How Smoking Weed Affects Creatives
People who work in a creative field, such as writers, artists, musicians, and so on, can sometimes have problems finding ways to keep their creative juices flowing. Cannabis has become one of the most popular substances in the world, and it has always been said that cannabis helps with creativity. Personally, I have always been an advocate for cannabis being useful when it comes to writing. I find that most of the time when I get stuck on something if I take a break and smoke, I usually can come back to my writing with new ideas. While it does work for me, that doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. There have been many studies on the subject, but it is hard to find a conclusive answer when there is no real way to measure creativity.
There have been studies on whether or not cannabis boosts creativity dating back to 1970, most showing that regular users have more original thoughts while using marijuana. More recently, research also showed that 50% of regular cannabis users think it heightens their creativity. With cannabis becoming legal in more places, it would seem that using it for creative purposes would become more normal. However, there is still some stigma to the usage of cannabis in general. I truly believe that cannabis is useful for many different reasons, but as a person who works in a creative field, it seems to be pretty normal.
In 2017, a paper from the journal Consciousness and Cognition said that a person’s personality type plays a big role in creativity. It also said that personality traits such as openness to the experience of using cannabis help enhance creativity in those people. The results showed that sober cannabis users displayed enhanced self-reported creativity, while non-cannabis users did not report the same. This suggests that personality type is a big part of the reason why it worked for some and not others.
Creatives have always been said to have used marijuana to boost their minds when working on projects. A 2015 study from Leiden University in the Netherlands tested their subjects on two classic creative processes; divergent thinking and convergent thinking. Divergent thinking is when a person comes up with many solutions to a single problem, while convergent thinking is when a person finds the one solution that is best to solve the problem. Both of these are part of the creative thinking process but are very different.
The study showed that using cannabis did correlate with increased signs of divergent thinking, but only to a certain point. The lower dose of THC did slightly increase divergent thinking traits like originality, flexibility, and fluency, while as higher doses of THC actually had the opposite impact. This means that the lower dosages increased creativity, but when the THC levels got higher, it decreased the level of creativity. It's easy to see how that can be true because if a person gets too high, they won’t want to work. Cannabis can be extremely helpful in the creative thinking department, but it does depend on the person.
Cannabis allows people to see the world through a new lens, however, it is very difficult to study this topic because it is extremely hard to measure or even define creativity. It can mean so many things and people will definitely define it differently depending on the person that is asked.
Personally, I believe creativity is when my mind can continuously flow with thoughts and keep working without feeling a lull. I truly think that cannabis helps me keep my brain going with all sorts of ideas and creative thoughts.
As a writer, however, I do sometimes find that when I write high, I have to go back and make edits, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If I can get the thoughts down in some matter, then when I am sober, I can go back and make the edits that are needed to pull the article together. Essentially, I write a draft when I’m high and then go back edit sober. That way has always worked best for me and I do find that the thoughts are pretty well put together. The mental state it puts me in is perfect for the creative process.
While smoking cannabis works for me, it won’t work for everyone. There are of course downsides to smoking, like maybe getting too high to be able to process thoughts. It could also mess with the persons writing quality and grammar, which is the main reason why I go back and edit sober. Creatives definitely need to be careful not to overdo it because it could get them off track. I always try to make sure that the strains I get have uplifting qualities and will help with my focus. There is no way to be sure because it truly depends on the person’s openness to it, and overall mindset. With that being said, this is something people can experiment with on their own time. With no true answer to this question, I suppose it is up to the user. In my opinion, I’ve always felt that cannabis takes me into the perfect mindset to be able to be creative and still get work done.