While there have been various studies that show that the use of marijuana in some quantities could have positive health effects, the legalization of the stimulant is still debated in many states. Some states have already legalized the sales of this stimulant while some are completely against legalizing it.
A claim of the effect of the intake of the drug is that it helps enhance creativity. But is this true? Some cannabis users say that they feel more creative after they get high on cannabis.
But is there really a connection between cannabis and creativity, whether positive or negative? Does cannabis permanently boost the inherent creativity in you or it just gives you quick bursts of creativity as long as you are high on it?
Unsurprisingly, this debatable subject has attracted a lot of studies because of the number of people who believe that cannabis enhances their creativity. In fact, Carl Sagan, a popular astrophysicist, revealed that he was under the inspiration of cannabis when he got the epiphany that led to the 12-minute sound essay he is well-known for.
Some poets also revealed that they were using cannabis when they wrote various impeccable pieces. These results are hard to argue against as science doesn’t readily settle on coincidence. But what we feel is not always reality.
We live in a world where illusions abound, after all. However, newer studies have something to say about the claim of those that believe cannabis enhances their creativity.
A study reached a conclusion that regularly ingesting marijuana may increase creativity, but the effects of the drug could vary depending on the personality of the takers.
But First, What Do We Mean By Creativity?
This entire article might end up being a confusing piece if we don’t let you know what we mean by creativity. Many people have their own definitions, making it hard to specifically say how it relates to cannabis.
So, for the sake of this article, creativity would be defined based on two processes, just as researchers from Leiden University did in 2015. These two creative processes are divergent thinking and convergent thinking.
Divergent thinking involves the ability to think up many solutions to a problem. This kind of creative process is one that lights up the bulbs in your head with fresh ideas.
Convergent thinking, on the other hand, is the ability to think up one specific solution that best takes care of a problem. It is this kind of thinking that helps you choose the best of all the ideas you have in a situation.
Effect of Cannabis on Creativity
The researchers at Leiden University concluded that the use of CBD products in low dose boosts divergent thinking to some extent.
And high dopamine levels are associated with an increase in divergent thinking. However, the intake of cannabis in high doses may be rather detrimental to its users in both divergent and convergent thinking. In other words, high doses of cannabis do not boost creativity.
Researchers from University College in London also did their own research, but with different parameters. This time, they carried out their tests on two categories of regular cannabis users: people with high creativity traits and others with low creativity traits.
This study was to find out the effects of cannabis on the divergent thinking abilities of these two test categories. They discovered that test subjects that had high creativity traits didn’t notice a difference in their creativity levels, sober, or on marijuana.
Conversely, those who had low creativity traits agreed that they noticed heightened creativity levels under the influence of the stimulant. Simply put, this research showed that cannabis may enhance the creativity of those who aren’t normally creative.
However, it may not have much effect on the creativity of normally creative people. So, if you find that you are not normally creative, or you may need a bit of creative spark, cannabis may be of help to you.
Let’s Look At More Studies
As you might expect from this highly debatable topic, some other researches have something slightly different to say.
One research concluded that cannabis boosted the divergent thinking ability of only regular users. This research concluded that those who had been taking cannabis for a long time experienced a boost in their divergent thinking abilities.
Non-regular cannabis users, however, didn’t enjoy this divergent thinking boost that cannabis may offer.
Another research threw away all claims that cannabis induces an increase in creativity levels. According to this research, low doses of cannabis neither reduced nor increased the levels of creative thinking of the user. High doses, however, were found to be detrimental to the creativity levels of cannabis users.
However, all the researches above only proved that divergent thinking receives a boost under mild doses of cannabis. But what effect does this have on convergent thinking?
The answer to this question is simple. THC is what is responsible for the boost in divergence thinking as it stimulates an increase in dopamine levels. But this creates a seesaw kind of situation, as convergent thinking is at its lowest when dopamine levels are high.
What this means is that low doses of cannabis enhance divergent thinking while convergent thinking takes a blow from it.
Strains Of Cannabis Linked To Creativity Boosts
Some of the strains of cannabis linked to creativity include:
- Kali Mist
- Chem Dog
- Jack Herer
- Purple Haze
The rollercoaster effects of cannabis in its users make it hard to specify whether or not cannabis boosts creativity. But one might attribute boosts in verbal fluency, originality, and flexibility to low doses of cannabis.
Another possibility is that low doses of the stimulant may not even affect your creativity. However, high doses could limit your creativity.
Conversely, cannabis may inhibit your ability to make smart decisions because it cripples one’s convergent thinking abilities.