For many college or university students today, the pressures of meeting your deadlines while trying to juggle a part-time job with a full-time education have become increasingly challenging.
With so many different obstacles to deal with, even sleep has become something of an afterthought while an active and engaging social life is a luxury few can afford. Deadlines, lack of sleep, pressures from peers, lecturers, family and work, can leave students desperately seeking a solution to their stress.
While a student life might seem like all fun and games for those of us punching the clock every day, the reality is that for many, the pressures of their student lives can feel increasingly overbearing. With that pressure, many have turned to cannabis.
While some use it as a method of relaxation, others are using it as a means to focus and concentrate their minds to study or meet an assignment deadline.
But does cannabis help to focus our mind and improve our productivity? Can it really improve our study time?
While the stress-relieving relaxation wonders of the cannabis plant are famous, it is a little harder to state with any great certainty as to whether it helps our minds to focus and concentrate.
The Science Behind Cannabis and the Brain
Amongst the other 480 natural components found in cannabis, the cannabinoids THC and CBD are the most abundant and well-researched. Both have their own set of unique traits that also have different effects on the body. THC is known to produce psychoactive effects, while it is even thought to have potentially beneficial effects on the body and mind.
Scientific analysis of the overall effects of cannabis on the brain has produced mixed results; however, mainly due to the lack of research and limited methodologies used.
According to various scientific studies, the effects of cannabis on the brain are more significant for younger individuals, as their minds have not fully developed. A recent study published by the Journal of Neuroscience indicated that cannabis consumption could produce brain abnormalities in cognition and development structure in adolescents. However, the results presented were only at relatively low levels.
Still, the science remains limited due to the cannabis prohibition that still exists in many countries today. Even in the U.S, a country that has already legalised cannabis at state level in more than 25 states, the plant remains illegal federally. This federal illegality, where cannabis is considered as dangerous as heroin (yes really), has severely hindered research into the plant’s benefits and effects.
As such, anecdotal evidence remains relevant with many cannabis consumers claiming that their consumption did not hinder their ability to study. Many believe that it actually aids in their ability to relax, focus and concentrate. Others, however, have argued that cannabis may affect both long and short term memories.
Simply put, we know that cannabis has different effects on different people, and much more research in this area is undoubtedly necessary.
And while the demand for further cannabis research is ongoing, scientific analysis has already indicated that cannabis could provide beneficial effects for those with conditions like ADHD and Epilepsy.
A study conducted in 2013 revealed that cannabis rich in CBD (and low in THC) helped to improve both efficiencies in studying as well as focus. With this type of cannabis-producing far less of the psychoactive effects associated with THC rich cannabis, the participants in the experiment experienced the therapeutic benefits of CBD.
The study concluded that CBD could potentially allow for higher levels of focus and productivity.
However, as memory can be challenging to measure, let us take a closer look at the breakdown of some of the potential benefits and downsides of using cannabis to study.
Cannabis and Studying – Potential Downsides?
The obviously negative effect of consuming cannabis to study is that most strains are rich in THC and can alter your mind to the point of unproductivity.
When you’ve reached this level, you may feel your mind drifting off to a place beyond your dorm room. Hallucinations, paranoia or even a fit of the giggles are all possible if you have a low tolerance for THC. Hardly conducive to solid study time.
Consumption methods also play a factor in how cannabis affects our brain and bodes. Vaping tends to offer a (lighter, clearer high) however hitting the bong or doing a dab is not advisable if you’re looking to concentrate. Smoking a cannabis/tobacco mix can prove relaxing for some, and potentially hard-hitting for others. Whether you want to rip a bong, toke a vape, or take a few puffs of a joint, each will affect your high differently.
Further research has also shown that higher and frequent doses of cannabis may affect memory, both short and long-term. The study suggested that this would make it more difficult to retain information and to recall events.
However, one study indicated that memory impairment might only be a temporary after-effect following the consumption of cannabis.
And The Benefits?
While cannabis may affect memory, dosage control is essential and plays a significant role in getting the most out of your enhanced state.
Contrary to popular belief, there are many benefits of consuming cannabis, including increased focus, anxiety and stress-relief, and creativity. However, like all substances, effects depend on the person. In the case of those looking to use cannabis for studying, consumers need to have full access to the impact of each particular strain.
With a greater understanding of this versatile plant, each consumer will be able to choose a strain that is tailored to their particular needs.
Staying motivated throughout the day isn’t always easy, especially with all the distractions we have in our modern society. For increased motivation, there are specific cannabis strains that seem to aid and improve the ability to focus.
Cannabis strains with an indica-like terpene profile usually provide a deep sense of relaxation. Many consumers report these are the best type of strains to improve sleeping patterns.
Alternatively, you might find consuming sativa-dominant strains helpful for giving you the creative energy boost you need.
Cannabis that is rich in CBD can offset many of the psychoactive effects of THC while It is also thought that CBD may be able to reverse cognitive impairments like memory loss. Early evidence certainly indicates that strains rich in CBD and lower in THC offer several potential benefits, including increased levels of focus and motivation.
Terpenes (natural substances responsible for cannabis’ distinct, pleasurable flavour and aromatic scents) are also said to play a vital role in determining the effects of a particular strain of cannabis.
The phytocannabinoid-terpenoid interaction of terpenes and cannabinoids like CBD and THC work together to produce synergy in the body. This effect may be able to help with stress, pain, depression, anxiety, and other conditions. Some terpenes like the Pinene and Limonene terpenes could prove to be particularly helpful for studying.
These two cannabis terpenes are thought to be particularly uplifting and can assist in the creative process. As tools of productivity, these could be two of the most effective for those looking to enhance their studying ability.
High-pinene strains include:
High-limonene strains include:
Cannabis is a substance that affects every individual differently, so it is difficult to pin-point the plant as effective or ineffective when it comes to efficient learning.
However, it does seem that too much cannabis, especially while studying, will undoubtedly affect your brain in one way or another. The right cannabis strain consumed in just the right amount could, considering the evidence, aid or assist someone looking to increase their productivity.
Finding the right strain for you could provide you with the perfect combination of relaxation and motivation, which is vital for a successful studying experience.
Cannabis – No Longer a Naughty Secret
It is now common-place, even for famous politicians like Kamala Harris or Boris Johnson to admit that they used cannabis during their young lives as students. While such casual admissions from would-be Presidents or current Prime Ministers may have seemed unthinkable in the past, a more relaxed societal approach to cannabis is now taking place.
Indeed, a 2017 study even suggested that cannabis consumers are among the most satisfied and successful among us. The study revealed that 20% of cannabis consumers in California had graduated with a Masters degree, while the number was only 12% for those who were unwilling to use cannabis.
Clearly, in this day and age, there is now no reason for anyone to feel stigmatised for their use of this remarkably versatile plant.
Using cannabis to enhance your study-performance can be useful if you’re able to find the right doses to stay focused and motivated (as well as avoiding the psychoactive effects of high THC strains).
Ultimately, with cannabis, trying different strains to find the one that feels right for you is probably the best approach. Different strains have different effects and reactions for different people.