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Why Making Art Is Better When You Are Using Cannabis

Cannabis is probably the substance most associated to high levels of creativity. Musicians such as Bob Marley and Lady Gaga are huge supporters of using cannabis in their art process, while several studies have drawn a connection between the use of cannabis and creative output. 

Dr. Alice Weaver Flaherty, a neurologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital and also a professor at the Harvard Medical School, notes that the answers lie in the frontal lobe of the brain. Her findings point to highly creative people having more frontal lobe activity, which is an area of the brain that cannabis stimulates. It is also the part of the brain most associated with storing and handling emotions, concentration, as well as higher brain functions like action and thought.

The Science: Cannabis and Creativity

A key to creativity is called divergent thinking, which is how one views things in a variety of ways. A creative mind typically associates subjects with multiple things rather than a single one. Studies show that the primary property of cannabis is hyper-priming, which is the ability to make multiple connections between what seems to be unrelated concepts.

Cannabis also results in the release of dopamine, which has a calming and euphoric effect, helping reduce inhibitions and pushing the user not restrict themselves while brainstorming, writing, or drawing. The combination of THC and dopamine produces an effect of heightened ingenuity and imagination, giving the impression of increased creativity levels.

A recent Harvard study done in McLean Hospital shows that cannabis was connected to improving brain function—which something one needs to create art. Patients involved in the study were given medicinal cannabis, and performed better after three months of use. This applied mostly to cognitive tasks, especially tasks mediated by the frontal lobe.

Further research done on the relationship between cannabis and creativity also show that the substance blurs the line between the five senses. This results in the user being constantly in awe of their surroundings, a quality that is often reported by many users upon first using cannabis. This everything-made-anew feeling heightens creativity along with the heightened sense of wonder. 

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Your Brain on Cannabis

The main psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis—THC—leads the brain into longer and more uninterrupted thought patterns. THC does this by shortening the time between neuron transmission breaks. Normally, those neuron transmission breaks serve a function: it keeps you composed and calm. THC keeps the flow coming, and the result is your brain having a continuous rush of ideas and unrestricted thoughts, resulting in unusual ideas and concepts you may never have thought of before.

While cannabis does enhance the creative process, it doesn’t increase a user’s chances of commercial creativity or even talent. Genuine creativity relies heavily on a high intelligence, aptitude, and lots of hard work. Renowned artists may have used cannabis to help them create their masterpieces, but cannabis won’t guarantee just any user a spot in an art gallery every time. Cannabis isn’t a magical substance; it will only work on what is already there.

The High-ly Creative

  • Hunter S. Thompson – This journalist was known for his association into the world of psychedelics. So much so that an entire weed strain was named after him.
  • Bob Dylan – He is known for countless things, one of them being the person responsible for introducing cannabis to the Beatles.
  • Bob Marley – Also known as the saint of modern pot culture, this iconic musician was merely following the tenets of his Rastafarian roots.
  • The Beatles – When they came out with such wild hits as “Yellow Submarine,” you’d wonder what they’d been smoking (we’ll give you a hint: it was cannabis).
  • Ben & Jerry – this iconic duo of the ice cream fame were known to use cannabis profusely growing up, and around the time they came out with their ice cream company. Now, cannabis users thank them by indulging in more ice cream while high.
  • Lady Gaga – Of course cannabis fuels Mother Monster, but she used it primarily to deal with hip pain after breaking it while touring in 2013.
  • Carl Sagan – Besides being smart enough to show us answers about the cosmos, he may have had some help from our friend, cannabis.
  • Jay Z – He openly supported California’s Proposition 64, which led to the legalization of recreational cannabis use.
  • William Shakespeare – Known the world over as one of the most timeless and successful playwrights and dramatists of all time, researchers have found traces of cannabis on his clay pipes. Many of your favorite Shakespearean plays may have been penned while he was high.
  • Louisa May Alcott – This renowned abolitionist and suffragette also wrote the classic novel, Little Women—who knows, while a little high.

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Caution: Forgetfulness

Depending on the strain, cannabis can affect your memories of unbridled creativity while you were high. THC hinders short-term memories from transforming into long-term memories, making those fantastic ideas you thought about quite difficult to remember. Some strains also bring about the dreaded “bad trip” or some pretty heavy downs, so it’s probably better to stick to cannabis oil, which is considered the safest form of cannabis to ingest.

While you may not be the next Picasso or you may not be writing an anthem that will unite the world in peace, partaking in cannabis will still guarantee an elevation in your thought process. This includes moments when you just want to feel inspired, want to think of something original, or just want to renew your sense of awe and wonderment with the world by looking at it in new and creative ways. However, it’s important to remember that consuming it in a responsible manner is still important if you want to have a safe, creative experience.