“The best way I could describe the effect of the marijuana and hashish is that it would make me relaxed and creative.” – Steve Jobs
From Willie Nelson to Rihanna, there’s a decent chance that your favorite musician smokes weed. Anyone who’s been to a concert knows how well the smell of marijuana mingles with music. Cannabis enhances the sense. Colors are brighter, which is likely why the likes of iconic artists like Pablo Picasso, to modern cannabis painters such as Anita Toke, work cannabis into their works of art. and sounds are more impactful. Your favorite cup of tea (or the Cheetos that you’re enjoying as munchies) tastes more satisfying and favorable than you’ve ever had, as research shows that cannabis intake can improve taste responsiveness and enhance the sensory appeal of foods. Touch is heightened, which can increase arousal, not just sexually, but as artistic inspiration. But can cannabis not only help us enjoy art but produce it? Keep reading to learn about cannabis and creativity and how to integrate the plant into your artistic rituals, from jamming out on the keyboard to brainstorming creative ideas for work.
wHAT IS THE CONNECTION
BETWEEN CANNABIS AND CREATIVITY?
When it comes to cannabis and creativity, it’s all in your head. Research shows that the brain’s frontal lobe is where imagination occurs, and cannabis can increase cerebral blood flow, which stimulates activity in this area. The more active the frontal lobe is, the more unique ideas floating around in your head. This frontal lobe is also responsible for divergent thinking, which is critical to creativity. Divergent thinking is the ability to find and create patterns out of seemingly unrelated ideas. It’s how you come up with unique solutions, whether it’s what to do with leftovers, how to wrap up a novel’s plotline, or acts as the spark that creates kinkier sex, due to a willingness to try new things. So, not only does cannabis encourage cerebral blood flow, but it can help you make novel artistic and intellectual connections that translate into art.
Cannabis also may reveal creative thinking simply by allowing you to be yourself. THC lowers inhibitions, but there’s usually no risk of acting out of control or blacking out, unlike alcohol. Basking in creativity is heaven for an artist, but whether it’s singing for your lover or performing in front of a stadium, even rock stars suffer from stage fright. But when you can relax and be yourself, which cannabis helps you do, it’s much easier to come up with lyrics to a song — and perform the heck out of it.
What are the potential drawbacks of using cannabis to enhance creativity?
Like cannabis use in general, when it comes to creativity, the dosage is key. A 2014 study found that low doses (5.5 mg THC) improved divergent thinking and the ability to come up with creative ideas. However, when researchers raised the dose was to 22 mg THC, the scores lowered. Most of us have taken too much cannabis at some point, and understand that the derailing effects of an overly medicated candy can render you absolutely useless. Of course, you must keep in mind that what is a low dose for some people may be high for others. For medical patients, 22 mg of THC might be a small dose, but for casual users, it could prompt distracting and overwhelming paranoia or lethargy. So, when in doubt, stick with a microdose (5 mg of THC or less).
People also react to various methods of intake in a myriad of ways. For example, the study used vaporized cannabis, which provides an almost instant but short-lived effect that differs from the hours-long euphoria of an edible. Additionally, various forms of cannabis provide a myriad of experiences based on the cannabinoids, terpenes, and even where the plant was grown. So before you embark into a cabin in the wilderness to write a book of poetry, make sure you know what method of intake and dosage works for you.
WHAT SHOULD YOU KNOW BEFORE USING CANNABIS WITH CREATIVITY?
Thankfully, for the majority of adults, cannabis is very safe to experiment with. You may have heard the term “start low and go slow,” which is law regarding safe cannabis usage. For most people, a safe starting dose is between 5 to 10mg of THC. If you already have a brand or method of intake that works for you, stick with that.
Mindfulness is a way to live in the moment and fully embody yourself in the present. Many people who consume cannabis swear by it as a mindfulness tool, but you may get trapped in thoughts if you take too much. In addition to dosage, another consideration for using cannabis for creativity is set and setting. Set refers to your mental state, and setting refers to the physical environment around you. This means that you should feel calm, happy, and somewhere safe before consuming. This will allow you to stay mindful and focused on your creative goal. Not sure where to begin? Take a stab at a few of the creativity for cannabis ideas that you can do in the safety of your own home below:
- Practice a cannabis-infused brainstorm session. Put your phone and electronics away, and sit somewhere comfortable with a pen and notebook by yourself. Take a deep hit of cannabis. Inhale deeply, and allow a long exhale to follow. Continue focusing on your breath and notice the ideas that arise. Whether you’re working on a love poem or a project for work.
- Listen to music. If you don’t play an instrument or aren’t ready to dive into a tutorial, simply enjoy some cannabis and turn on your favorite tunes. For extra credit, dance joyfully and freely, allowing your body to move to the music. The boost from exercise
- Grab your pencils, your colored sharpies, and a big sheet of construction paper. Use the entire space to plan out the plot of your novel, or create a calendar to help you stay on track with guitar lessons.
- Take a long, hot, stoned bath. The relaxation of the warm water will help you feel safe and cozy. Cannabis helps lower inhibitions, and when combined with a relaxing bath, your mind is open to breakthroughs and ideas. Keep that pen and notebook handy!
You know your body and mind best, so follow your instinct when it comes to enhancing creativity with cannabis. If you’re already comfortable with the plant, integrating it into your keyboard practice, writing ritual, or painting routine should be seamless, as long as you start low and go slow. Take note of your experience, write it down in a journal, and build on it for next time. Some find that using cannabis for creativity is easy if they’re alone, but the moment working with an editor or bandmate comes into play, they want to be sober. If you’re brand new to cannabis, try it with a friend. Enjoy riffing off one another, and know that if you feel anxious or distracted at any point, you can stop what you’re doing, eat some snacks, and watch TV on the couch. Even Rihanna wants to kick back and do nothing but enjoy being stoned sometimes.