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Cannabis & Creativity
Hello. If you’ve ever listened to my podcast you may have heard a guest or two talk about how good the weed we smoked before we sat down was. (I don’t smoke with all the guests, but when I do–it’s some fantastic s**t.) Click on the show’s logo to get a list of all the people I’ve spoken (and potentially smoke…-en…) with.
Anyway, here’s a post for any of you folks out there wondering…
Cannabis Makes You More Creative…Right?
Being that I like cannabis and also host a podcast centered around creativity and creative people, I thought this a topic worth investigating. Not only do I think it could be an interesting read (you’re welcome) but I thought it might help me figure out…I dunno…if I’m using it the right way to max out my creative potential in the time that I have most days. So this is for you users and non-users alike. But more than that, it’s for me.
So I got into some scholarly stuff–no “pro-weed websites”– to help me address one thing:
- Does cannabis make you more creative?
- Why or why not?
I chose to put this study first because it’s important to know that “cannabis with low potency does not have any impact on creativity, while highly potent cannabis actually impairs divergent thinking.” It suggests that even convergent thinking is negatively affected by cannabis. So maybe being high in-and-of-itself isn’t the prime time to try to be creatively productive. So that helps me with the is there an amount one should use? You can use a low dose, but that wouldn’t appear to impact creativity. So…
Convergent Thinking: thinking that occurs when
the solution to a problem can be deduced by
applying established rules and logical reasoning.Google
I should mention that the study does acknowledge that “chronic [sic] users” (which they mean chronic users of chronic, hehe) aren’t affected as much as irregular/non-users. So if you’re gonna smoke, do it like they prescribe in the song?
“Smoke weed every day.”Nate Dogg at the end of “The Next Episode”
So then…is using cannabis at all worthwhile as a creative tool? I kept searching and came upon another interesting study, focused on users vs non-users, measuring the creativity of both in sober states. The findings seem to indicate that cannabis users were more creative in sober states than non-users. But this was ultimately attributed to cannabis users being more open to new experiences than non-users, rather than something the cannabis magically produces by itself.
I actually talked about this a little with Chanel Ali (best comedian of 2020 (NPR)), and she said that cannabis helps her be open to things a lot of people would say no to, which ultimately gives her material. So she isn’t funny onstage because she’s high–she’s funny because of her high experiences that she recaptured and worked on in a sober state. (Check her out on Episode 29 of Creative Ops.)
Creative Ops | Ep.29 | Chanel Ali – Comedian with the Best Comedy Album of 2020 (NPR) – Creative Ops
Yet another study of creativity in cannabis users vs non-users (maybe my favorite of them all) focused on coming up with new business ideas. This study found that cannabis users had more original ideas, though they were less feasible. Non-users thought more logically but struggled to come up with anything truly original.
There was one other thing this last study took into account: interest and experience in entrepreneurship. It says that the originality of the ideas was linked to how much interest/experience in entrepreneurial stuff people had. So folks who were already geeked about business got a little more outside the box with stuff they were passionate about. As a fiction writer, not feasible isn’t really a concern. So depending on what the real world implications are, it may or may not assist your work directly. Not in the moment of the high, anyway.
So what does all this mean to me?
It means that people who use cannabis are more open-minded. Literally. And that open-mindedness transcends the experience of being high, stoned, lifted, baked, fried, or whatever you call it. Whether it’s new experiences or a slightly different POV on things, it might help you think outside the box. The late great George Carlin, said that he liked to write sober and “punch it up” after taking just a few hits of a joint.
In the end, cannabis is good for creativity. Maybe don’t do all your creative work high, though. Some athletes, painters, musicians, chefs, you-name-it swear by the stuff. Others don’t touch it. Perhaps balance is the key…
And just like that, all the stoners’ minds were collectively blown. (Everyone else was like, Meh…)
See ya next time, squares and stoners!
Christopher Tallon writes, podcasts, and…wait a second. Are you actually reading this? High five! Follow me: