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How Marijuana Helps You Focus and Improves Productivity

Far from the stereotype, cannabis is helping people do more.

by MERRY JANE Staff

by MERRY JANE Staff

Unfortunately, the modern day workforce doesn’t often allow much room for creative tasks. Rather, there is a more systematic workflow that aims to maximize efficiency—and minimize fun. Sure, there is an association between efficiency and a nose-to-the-grindstone attitude, but what if we told you that creativity and productivity could go hand in hand too?

If you have creative hobbies outside of work or if your job requires some creative thinking and brainstorming, marijuana can definitely add some pep to your step. New testimony argues that marijuana use makes creative workers more productive, diverging from the usual findings that show cannabis consumers get distracted while doing mundane, unmotivated work. Here are some reasons why the perfect high can get your creative juices flowing.

The Right Kind of Marijuana

First thing's first, you need to pick the right kind of cannabis. If you're an avid cannabis user,  you know that there are two main classifications: sativa and indica. Sativa is the go-to strain for those who need to be productive. This specific type of cannabis has a higher concentration of THC than indica and produces a more psychoactive high. Sativa is normally used during the daytime as it keeps your mind working, your energy high and your motivation steady. Plus, cannabis sativa keeps you from entering the zoning out state that many indica or indica-dominant strains may encourage.

Get Creative

Marijuana helps with many tasks, but they all share one common characteristic: creativity. Fast Company published a piece discussing drug use and work, but specifically focused on its usefulness during creative tasks. In another interview with MTV, Seth Rogen testified that marijuana does, in fact, make him buckle down and get right to work. The work he does? He writes scripts, acts and participates in other aspects of filmmaking—all creative tasks.

Other successful individuals have argued that marijuana is helpful in creative functions that go beyond the fine arts. Business owners, lawyers, writers and painters alike have found that the herb can help them with constructive thinking as well as application-based work. The consensus is that marijuana helps open you up to creativity and hone in on the engaging task at hand. Of course, until academic studies look into this aspect of creative motivation, user testimony is all we have to formulate any sort of logical proof.

The Unmotivated

For now, all academic work seems to be fixated on proving otherwise: that marijuana impedes productivity. The potential problem with these studies is that a majority are focused mundane tasks that don’t consider the positive effects of marijuana. 

A study that followed seven men found that productivity decreased when marijuana was readily available and continued to decline as more and more was consumed. This is essentially the same finding as most academic sources. Productivity went back up as soon as access was cut off, but we want to focus on what happened when these individuals were high at work.

The study noted that individuals didn’t necessarily work slower; rather they spent their time doing other tasks that entertained them. We’re all guilty of falling into a stream of TV episodes on Netflix or Buzzfeed articles when taking what was supposed to be a short break, but the seven men were noted as displaying signs of what is called amotivational syndrome—something that may occur to some long-term marijuana users. If we compare this to the user experiences discussed above, we can see that the type of work a marijuana user is doing is critical, and it is a variable that is overlooked by the studies that have been conducted thus far. Eventually, there might be research that examines creative productivity in its own right, at which point we will have answers that can compete at a scientific level.

Marijuana appears to improve focus and productivity—if you use it correctly. It can be incredibly motivating and drive you to complete tasks, so long as your head is in the game. In order for it to work, you have to be doing something that gets you excited or at least forces you to be creative while also selecting the right strain. If cleaning the house is something you like to do but you seem to get distracted during the process, maybe enjoy some cannabis beforehand and see if that motivates you to clean more productively. Of course, make sure you are acting responsibly and partaking when appropriate—at least until more studies might convince your employer otherwise.


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MERRY JANE Staff

MERRY JANE is based in Los Angeles, California and is dedicated to elevating the discussion around cannabis culture.



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