A recent experiment testing the effects of marijuana on lab rats at the University of British Columbia has revealed that rodents tend to become too lazy to bother with difficult cognitive tasks when they are stoned. The study sought to determine how two of marijuana’s main ingredients, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), affect laziness.
Scientists trained 29 male mice to take part in two different cognitive tests. In the easy challenge, a light came on for one second, which the rats could easily detect and respond to by poking it with their noses, doing so rewarded them with one sugar pellet. In the more difficult challenge, the light turned on for only 0.2 seconds, rewarding the rat with two sugar pellets if they responded with a nose poke.
When they were straight, most rats chose the more difficult task in order to receive the double dose of sugar. But when administered THC, they didn’t bother, choosing instead the easier task with lesser reward.
“What’s interesting, however, is that their ability to do the difficult challenge was unaffected by THC. The rats could still do the task – they just didn’t want to,” according to study co-author Mason Silveira.
CBD, an ingredient in marijuana that does not result in a high, is believed to be beneficial in treating pain, epilepsy and even cancer. Researchers found it did not have any effect on rats’ decision-making or attention. It also did not block the negative effects of THC as has been suggested.
So, if willingness to exert cognitive effort is essential for people to achieve success, heads up.