From time to time, everyone struggles with the ability to be productive. Between work, family, school and/or daily chores, it can sometimes feel like our to-do list is endless—and this can cause a lot of stress. While people have turned to cannabis to alleviate stress, many folks avoid marijuana for fear of becoming spacey and distracted.
Driven by anti-marijuana propaganda, the stereotype of the lazy stoner is prevalent throughout society. As cannabis use increased during the 1960s in America, some reports suggested that chronic cannabis consumers may suffer from cannabis amotivational syndrome: a condition where consumers lack the ability to concentrate or perform cognitive tasks.
But in 1992, pharmacologists concluded that these reports failed to provide strong evidence that amotivational syndrome is a direct result of marijuana use. Since then, research as it relates to motivation and marijuana use has been limited.
However, one recent study suggests that cannabis consumption may actually improve cognitive function. We asked HelloMD’s Chief Medical Officer Perry Solomon, M.D., how cannabis may work to stimulate our brains.
“One way to look at it is that cannabis is great for relaxing the body, so if you’re tense, nervous or in an anxious state, being relaxed will help you focus better and concentrate on the task at hand,” he says. “There’s also relief from extraneous distractions, so focus is centralized to specific assignments.”
While there’s still more research that needs to be done, this is the first of many studies that will hopefully debunk the lazy stoner image.
To gain more insight on how cannabis can help us complete our to-do lists, we asked HelloMD staff members what their favorite strains are for productivity.
Danielle L., health & wellness writer: “When it comes to getting things done, my go-to strain is Space Queen. It’s a sativa-dominant hybrid that makes me feel productive without any jitteriness. Space Queen gives me motivation by making everything more interesting; it can make boring or tedious tasks more fun.
"For the regular cannabis consumer, I’d say Space Queen is as easy as Jack Herer. But if you’re someone who’s new to cannabis and struggles with overthinking, Space Queen could get you into a thought-loop, which can make the experience less enjoyable. Overall, Space Queen is a great choice for mundane tasks like cleaning the house.”
Melissa N., office manager: “I like Sour Diesel because it's really energizing and uplifting. When I'm not in the mood to do anything or if I'm feeling super lazy, Sour Diesel gets me in the mood to do anything—even clean, and that’s a big one because sometimes I hate to clean.
“When I was in school, I could do homework for hours, just because it gave me this buzz of energy. Anything and everything I'm not in the mood to do, Sour Diesel will really get me in the mood. It's very, very motivating and energizing.
“Sometimes when I'm really tired in the morning, I’ll smoke some Sour Diesel and drink some coffee. Sour Diesel helps make wake me up—sometimes more than the caffeine will.
“I’d recommend Sour Diesel to new patients, but I would tell them to take it slow, because it's a very cerebral high. Sour Diesel is my favorite; I think it’s one of the first marijuana strains that I ever tried, but just be careful with it.”
Ryan G., customer service lead: “I really like Girl Scout Cookies, or GSC. Even though it’s an indica-dominant hybrid strain, it makes my body feel really relaxed while my mind is very stimulated, so I’m still able to focus. If I'm at home and I need to do something on the computer, or if I'm just cleaning around the house, it provides one of those experiences where I'm not stressed doing it.
“I really hate having to clean and do household chores—that's probably one of the tasks I like to procrastinate on the most. With GSC, I don’t feel stressed or rushed, so I can focus and take care of one thing at a time, instead of running around the house and trying to do multiple things at once.
“After I'm done with chores, there isn't a crash. For me at least, I rarely feel burned out. I don’t feel couch-locked, and I still feel like I could go about my day and do other things I need to do. I typically have more GSC and keep it going.
“I would recommend GSC, but it’s a high-THC strain and is known to be really strong and highly psychoactive. If you’re new to cannabis, be mindful of how much you’re ingesting—go low and slow.”
Bart S., customer service specialist: “What I like about Durban Poison is the sweet flavors, but what I really like is what it doesn’t do to me: I don't get the couch-lock feeling. It allows me to be productive while boosting my creativity, which makes being productive more fun.
“Because it helps me be more creative, I find that Durban Poison is especially helpful with my work or writing. With writing, it helps me flow freely, and I'm not paranoid about whether my ideas are good or bad. It feels like good ideas keep coming to me, and it makes being productive more fun and just more enjoyable.
“Durban Poison, for me, takes away anxiety as opposed to indicas, which get me stuck in my head with my thoughts, where I can't even express what I'm thinking. With this sativa, there’s no paranoia; it's very relaxing. I can express myself clearly. It makes me feel like what I’m producing is better, in my opinion.
“I’d recommend Durban Poison for artists or someone who needs help writing a poem, a letter or an essay. I think this cannabis strain helps, because it gives you the energy to do the work, and it gives you ideas so you enjoy doing the work.”
Nik S., customer service specialist: “The first thing that stands out about Tangie is definitely the taste. Immediately [upon consumption], you’ll notice this citrusy zest, a really sweet taste that you get from oranges or tangerines. I personally enjoy those types of citrus strains or any cross with those terpenes in it.
“I think the effect Tangie provides is really nice, because it’s more of a sativa-dominant strain. So it’s going to have more of a cerebral high, but I feel a nice relaxing effect from it, too. Certain sativas can be overwhelming and give you a little anxiety, but Tangie isn’t overwhelming at all; it’s a really relaxing, really stimulating strain.
“Tangie is great for any activities that require you to be more active. Whether it's housework, actual work, or maybe you're going out on the town and you don't want to be too high. It’s good for being productive, yet a great social strain. Tangie is definitely a favorite if you're looking for uplifting and stimulating effects, but also looking for a nice way to relax while getting things done.”
Kevin P., customer service specialist: “My favorite strain for getting things done is Green Candy Jack, a hybrid blend of Green Crack and Candy Jack. These strains taste great and have energizing effects on their own. But this is one of those small batch strains that just makes everything more interesting, so it’s great for getting things done.
“I tried it for the very first time with my girlfriend when we had a whole day of chores ahead of us. So we just smoked one big bowl and got everything done, like it was nothing. And we still had energy to make dinner, and even go out and have fun afterwards.
“Green Candy Jack tastes and smells like fruity bubblegum. It strikes me as one of those rare strains that really gives you that uplifting jolt that caffeine does, without getting too hazy. It's energizing in a different way, and you don't need a lot of it to help you finish whatever you have set out to do. I’d definitely recommend this strain to anyone who can find it.”
Dmitry B., marketing videographer/editor: “I enjoy Green Crack because it's a mildly psychoactive sativa, not like one of those knock-you-out strains. I love that it’s widely available—you can find it in many dispensaries. It has a very fresh taste, great flavor, and I love it for its appearance. It's a great strain to get stuff done, especially cleaning.
“Green Crack is great for creativity and definitely great for any kind of physical activity: exercise, walking the dog, washing the dishes—anything like that. The effects are cerebral but motivating. It’s mild; that’s why it’s nice.”
If you’re new to cannabis and want to learn more, take a look at our Cannabis 101 index of articles. HelloMD can help you get your medical marijuana recommendation; it's easy, private and 100% online.