Does cannabis help you focus, or does it have the opposite effect? This question is a major topic of debate, especially now that cannabis use is losing its stigma and becoming more mainstream. Researchers are discovering that this previously maligned plant has all kinds of medical applications, and it may even be able to help improve users’ mental and emotional health. Organizations like this cannabis university are helping people in legal states open their own cannabis businesses, making weed more accessible than ever before. But the question of whether it helps with focus and concentration is far from definitively answered.
While researchers haven’t figured out the ins and outs of how cannabis affects motivation and focus, a great deal of anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that it can, indeed, help to improve concentration — at least, some of the time. Students, in particular, have begun turning to this drug as a study aid, and many report that cannabis helps them hit the books more effectively. Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of using cannabis to improve your ability to focus.
Benefits of Cannabis for Students
Cannabis has a reputation for making users feel slow and unmotivated. The “lazy stoner” stereotype has been around for decades, and many people do indeed report that using weed leaves them feeling lethargic and foggy. So why are so many students beginning to use this drug as their study aid of choice? Has cannabis been mischaracterized this whole time?
Part of the reason for the confusion likely has to do with the fact that different strains of cannabis can produce very different experiences for users. Indica strains tend to have a heavier effect on users. These are the strains that often make people sleepy or give them the munchies. Sativa strains, on the other hand, often have a more uplifting or cerebral effect. Many people report feeling clear-headed and energetic after using a Sativa strain. Hybrid strains, which have characteristics of both indicas and sativas, can produce either a sleepy or uplifting effect, depending on the particular type of cannabis and the individual user’s body chemistry.
The amount of weed consumed can also determine how it affects the user. Generally, smoking large amounts of cannabis tends to make users foggy-headed and decrease their energy level. Consuming cannabis in small doses, however, doesn’t produce the same overwhelmingly “stoned” effect for many people. So students who use their cannabis sparingly may find it more helpful than those who are heavy smokers.
Students with ADHD may be particularly likely to find cannabis helpful. Studies have shown that weed may be able to ease the symptoms of ADHD by stimulating the brain to release dopamine. In the past, this dopamine rush has been thought to contribute to cannabis’ ability to decrease motivation. But for people with ADHD, who have lower-than-average dopamine levels, to begin with, it may have the opposite effect. Bringing dopamine up to normal levels may help people with this condition feel more “normal” and more motivated to start tasks in the first place. As a bonus, cannabis does not carry the same risky side effects that many stimulant ADHD medications do.
Another potential benefit of cannabis is its ability to put people into a more positive state of mind. People with anxiety and depression often report that smoking a bowl helps them to feel happier, more relaxed, and more positive about life. Naturally, it’s easier to focus and get things done in a positive state of mind than a negative one. And for people with chronic pain, cannabis can provide some relief, which can free up mental bandwidth to focus on other tasks.
Potential Drawbacks of Using Cannabis to Study
For some people, there are definite upsides to using cannabis for concentration and motivation. But the story isn’t entirely positive. Smoking too much weed almost always impairs a person’s focus and memory, no matter what strain they choose. Heavy smokers are unlikely to experience beneficial effects from their weed use, at least in terms of academic performance.
It’s also important to be aware that cannabis can easily become a distraction from academics. This is especially true for people who have an addictive personality. Students who are struggling in a class or frustrated with their performance may be at risk for using cannabis to forget about their school-related stress. If you find that your weed use is making it more difficult to put in enough work academically, it probably isn’t the right study aid for you.
The Right Way to Use Cannabis as a Study Aid
If you want to try using cannabis to study more effectively, it’s important to start slowly. Know how much weed you can handle at a time before you get too high to study and remember new information effectively. Try taking one small hit every 30 to 60 minutes, only re-dosing as needed.
You may find that smoking isn’t the most effective way to consume your weed. Experiment with different ways of dosing, including edibles and tinctures, to see which method works best and lasts longest for you. You may also find that you get better results by consuming your cannabis at a certain time of day, such as in the evening after you’re done with classes. Check this guide on how to grow weed to learn more.
If thinking critically and retaining information is your goal, stick to sativa strains and steer clear of indicas and indica-heavy hybrids. Sativas will help you stay clear-headed and focused on your studies, while indicas may make you get distracted, sleepy, or hungry.
Cannabis has a reputation for making people sluggish and unfocused, but this reputation is not entirely deserved. Some strains of weed can indeed impair a person’s focus and critical thinking ability. But many people, especially students, find that responsible cannabis use actually helps them learn more effectively and understand new concepts faster. If you’re looking for a way to use your study time as efficiently as possible, introducing weed into your study routine might be helpful to you, especially if you have ADHD.