Cannabis is frequently credited as being a creativity stimulant. Writers, painters, musicians, dancers, and entrepreneurs have long used it in their lifestyles. With legalization spreading across the country and globe, those venturing into the world of cannabis often look for a cannabis product to help get their creative juices flowing.
Weed has an excellent reputation for helping create masterpieces. But is it a serendipitous mix of talent and weed? Or is there a science of how weed interacts with the brain to affect creative creation?
Cannabis and creativity throughout history
Cannabis has been smoked for thousands of years. In today’s pop culture, numerous famous artists have spoken publicly about how they infuse weed into their life and creative process. Many of them have even transitioned into operating successful cannabis companies.
Creative cannabis sessions go back over 400 years. Researchers found residue of marijuana in pipes discovered at William Shakespeare’s home, leading them to believe he was partial to partaking in smoking weed. Possibly while writing some of his most memorable pieces of work.
One of the most recognizable cannabis artists is Snoop Dogg. Snoop has vocalized his admiration for Miss Mary Jane throughout his career and creative projects in music, movies, and television. He even smokes often enough to need a professional blunt roller on his team.
Musician Stevie Nicks shared with Rolling Stone that cannabis was a part of her creative process:
“When I’m writing, I will allow myself to smoke a little bit of pot. It’s my one little thing that I can do.”
Seth Rogen, Wiz Khalifa, Willie Nelson, Cameron Diaz, Rihanna — the list goes on of creative people who openly consume weed.
What does science say about weed and creativity?
Research continues to develop about how cannabis chemistry interacts with human biology. It was only in 1988 that scientists discovered the endocannabinoid system, a complex biological system that runs throughout bodies that cannabinoids from weed bind to. This discovery helped researchers to understand the synchronicity of the entourage effect – the idea of different cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes interacting with our sensory and nervous systems.
In a study of 300 self-reported cannabis users whom researchers observed doing creative tasks, no difference was found in the level of creativity between those who did and didn’t use weed. People under the influence did, however, report increased levels of happiness. Researchers concluded that cannabis may make you happier, and that particular emotion may make you more creative.
A 2014 report documented observations of participants who were administered different controlled doses of THC. Researchers concluded that cannabis in small doses of about 5 mg doesn’t seem to affect creativity, while higher amounts of 20mg may hinder or impair creativity.
Another study surveyed 15 cannabis and 15 non-cannabis users’ creative output and perception of that creative work. Researchers found that those who consumed cannabis scored higher on creative ideas but didn’t rate themselves as more creative.
Science still has a long way to go to understand how cannabis, our brains, and creativity all come together. For now, it may be a mix of innate creative ability, personal perception of the creation, and the proper dose of the right strain or product.
Strains and products that help boost your creative flow
What you need for your creative endeavor is a personal choice, depending on the type of creative motivation you need. Different strains may enhance innovative experiences in various settings and moods. All strains have a unique chemical makeup.
Common strains referenced when searching for a creative boost are:
- Super Lemon Haze
- Durban Poison
- Blue Dream
Although these specific ones may not be on the shelf at your local dispensary, see if you can find any with similar genetics. Or, you can search based on terpenes and find a strain or product rich in Limonene and Myrcene.
A hybrid or sativa variety may be a great place to start if you’re partial to edibles. And if you’re new to cannabis, a good CBD ratio product (like a 1:1) in small doses could be a delightful addition to a visionary session.
Just as creativity is a personal journey, so is finding the right strain to spark your creative juices. Be open to the experience of each session and take notes on how strains and products make you feel. Then adjust accordingly.
So, is it the weed or just me?
The magic that can happen when smoking weed and creating might be more of a mixture of the right time, the right cannabis, and the right person. The plant tends to change how we think and feel, which can affect the creative process and our view of the outcome.
Stay open-minded when working cannabis into your creative endeavors. Patience and flexibility will be crucial in finding the sweet spot of creative genius.