Does Marijuana Actually Make You More Creative?

There has always been the idea that cannabis can help boost your creative ability and thinking process. Is this true?

Aug 31, 2015

This week we explore what creativity is and how it works.

Being creative isn’t always about the ability to draw a picture or write a song—it’s about the mindset. It’s the capacity to look at something ordinary and change or evolve it into something extraordinary. Some people will say that creativity is a gene that is passed down and those that are born with a more analytical mind possess little capacity for creative thought. This is, of course, is untrue. Anyone can innovate better ideas based on past life experiences, imagination and skill set, but are there really ways to enhance the parts of your brain that produce creative thought?

Many are saying cannabis is the key to greater creativity due to its effects on the brain. Let’s break it down, shall we?

What is Creativity?
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Photo credit: 578foot / Shutterstock

According to Mihaly Csiksgentmihalyi of Psychology Today, creative people are remarkable due to their ability to adapt to any situation and make due with whatever is at hand to achieve their goals. She states that creative people alternate between imagination and fantasy but are always rooted in reality and that progressive art and science involve a leap of imagination that is different from the norm of current society. Creativity has no relation to IQ, which is highly regarded in our society, which means that high IQ is not necessarily the secret to success.

Cannabis and Creativity

Creativity is simply a brain operation that can be altered with the use of cannabis. The neurons in your brain process and pass along information in the form of neurotransmitters to the rest of the brain. Unlike other intoxicants like alcohol, cannabis possesses cannabinoids, which are naturally produced in the brain. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) also highly resembles Anandamide, which is natural transmitter to the neurons in your brain. After a neuron fires, there is a break in the transmission of thought to not overwhelm the mind and keep you calm and controlled. However, cannabis stops these breaks and allows the user to amplify their ideas and imagination. These new thought patterns lead to creative thinking and an escape from the ordinary.

The book “Creativity & Beyond” by Robert Weiner states that a cannabis-induced state of mind may lead to breaking free from everyday thinking and associations, which increases the chances of generating new ideas and associations.

Memory Recall 
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Photo credit: yeeghost

Many cannabis smokers will agree that smoking does have an effect on both short and long term memory. Research shows that THC impairs the consolidation of short-term memories into long-term memories and can make it difficult to recall what happened during the high even after the cannabis wears off – although it is obviously not always the case. This can have an impact on creativity due to the inability to remember that great idea you had while stoned in its entirety. Marijuana, however, doesn’t affect existing memories like what your name is or where you live, but you might have a problem recalling that ingenious ice-cream flavor idea you meant to send to Ben and Jerry’s.

Tools for the Creative Process

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Many creative people use cannabis as a tool for their art without necessarily knowing the science behind the drug—and science says that it makes you more creative. Cannabis has been scientifically proven to help produce new ideas, help break free of the constraints of current realities and to help stimulate creative drive.

Creative cannabis smokers should be equally aware, however, of the adverse effects that may hinder their process. So for those who smoke to create, keep a notebook handy so as not to loose that next million dollar idea amongst a rapid thought process. You never know what creativity might strike you while you’re high.

Featured image NPR

Aug 31, 2015