Regular Marijuana Users Suffer Less Impairment Than Occasional Users

It may be time to re-think the way we envision the typical stoner-type personality portrayed in the media. Recent research published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology shows those impacted most by any negative neurocognitive effects of marijuana are actually occasional users, not those who regularly consume marijuana.

The research reported in the article, “Neurocognitive performance during acute THC intoxication in heavy and occasional cannabis users” examines various types of cognitive and motor performance in relation to consumption of marijuana. Using 24 participants (12 regular cannabis users, and 12 occasional cannabis users), the researchers studied multi-tasking attentiveness, motor-skill competency, decision-making, and visual-motor tracking ability.

The results showed the group of regular cannabis users’ performance on the tasks was only affected in regard to motor impulse control (reaction time) when high concentrations of marijuana were consumed. On the other hand, the occasional users’ abilities to perform critical tracking tasks, multi-tasking, as well as motor impulse control tests suffered significantly within the first hour after consumption of cannabis.

The study also reported on the significance of time decreasing the negative performance effects of cannabis on occasional users. Unlike the significant drop in performance levels occurring within the occasional user group in the first hour after cannabis consumption, regular cannabis users appear to show little shift in ability over the eight hour period following cannabis consumption with the exception of reaction time.

This all leaves to question, who really acts like a stereotypical marijuana smoker that we see portrayed even by those within the movement? The ones who say dude and man a lot. Is it the regular consumer, or the occasional smoker? Whatever the case, this research shows that those who suffer most, cognitively speaking, from marijuana consumption are non-regular users.

– Article from



  1. Duberific on

    They only take you for ganja testing if your a hipacrit politicion or at least worked for the cbc! just like how you got to be govener general, that freak definitly was a cbc employee and all she has managed to do is give the order of canda to morgon tholler the baby killer!

  2. Ommani on

    i havent read the entire article due to me getting distracted by the fact that they got 24 people to smoke up. how do i volunteer? when are these sign ups?

  3. Dave on

    Very informative, I’ll have a closer look! Thanks.

  4. Anonymous on

    good call

  5. Anonymous on

    just dont drive. its destroying this earth. they have public transport so you don’t need to drive, so don’t. I haven’t driven since the 70’s and I’ve been a better person for it.

  6. Peace on Earth on

    my hubby uses regularly & i feel MUCH SAFER about his abilities if we’re going on a road trip or doing something out of our normal routine of things if he smokes b4 we venture forth … not that he’s spastic when he’s sober, but he’s just more relaxed and “normal” after he smokes a bowl

  7. Anonymous on

    I hate when stoners are tempted to say this. We all know it’s not true. You even capitalized it to make it seem more sincere. You just want to pretend not to know the truth because I’m sure you will be smoking and driving later on this week, month, year, when-have-you.
    The problem is the words we use for “not-sober.” Inebriated. Intoxicated. Stoned. They are each negative connotations, and some drugs just make you flat-out better. Better at cornering, better at remembering blind-spot checks, everything.
    Pot makes you paranoid. So does Young Drivers. That’s how YD works. Pot makes everything you remember from YD feel so damn important that it is used more consistently.
    The first time I drove high, I had smoked a whole joint (about a year or 1 1/2 years into my pot use overall) after work around 12am, my mother had come to pick me up and I asked to drive home. She smelled pot but is nothing like my father so I just said “yeah but that was six hours ago, I don’t even remember it.” It was six minutes ago.
    I didn’t make any mistakes. I even told her when we got home how stoned I was, and a whole joint was a lot for me then. I brought her around to reason on the issue, but if you ask her when anybody is around, she will still tell you something dishonest, like “IF YOU DRINK DON’T DRIVE, I am tempted to say with pot IF YOU SMOKE DON’T DRIVE.”
    You know that our freedom to transportation is under attack? Public transportation will one day be the only option. It’s the only reason the government acknowledges global warming and carbon gas, to build a foundation of P.R. and public opinion that supports taking away our right to self-transportation.

  8. Bradson on

    This was also a very small study that, at best, suggests a direction for further study. I’m not sure if there is a standard definition of what quantity, quality, and frequency defines regular, occasional, or heavy use. There certainly should be, and those parameters should be a part of any report on any of these studies. The people conducting the study must have their own way of measuring usage, but this article doesn’t mention it, so the findings as reported are useless.

    In my experience, regular use of 1-2 grams a day constitutes moderate use. Some medical users need much more. Apparently, most cannabis users would fall under my definition of “light use”, i.e. a few grams a week to a few grams a month. No doubt this measure would be shocking to prohibitionists.

  9. one12alpha on

    I agree. What you consume has very little to your personality. If you’re the type who says “man” and “dude” and all that, your just playing out what you’ve seen… Im sure pot heads didn’t much act this way before Tommy Chong’s famous charicter came to be. We all like to act out our steriotypes, its what makes us feel like we’re part of the groupe.

    The problem is, as a result all these stereo types exist because there is some truth to them. Does this mean you fully fall into the entire stereo type? Not likely, but if you watch close enough, you’ll see your self follow one from time to time. Heck, you may even find your self following a stereo type for which you don’t even belong…ever seen a white guy eating fried chicken? Of course, because everyone likes fried chicken, not just black people. Like wise, you’ve probably even seen kids playing out the Cheech and Chong, “man” “dude” stereo type, who’ve never even smelled pot….

    Its when we use these stereo types to label and categorize people, that they become harmful. This is what leads to racism, criminal profiling, and false pretense about each other. The reality is were all just people, trying to be accepted by one another. And for some reason we wont accept a “poser” only the “real.” We fail to realize, were all “posing” as something other than just human….

    Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

  10. riffraf on

    I call bullshit on that last paragraph. I say “dude” and “man” a lot, and it’s got precious little to do with what I consume.

    Macdonald had a great piece going, and then had to blow it by belittling a segment of the community that, judging by what she’s written, she holds little respect for.

    “A stereotypical marijuana smoker that we see portrayed even by those within the movement?” Portrayal? Reminds me of high-school, when some people would talk about the vast difference between punks and pseudo-punks. What airs some have!

    Yeah Ang’, man, you can call me a poser if it makes you feel better about yourself. And I can tell you that your opinion doesn’t mean shit to me, dude. Thanks for the facts though!

  11. Anonymous on

    alcohol and cocaine.

  12. Anonymous on

    That isn’t true for all substances. Some have reverse tolerance (eg. N2O) while others hardly build any tolerance at all (eg. Salvia).

    This study would be more interesting to non-smokers and infrequent smokers than it is to seasoned smokers (who may have some to this realization naturally).

    Don’t hate on scientific studies. Someone has to do it, else people will continue to believe things that aren’t true. We laugh now, but just a couple hundred years ago people believed the earth was the center of the solar system.

  13. Anonymous on

    Jesus, do they pay people to carry out these studies. Headline news “the more you use a substance the more likely you are to build up a tolerance.”

  14. Dave on

    Cannabis is not at all like booze!

    I’ve been more impair by the sun shining in my eyes while driving. Where are the credible studies that describe cannabis impairment?

  15. man4cannabis on

    lol me too

  16. Anonymous on

    Reply to “I swear”:
    I totally agree that when driving stone you become much more careful,you stay focused because afraid of making mistakes.However,should an emergency happens,would you be able to react in no time ? At the risk of sounding old fashioned they say with booze IF YOU DRINK DON’T DRIVE, I am tempted to say with pot IF YOU SMOKE DON’T DRIVE.
    The best is really in my opinion to leave the car behind at home and use the public transit if youre gonna smoke.
    Hey! Just trying to help because mind you I value my life but I value your life as well and those of other people.
    The cannabis community is in general very careful and very caring and the last thing it wants is to look bad in the public opinion !!

  17. Aunt Hazel on

    the only reason so many fools hold ganja as evil is because the government conditions them to it. people should be able to go anywhere outside and pick a few buds and dry and cure them but not pick the whole plant, let it keep growing so others can enjoy it! But NO! People got to be such pricks!

  18. Mike in Denver on

    This article, much like the recent articles on Marijuana use and Dementia, fails to give us a very vital bit of information.

    What is occasional use?
    What is regular use?
    What is moderate use?

    The answers to these questions should be expressed in numbers. Without this, these articles are interesting, but nearly useless.


  19. Spencer Allison on

    I like this study because it shows that regular users have learned to subdue the buzz rather than letting the buzz subdue them. Cannabis is something that a user can let overtake them by allowing themselves to simply let it, but it is also, for the advanced user, something that can be controlled. Mind over matter.

  20. I swear on

    I swear I’m telling the truth, driving stoned I am wayyy more careful because you’re paranoid of making mistakes so you stay focused and alert the whole time.

    When sober I speed because I get bored but when stoned its easier to just relax and be more careful…..