Can Cannabis Help You Focus?
Here on the Revolutionary Clinics blog we’ve talked about how cannabis can help athletes of all abilities to perform better, by aiding recovery after a particularly tough work out and improving focus.
If the idea of cannabis helping you concentrate is hard to believe, you’re not alone. As we discussed in our recent post about cannabis for creativity, there are strong opinions on both sides of the cannabis for focus argument. There’s also precious little research to support either case which makes offering concrete advice even more challenging. Nevertheless, Training and Development Manager Andrew Elk is a firm believer that cannabis can improve your focus. Specifically:
Cannabis is a potential alternative to prescription ADD medications
“A lot of people will use sativas to replace ADD medication,” Andrew explains. Most ADD medications are stimulants designed to help people with attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to pull thoughts together and connect them. Unfortunately, the side effects of these medications include anxiety, heart palpitations and loss of appetite which often results in unhealthy binge eating. “Several patients have told me that their ADD meds make them feel like they’re vibrating all the time,” Andrew continues. “With cannabis, they get the benefit of having the chemistry of their brain come into balance without those side effects.”
How is this possible? In a 2014 article on Leafly.com, Dr. David Bearman states: “Cannabis appears to treat ADD and ADHD by increasing the availability of dopamine…it has the same effect but is a different mechanism of action than stimulants like Ritalin (methylphenidate) and dexedrine amphetamine, which act by binding to the dopamine and interfering with the metabolic breakdown of dopamine.”
Contrary to the “lazy stoner stereotype” different cannabis strains have uplifting effects that inspire focus and energy
As we discussed in our recent post about cannabis and creativity, cannabis affects people differently but as a general rule, sativa strains are energizing. This extra energy enables you to shake the cobwebs out of your brain, cast aside distracting thoughts and focus on the task at hand. There are some strains like Mr. Clean that are all about getting you up, moving and onto the physical, repetitive tasks you dread doing like folding laundry or vacuuming your home. “A lot of people think cannabis makes you zone out but there are some strains that make me zone in to the point where all I want to do is read a book,” Andrew says. “It’s all about finding the right one for you, dialing in the dose and journaling the results.”
By alleviating debilitating symptoms, cannabis has helped patients suffering from chronic pain to find focus skills they never knew they had
Think about it. It’s hard to do anything, much less focus on a complex work project, when you’re struggling with any kind of physical pain. At Revolutionary Clinics, we’ve helped hundreds of people dealing with chronic pain to reclaim their lives by enabling them to do things that were previously impossible. When you no longer have to use your mental energy to fight feelings of pain and discomfort, you’re free to think, process, concentrate and understand in ways you never could before.
Microdosing cannabis is gaining acceptance for its ability to enhance focus through “sub-psychoactive” doses
Just as ‘grazing’ (eating many small meals throughout the day) is touted by weight loss experts as a way to feel full all day while eating less and losing weight, two doctors were recently advocated for taking the same approach with cannabis. In a recent article on Leafly, Dr. Michelle Ross stated: “I have a lot of chronic health problems including neuropathy and fibromyalgia and cannabis has been the only thing that has enabled me surmount them.” In the same article, Dr. Dustin Sulak an osteopathic physician in Maine said: ““I find that a sub-psychoactive dose of cannabis helps me stay healthy, reduce stress, and stay sharp and focused at work.”
Both of these doctors recommend taking anywhere from 1-3 milligrams of THC. Dr. Sulak suggests working with a tincture for precise dosing. He suggests an initial dose of one drop that is then increased by one drop every half hour. Dr. Sulak then suggests stopping just after you start feeling the medical benefits and just before you feel the psychoactive benefits, a process he explains on his website. That’s a balancing act for sure and yet another reason why we always recommend journaling to help you find the right dosing plan for you.
It’s worth repeating that cannabis affects everyone differently and what improves the focus of one person could have the opposite effect on someone else. As always, it’s best to “start low and go slow” and making sure you write down everything you’re feeling and how much medicine you took in a journal. If you have questions about anything we’ve written in this post or would like more information about any of our products, please fill out the form on our website and we’ll get right back to you!
If the idea of cannabis helping you concentrate is hard to believe, you’re not alone.
Does weed help you focus
Unfortunately, the modern day workforce doesn’t often allow much room for creative tasks. Rather, there is a more systematic workflow that aims to maximize efficiency—and minimize fun. Sure, there is an association between efficiency and a nose-to-the-grindstone attitude, but what if we told you that creativity and productivity could go hand in hand too?
If you have creative hobbies outside of work or if your job requires some creative thinking and brainstorming, marijuana can definitely add some pep to your step. New testimony argues that marijuana use makes creative workers more productive, diverging from the usual findings that show cannabis consumers get distracted while doing mundane, unmotivated work. Here are some reasons why the perfect high can get your creative juices flowing.
The Right Kind of Marijuana
First thing’s first, you need to pick the right kind of cannabis. If you’re an avid cannabis user, you know that there are two main classifications: sativa and indica. Sativa is the go-to strain for those who need to be productive. This specific type of cannabis has a higher concentration of THC than indica and produces a more psychoactive high. Sativa is normally used during the daytime as it keeps your mind working, your energy high and your motivation steady. Plus, cannabis sativa keeps you from entering the zoning out state that many indica or indica-dominant strains may encourage.
Marijuana helps with many tasks, but they all share one common characteristic: creativity. Fast Company published a piece discussing drug use and work, but specifically focused on its usefulness during creative tasks. In another interview with MTV, Seth Rogen testified that marijuana does, in fact, make him buckle down and get right to work. The work he does? He writes scripts, acts and participates in other aspects of filmmaking—all creative tasks.
Other successful individuals have argued that marijuana is helpful in creative functions that go beyond the fine arts. Business owners, lawyers, writers and painters alike have found that the herb can help them with constructive thinking as well as application-based work. The consensus is that marijuana helps open you up to creativity and hone in on the engaging task at hand. Of course, until academic studies look into this aspect of creative motivation, user testimony is all we have to formulate any sort of logical proof.
For now, all academic work seems to be fixated on proving otherwise: that marijuana impedes productivity. The potential problem with these studies is that a majority are focused mundane tasks that don’t consider the positive effects of marijuana.
A study that followed seven men found that productivity decreased when marijuana was readily available and continued to decline as more and more was consumed. This is essentially the same finding as most academic sources. Productivity went back up as soon as access was cut off, but we want to focus on what happened when these individuals were high at work.
The study noted that individuals didn’t necessarily work slower; rather they spent their time doing other tasks that entertained them. We’re all guilty of falling into a stream of TV episodes on Netflix or Buzzfeed articles when taking what was supposed to be a short break, but the seven men were noted as displaying signs of what is called amotivational syndrome—something that may occur to some long-term marijuana users. If we compare this to the user experiences discussed above, we can see that the type of work a marijuana user is doing is critical, and it is a variable that is overlooked by the studies that have been conducted thus far. Eventually, there might be research that examines creative productivity in its own right, at which point we will have answers that can compete at a scientific level.
Marijuana appears to improve focus and productivity—if you use it correctly. It can be incredibly motivating and drive you to complete tasks, so long as your head is in the game. In order for it to work, you have to be doing something that gets you excited or at least forces you to be creative while also selecting the right strain. If cleaning the house is something you like to do but you seem to get distracted during the process, maybe enjoy some cannabis beforehand and see if that motivates you to clean more productively. Of course, make sure you are acting responsibly and partaking when appropriate—at least until more studies might convince your employer otherwise.
Far from the stereotype, cannabis is helping people do more.