What do Bob Dylan, Bill Gates, Snoop Dogg, Seth Rogen, Steve Jobs and Sarah Silverman have in common?
Besides being celebrities, they’re all creative people who have publicly shared their fondness for cannabis as reported in this Rolling Stone article. And they’re just six of the fifty names in the article! From Jay-Z rapping that cannabis “helps my thinker” to Lady Gaga claiming that she “smokes a lot of pot when she writes music”, cannabis has helped a lot of successful people to be more creative.
Can it work for you?
Like so many other questions related to the benefits of cannabis, it’s not a yes or no question. Of the limited research available on the subject of cannabis and creativity, a 2014 study of fifty-nine “healthy regular cannabis users” concluded that “highly potent cannabis impairs divergent thinking”. Divergent thinking, is the process by which your brain comes up with ideas and explores different possibilities so the idea that cannabis would have the opposite effect is surprising. It also contradicts the opinion of one of the most creative thinkers of the Digital Age, Steve Jobs, who was quoted in the same report as saying: “The best way I could describe the effect of the marijuana and hashish is that it would make me relaxed and creative.”
At Revolutionary Clinics, we’re all for scientific evidence, but let’s face it, fifty-nine people is a pretty small sample for an official study. Each day, hundreds of people visit our three medical marijuana dispensaries as part of their overall wellness plan. While treating qualifying conditions like chronic pain and anxiety are their primary objectives, we can honestly say that a healthy number of our customers believe cannabis helps them to be more creative.
Assistant General Manager, Michael Kerwin is our in-house expert on creativity. Kerwin was the architect of our Local Art Program where our dispensaries feature rotating exhibits of artistic work from talented makers in our community (check out the Rev Clinics Lounge Instagram account to see some of this work along with the Paint Night productions from our patients). We asked Kerwin for his thoughts on why he and so many of our patients believe cannabis can boost anyone’s creativity.
“Medicating with cannabis affects how someone feels, moves and reacts.”
To clarify, Kerwin’s not saying that using cannabis will instantly make you more creative. This is not a cause and effect situation. As Kerwin explains: “When the correct strain experience is applied, the effects can help to ease the stress and anxiety of one’s daily work routine and allow the user to focus more self-consciously, enabling creativity.”
Cannabis can help you set aside distracting thoughts (what our friends are doing on social media, our divisive world, climate change, politics, etc.) and disruptive emotions (lack of confidence, frustration, anxiety, etc.) so your mind is free to wander down different paths you might normally resist. We all have patterns of behavior and established thoughts/opinions that can limit our ability to “think outside the box” or sabotage our motivation to try something different. Kerwin has consulted with dozens of patients who use cannabis to break through writer’s block or find the motivation to paint.
“The majority of cannabis users experience creativity through sativa flower strains but that’s not always the case.”
Everyone reacts to cannabis differently and Kerwin is quick to point out that the amount of creative energy a patient already possesses has a big influence on which strain to choose. “Sativa dominant strains drive THC to the head, creating the user’s desired energy of the brain and mind for creativity,” Kerwin says. “Other users who have enough energy in their system prefer 50/50 hybrid or Indica dominant strains.” Whichever product you choose to boost your creativity, at Revolutionary Clinics, we always recommend “starting low and going slow”. We’re also big advocates of writing down exactly how much cannabis you consume in each treatment and how it made you feel. Journaling is by far the best way to facilitate productive conversations with your Patient Advocate who can help you adjust your treatment plan to achieve the results you’re looking for.
“The ‘entourage effect’ of a sativa-dominant terpene profile can truly enable a feeling of expression.”
As we said in the previous paragraph, we all react differently to cannabis but for Kerwin, and the majority of the patients he’s worked with, sativa flower strains like Star Dawg have been very effective. As Kerwin explains: “Sativa tends to open the relaxation promoting CB receptors of the brain. This process improves your mood and provides an energetic, creative experience. Personally, the terpenes of Limonene, Linalool, Veta-Pinene and Beta-Caryophyllene have always inspired me to draw, paint or grow the herbs of my garden in a different manner.”
The keyword in Kerwin’s last quote is “personally”. We really can’t say it enough: cannabis affects everyone in different ways. Will cannabis boost your creativity? There’s really only one way to find out. You guessed it: “start low and go slow.” If you’re already a Revolutionary Clinics patient, be sure to ask your Patient Advocate for recommendations that fit your profile and objectives. If you have questions about anything we’ve written in this post or would like more information about any of our products, please fill out the form on our website and we’ll get right back to you!