employment
  • Users were more likely to spend more than their

Costa Rica cont.
  • However, when comparing only users, a
    relationship between average daily marijuana
    consumption and employment presents a conflicting
    amotivational hypothesis.
  • Those "who had steady jobs or who were
    self-employed were smoking more than twice as
    many marijuana cigarettes per day as those with
    more frequent job changes, or those who were
    chronically unemployed", indicating that "the
    level of consumption was related more to relative
    access than to individual preference"

What does this all mean?
  • Evidence of Amotivational syndrome from these
    field studies are usually interpreted as failing
    to demonstrate the existance of an actual
  • Here are a few problems with the evidence
  • Sample sizes are too small to exclude the
    possibility of an effect occurring among a
    minority of heavy users.
  • Cohen (1982) argues that the heavy users come
    from socially marginal groups.
  • Therefore, the cognitive and motivational demands
    of their everyday lives were insufficient to
    detect any impairment caused by chronic cannabis

Laboratory Studies
  • Mendelson et al, 1974, conducted an experiment in
    which 10 casual and 10 heavy cannabis smokers
    were observed for 31 days.
  • They were given access to as many marijuana
    cigarettes as they earned through a simple
    operant task which involved pressing a button to
    move a counter.
  • The researchers found that all subjects earned
    the maximum amount of points each day and output
    was unaffected by marijuana smoking.
  • Mendelson et al concluded that "our data
    disclosed no indication of a relationship between
    decrease in motivation to work at an operant task
    and acute or repeat dose effects of marihuana"

Laboratory Criticism
  • There are a few obvious weaknesses in Mendelsons
  • The period of heavy use was only 21 days, which
    is inconclusive with the amount of years that
    many of the subjects in the field studies
  • The subjects were all healthy, young cannabis
    users with a mean IQ of 120 and nearly three
    years of college education.
  • During debriefing, many of the subjects reported
    that they were motivated to perform well to
    demonstrate that marijuana does not have any
    affect on their performance.

In Conclusion
  • The evidence of Amotivational Syndrome is
    extremely vague in all facets of research.
  • The small number of field and experimental
    studies were unable to show convincing evidence
    to support such a syndrome.
  • In conclusion, if there is such a syndrome, it is
    specific only to a few heavy users and is a very
    rare occurance.

Your Survey Results
  • Legalization of Marijuana
  • About 78 of people said Marijuana should be
  • However 72 of these people are smokers.

Survey Results cont.
  • Graduate School
  • About 75 polled reported they wanted to attend
    Graduate School.
  • 67 of those that want to attend are smokers.

Survey Results
  • Are people who smoke marijuana lazy and
  • 39 said Yes.
  • 61 said No.
  • 57 are smokers.

  • Video disputing the legitimacy of amotivational
  • http//

  • Brown University Health Education.
  • Research Report Series - Marijuana Abuse.
  • The Straight Dope How does Marijuana Cause the
    Munchies. http//
  • Medical Marijuana. http//
  • Marijuana Facts for Teens. http//www.mentalhea
  • http//
  • http//
  • NIDA for Teens. http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • Biopsychology 6th ed. John J. Pinel.