Having creativity does not always mean the ability to whip out a paintbrush and to paint a masterpiece. Creativity is more about a mindset, about perceiving something in a new way. Creative people can look at something that seems ordinary and they can change it into something wonderful. They can solve problems in an innovative way. Creative people are not always born with this mindset; it can be trained and practiced- drawing from experiences in their past. Another way that can help get the creative juices flowing is by smoking some weed.
Steve Jobs, someone with a very analytical mind, yet creative, once said, “The best way I could describe the effect of the marijuana and hashish is that it would make me relaxed and creative.” Most marijuana users would say that at some point cannabis has helped them feel more creative and view the world from a different perspective.
So why is it that marijuana has this effect on people? The neurons in a person’s brain process and pass along information to the rest of the brain in the form of neurotransmitters. Other intoxicants like some medications and alcohol do not contain cannabinoids like cannabis that are naturally created in the brain. The cannabinoid THC very much resembles Anandamide, a natural transmitter to the neurons in your brain. There is a break in the transference of thought after a neuron fires so that it does not overwhelm the mind and keep you calm and controlled. However, when cannabis is consumed it stops these breaks and allows ideas and the imagination to become heightened. The new thought patterns were created to allow for more creative thinking and a different perspective than before.
There are other factors to consider when harnessing all the creative power you can get from smoking a joint. For instance, the strength of the marijuana strain, how regularly it gets consumed, and a person’s baseline personality. All these things are influencing factors. Lucky for us we don’t have to simply make a guess about it. There have been actually studies to determine the acute effects of cannabis on creativity.
Because creativity is a hard thing to measure, especially in a scientific study, a 2015 study from Leiden University in the Netherlands tested participants that smoked on a regular basis (4 times a week for 2 years) on two classic creative processes. The first was divergent thinking, in which you come up with multiple solutions to a single, loosely-defined problem, like brainstorming. The other one was convergent thinking which is when the single best solution to a problem is found to be a well-defined problem. Both of these processes are essential to creative thinking as one helps to produce several ideas and the latter helps you to choose which one is the best.
The study showed that consuming marijuana did correspond with an increase of divergent thinking up to a certain point. The lower dose of 5.5 mg of 19% THC was associated with an increase in divergent thinking characteristics like originality, fluency, and flexibility. However, the higher dose of 22mg THC had an opposite impact and decreased divergent thinking. So if you are consuming marijuana to be more creative then smoking a little bit will get you there, but smoking a whole joint by yourself will probably just give you couch lock instead of inspiration.
For a great way to ease into using marijuana for creativity, you can attend a marijuana painting class, modeled after the popular “paint and sip” classes with wine or other alcohol. The increasingly popular classes in Colorado called Puff, Pass, and Paint allow you to smoke and follow along with an artist for step-by-step instructions to create a “mind-altered masterpiece”
Famous musicians, painters, and other artists have confessed to using cannabis to help bring out their creative side. Some have even said their best work was done after smoking marijuana. This goes to show you that there are also wonderful ways to use marijuana other than for medical reasons. So if you are looking to channel your inner creative being or simply looking for a solution that is outside of the box, smoking some marijuana may help you to think creatively. Just be sure to keep a notebook close by to jot down these brilliant ideas while high as our short-term memory becomes impaired when you consume marijuana.