A medical marijuana grower smoking some weed. (Photo by Ben Makuch)
We all know there's no drug more dangerous than weed. Smoke one stick of the Devil's lettuce and it's effectively just a waiting game until you're left semi-comatose on your sofa, an Adventure Time DVD playing on an endless loop while you try to stir yourself for yet another day of panhandling for pot. To make matters worse, a recent study by US scientists has highlighted a new grisly side effect of this deadly plant: apparently even "casual" cannabis use can lead to "major" changes to areas of the brain important for emotion and motivation.
The problem here, however, is that there are a bunch of successful, highly motivated public figures who have been very open about their smoking habits, yet have somehow managed to keep themselves from falling into an endless abyss of naps and microwaveable Rustlers burgers.
I wanted to speak to some successful stoners – a lawyer and a few people who own their own businesses – to see if they agree with the study, or whether they think laziness is more down to people just being lazy than whatever it is they're smoking.
Name: Chris Bovey
Job: CEO of a mail order cannabis seed company and founder of Angel Bird, manufacturer of solid-state hard drives
Started smoking: About 21 years ago
How often: Most days
How much: Three to six grams a week
Favourite strain: Kosher kush
Whoever wrote that report is talking shit. All those bands – the Beatles, the Rolling Stones – have been known to take not only cannabis but also other psychoactive drugs.
Smoking doesn’t make a huge difference to [my motivation]. I function quite well with it. In the evening it’s quite good to relax. I come home and have a beer and a spliff. I enjoy it and it helps me feel normal in this insane world – the same reason I have a beer.
In my circle of friends, more people smoke pot than those who don’t, and they all seem to be getting on OK.
I like to have a nice strong indica before I go to bed, which can help me get to sleep. If I get up in the morning and smoke a very strong indica I might not be the most productive person. Equally, if I get up in the morning and drink half a bottle of gin I don’t think I would be a very productive person.
We need to ask David Cameron who his dealer is because he’s always talking about all this top grade skunk in the country. He’s probably got a better dealer than me.
Because I’m not a tobacco smoker I’m not addicted to cannabis. The only way cannabis is proven to be addictive is psychologically addictive in the same way chocolate can be because it’s nice and moreish.
Name: Steve (name changed because he's a lawyer, and duh)
Job: International commercial lawyer on a €180,000 annual salary, plus bonus
Lives: Guildford, Surrey
Started smoking: 1991
How often: Every day
How much: About an ounce a month
Favourite strains: Cheese and lemon haze
Without question, the first thing I do in the morning is light up the vapouriser. It’s like making a cup of tea.
It doesn’t interfere with me. It definitely alters my mental state, but it doesn’t affect what I do. I think the report is bullshit. At the end of the day, you have a work ethic inside you and you are either a lazy bastard or not.
On the whole I don’t think it affects my motivation at all. It’s actually, in some ways, quite a good way of making you focus in on something.
I think it’s definitely true to say that kids in certain situations are smoking too young and they are already surrounded by bad influences, but I think that’s a lack of education.
Name: Andrew Purvis
Job: Owner of the Joy head shop in Worcester
Lives: Worcester, Worcestershire
Started smoking: In year 11 of high school
How often: Every day
How much: Half an ounce a week
Favourite strain: Jack Herer
I started smoking in year 11, carried on through college and found that it wasn't necessarily the most socially acceptable thing to do. I wasn't finding it easy to find jobs because of the stigma attached. My parents found out very early on and couldn’t really accept that I carried on smoking; my dad died when I was very young and my mum is very much old school in that regard.
I keep work and smoking very separate, even though that sounds ridiculous considering I run a head shop. But they have to remain completely separate.
I find that, being self-employed and being the only member of staff here, your body sometimes just goes into overdrive, and smoking helps me to prioritise those processes into what needs to be done and what I’m just fretting about.
I would not be running my own business if I didn’t smoke. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not a bad thing that I do smoke. It’s all a matter of choice. At the end of the day, people should have the choice, as long as they're responsible with their choices. They should be able to do what they want to do. I would never advocate smoking outside of schools or whatever, though.
There are people who think that smoking weed makes you a bad person. You get judged as stupid a lot.
Vegetables being grown hydroponically. Dean can sell you the equipment to do this yourself. (Photo via)
Name: Dean Price
Job: Owner of a hydroponics shop
Lives: Newport, Isle of Wight
Started smoking: 1992
How often: Every day
How much: Three grams a day
Favourite strain: Super lemon haze
I’ve run a business on my own for 20 years – I can put my hand to anything, really. I have degenerative arthritis in my back after having a motorbike accident in around 2001 or 2002.
Smoking doesn’t demotivate, and I know lots of businessmen, property developers, council workers and solicitors who smoke cannabis. I’m motivated in a nice way; I’m always doing something productive or constructive.
It makes some people lethargic, but it doesn’t really do that for me. I can sit down with a spliff and then carry on with what I was doing with a spliff in my mouth. I’ve been smoking it for 25 years. I don’t think I’ve had psychotic events.
Don’t get me wrong – I occasionally forget where I've put the tools, but that’s the only negative thing, really.
For some people I would say yes – simply, it’s not for them. Again, if you know the strain you're looking for – if it was regulated you could get a strain that suits you. The high THC ones tend to motivate people, but the indicas tend to couch you.
Even the guy who delivered my two-year-old son has a smoke. I went round his house with a bottle of champagne and had a smoke afterwards.
Some people will be demotivated by smoking certain types, but I’ve only had one person in 20 years come into my shop and say, "I’m not smoking weed any more – it’s done my head in." He was a little bit scatty anyway.