Photo of artist Dahae Song by Connor Fyfe
From Maya Angelou to the Grateful Dead, creative types have long gravitated toward cannabis. The herb has a special way of changing your frame of mind and offering new perspectives, qualities that are as good as gold for many artistic individuals. But, you don’t have to be a professional to explore your creative side. If you’re wondering how to tap into new ways of thinking, we have a few tips about how to enhance your creativity with cannabis.
Cannabis and creativity are in the midst of a centuries-long relationship. Even back in the Victorian era, writers, poets, and artists incorporated the plant into their works, dazzled by the herb’s mind-altering nature, and sometimes endowing it with divine qualities.
In the roaring 20s and 30s, the plant became a symbol of Jazz culture, a symbol that was later attacked during the Reefer Madness era that followed. Cannabis was popularized in the arts yet again by mid-century authors like Hunter S. Thompson, who ran for Sheriff on a “free weed” platform in Pitkin County, Colorado in 1970.
Today, cannabis is referenced in many songs, books, movies, visual arts and more. Contemporary artists like DAHAE, pictured above, use cannabis to influence her creativity. For good reason, too—the herb is a botanical muse.
On average, cannabis consumers tend to be more open to engaging new experiences, including those that this mind-altering plant provides. This openness is perhaps one reason why so many creative types naturally gravitate toward cannabis, the plant offers a glimpse into an unusual side of consciousness, a side ripe for exploration.
The psychoactive compounds in weed may also impact divergent thinking, a type of thinking that allows you to more easily connect abstract concepts, leading to new associations between ideas, memories, and emotions that otherwise seem unrelated. There’s a catch, however. If you enjoy a little too much a little too often, you might find yourself a little blocked.
Cannabis is a deeply personal experience. Some people enjoy using the herb during brainstorm sessions, while others may find that it enhances their ability to concentrate on their present task. Others still simply enjoy the plant for its social component, finding inspiration in good conversations and general tom-foolery that later make their way into creative work.
Yet, getting the most out of the cannabis experience can be tricky. Many consumers enjoy the plant for the ideas and mental space it provides, but, on the downside, it can also make it hard to stay motivated in some circumstances.
Wondering how to find the right balance? Ultimately, personal exploration will help you discover whether or not the plant works for you. To start the adventure off on a good note, however, there are a few tricks worth keeping in mind.
Surveys tell all. Artists use cannabis to facilitate specific emotional states and to promote a relaxed atmosphere. Here’s the catch: different cannabis products inspire different moods. For a more alerting experience, a flower like Old Pal Sativa is more likely to inspire an uplifted and thought-provoking experience.
Meanwhile, a product like Old Pal Indica is more likely to take the edge off with a hypnotic feel. Indica is often recommended for low-key evenings, while Sativa is a high-spirited product that is better suited for daytime explorations.
If you pick the wrong type of weed, you may find that your mood doesn’t match your intention. Before sparking up, it’s worthwhile to ask: what mood am I hoping to cultivate right now? The answer will help you find the right flower.
There’s no contest, cannabis has been a favorite past-time for artists and creative types for decades. Yet, there’s no need to overdo it. Cannabis consumers may naturally gravitate toward the plant thanks to a natural inclination for discovery, but overindulgence may lead to mental roadblocks in their own right.
As with any psychoactive substance, following the golden rule is always recommended: start low, go slow. If a small amount of weed isn’t doing it for you, you can always scale up. If you overshoot your dose from the beginning, however, it may take several hours for the active effects of the plant to wear off.
Rolling a joint and passing it around with friends is often a worthwhile means of controlling your dose. While cannabis is excellent to enjoy solo, sharing some Old Pal Hybrid with your friends enables you to explore just a little taste without diving head-on into an experience that may make it more difficult to hit the right chords or remember where you left your paintbrush.
Put on your favorite record, grab some Old Pal, and relax. Musicians throughout history have a reputation for enjoying cannabis. Like cannabis, listening to music may inspire divergent thinking, potentially boosting the creative process, especially if it’s happy and upbeat. Music can also help cultivate the right atmosphere, influencing the emotional state of the listener.
Coupled with cannabis, music contributes to cultivating a welcoming environment. Although, the combined experience is often a personal one. Part of the creative experience may be allowing yourself to get swept away by the sounds.
Cannabis may enhance acoustic perception and often inspires a desire to listen to music, allowing you to sink into the moment. As with everything, however, balance is key. Strong cannabis may detract from your ability to fully engage with a musical experience.
So, keep things light and pass it around.
Mindset and setting are crucial for an inviting cannabis experience. The more comfortable you are in your surroundings, the easier and more natural the cannabis experience will be. The plant’s primary psychoactive compound, THC, has an unruly reputation. While sometimes the compound promotes bliss and relaxation, it can also contribute to anxiety and paranoia.
While some artists may contest that negative emotions like anxiety can sometimes spur creativity in their own right, they’re often downright distracting and uncomfortable.
To avoid wasting your creative time, make your environment as comfortable as possible. Find some Old Pals, pull on your favorite sweater, get rid of clutter, and set up your space just right. Eliminating distractions can help you sink easily into your creative flow, with less of your attention diverted to other miscellaneous tasks.