Cannabis & Creativity
If you’re reading this article, you’ve likely experienced it. You got a little high and the words wouldn’t stop flowing, the chords you’d been playing with for weeks crystalized into a cohesive melody, sketched scribbles became a flawless drawing, a problem you’d been turning over arrived at a breakthrough solution. Look down the halls of creative history and you’ll find endless evidence of a connection between cannabis and creativity. From Jimmy Hendrix to Steve Jobs, cannabis’ reputation for expanding the mind and inducing out-of-the-box thinking has been referenced by some of the most creative and innovative thinkers of our time. But do the anecdotes hold water when we look at science? In this article, we’ll attempt to define creativity from a scientific perspective and unpack how cannabis can contribute to (and inhibit) creative thought and expression.
Creativity – What Is It?
Most of us think of creativity as the use of imagination to generate original ideas and forms of expression. This is a great working definition, but is it possible to define and quantify what happens in the brain when creative thought is unfolding? Scientists have struggled to identify clear metrics that can be used to quantify creative thought patterns, but a few ideas have gained traction. One such metric that has been proposed to quantify creativity measures divergent thinking and is determined by identifying the number of solutions an individual can generate in response to a problem. These tests also measure answer uniqueness and the imaginative nature of solutions to problems. Another method that has been proposed is the creativity quotient, which measures creativity by a quotient similar to the intelligence quotient (IQ). Finally, the method of measuring verbal fluency to quantify creativity has become popular with some researchers. This is the metric we will refer to when discussing research on cannabis and creativity later in this article.
Of course, creativity is by nature abstract and difficult to quantify and define consistently. This is relevant to the conversation about cannabis and creativity because whether or not cannabis can enhance creativity depends on several factors, and one of them is your baseline level of creativity. It is very difficult for individuals to objectively determine their level of creativity. With that in mind, we suggest taking a few creativity quizzes like those linked below to see where you fall on the creative spectrum:
Now that you’re armed with some insight into your baseline level of creativity, let’s look at how cannabis can enhance and inhibit creativity.
Clinical psychologist Gráinne Schafer has conducted some exciting research on the topic of cannabis and creativity, and the results reveal a correlation between the two for certain populations. In Schafer’s experiment, test subjects were sorted into two groups representing either end of the creativity spectrum – low creativity and high creativity. Each group was tested on verbal fluency while in a sober state, and while experiencing the effects of cannabis. Following one week of regular cannabis consumption, participants in the low creativity group saw a significant increase in their verbal fluency in comparison to their sober baseline. This exciting result indicates that for individuals who struggle with creative and divergent thinking, cannabis can act as a lubricant for unique perspectives and diverse ideas. Participants from the high creativity group did not experience an increase in their verbal fluency subsequent to cannabis use. Folks who find themselves in this population shouldn’t feel discouraged by these findings though, as cannabis use didn’t detract from their naturally creative state either. The one caveat to these outcomes for both populations – high dosage will sabotage creativity.
The Universal Truth – Dosage Matters
When it comes to creativity and cannabis use, the dosage is everything. If you’ve read our other articles, you may be noticing a theme here. Indeed, using cannabis at too high of a dose can sabotage your desired outcomes in a variety of ways. Creativity is no different – for all individuals, a high dose of THC-containing cannabis will induce lethargy and sluggishness; not a recipe for creative output. That being said, a low dose of cannabis can influence creativity for some, especially those who identify at a lower baseline level of creativity. Why is this? Biology tells us that cannabis increases blood flow to regions of the brain associated with creativity. These areas include the nucleus accumbens, the amygdala, and the frontal cortex. This could explain why low doses of cannabis can enhance creativity for those who naturally struggle with creative thought. However, it is important to understand that cannabis also increases blood flow to parts of the brain associated with negative and anxious states of mind. This reality underscores the importance of using a low dose of THC-containing cannabis to stir creative thought. Tip the scales too far to one side of the neurological spectrum and the whole train of thought turns in a dark direction. The moral of the story is simple – start low and go slow.
Set and Setting
Cannabis that contains THC is psychoactive. When consuming any psychoactive substance, an individual’s experience will be heavily influenced by the set and setting in which they find themselves. With this in mind, it is wise for those desiring creative outcomes to be intentional about their set and setting when using cannabis. Listening to music that stirs emotion, reading poetry, looking at art, or simply being surrounded by others who are engaged in creative pursuits can set the stage for the right vibe.
Creativity is What You Make It
Creativity is dynamic, alluring, nebulous, and sometimes as frustrating as an elusive love interest who keeps you longing for more. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Creativity can be light, exciting, and breezy if we allow ourselves to adopt that perspective. Author Elizabeth Gilbert spoke to this facet of creativity beautifully in her book Big Magic: How to Live a Creative Life, and Let Go of Your Fear:
“Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all. We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits. We are terrified, and we are brave. Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege. The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you.”
By embracing a mindset that allows for creativity to be seen as a familiar companion, rather than a moody mistress, we remove some of the mystery and intimidation that surrounds it. This can set the stage for genuine creative expression. Creativity is what you make it, so make it your friend, pop a gummy, and have fun with it.
Asheville Dispensary D10 THCO Vape Cartridge – Green Crack Kush
Green Crack Kush is a potent sativa strain known for its tangy taste and energy punch.
This strain is beloved by many consumers for its energizing effects. But don’t let the name fool you: this is pure cannabis. Few strains compare to Green Crack’s sharp energy and focus as it induces an invigorating mental buzz that keeps you going throughout the day.
Asheville Dispensary’s house made cartridges are between 850-950 milligrams per 1g cart. The carts contain a ceramic coil. We use cannabis metric terpenes for the flavor profiles