What’s the relationship between Creativity and Cannabis?
“I am convinced that there are genuine and valid levels of perception available with cannabis (and probably with other drugs) which are, through the defects of our society and our educational system, unavailable to us without such drugs.”Carl Sagan, Mr X
Creativity is the use of the imagination or original ideas. We typically associate this to the production of artistic works. Of course, creativity extends to problem-solving and many other aspects of our lives.
So can cannabis help us tap creative reserves?
The answer is: it’s complicated. (Did you really expect anything different?)
A word on the studies
There are few studies that have been conducted specifically to study the relationship between creativity and cannabis. The studies referenced herein used timed word association and other linguistic creativity games.
Does weed make you creative, or do you smoke weed if you’re creative?
Open minded, curious and adventurous: this set of adjectives describes creative people. It also describes people who try cannabis. Or, well, most drugs. (See the quote attributed to Carl Sagan above.)
Many celebrities associated with creative works, like Snoop Dogg or Lady Gaga, openly admit to consuming ganja. Carl Sagan, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are other tokers who have used creativity in a different vein.
We can’t be certain which way the correlation runs.
How much is the right amount?
In the studies, low doses of THC seemed to improve results in word-association games. On the other hand, higher THC quantities tended to impact the results negatively.
It’s also interesting to note that the studies didn’t report CBD content or terpenes, if there were any present. Many scientific studies tend to utilize THC distillate and are thus studies in tetrahydrocannabinol rather than cannabis, but I digress. Therefore conclusions shouldn’t be made on cannabis as a whole, but should be limited to THC.
That being said, the well known axiom of “Start low, go slow” is particularly important when you want to be able to enhance, rather than detract from, your creativity.
How much THC then?
There’s no single answer. Cannabis affects each individual in unique ways. Effects and dosage depends on current THC tolerance, mood and environmental factors. Notwithstanding, people who consumed between 2.5mg and 5mg of THC performed slightly better than the control group in a study. Most people who had consumed more than 12mg tended to perform less well than the control group in the same study.
So what actually happens?
Studies have confirmed a correlation between creativity and cannabis in low dosages. There are many hypothesis to explain the link.
Similarly to alcohol, cannabis lowers or can even eliminate inhibitions. People are less fearful of trying different methods or experimenting with new concepts.
Cannabis can also be a stimulant, and all stimulants, like coffee, can boost problem solving and focus. This doesn’t impact creativity directly, but can have similar outcomes.
Lastly, certain people can, on advice of their medical practionner, treat anxiety and depression through cannabis. Treating their symptoms allows them to undertake endeavours they would otherwise not have done, and thus can be seen as a means of explaining the relationship.