When people ask me why I enjoy cannabis, “the creativity it brings me” has usually been one of the first responses I’ll offer as someone who has built her career on a creative skill set.
As a writer, cannabis is integral in helping me to get my creative juices flowing while bringing about the type of focus I require for my work, including relieving “writer’s block”.
Cloudy room, joint-rolling, pop culture depictions of musicians, poets, writers, philosophers, and artists have contributed to the notion that cannabis induces creativity.
While these are only depictions, it does make one curious about the role that cannabis has played in some of the world’s most incredible artistic expressions and creations.
Does cannabis make you more creative?
Breaking Free of Boundaries and Thinking
Artists either for pleasure or profession will agree that cannabis can bring your mental state to a place where you let go of the emotional, mental, or creative restraints that hold you back. It’s about reaching a type of freedom that produces a liberty of thought that manifests in artistic expression. Whether it’s finding flow, gaining confidence, connecting ideas, inspiring thoughts, finding the right medium, or getting the momentum to start something, cannabis can be that extra “push, or “quantum leap” to creativity as Alanis Morrissette puts it.
Robert Weiner in his more academic exploration of creativity in Creativity and Beyond remarked that “a cannabis-induced state of mind may lead to breaking free from everyday thinking and associations,” highlighting the psychological reasons people may turn to cannabis for creativity.
“I smoke a lot of pot when I write music.” – Lady Gaga
Cartoonist Krusty Wheatfield told HelloMD that cannabis “makes your ego shut up for a minute”, and adds, “[Cannabis] helps you collage and mix the elements of the world more easily. The barriers between ideas don’t seem as important—or they show themselves to be limits that you put on what ideas can go together.”
In these cases, cannabis gives people the proverbial “green light” to explore their own minds, souls, and break the rules of convention through artistic expression.
What’s the Research Saying?
While empirical evidence and anecdotes support the connection between cannabis and creativity, the research investigating the correlation isn’t so clear.
One study concluded that cannabis use can bring about “divergent thinking” (creating a range of responses rather than just one response to a question or stimuli), and “verbal fluency” in people who are deemed as “low creatives”. When administered cannabis, these “low creatives” began functioning at the creativity level of those deemed to be “high creatives” in their ability to develop and articulate new and creative ideas.
Another study looked at how both cannabis use and use of MDMA affected creativity, concluding that cannabis users produced more “rare creative” responses, indicating they had a higher level of original and creative thoughts than the MDMA users.
“The best way I would describe the effect of the marijuana and the hashish is that it would make me relaxed and creative.” – Steve Jobs
While we’re in a “prove it with research” kind of society, it’s hard to scientifically study cannabis and creativity because it’s hard to objectively define what creativity means, and it’s pretty difficult to measure and evaluate creativity in a scientific way.
As a result, the studies on cannabis and creativity are a little scant and inconsistent, yet the experiences people share about the role of cannabis in their creative lives supports cannabis as a powerful tool to bring about creative flow.
Explore Cannabis for Creativity through Events & Strains
Cannabis culture is rising up to provide creative cannabis enthusiasts outlets across the country to celebrate the connection between puffing and producing.
Puff Pass and Paint classes available across legal states bring traditional wine-infused Paint Nights to an elevated level, encouraging freedom of creativity and expression. Lit on Lit is a series of cannabis-infused writing classes that examine the creative connection between writing and cannabis. Cannabis cooking classes are also offered for those who love exploring their culinary creativity.
What strains will help with the creative flow? According to HERB, some of the most popular strains for creativity include Jack Herer, Green Crack, Durban Poison (my personal favorite!), and Blue Dream.
The most important thing is to be dedicated to allowing creativity into your life, and allowing yourself the freedom to express in the way that best suits you; perhaps cannabis can be exactly what you need to get into your most perfect creative zone.