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Pot is Good for Your Creativity

Cannabis has a legendary status in the creative community.


From Jimi Hendrix to Ted Turner, everyone has attributed their creative prowess (or at least a portion of it) to cannabis. When he took cannabis and hashish in the 1970s, Steve Jobs said he felt “relaxed and productive.” And now that more than 40% of Americans live in a state where cannabis is legal, many more people may be interested in investigating its connection to their employment. But does marijuana actually boost our creativity? Is it just enough to make us high enough to convince ourselves that the task we’re doing is worthwhile?

It is, after all, difficult. While it’s impossible to picture Hendrix being Hendrix without consuming marijuana, cannabis affects everyone differently. Someone may discover that cannabis helps them overcome writer’s block or design a fresh method for a marketing campaign, whilst another may discover that cannabis dulls their intellect, blurs their judgment, or hampers their motivation.

Finding complementary strains and conditions is ultimately an individual process, but now that the drug has lost its stigma and much of its legal risk component, it may be worth trying as a tool for creativity. It may not work for everyone, but it may work for you.


Both preconceptions of cannabis users—as couch-bound stoners and free-thinking innovators—are out of date. So, let’s get past the superficial cultural connotations and determine which strains, if any, are most likely to stimulate, rather than inhibit, your productivity.


Cannabis science and creativity


Although there are numerous ways to assess “creativity,” one method used by scientists is the number of distinct solutions to a problem that a person can come up with, also known as “divergent thinking.”


Of course, putting divergent thinking to the test isn’t easy. Clinical psychologist Gráinne Schafer is a key researcher on the subject, and she believes that scientists do not understand the relationship between cannabis and creativity well enough. Her team did remark that cannabis has effects that can assist a person integrate seemingly unconnected notions, which may aid certain people in their creative endeavors.


Schafer’s assembled a group of test subjects and divided them into two groups: those with “poor creativity” and those with “high creativity” to test the association between marijuana and creativity. Both were assessed on their verbal fluency—a measure of how many words a participant could recall from memory—when sober and then again while high on cannabis.


After a week of cannabis usage, the “low creativity” group’s verbal fluency scores increased to the level of the “high creativity” group, which was normally lower in the baseline measurement. Meanwhile, the “high inventiveness” group experienced no improvement in performance while under the effect of cannabis.


Dr. Schafer’s research appears to suggest that people who don’t believe themselves to be particularly creative in the first place gain significantly from the substance. It loosened them up and allowed them to contemplate thoughts they might not have considered in a sober condition. Cannabis, on the other hand, did not elevate those who already thought they were creative to the level of genius—though it did not subtract from their creativity levels either.


Of course, this is hardly a blanket approval of cannabis usage in the workplace. However, Schafer’s statement raises the question of whether there is a safe, dependable way for those who struggle with creativity to benefit from legal substances such as cannabis.
Looking for the “Kush” for Creatives
A lot of businesses and entrepreneurs are working hard to make cannabis accessible to today’s creatives. Tara Wells, co-founder of the cannabis delivery service Ganja Goddess in California, began using cannabis to boost her creative energy. She was a TV producer and writer who won a Primetime Emmy for producing The Amazing Race, and her creative efforts while under the influence of cannabis piqued her interest.


“Cannabis enabled me to open my mind and heart to new ideas, get into the flow of writing, and increase my general creativity,” Wells explained.
Kin Slips is another company that makes sublingual cannabis strips, which are tasty strips that contain THC and dissolve when placed under the tongue.

Unlike edibles, which are digested, altered by stomach acid, and absorbed by the liver, cannabis from the strip is absorbed straight into the circulation via membranes in the mouth. Sublingual ingestion results in a fast-acting, predictable, and discrete sensation.


Josh Kirby, the company’s founder, believes that the strips are more reliable for creative people. In fact, the company specifically promotes to them—one of its blends, called the “Cloud Buster,” is made up of uplifting cannabinoids and terpenes that are intended to boost creativity and focus.


“It’s all about dependability when it comes to using cannabis in a creative project,” Kirby says. “Your creative ‘zone’ is a specific region where creative production can dramatically skyrocket.” The trick is to figure out how to consistently get into the zone without overshooting.”


The best strains for folks that are highly productive


Low-grade THC drugs are well known in the professional sector to be effective enough to get the brain going—anything more powerful would be counterproductive. THC, on the other hand, comes in a variety of forms, each with its own set of effects.


Delta-9 THC is the psychoactive component well known for producing the stereotypical high effects. It can have significant effects—if you go too far out of your “zone,” you may miss out on the pleasant feelings and experience negative reactions such as anxiety or hallucinations.


Delta-9 THC, on the other hand, is regarded as “cannabis lite” because it is half the strength of Delta-9. It will still get you high, but it will be a softer, less intense high than Delta-9 THC. Delta-8 is also nationally legal. It can be manufactured from hemp, a cannabis plant variant with less than 0.3 percent THC. Anything naturally derived from hemp is now legal for adults across the United States, thanks to the 2018 agricultural bill. Delta-8 products may be the greatest place to start for a first-time user wishing to get their feet wet.


However, if you’re a creative who’s interested in Delta-9 items, you should think about how the precise strain will affect your creativity. Sativa strains, which are generally linked with euphoria, are more acceptable for professional use than Indica strains, which are more commonly associated with lethargy.


Wells recommends a few specific Sativa strains with Delta-9 THC for creative persons searching for more “brain burst” or “eureka” moments: Quest by Source Cannabis, Pineapple Acai by Paradiso, and Wakando OG by Pure Beauty. All three, according to Wells, relax the mind and produce a “buzzy brain” elevation. But, no matter which strain or product you choose, the most important thing is not to overdo it.


It is entirely up to the person.


While some perceive cannabis as a creative stimulant—actor and filmmaker Seth Rogen enjoys smoking while writing—others see it as a killer. According to Lewis Nelson, chair of the department of emergency medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, when a person consumes a large amount of cannabis, they can fast feel tired rather than excited. Anyone who has drifted off with their hand in a bag of cheese puffs during the first half hour of The Big Lebowski will recognize that feeling. Of course, this is the polar opposite of what creative professionals are looking for. There is a time, a place, and a quantity of cannabis that is appropriate for professional creative use.
So, if you’re thinking about smoking before an all-night creative marathon, cannabis probably isn’t the way to go.

However, cannabis affects each person differently, and although some may find it to be more of a hindrance than an assist, for others, it is a tool to stimulate their creativity and develop ideas that would not have existed otherwise.

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