For many people, smoking a bowl is the best way to get the creative juices flowing.
As comedian Bill Hicks once put it:
“Drugs have done good things for us, and if you don’t believe they have, do me a favor. Take all your albums, tapes, and CDs and burn ‘em. Because you know what? The musicians who made that great music that has enhanced your lives throughout the years–reeeaal fucking high”
But does weed actually help creativity or is it just an illusion?
Due to prohibition against marijuana, medical research into the effects of marijuana on creativity has been limited or skewed. As more states are allowing medicinal and recreational marijuana, research increasingly supports the claim that marijuana influences creative thinking.
Creativity is a difficult concept to measure scientifically.
Scientists try to measure creative activity in the brain by studying activity in the part that handles divergent thinking.
Divergent thinking is the ability to relate unrelated concepts or ideas, and is the process that helps with problem solving and connecting ideas.
Cannabinoids from weed (THC in particular) saturate the neurons in the lobe that handles divergent thinking, causing them work overtime. The result of this hyperactivity is what causes your mind to drift from one topic to the next so freely when high.
The problem is THC also inhibits short term memory. Thus, creative ideas come but they are lost as the next idea comes along.
Early research into the effects of marijuana on the brain assumed THC was the only active ingredient in cannabis.
But as knowledge of the plant has grown, scientists have discovered numerous cannabinoids each with their own characteristics. CBD has been found to even counteract THC, including its effect on short term memory.
This different levels of cannabinoids influence the effect weed has on you.
In fact, recent studies have found that certain strains have less effect on memory, allowing users to harness the creative energy from their high, claiming “marijuana may act as a muse to bolster individuals to creative genius.”
So, long story short, cannabis does enhance creative thinking, but that is not to say that it is the origin of creativity. Smoking weed opens up pathways to creative thinking, but true creativity comes from within.