AUG 30, 2016 3:31 AM PDT

THC and Laziness

Lab animals, specifically rats, are sometimes put through intense training, given complex mazes to navigate and some must learn how to swim to get a small treat as a reward. A new study however, was a bit easier on the animals. Looking to learn more about the effect of  tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the ingredient in marijuana that produces the desired high, lab rats were given varying amounts and then observed. As it turns out, there’s a definite connection to the use of marijuana and laziness and some mellow rats helped confirmed the theory that using pot reduces one’s desire to work hard at anything.
 Rat refused to work harder when exposed to THC
The most recent research, from the University of British Columbia, was published in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience and showed that rats were less willing to complete a complex task when they had been given THC. The study also looked at rats who had been given cannabidiol (CBD).
 
In a press release, Mason Silveira, the study’s lead author and a PhD candidate in UBC’s department of psychology said, “Perhaps unsurprisingly, we found that when we gave THC to these rats, they basically became cognitively lazy. 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.”
 
Researchers trained 29 lab rats for a task that involved having to chose whether they wanted to do an easier task or a more difficult task in order to earn a treat. The harder task would pay out two treats, and the easier would only spit out one treat after completion. It was the motivation to get larger amounts of a reward that was affected in the study. Rats who have not been fed any chemicals or drugs will always choose a hard challenge in order to earn a bigger treat. The animals learn very quickly to seek the larger reward and don’t normally mind that it’s more work. But when the rats were given THC, the animals switched to the easier option, despite earning a smaller reward.
 
The results were not the same with the rats who had ingested CBD.  CBD does not have the psychogenic properties that THC has and isn’t responsible for the high that happens after using marijuana. Researchers found that thischemical did not have any effect on the decision-making or attention of the animals. While CBD has been studied extensively as a treatment for chronic pain, epilepsy and cancer, it doesn’t produce a high and it doesn’t negate the high from THC. Researchers were hopeful that the CBD could knock out some of the less desirable effects of THC, but that was not the case.
 
The research will hopefully allow scientists to better understand the impact THC has on the brain. Patients with chronic conditions often use marijuana, but THC can have negative effects, such as paranoia, fear and, as was seen in this study, a listlessness and lower desire to participate fully in one’s environment. This study was the first to note the impact on decision-making as it relates to motivation. Take a look at the video below to learn more.

Sources: UBCForbesJournal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience 
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
JUL 27, 2021
Neuroscience
What is Neurotheology to a Neuroscientist?
JUL 27, 2021
What is Neurotheology to a Neuroscientist?
Neurotheology is the interdisciplinary science of religious and spiritual experience
AUG 05, 2021
Neuroscience
Mice Control 'Feel Good' Chemical Dopamine in Their Brains
AUG 05, 2021
Mice Control 'Feel Good' Chemical Dopamine in Their Brains
Mice are both aware of random dopamine signaling in their brains and can willfully control it, according to new research ...
AUG 31, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
How Quickly Will Alzheimer's Progress? Inflammatory Proteins Have the Answers.
AUG 31, 2021
How Quickly Will Alzheimer's Progress? Inflammatory Proteins Have the Answers.
Alzheimer's is a neurodegenerative disease that affects over 26 million worldwide and is associated with memory prob ...
SEP 01, 2021
Health & Medicine
Does Regular Cannabis Affect Brain Function? Sometimes in a Good Way
SEP 01, 2021
Does Regular Cannabis Affect Brain Function? Sometimes in a Good Way
With cannabis now legal in many parts of the world, an increasing number of people now count as regular users of the dru ...
SEP 16, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Medical Opinions Are Often Divided, but Tech Can Bring Them Together
SEP 16, 2021
Medical Opinions Are Often Divided, but Tech Can Bring Them Together
Patients place their faith in medical professionals for making sound clinical decisions based on their diagnoses. But wh ...
SEP 14, 2021
Health & Medicine
This is your brain on doom: Steven Pinker's New Book on Rational and Irrational Societies
SEP 14, 2021
This is your brain on doom: Steven Pinker's New Book on Rational and Irrational Societies
In his new book, cognitive psychologist and linguist, Steven Pinker, argues for more rational societies
Loading Comments...