Researchers declare this stoner stereotype fake news

stoners are lazy: image of people running over tech background

Twenty years ago, if someone was asked to picture a stoner (or anyone who enjoyed cannabis from time to time), they went straight to a caricature like Shaggy from Scooby Doo or Cheech & Chong as depicted in their films. The stereotype was disheveled, inarticulate, hungry, and lazy. While some still proudly embody this image, the scope of weed lovers is more diverse than ever– and now, science proves it.

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New research on lazy stoners

Research on motivation and cannabis consumption continues to show that smoking weed doesn’t make people lazy, including one recently published study. Hundreds of chronic cannabis consumers responded to a survey. Not only did the results debunk the persistent stereotype of weed couch potatoes, it showed that the stigma may push stoners to become more productive.

Further support for responsible consumption was uncovered along with these revelations. Those who were high were in an all-around better mood than those who weren’t.

Study authors wrote: “More dramatic (than proof of motivation) is how being high increases positive emotions across the board.”

Researchers posted to almost 40 subreddits seeking people who lit up at least three times a week. They purposefully sought out recreational consumers and made sure everyone was over 21.

The surveys kicked off with a baseline form and then an “experience sampling period,” during which participants were sent additional short surveys at five random times of the day for a week. The first question asked whether they were high or not.

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If they were high, they’d be prompted with more queries about consumption methods and resulting mood. Those who weren’t high when the link came (it expired after 30 minutes) would be asked about their cravings for cannabis at that time.

Researchers asked questions to gauge how emotional respondents were, their willpower, and their inclination to do the “right” thing. Motivation levels were also measured, along with the inspiration behind it– was motivation internally driven, driven by reward, or are they devoid of caring?

The results

Participants were high in about 64 percent of the resulting surveys. More than half chose to smoke, 22 percent vaped, and 21 percent ate edibles. When asked why they consumed, most cited liking how it made them feel. Some wanted to be creative and forget their worries. A large camp also lit up specifically to focus and/or concentrate.

Those who were high were less stressed and fearful than those who were sober. The stoned participants were happier and sillier. Alternatively, the more someone consumed, the more apt they were to experience negative emotions while stoned compared to less habitual consumers.

Remember, this is comparing people who get high every other day to those who are high multiple times a day, as all participants are chronic consumers. When it comes to being motivated, more habitual consumers showed more internal and external motivation compared to those who didn’t consume as often.

“Very frequent users, that is, are more motivated than less frequent users to complete things to obtain rewards and social approval and to avoid feeling guilty. Frequently getting high was not linked with amotivation or integrated motivation, nor was it predictive of willingness to exert actual mental effort,” the paper reads.

Though persistent cannabis consumers reported less self-control, orderliness, and virtue compared to those who didn’t light up as much, there were no deviations in responsibility, traditionalism, and industriousness.

Turns out, stoners aren’t lazy unless they want to be. In fact, the stereotype that people who regularly smoke weed are lazy may guilt regular consumers into productivity based on responses in this self-reported survey.

This isn’t the first study to prove this stigma wrong. Every few years, another research team adds to the data. But still, stereotypical references in pop culture and anti-cannabis rhetoric persist. Luckily for weed advocates, self-reported stoner data continues to challenge the stereotypes.

As legalization takes the world by storm, the casually lazy stoner archetype will likely continue expanding until it no longer exists.

Cara Wietstock is senior content producer of and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.