How to Use Cannabis to Boost Creativity
Published on Mar 15, 2021
There are many reasons to use cannabis – health benefits, relieving anxiety or just wanting a good time – but one of our favorite reasons is to boost creativity. Marijuana can induce some incredible creative sessions that result in looking at your art (whatever that may be) in an entirely new way. Let’s take a look at cannabis and creativity, why it happens, how it works and the best ways you can promote creative marijuana sessions.
The History of Cannabis and Creativity
There is no shortage of marijuana stereotypes, and while many of these stereotypes are often harmful and incomplete, the association between cannabis use and creatives might be closer to the truth. For thousands of years, societies have used various drugs to induce creativity, often bridging the physical and metaphysical worlds through hallucinogens and psychoactive drugs. Of course, marijuana is no exception. Human history has intertwined with marijuana use for thousands of years, and likely for many of the same reasons we so actively use it today. In recent American history, cannabis culture has grown up side-by-side with many of the 20th-century countercultures, which prolifically defined and express themselves through the arts. The counterculture of marijuana has since been centered around highly-creative communities, which serves an interesting scientific dilemma. Studies show that individuals who use cannabis are more likely to self-identify as creative and are more creative than non-users even while sober. Does weed make you creative, or do you use weed because you are creative? The answer isn’t entirely clear, but we do know how marijuana affects the body and why this may increase creativity.
How Cannabis Affects the Body
Marijuana directly affects our body’s endocannabinoid system, a system found in almost every part of our bodies that is made of countless CR1 and CR2 receptors. CBD binds to CR2 receptors, which are responsible for regulating our appetite, pain, inflammation and our immune system. THC binds to both CR1 and CR2 receptors, with CR1 receptors regulating things such as pain, emotional balances, nausea and more. When marijuana is consumed, THC, CBD and the hundreds of other chemical compounds with the plant work together to produce the psychoactive effects associate with weed. This synergetic process is called the entourage effect. When the right type and amount of marijuana is consumed, this entourage effect works to induce creativity.
How Cannabis Encourages Dopamine Creation
It is likely that dopamine also has a part to play in marijuana creativity. Cannabis increases dopamine in terminal regions throughout the mesolimbic dopamine system. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is sent between cells through the nervous system that is most commonly known as the pleasure chemical because it directly relates to a feeling of euphoria. The more dopamine floods your system, the more pleasure you feel. Dopamine likely increases the euphoric effects of marijuana and increases certain aspects of creativity.
How Cannabis Stimulates Divergent Thinking
When we talk about creativity, we are discussing the implementation of imagination and original ideas to form something new. Creativity manifests in a myriad of ways, from writing and drawing to scientific inquiry and philosophizing. Divergent thinking is a specific creative process that results in new ideas by exploring many possible scenarios and solutions to a situation or problem. When we talk about creativity and cannabis, we are most often discussing divergent thinking.
By its very nature, divergent thinking is non-linear and hyper-abstract, which are two side effects of the psychoactive aspects of THC. While there aren’t many studies on divergent thinking and cannabis, the little research available shows there is a correlation between acute cannabis use, schizotypy and divergent thinking. However, more research needs to be done before there are any concrete explanations as to why cannabis and creativity readily correlate.
How to Best Use Cannabis to Promote Creativity
Does weed make you creative? Yes, it can. However, there are best practices for using weed for creativity. Here are a few of the best cannabis for creativity practices you can implement.
Use Low Doses
First and foremost, make sure to not over-smoke. If you smoke too much, you will decrease your capacity for divergent thinking. Studies have shown that higher levels of THC impair divergent thinking, especially with frequent cannabis users. For the best results, we suggest microdosing. Take small amounts at a time and ease your way up to where you feel the most creative. There isn’t one specific amount that is guaranteed to increase your creativity – it’s different for everyone – but getting completely stoned is rarely an effective creative solution.
Choose the Right Strain
Not just any bud is going to get you into the right creative mindset. Indicas are much more likely to lull you into a mellow, chill vibe while sativas are more likely to pick you up and give you more energy. There are plenty of strains creatives swear by, but it’s all about finding what’s right for you. The most important thing you can look for is strains high in CBD. CBD acts like volume control to the effects of THC – the more CBD you have alongside your THC, the less intense the psychoactive, nap-inducing high will be. This is ideal, since high levels of THC are more likely to impair divergent thinking.
Consider the Situation and Atmosphere
Last but not least, just like anything else, where you are and what you’re doing makes a big difference in how creative you will be. Even if you microdose with a hybrid strain with higher CBD levels, you’ll probably have a hard time being creative if you aren’t in a good place for it. There’s no real science behind this one, you just want to find somewhere that will help you zone in and get creative. Find a safe space where you can focus on your craft, microdose and get ready to ride the creativity high.
Do you use cannabis to promote creativity? What products do you like to use, how much do you use and what are your favorite creative outlets while high? Comment below!