1 (800) 908-6326

Nebo Blog

The Science Behind Cannabis and Creativity

During a government background check in 1988, Steve Jobs famously remarked:

“The best way I would describe the effect of the marijuana and the hashish is that it would make me relaxed and creative.”

So, was one of the most creative minds of our time onto something, or was he just a turtleneck-wearing stoner who happened to be a genius?

We work in a creative industry. Our success depends on our ability to generate exciting ideas and fresh campaigns, to adapt to various budgets, resources, and constraints. The best thing about our line of work is that, oftentimes, we can go as far as our imaginations will take us. That’s also the scariest thing.

That’s why we’re always looking for an edge. We’re always interested in what other creative people are doing to produce their best work, and you know what?

A lot of them are smoking weed.

I’m not suggesting we swap out our coffee machine for a vaporizer or turn the supply closet into a green room, but I do think it’s an interesting debate. Marijuana is more popular than ever with people of all ages. The legalization movement has gained a lot of traction over the past few years, and it may not be long until weed is completely legal across the country.

So, without debating the politics or the economics of the sticky icky—or even the moral implications—I want to explore the issue on a deeper level. Does marijuana help the creative process or not?

The Science and Neuroscience

We’re not the first ones to ask this question, obviously. The effects of marijuana on creativity have been studied extensively by everyone from prestigious PhDs in university laboratories to white kids with dreadlocks in their college dorms. The findings have been a bit of a mixed bag.

One of the keys to creativity is divergent thinking, meaning the ability to view things in a multitude of different ways. It’s what makes creative people creative. It’s what makes people, upon viewing your creation, say, “I’ve never thought of it that way,” or “Wow, what was he smoking?”

With that in mind, a 2010 study by Morgan, Rothwell, et al. showed that one of marijuana’s primary properties is its ability to increase hyper-priming, or your ability to make connections between seemingly unrelated concepts. It’s the cause behind those famous and well-parodied “Aha!” moments when a high person suddenly realizes a deep truth about himself after noticing something inconsequential like a dead worm on the sidewalk; or how a weed-fueled conversation can go from whether or not the guy from ABC’s “Nashville” was also in an episode of “Boy Meets World” (he was) to the pros and cons of Taco Bell quesadillas in no time flat.

Marijuana also causes your brain to release the neurochemical called dopamine, which gives users the signature calm, euphoric feeling. It also helps reduce your inhibitions and turn off your “inner-editor” while writing, drawing, or brainstorming. People high on marijuana often describe their thoughts and feelings as moving more freely, almost flowing through them.

Last, research suggests that cannabis blurs the lines between a person’s five senses, allowing for an increased capacity for wonder and awe. It enhances your ability to marvel at things, somehow allowing you to experience events in a profound, internal way.

But it’s not all cheese puffs and genius works of art for weed smokers. A study done in 2010 by Bourasa & Vaugeois claims that the supposed creative benefits of marijuana don’t hold up statistically. The study showed no positive effect from marijuana on divergent thinking and that it may even have a negative impact in this area.

So, how do we explain the disparity between studies? Maybe creativity is tougher to define than we’re led to believe. Maybe it’s more complicated than a series of tests or response times engineered by psychologists.

Even if we were to agree that divergent thinking is the most important aspect of creativity, it’s still only one aspect. Weed isn’t some magical substance that can turn any old schlub into Picasso. True creativity also requires intelligence and a whole lot of hard work.

The High and Creative

If science isn’t your thing, maybe anecdotal evidence will be more up your alley. Let’s put it this way; if weed were a brand, it’d have dozens of high profile celebs fighting over who gets the right to endorse it.

Kevin Smith, director, screenwriter, and actor, credits his discovery of marijuana with helping him climb out of a creative rut after a slew of film failures.

Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys claims that smoking weed helped him write the massively acclaimed album Pet Sounds.

Alanis Morissette smokes weed regularly when writing music. ALANIS MORISSETTE, PEOPLE.

Famous people have made their stance clear: marijuana is a heck of a way to jump-start your creative process. As Bill Hicks said:

“See, I think drugs have done some *good* things for us, I really do. And if you don’t believe drugs have done good things for us, do me a Favor: go home tonight and take all your albums, all your tapes, and all your CDs and burn ‘em. ‘Cause you know what? The musician’s who made all that great music that’s enhanced your lives throughout the years… Rrrrrrrrrrrrreal —— high on drugs.”

The Argument Against

So, we should all go ahead and toke up so we can crank out the next great American novel, right? Not so fast.

For the time being, at least, marijuana is still illegal in most states, and there’s already been enough said about the potential health hazards of smoking on a regular basis. But even beyond that, there are some pretty serious drawbacks to getting high and creating that we need to consider.

You know the stereotypical pothead you see in movies and on television? The one that’s spacey, aloof, and has trouble forming intelligible sentences? Well, there’s the dark side of pot for you. Sure, it’s great to be able to make unique connections between ideas, but it also means you may have trouble focusing on and completing tasks.

For example, researchers at NASA conducted a study during which they gave various drugs to spiders and recorded their efforts at spinning webs before and after. The spiders on weed attempted to spin webs, but often gave up about halfway through. Classic pothead behavior. You might guess, then, that weed and deadlines don’t mix.

The portions of web that they did manage to complete were often significantly less precise than their sober counterparts, so it’s probably safe to say that surgeons and airplane pilots should go ahead and pass on the pipe, too.

Using marijuana to ignite creativity certainly isn’t for everyone. People that need to operate at a high intellectual level, or anyone that holds another person’s life or well-being in his hands, should abstain. The impairments that weed often inflicts just aren’t worth the potential creative boost.

Summary

The decision to use marijuana as a creative stimulant is a personal choice. The data suggests that, while there’s no guarantee you’ll smoke your way into a massive breakthrough, some users may find a little bud is just the thing their right-brain needs to get going.

We don’t endorse drug-use of any kind, but we’re not blind to the world we live in, either. It’s out there, and people are using it, so it’s important that we try to understand it.

We’ve laid out some of the pros and cons of smoking marijuana; how it can help you, how it can hurt you, what it can do for you, and what it can do to you. The facts are available. What you choose to do with them is up to you.

What’s your take on weed as a creative catalyst? For, against, or indifferent, we’d love to hear your opinion.

Comments

  1. November 30, 2012 @ 2:14 pm
  2. November 30, 2012 @ 7:26 pm
    Stafford says:

    +1

  3. December 01, 2012 @ 10:35 am

    Wow. Pretty sure this is the first time I’ve stumbled across an agency article on ganja. Nice work, Nebo! One question: how’d they get get those spiders in the study stoned? And, more importantly, is there the anything like Taco Bell and “My Name is Earl” for spiders to enjoy afterwards? ;-)

  4. December 01, 2012 @ 2:14 pm
    Kerri says:

    Great post Brian! Herb, Bogart and I worked together to name my company. We were sitting there in a sort of purplish haze and suddenly I thought “Wow, this is really deep, man. I mean, it has some depth.” There you have it – from the trenches – amping up already strong interconnective thinking can be not only a creative bene, but also a path to superior problem solving. You need maturity and perspective to know a “stoner” idea from a stroke of “genius.” Aye, that’s the rub, that and the snacking.

  5. December 01, 2012 @ 3:37 pm
    buzz bateman says:

    The truth we all need to grasp is that now we are finding ways to use Hemp for major cures as seen at….WWW.PHOENIXTEARS.CA

  6. December 02, 2012 @ 12:00 pm
    Anthony says:

    Something to be considered: different strains of cannabis have vastly differing effects. I have some that relaxes me and some that stimulates to such an extent, that I cannot sleep if I use it in the evening. I’m a musician and the first few times I tried playing whilst stoned was disastrous, however… I have found that cannabis can do what you tell it. Let that sink in a bit… I got stoned in the studio once after I was finished recording my parts, the producer then came in and asked me to re-do a track. I was like “no fkng way!” I was really wrecked, he said, just concentrate, relax, focus on the work. I did so, the first few minutes were a stumbling mess, then suddenly it all came together. I was more focused and concentrated than ever before, it was a breeze. I was still very stoned, but it was all so easy – I played like never before, inhibitons and feelings of anxiety at playing a wrong note were gone – it flowed and the drums were so easy to relate to (I play bass) I was asked to re-do every track and did so with ease. Cannabis enhances your mood, your state of mind (leave alone if you feel like shit). I now guide the effects to assist the way I want them to, however it’s taken many years and experimenting with various strains, to find whats best for me personally. Its good stuff, magical stuff, but treat it with respect. this comment was written whilst on a good hindu kush. Nice article, very sober and sensible – be of good cheer people :o )

  7. December 02, 2012 @ 1:22 pm
    M@ says:

    I’m a senior student in the Visualization Dept at Texas A&M, so this question is pretty important to me.

    First of all, let’s not pretend that pot (or any other brain-altering drug for that matter) is the ONLY way to overcome personal and cultural preconceptions and prohibitions, nor is it the only way to encourage and improve divergent thinking.

    Secondly, since we’re not pretending the above anymore, let’s more honestly ask whether or not it is the BEST way to do those things.

    With those qualifiers out of the way, I have a huge problem with asking a stoner to evaluate the idea they had while they were high, “People on drugs think they are creative. To everyone else, they seem like people on drugs.” ;-) I find it very easy to believe that they are less able to honestly evaluate their work than someone else might be, not only because they use drugs to alter that thing with which they evaluate the stuff *Conspiracy Keanu* “What if pot doesn’t improve your performance… it just lowers your standards?!” Also because they (esp the “big” names) are so closely invested in the product.

    Additionally, it was “obviously” a “good” idea, meaning that 1) hindsight is 20/20, so we aren’t going to look at the terrible ideas they had while on pot, and 2) I’d be hard pressed to find a person who believes that because a given idea was popular and/or profitable NECESSARILY means that it was a good idea. Let’s be honest, raise your hand if you LOOOOOOVE every Platinum and Gold album… no? How about if you think there is more than 1 top-10 hit that should burn up and die… almost everyone? Now let’s also ask “could they possibly have had a better idea without pot?”

    All that is to say, we need a better metric than asking a pothead artist “is your stuff good?” or asking a scientist “is this art good?”

    Some other important questions are:

    1) What was their bad-idea-to-good-idea ratio vs. a sober artist?
    2) How many really terrible artists get their ideas from pot?
    3) Is it possible that the profitable and popular idea they had while on pot could have been truly transcendent and universally meaningful if they had used other techniques?
    4) are there equal or superior artists who achieve that level without drugs? (Bonus question: How do we evaluate producers/performers/competitors in other disciplines who use performance enhancing drugs against those who don’t? Don’t say the outcome is all that matters, cuz that’s simply not true…)

    As much as recent art has tried to take the artist out of the equation, you just can’t. Art is expression, and it therefore needs an expressor, (even if that’s the audience or the work itself) so the condition of the artist is a pivotal contribution, regardless of whether they act as creator, guide, facilitator, medium or audience of the art.

    The short of it is, I value personal discipline over the “easy way.” I might be able to use a drug to make something easier for myself, but then I haven’t gained anything from that. It is better to LEARN how to identify my prohibitions, evaluate my prohibitions, and circumvent my prohibitions than it is to merely take them out of the equation.

  8. December 02, 2012 @ 1:58 pm
    jo ann berne says:

    i am 69 years old, thanks to weed, i need no other drugs. i had a stroke when i was ten, my right side is slow, other than that i am pretty healthy. i think that weed is very good for me. i have to get my weed ilegay, and that makes me sad. i wish it were legal in every state, it cames me down, gets me over my headackes, and whrn i was younger, got me over my cramps.

  9. December 02, 2012 @ 3:55 pm
    Declan says:

    It works in both ways, i used to write alot of music. and a cheeky doob would often help me get fresh ideas when the creative juices stopped flowing. however if i went beyond the little bit that would help me think i would move into the state where nothing gets done and i switch from creativity into watching southpark re-runs and over eating. however the odd doob defiantly helps with linguistics and i find leads the brain to seek out newer and more interesting words to describe your thoughts, feelings and the world around you. however after a few tokes it can be quite hard to adequately communicate your new-found wisdom to the world.

  10. December 02, 2012 @ 7:38 pm
    Charles Waller says:

    With respect to the health concerns regarding smoking cannabis, the first alternative would be vaporizing. Prior to making that decision, I would suggest checking out the results of Dr. Donald Tashkin’s 30 year pulmonary study. His results were also mirrored in the more recently released results of a study in Alabama. As far as the NASA spider study reference, I would have to check the information before reaching an opinion.

  11. December 03, 2012 @ 1:32 am
    Elizabeth Bradford says:

    I wouldn’t use it. I am creative enough, and I really need to have my head together to function. Besides, it is dangerous to drive under that condition.

  12. December 03, 2012 @ 2:43 pm
    Evan says:

    Wow, thanks for all the comments guys!
    M@ – You bring up some really interesting points. Like we said in the blog, creativity is a really difficult thing to define. It’s hard to say if creativity means good ideas, lots of ideas, commercially popular ideas, or something else entirely.
    I’m not sure that the ratio of bad ideas to good ideas is that important, though. Part of the effect of marijuana is helping thoughts and feelings flow through you more easily. It’s true that you might wind up with a lot more crap ideas this way, but when your usual filters are on, you might not get as far as you need to to find that one great idea. It depends on what you’re going for. If you’re on a deadline, and you need efficiency in your brainstorming, then you’re probably right that weed might not be all that helpful. But for someone working at their own pace, and with lower stakes, it may not matter how much longer it takes or how many horrible ideas they have to wade through.
    Thanks for all the insight everyone. Keep it coming!

  13. December 05, 2012 @ 4:55 pm
    Barbara says:

    If pot releases dopamine where does that leave the person with PD? Can one release what one does not have? Does that make persons with PD less creative? I’m just interested, that’s all.
    Regarding pot and airline pilots…do you really want a creative flight? How about one you in which you survive with minimum wait lines and your luggage and then we’ll worry about the song and dance.

  14. December 09, 2012 @ 3:00 pm
    Ed Reinhardt says:

    I Think if smoking weed helps people health why not let them smoke it !!! Any how i never seem anyone get crazy smoking weed as i do Drinking !! Hey whats wrong with a little weed high sometime come on !! Be Honest

  15. December 10, 2012 @ 12:19 pm
    Jack says:

    my them more goofy

  16. December 11, 2012 @ 4:38 pm
    Dallas Valerian says:

    Huh! Fair, balanced, and surprising info. Smart audience like Anthony and M@, too. Good links.

    I’m a digital 3D artist. My friend’s band is called Weed. He can do his thing stoned, but mine’s too complicated. Its complexity causes me to zone out, which is when ideas from ideas start sprouting like fractals.

    With weed my mind’s mostly just static snow or lots of little TVs on at the same time. Talk is fun and really good, but not often useful.

    Maybe I’d get useful ideas from grass if we recorded our talks. Oh, wait, BTDT. Try it yourself and see what happens.

  17. December 27, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

    [...] This post sparked strong opinions and drew in possibly our most eclectic audience of the year, with the link being shared by several, um, “niche” sites. Looking back, we probably should have written more posts about the creative process. That’s definitely what made this pose so popular. [view post] [...]

  18. January 12, 2013 @ 10:27 pm
    Anonymous says:

    I find your article interesting. I have one question. You say that spiders were drugged” … and [testers] recorded their efforts at spinning webs before and after.”, however, you mention nothing of the results concerning web spinning when the spiders were no longer under the influence of the drug. What were the web spinning result of the spiders, who had been subjected THC, once the effects of the drug had completely worn off?

  19. January 13, 2013 @ 5:26 pm
    A Jacobs says:

    I’ve been smoking daily, heavily for about 20 years. I write poetry and philosophy. Marijuana is absolutely a gateway drug- a gateway to higher consciousness and creativity.
    I cordially invite anyone doing research on this miracle drug to use me as a test subject. I will defy a lot of the stereotypes people associate with this plant. It doesn’t make me hungry or dumb- quite the opposite. I find it is a stimulant to intellectual and physical activity.
    Have a great day! It’s good to be alive!

  20. January 14, 2013 @ 3:23 pm
    Evan Porter says:

    Hey Anonymous, the article I found doesn’t delve too much into what happened after the drugs wore off or any of the long term effects. If you track down the study as originally published, you may get more information. For now, here is the article I pulled from:

    http://www.bitrebels.com/lifestyle/how-marijuana-affects-a-spider%E2%80%99s-ability-to-spin-a-web/

  21. January 24, 2013 @ 5:07 pm

    It sometimes helps to think of the creative as a corridor of doors. In my own experience, cannibus opens doors that are generally closed, allowing me to explore new spaces. I wouldn’t trade some of those experiences for anything. Some of my very best writing and art have come from places I never would have found without smoking. That said, I’m an adult with responsibilites and I acknowledge that everything has a price and that any drug must be used carefully. So I do. But what this drug is capable of giving to the human brain is priceless.

  22. March 01, 2013 @ 10:21 pm

    I just want to say I am all new to blogs and actually savored your page. More than likely I’m want to bookmark your blog . You amazingly come with wonderful writings. Bless you for revealing your web site.

  23. March 06, 2013 @ 5:59 pm

    [...] is a definite link to marijuana and creativity. Marijuana’s effect is one that causes the user to feel relaxed, and it’s quite common for [...]

  24. March 14, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

    Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your webpage? My blog is in the exact same niche as yours and my visitors would definitely benefit from a lot of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Thanks a lot!

  25. March 27, 2013 @ 9:43 pm

    [...] [...]

  26. June 01, 2013 @ 11:12 am
    Bob says:

    nice. well done. thanks. have reblogged this.

  27. June 03, 2013 @ 5:25 pm
    David says:

    I am a regular pot smoker and I have to say, you can’t really compare the deep level of creativity. Anyone can create something with any idea – but weed tends to line up just the best tit bits of an idea such that the whole picture is just… mindblowing. Personally I get most of these ideas but surprisingly they are all themed as “…that idea will help alot of people”. Thats just me.
    I run a making movies blog at http://making254movies.com. Visit soon :)

  28. July 15, 2013 @ 10:28 pm
    Mick Loughlin says:

    I am a 64 year old Vietnam veteran and I hate pills and pharmacy medicine. Marijuana keeps me sane, helps me to articulate my thoughts and has probably saved me from death from cancer. Prohibition will be remembered as the biggest deception by governments since Gallileo told us the Earth was not flat.

  29. September 05, 2013 @ 8:56 pm
    Effthat says:

    It’s simple to explain if you’ve done it enough and have your sea legs. It’s an enhancer. So if you’re stupid it enhances the stupidity, if you’re smart it makes you smarter. It relies on prior experiences for it effects. So kids need to steer clear, they have no real experience.

  30. November 03, 2013 @ 1:46 am
    Frank says:

    The thing is, you can’t just study Cannabis, every strain has different effect and some will enhance creativity (sativa) and some will have less of an impact on it (indica)All Cannabis studies I have seen, and I have seen a lot, do not take this into consideration and therefore get wrong results

  31. November 03, 2013 @ 10:12 am
    Juergen says:

    Wonderful, it’s just an reflection of eternity, the power of the plant is magical, not a miracle to everyone, but therefor it depends on your own stance, your prejudice against any mind altering substance. Well, only open minded curious people will find a glue within it others will stand up, clean the dust out of their clothes and go their way.
    The real value it teaches you, take care about yourself, feel free to live or die. Life is precious and the power of the plant is holy, respectless people will be kicked hard by it, cause it is unconditional love which hits them.

    Cannabis is medicine !

  32. November 04, 2013 @ 10:02 am
    MB says:

    I don’t smoke weed at work never, but after a hard days work it doesn’t just relax me it opens my mind to whole new levels of thinking, and that get up and do something practical which does not happen if I don’t get high. At not abused levels this shit is going get my though life till death and escape that square boring mind for just a few hours now & again!

  33. November 04, 2013 @ 7:20 pm

    [...] By Evan Porter & Brian Easter [...]

  34. November 14, 2013 @ 11:31 pm
    TheMan says:

    So what if I believe like yall do.. What would i need to join yall’s marketing team? Better yet what is yalls mission?

  35. December 02, 2013 @ 6:33 pm
    Bud says:

    There is a memorable quote by novelist Peter De Vries who published a novel called “Reuben, Reuben” (1964), where the main character is based on a famous drunkard poet, Dylan Thomas. On page 242 the character says, “Sometimes I write drunk and revise sober, and sometimes I write sober and revise drunk. But you have to have both elements in creation — the Apollonian and the Dionysian, or spontaneity and restraint, emotion and discipline.”
    I think the same can be said for marijuana and the creative process. Personally speaking, unless I am practised in my craft and know what I am doing I cannot gain much from smoking weed. I end up disjointed and make little or no progress. However, I have found that when I have the basis of a project laid down already (a logo design would be a good example) I can find a way to resolve the creative rut I am in by smoking weed and looking at it again, with a fresh perspective.

  36. December 03, 2013 @ 1:03 pm
    Pingu says:

    You used the spider’s web experiment for an argument against replacing office coffee with cannabis.
    Did you see the caffeine webs? They barely even resembled webs.

  37. December 03, 2013 @ 2:34 pm
    Yarmo says:

    Interesting article. Ive often wondered if weed makes one more creative so it is cool to see a discussion on the topic. I cant add any definitive proof to what has been said, but I can offer some further anecdotal evidence through my personal experience. I am a daily smoker by choice and I have been for over 15 years and I use it because it is a very relaxing buzz, which is not the feeling I get after having a few beer or drinks of liquor. Interestingly enough, the same amount of MJ gets me high every time so escalation of my habit is not an issue like hard drugs or alcohol, which some people might think is the case. I started smoking in my early 20s for the enjoyment of the buzz, because I was never a fan of the alcohol buzz. I actually noticed right away that it helped improve my focus. When high I find a state of calm like no other, no external problems are flashing through my head, I’m not worried about paying bills, work stress or worrying about things I have no control over, I just exist and through that existence there was a lack of other “noise” clogging up my ability to focus and be creative. It would be just as it says in the article, what ever I was doing or thinking just flows through me. I can use the game of pool as an example. I played competitively and for money, and there is a lot of second guessing and unnecessary thinking about mechanics etc (ask any amateur golfer what that is like lol). This noise can and does get in the way of performance. Conversely, when high, all that noise would go away, and I could just play. I remember seeing an mri of a professional athlete doing his sport vs. an average joe doing the same thing, and the big difference between the two was that the pro’s brain patterns were very minimal and only located in small sections of the brain. Where as the average joes mind was lit up like a christmas tree. This is very telling for me because as we know, when you repeat actions over and over you develop “muscle memory” which enables you to not have to consciously think about an action to do it. The pro doesnt have to think about technique or mechanics, they just let the body take over. As an athlete, I found I always performed better when my mind wasn’t thinking about anything in particular, I feel that focus in this manner, is just like creativity. If the mind is cluttered with unnecessary thoughts it will impede creativity, however, if MJ helps turn off that noise, we now have removed the resistance, and the thought process is more clear and allows for increasingly creative thinking. It will be interesting to see all the research that will be going into these types of studies in the future now that we have all moved past prohibition, the 40 year waste of money!

  38. December 03, 2013 @ 4:19 pm

    Really nice article. Some great insights, an amazing read. Thanks. !

  39. December 07, 2013 @ 7:52 am
    Anonymus says:

    I wonder … how did you all get to this article? What were you looking for in ”google search”? :) )

  40. December 18, 2013 @ 10:00 am

    [...] Science says so too. [...]

  41. January 12, 2014 @ 9:17 pm
    Paul says:

    To me it comes down to one thing, no one has the right to control another persons decision to try or use pot. End of discussion, opinions are just that your’s and my opinions. In the end the decision is for each to make without having to be scrutinized or explain themselves.

    That is why are government has become so blotted with laws that are self serving. They are not for the greater good, but for ones own purposes.

    Some people feel they have to save the world, but each in the end will evolve at their own pace and no one can speed that up.

    When you become evolved enough you will realize that you and you alone know what is in your best interest and highest good. What may be good for you at any given moment may be detrimental to anthers evolvement.

    I’m 50 years old know and my views on many things have changed the more I learn and grow. I have a completely different view on pot than i had just 3 weeks ago.

    Don’t believe everything you are told as things are not always as they seem

  42. March 05, 2014 @ 2:35 am
    Tom Warren says:

    I’ve got such an internal conflict going on about this – see, I’m a writing musician, creating is what I DO – and about two months ago I quit smoking weed because of money issues and other weed related issues. And I’m gonna be totally honest, in those same two months I’ve only written around four songs. That’s around a third of my normal creative output. I’m not one for giving credit to coincidence, but at the same time there must be some link.
    Maybe one little joint to find out wouldn’t hurt…

  43. May 10, 2014 @ 3:06 am
    Willow says:

    I discovered my creativity and my love for writing, after I tried marijuana in high school. It was strange. I would smoke then write a poem, or write a short story. This continued into college as I would smoke and do my homework. fyi: in the creative writing class, I got an A. It only lasted a year and I got an important job where I met my husband to be, and we moved in together (he didn’t smoke pot, but he drank beer like it was going out of style)

    In short, I quit pot, he quit drinking (at least I thought he did, but between his affairs and drinking I was the last one to know). Then I got pregnant and instinctively knew I would be a single parent. I was a single Mom for 11 years, and on my son’s 11th birthday was the day I met the man I should have married so long ago. However, we’ve been together 13 years and married for 7 years.

    Before I met my husband, I went back to marijuana and to try my hand at writing, since I just got my first desktop computer. I auditioned with my work to write for an actress, Vanessa Marcil. She used to be on General Hospital, Beverly Hills 90210 and on Las Vegas with James Caan.

    I would smoke, write my column and make my boss very happy. I started another project – an E Newsletter on aol about trivia. I had over 200 subscribers and it was fun, but a lot of work.

    Now, I no longer just smoke marijuana for creativity, I smoke it for medicinal purposes and just got my mmj card. I usually get Critical Kush, in the Indicus family.. Very happy girl.

    I also have bipolar II and it helps with my moods.

  44. May 15, 2014 @ 12:25 pm

    It truly is near close to impossible to find well-educated americans on this subject, in addition you come across as like you know which you’re writing about! Thanks

  45. May 16, 2014 @ 9:27 am

    I like the Beehive as a piece of design. At least it’s interesting and has a distinctive shape unlike buildings such as Te Papa.

  46. May 19, 2014 @ 6:09 am

    A useful addendum to this thoughtful post is Martin Smith’s in-depth speech “The Muslim Rohingya’ of Burma,” which he delivered in 1995 at the Burma Centre Netherlands. It begins,

  47. May 19, 2014 @ 8:00 am

    I took advantage of a three-day weekend declared by my employers to escape to the Noosa of Thailand, Hua Hin. One of my great Thai friends, from a subsistance rice-farming Isaan family (Nong Khai-Udon Thani area) accompanied me. We were pleasantly surprised to see the vast number of shop-keepers, not only convenience stores, but also big posh shops, glued to the Red channel in that town, the preferred residence of HMK. Of course they’re all pro-HMK (as is my friend, along with everyone in his family’s area), but they are Red. It seems the Yellows in H Hin are mainly people like bank & public sector staff, as well as retirees.

  48. May 23, 2014 @ 4:27 pm

    “Tony”, my view is that the authenticity, or otherwise, of a significant document like this is a matter for legitimate public discussion. As your own work amply demonstrates, the general public is the best judge of nonsense. AW

  49. May 29, 2014 @ 3:52 pm

    Great blog, thanks for the read.

  50. June 09, 2014 @ 8:08 am

    [...] surrounding marijuana’s effect on creativity and productivity are mostly inconclusive. As digital marketing agency Nebo discovered, a 2010 study showed that marijuana increases “hyper-priming,” or “your ability [...]

  51. June 09, 2014 @ 9:29 am

    [...] surrounding marijuana’s effect on creativity and productivity are mostly inconclusive. As digital marketing agency Nebo discovered, a 2010 study showed that marijuana increases “hyper-priming,” or “your ability [...]

  52. June 09, 2014 @ 10:48 am

    [...] surrounding marijuana’s effect on creativity and productivity are mostly inconclusive. As digital marketing agency Nebo discovered, a 2010 study showed that marijuana increases “hyper-priming,” or “your ability [...]

  53. June 09, 2014 @ 12:51 pm

    [...] surrounding marijuana’s effect on creativity and productivity are mostly inconclusive. As digital marketing agency Nebo discovered, a 2010 study showed that marijuana increases “hyper-priming,” or “your ability [...]

  54. June 09, 2014 @ 12:52 pm

    [...] surrounding marijuana’s effect on creativity and productivity are mostly inconclusive. As digital marketing agency Nebo discovered, a 2010 study showed that marijuana increases “hyper-priming,” or “your ability [...]

  55. June 09, 2014 @ 1:07 pm

    [...] the studies surrounding marijuana's effect on creativity and productivity are mostly inconclusive. As digital marketing agency Nebo discovered, a 2010 study showed that marijuana increases "hyper-priming," or "your ability to make [...]

  56. June 09, 2014 @ 3:14 pm

    [...] surrounding marijuana’s effect on creativity and productivity are mostly inconclusive. As digital marketing agency Nebo discovered, a 2010 study showed that marijuana increases “hyper-priming,” or “your [...]

  57. June 10, 2014 @ 1:26 am

    [...] the studies surrounding marijuana's effect on creativity and productivity are mostly inconclusive. As digital marketing agency Nebo discovered, a 2010 study showed that marijuana increases "hyper-priming," or "your ability to make [...]

  58. June 13, 2014 @ 9:48 am
    Prince says:

    I think the type of weed your smoking plays a bigger role here. There is different types of strain when it comes to marijuana, and also the thc levels are different. so this argument about whether smoking a little trees helps your divergent thinking or has a negative impact on it goes a long way.
    i smoke like almost everyday and when im sober its obvious i can think pretty logically but there are times where I’ve gotten really stoned and i couldn’t be creative at all. I do graphic design and make some music so i have my days where smoking actually had helped me , creative wise.
    this topic can go on forever but i just wanted to give a little insight from a smoker.

  59. June 21, 2014 @ 2:33 pm
    George says:

    A creativity boost due to smoking pot has been always a side effect for me. I often get “elightend” when smoking; I get to experience the hiper- priming phenomena as never before. And seriously guys, when I smoke pot my head boils with new and interesting ideas in WHATEVER subject I think, even maths. Neverthelss, I don’t do pot very often, as that would create a tolerance syndrome and thus kill it’s potential. I seriously think that positive effects on creativity vary widely between people. I have friends who would never get creative but otherwise aloof and somewhat stupid. Me, on the othwr hand, I’ve been always a very, very creative guy. So, I think a little dose of THC would do wonders not only for artists, but would also do much for some scientist out there.

  60. July 06, 2014 @ 9:52 pm
    Rowan says:

    I write a lot of music and I also smoke a lot of weed. What I seem to have found is that weed makes me forget about the time I’m spending on a tune. I can work for hours and hours if I like the tune Im working on but I dont see any difference in the quality compares to being sober. Infact I normally haer things that need changing that I missed while stoned.

    Magic mushrooms though… they do make you creative. I remember thinking without a doubt that the sound I could hear was the best thing I’d ever heard. Though It wasnt quite as good when I sobered up again I can still remember the sound (auditory halucination) and have been aiming to get the same tone I heard since.

  61. July 08, 2014 @ 4:47 am

    [...] to experience events in a profound, internal way.  The Science Behind Cannabis and Creativity (source) June 9, 2014   Hannah Crazyhawk   [...]

  62. July 30, 2014 @ 5:19 pm
    geno marcello says:

    i have smoked marijuana while living and working in the Caribbean and in many other places, from Florida to Arizona. My love affair with the Blessed Herb as it is fondly referred to in the Eastern Caribbean came along late in life. I can tell you that not only is the herb a source of creativity, it has a spiritual side that must be experienced to be believed or understood. My Rastifarian friends in St. Kitts, Nevis, St. Maarten and Dominica said God spoke to them and improved their lives after they smoked. I totally agree that there are elements of truth to what they believe. Federico Fellini, one of the great film genuises of all time, smoked the herb before coming up with his story ideas for films like LA DOLCE VITA, CITY OF WOMEN, LA STRADA, 8 1.2 and many of the other incredible films that he wrote and produced. I can assure you of this — it beats alcohol by a zillion miles.

  63. August 14, 2014 @ 10:36 am
    garcinia says:

    With the whole thing which seems to be developing within this particular area, all your points of view are very stimulating. Having said that, I beg your pardon, but I do not give credence to your whole suggestion, all be it radical none the less. It looks to me that your commentary are generally not completely rationalized and in fact you are yourself not really totally convinced of your point. In any event I did enjoy examining it.

  64. August 19, 2014 @ 5:46 pm

    [...] Even best­selling author Lee Child smokes mar­i­juana 5 times a week and thinks it should be made com­pul­sory. Lady Gaga smokes pot when she writes music, and even Martha Stew­art knows how to roll a joint. Steve Jobs said mar­i­juana makes him feel “relaxed and cre­ative.” [...]

  65. September 01, 2014 @ 6:34 pm

    [...] Furthermore, research appears to show enhanced brain activity while under the influence.  “Marijuana also causes your brain to release the neurochemical called dopamine, which gives users … If you’ve always dreamt of painting a masterpiece or working on the novel you started in college, [...]

  66. September 05, 2014 @ 1:13 am
    jared moran says:

    When am high on on any drug i feel like i can see real behind everithing idk if anyone else feels like that i can see the real life and how people truthlly is and what they say

  67. October 09, 2014 @ 10:38 am
    Derek says:

    Great article.

    Cannabis is most definitely a wonderful catalyst; confirmed by research, my own experience, and that of thousands of others.

    IMO as long as there is not a chronic (see what I did there?) dependency it can be a wonderful tool. The MR. X essay by Carl Sagan is a wonderful example of this.

  68. October 12, 2014 @ 3:01 pm
    keith says:

    As an individual person, I should have the choice of smoking pot or not.

  69. October 12, 2014 @ 7:28 pm
    Michelle Gaye Dyason says:

    Thank you for this interesting discussion. i find it very interesting to note no trolling within the comments; well done Cannabis affected people.

    I just wanted to add my perspective because as we have noted there are many different strains of Cannabis which opens the possibility for varying affects. I am a regular smoker and have been since high-school; i’m 40 now. I’m a chef, a horticulturalist, a philosophy major, a early-years teacher who is just about to join a course of study that will take me through psychology and law.

    For me, the effect of marijuana changes. For when i first smoked in high school, i just laughed and laughed. We laughed so much that our cheeks and stomach would hurt. Then, still in early youth, i became paranoid. Paranoia whilst smoking, which i still did, lasted until my late 20s. In my late 20s, i also took a lot of other mind altering drugs. On one occasion, all in the one weekend: LSD, Ecstasy and ‘shrooms. Then psychosis hit. For me psychosis is intense emotional reacting to what is interpreted in the environment. I remember everything about my psychosis but the medico’s (psychiatry and psychology) don’t believe me. i believe me and i believe that when i do not remember it is when they have placed me on their medication, i used to blame Valpam (Diazepam) (could be any brand, who knows). Now, which medication, i don’t know.

    Presently, i think Cannabis is a magic plant for it gives one what one needs at the time. One could say, “it targets the need”. If it is needed for creativity it will give creativity. If it’s needed for ceasing seizures, then it ceases seizures. And that is why i do not not believe we should cut this plant up, extract its bits and say “this is all we can find it does so this is the only way one can use this plant”. This plant has many uses, be creative.

    My creativity i would say is with words and music, and not necessarily putting those two together. My creativity is thinking. i’m a philosopher. Someone mentioned Dionysian and Apollonian aspects to fuel creativity. These are Nietzsche’s from ‘The Birth of Tragedy’, i’m all for Nietzsche but i digress. He was said to be mad, but later to discover it was caused by syphilis; what was his madness for he was a genius? What is the link between, psychosis (i.e. madness), Cannabis, and creativity? For my creativity links me to madness. When i’m mad, i dance and sing all with precision i have been told by “the best in the Western suburbs”.

    My thoughts if not of a musical affect are philosophical. Philosophical thinking to me is reading creatively or divergent thinking. When intoxicated by Cannabis my thoughts are quit clear to me but not in my expression to others so i keep a visual diary. i now know i can understand myself when i listen and watch back when not intoxicated, so call me paranoid but understanding my expression is an external thing from my expression; which i’m sure artists already know. And, green-affected, i’m digressing; or according to psychiatry i’m becoming tangential.

    I shall continue on this tangent for a while, for the brave :)
    If we take a broad view to include many ways of thinking we must include chakras for example, as a scientific subject of knowledge. My expression-charkra, to my uninformed knowledge is my most blocked. It is housed in the Thyroid, which is wrapped around the vocal chords. My thyroid had a lump on it since high school but when i went complaining of not being able to swallow food they saw it as the cause, found pre-cancerous cells and they cut out half my thyroid and the lump. So half my expression has recently been removed.

    Blue is also associated with the throat charkra, and blue in my culture is associated with the male, and thus not really worn as much by me, a female, although i have some blue on now. And hence i am expressing, with any clarity? any answers? i digress.

    Cannabis and creativity is according to my experience linked. i may digress but creativity isn’t about following ‘the’ right path because that would be following someone else’s path and not therefore new. But paths will be right if they do not harm another. Defining harm would be one of the most difficult tasks, i’d love it :)

    How can a plant with such magical power’s be banned from adults? If one believe’s in God or God’s one believe’s in Spirit. Now, what spiritual system once removed from God is this country a product of: Christianity or even Church of England? i don’t know, i was brought up atheist. i guess we find that by looking at a) the Bureau of Statistics or b) the celebrations. If we look to celebrations it’s Christ, so we follow spirit thus interpreted from Latin to English so the populous could read, if they could. So before this reading English was a spoken language, thus the dialects but still English is rule bound for clarity on paper, we miss the tone and body language on paper, that is why music is fundamental as a speech form. i digress.

    Other spiritual healer’s understand their medicine they have been perfecting their knowledge which is handed down sans paper for many a year. How many have interpreted their knowledge with their body sans paper? i could go on and on but i may have to limit for the sake of being sane that is being non-tangential.

    Free the weed, it will do as needed and heal the planet and its people!

  70. October 13, 2014 @ 2:28 am

    It appears that all studies must be done with heavy indica strains, so as to continue reporting negative effects with cannabis. The truth, however, is that with many, in fact, most sativa dominant strains, the patients are focused and uplifted and get through tasks more efficiently. They don’t give up midway through. Cannabis patients are CFO’s and CEO’s and Judges and nurses and physicians and straight-A students. It’s time to end the lying about marijuana.

  71. October 13, 2014 @ 2:40 pm
    Saim says:

    well there was this organic chemistry exam the next day and i was damn sure to fail it , knowing it all , i smoked hash , got myself stoned , went into deep thoughts for an hour , later on i was reading that chem book and i did well in the test the next day…. So yes marijuana and hashish makes a lot of things possible … :)

  72. October 13, 2014 @ 4:42 pm

    I think what this article is missing is the consideration of the person smoking the stuff and what stuff in particular has been smoked. Each person is generally a certain way, take myself for instance, I’ve always been a creative person that enjoys to improvise to a little music making and I’m a rather chilled person. When I smoke sativa, it makes me more creative and songs just keep coming out. However, when I smoke indica, it brings out the relaxed side of me a little too much especially if it’s been a long day, so I tend to become a consumer of music rather than a producer, since I feel more lazy. But that’s just me, I’m probably not the same as you therefore I won’t respond to weed the same way.

  73. October 13, 2014 @ 11:04 pm
    Wendy Thompson says:

    It is so much more better than pain pills. I don’t get that nausea or headaches pulls did. Medicinal MARIJUANA IS my Medication. I’m NOT stopping it either. IT WORKS.And no hanfovers or bad side effects. It makes me Eat. Otherwise I would be extremely thin.Very MEDICINAL for Anorexia Nervosa.

  74. October 14, 2014 @ 12:42 am
    levi says:

    I’m all for it. Of course theres going to be some side effects, but so do prescription pills, ciggaretts, alcohol, ect. And yet those are all legal. In fact the side effects to all the legal drugs that are out there are much worse. You dont here about people smoking weed and blacking out and getting belligerent like you do alcoho, or people getting sick without it like prescription pills. Bottom line, it is the safest alternative out there.

  75. October 14, 2014 @ 4:59 am

    I was avidly reading the huge post 5 comments before until he made that rookie mistake of bringing “god” into a serious discussion. He almost had me.

  76. October 15, 2014 @ 8:28 am
    Brandon Klasen says:

    Cannabis defiantly makes you more creative and there may be some cons, but there are way more pros. Its way better for you then anything else. So why not pick the healthier choice? Im a much happier person while high. It enhances your life style if anything. The people that dont like it either has never tried it or had a bad experience by getting way to high. Cannabis can save the world!!

  77. October 15, 2014 @ 9:33 am
    Mauro Crispim says:

    Sorry for my inglish, im portuguese. In fact weed can be good but bad at the same time, but if brings hapiness, release someone hill from pain, and the most important thing, it make’s the creativity flow. why stil some people criticize? Is from bad marketing and advertizements, on my opinian weed make people freendly and open to sugestions, maibe the world cure for war. it make students talke about various tipes of topics, science, filosofi, mat problems etc things that when souber they never talk. weed is like a world cure and it’s given by mother-earth so it’s outrages his proibition. good post keep posting more of this studies .

  78. October 16, 2014 @ 7:06 am
    jimmy miller says:

    i have CLL,when broken down spells CHRONIC LYMPHOCYTIC LEUKAEMIA and i have been given several different drugs to coop with the aches etc,all of them habbit forming,there for detramental to your health but prescribed by health officials,but i use and know that it works,(cannibus,thc or tincture,call it what you want but as a person who it works for i say give me the natural herb instead of the man made crap that not dosnt work and makes you sicker

  79. October 16, 2014 @ 8:28 pm

    I have been friends with Mary Jane since early April of 1981, she being the third psychoactive I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. First substance of experience was uncle Al, that would be Alcohol 4 those who didn’t know, then came my vitamin C, caffeine; My dearly departed, dearly beloved grandmother Esther got my coffee habit started @ the IHOP in Milwaukee when I was approx. 10

  80. October 24, 2014 @ 9:22 am
    Lynett Durgin says:

    It’s an interesting question. I’m probably a great guinea pig for research. I started smoking marijuana when I was 14, and I have been a daily smoker ever since. I’m now 59 so I have a long view of it. I have been trying to stop smoking for 10 years but have been unsuccessful. I have dramatically cut back consumption because it saps my energy. I love it for the stimulation it gives me to write; I hate it for what it does to my appetite.
    Without mj I probably would have been a paranoid schizo as I experienced extreme child abuse as a child, so it’s a great cure for our generation.
    However, at the end of my life, I enjoy a clear mind after all those years of mj.

  81. November 10, 2014 @ 5:43 pm

    [...] analysis properly you need to have solid metrics. And the available metrics are all over the map. Some indicate that stoned workers actually perform better and are more creative, others that they become [...]

  82. November 19, 2014 @ 4:27 am
    Gregget Lice says:

    I need to take low doses in order for my creativity to expand. If I smoke more than once that day, laziness will kick in, and my creativity becomes lower than when I was sober, which can be a harsh setback. Also, the dose as well as tuning in to the right mindset prior to toking is always necessary for best projected results.