Are you experiencing a creative block? Do you feel uninspired? Without creative inspiration, we wouldn’t have any of the incredible works of art or advances in science and technology that define us.
But what do you do when you simply don’t feel creative? Throughout the years, artists and thinkers have developed or stumbled upon many techniques and tools to spark their creative instincts. Still, one method backed by science and individual testimonials stands out as a particularly helpful way to generate creativity: consuming cannabis.
This time-tested method for inducing creativity doesn’t work for everyone, but the scientific research and anecdotal evidence show that it definitely works for many. With just a few simple steps, you can harness marijuana’s power to get your creative juices flowing.
What Science Says About Cannabis & Creativity
Many of cannabis’s known effects might influence its ability to spark our creative instincts. Marijuana tends to put people more in touch with the present moment, and it can shift someone’s usual ways of looking at things. The plant can also ease people into the kind of relaxed and open state from which creativity flows.
Though it’s hard to measure creativity scientifically, researchers have attempted to quantify it. Studies going back to the 1970s showed that regular cannabis users reported having more original thoughts. Another piece of research looked at self-reported marijuana effects from 30 studies and found that more than half of those cannabis users said that the plant heightened their creativity.
While creativity is a somewhat vague concept, scientists have looked at different aspects of creative thinking to see whether they shift with cannabis use. One type of creativity, divergent thinking—more commonly referred to as brainstorming—is when someone comes up with many solutions to a problem.
In a 2015 study from Leiden University in the Netherlands, divergent thinking was tested to see whether it was easier or harder for those consuming cannabis. As it turns out, marijuana consumption increased divergent thinking, but only up to a certain point.
With low doses (around 5.5 mg) of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), participants’ creativity ramped up. But with higher doses of THC (around 22 mg), divergent thinking actually went down relative to that of the control group. This means that dose is crucial to achieving creativity with cannabis. Low doses of marijuana are helpful for creativity, but too much can cause the opposite effect.
Cannabis may also be especially helpful for those who are lacking creativity to begin with. One study looked at cannabis’s effect on people who had already been classified as having high or low levels of creativity. While low doses of THC increased creativity significantly in those who were previously considered to be lacking in this ability, it didn’t increase for those who already scored high on creativity prior to consuming the plant.
3 Keys to Successfully Consuming Cannabis for Creativity
If you’re planning to use cannabis to get your creative juices flowing, keep in mind the following:
- If you’re already in a creative headspace, you probably won’t reach new heights of inspiration when you consume cannabis—it might even decrease your creativity if you have too much. But if you’re feeling blocked or not that creative to begin with, low doses of cannabis could open up a whole new world.
- Always consume low doses of cannabis. Too much marijuana, and you just might find yourself feeling less creative than you did before.
- Consider the cannabis strain you’re consuming. Not all strains are created equal, and some are better than others when it comes to finding inspiration. While you may need to do some experimenting to find the ones that work best for you, marijuana strains that some folks say promote high levels of creativity include sativas:
- Jack Herer
- Kali Mist
As well as hybrids like:
And some people have found that creativity flows even after consuming indicas such as:
- Berry White
- Super Skunk
Cannabis Creativity Exercises You Can Try
If you think cannabis may help support your creative needs, there’s only one way to see if it works for you. Here are a few cannabis creativity exercises to try at home.
Brainstorming With Cannabis
Whether it’s for work, home, relationships or personal pursuits, we all have problems to solve. Brainstorming can be a great way to generate ideas. This exercise is a cannabis take on the classic brainstorm. You can use it any time you need to come up with an idea or solve a problem.
To get started, find a private, comfortable space where you won’t be disturbed and set aside at least 30 minutes. Bring:
- your cannabis (already prepared and ready to consume)
- a timer
- a notebook
- a pen
Once you’re settled into your private space, set your open notebook in front of you and start your 30-minute timer.
First, consume some cannabis. Be sure to choose a consumption method that imparts effects quickly like vaping, smoking or a sublingual oil, and remember to keep your dose low.
Then begin to write in your notebook. At first, you may want to write down the problem you’re trying to solve or the type of ideas you’re hoping to generate. Follow your inspiration where it takes you, writing down anything that pops into your mind about the problem or potential solutions.
If you find yourself without anything to write down, simply sit, pen in hand, and let your mind wander. When an idea worth noting comes to mind, go back to writing. Continue this process of writing or sitting in stillness until the 30 minutes are up. Then, look back over your ideas to see if anything is worth developing further.
Sketching/Painting With Marijuana
You can also use this kind of process to create visual art like sketches or paintings. As in the first exercise, you should set up your environment first, a private space, and come with:
- a timer
- a drawing pad
- some drawing utensils
- your low dose of cannabis
When you’re ready to begin, start your timer for at least 30 minutes (or longer if you prefer more time for your artistic endeavor). Enjoy your marijuana and then begin to create.
If you aren’t sure what to create and need to generate ideas, begin sketching freeform shapes or colours on your page and see what emerges.
When your timer goes off, look back through your sketches. What speaks to you? Does anything jump out that you would like to work on further? You can end here for the day or pick one piece to work on in more depth.
Creativity Exercises for Other Endeavours
No matter the endeavour, you can use this type of process to generate creativity and inspiration. The key elements are the same—set a timer, take a low dose of cannabis and create or sit in silence until the timer goes off, then review what you generated.
In addition to brainstorming or sketching, I like to use this with writing, making crafts, planning outfits and even organizing items in my house. If you’re feeling stuck creatively, follow this simple exercise format, and you can infuse inspiration into any project.
Photo credit: Eddy Klaus