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Harnessing the Power of Cannabis for Enhanced Creativity

As we know, creativity is a trait unique to humans. The ability of human brains allows them to manifest ideas and thoughts into physical reality. Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs states that this ability of humans to create sits at the top of the “pyramid of values” that gives meaning to our lives. 

Several painters, poets, and artists are born with a creative ability and an expansive imagination they can tap into throughout life. On the other hand, other people find their creativity through unique tools and experiences that lead to a change in their way of thinking. 

People choose to enhance their creativity in several different ways. While a simple walk can work for some, others may prefer to light up a joint. It is illegal to use cannabis for medicinal purposes in Iowa. Consequently, it is essential to follow state regulations by acquiring a medical marijuana card. Furthermore, beware of Iowa businesses that claim to offer a $20 medical card online, as these kinds of practices are not compliant with Iowan laws.

But here the question arises: does cannabis really kindle your creativity? There is mixed research on this topic; half of the studies claim that it does, and the other half claim to reject this relation. It is a hard task to quantify creativity for researchers because creativity is more of a process than a singular event. Creativity is defined as arranging sets of novel ideas in novel ways, and it depends on several variables, like our unique personality type. 

The Enduring Connection Between Cannabis and Creativity

Fungal and plant catalysts are examples of how the natural world unintentionally aids the creative process. For thousands of years, one of these plants—cannabis—has been used as a botanical source of creativity by humans. Chinese practitioners were using it to “cure” absentmindedness as early as 2700 BCE. Many forward-thinking artists today would contend that their uses are essentially the same.

Divergent Vs Convergent Thinking

Thought—what a weird thing. The images, ideas, and noises that come in and out of our consciousness are difficult to put a finger on. Whether our thoughts are the product of the metaphysical or the result of neurons firing, they are eventually what makes us human. 

We may not think about thoughts often, but not all thinking happens the same. Researchers have identified that two primary patterns govern our thoughts, which are divergent and convergent.  

Convergent thinking is the application of logic to a linear pattern of thinking. This kind of reasoning is applied to information that is based on facts, figures, and precise details. This way of thinking comes in handy when we have to calculate, solve logical puzzles, and perform other tasks where there is only one right answer or result.

Divergent thinking, on the other hand, centers on the imagination. This mental domain is the catalyst for brainstorming, inspiration, creativity, and new ideas. Divergent thinking employs “horizontal” thinking, while convergent thinking uses critical and so-called “vertical” thought.

Cannabis functions by assisting us in changing our perspective from one that is more open, horizontal, and abstract to one that is more logical and vertical. For many, this mental shift supports creative breakthroughs and is useful in generating original, self-expressive ideas.

If, while living in Iowa, you also think about using cannabis to improve your creativity, you will need a medical marijuana card Iowa in order to avoid facing legal repercussions. 

Supported by Scientific Evidence

Not only is this anecdotal, but the research supports it as well!

A 2011 study on the immediate effects of cannabis on creativity was published in Consciousness and Cognition. The observation that cannabis seems to cause psych mimetic symptoms served as motivation for the research team. They talked about how these symptoms lead to a greater capacity for divergent thinking, which is the ability to connect seemingly unrelated concepts.

After recruiting study participants, they divided them into two categories: high and low creatives. Tests of creativity were administered to both groups while they were sober, and they were subsequently repeated while high on cannabis. Through word association, category fluency, and verbal fluency tests, the researchers assessed creativity scores.

They discovered that when high creatives were high on cannabis and in sobriety, low creatives attained the same degree of verbal fluency. The researchers came to the conclusion that acute cannabis use may promote divergent thinking after analyzing the data.

The Connection to Dopamine

Cannabis appears to provoke creativity into overdrive that changes the way we think. Particularly, THC chemically alters our process of thinking by altering dopamine levels. 

We all have heard about dopamine which is known as the “happy hormone.” The neurotransmitter helps to control emotional and mental responses, as well as motor reactions. When our dopamine levels drop, both our creativity and mood can be affected. 

It should come as no surprise to hear that creativity is strongly influenced by the dopaminergic system. Dopamine levels in the brain rise when THC is consumed, as many of you are also aware. This neurochemical change improves our mood, which explains why getting high on marijuana feels so good!

THC crosses the blood-brain barrier after entering the bloodstream through the lungs or digestive tract. Once inside, it starts to attach itself to the many CB1 receptors throughout the brain. Dopamine levels rise as a result, and there are also increases in neuronal activity and euphoric feelings.

On the question of whether this dopamine manipulation actually affects the creative process, research is still divided. Numerous studies have conclusively shown that the dopamine elevation brought on by cannabis use promotes lateral thinking, or creative thought processes. On the other hand, an equally large set of data points to the contrary. These contradictory results imply that cannabis improves a user’s capacity for multitasking, possibly by modifying dopaminergic levels. These concepts, though, might not always fit the definition of truly original and creative ideas.

Dopamine levels are therefore linked to creativity. Furthermore, elements in cannabis have the power to increase this important neurotransmitter’s levels. The question of whether this process actually stimulates truly creative thought or only momentarily improves the brain’s ability to process and weigh ideas that don’t fit the criteria of novel and creative thought is still up for debate in the literature. However, the results don’t stop there. The fascinating literature that follows provides new context for this discussion.

Too much of a good thing?

Acute cannabis use causes a dopamine surge to flood the brain. For example, some people find that smoking a joint before beginning a project helps them come up with creative, high-caliber work.

On the other hand, overusing cannabis for an extended length of time can damage the dopaminergic system. The dopaminergic neurons in the brain are overworked by high and sustained THC levels, which blunts the system.

When used in moderation by musicians, artists, and writers, cannabis and creativity go hand in hand. To achieve optimal outcomes, a harmonious blend of exhilarating and motivating moments combined with periods of cool-headed sobriety work together.

Optimal Moments for Utilizing Cannabis to Boost Creativity

It could be most productive for you to reserve your favorite strain for when you’re working on a creative project. The renowned psychologist and proponent of psychedelics Timothy Leary suggests an ideal environment before using drugs. Even though marijuana doesn’t have hallucinogenic properties, the right environment can help you focus, enjoy the high, and have creative sessions.

Some creatives, on the other hand, discover that writing or creating music while high doesn’t really help them. For these people, it is preferable to keep the two experiences apart. Being high can inspire and generate new ideas; articulating this newly discovered creativity then comes with a clear, sober head.

You can choose to smoke before or during your creative process; different creative endeavors call for different strategies. The final word? Follow your instincts.

Creativity and Cannabis: The Impact of Dosage

You might want to think about reducing your dosage a little before burning through half of your stash and pulling out your colored pencils. But instead of listening to us, read the peer-reviewed journal Psychopharmacology.

Following the administration of low-potency cannabis proving doses of THC (5.5 mg) and high-potency doses (22 mg) to a group of subjects, the researchers observed that the subjects generally underperformed on tasks requiring divergent thinking when exposed to the higher dose. observed divergent thinking did not change. Instead, it seemed that moderate dosages of top-notch cannabis were the best option.

Variations Among Cannabis Consumers

Smoking marijuana is a very personal experience that has varying effects on different people. Expert users can rip bongs and blunts for hours at a time and typically build a strong tolerance. On the other hand, beginners run the risk of feeling overwhelmed after just one hit of some premium cannabis. Large doses of cannabis, however, can be harmful to creativity even for seasoned herbalists, particularly when compared to smaller, more controlled doses.

Exploring the Relationship Between Cannabis and Creativity: Advancing Research

In an effort to comprehend the connection between cannabis and creativity, a 2017 study that was published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition adopted a slightly different methodology. It’s interesting to note that this study completely eschewed using cannabis to induce creative thought and measured its effects instead. Rather, it evaluated the personality qualities of both cannabis users and non-users in a sober setting.

A total of 979 students were recruited by the research team. 72.5 percent of the sample had never used cannabis, while the remaining individuals had only used the plant ten times or less. Next, the personality domains of neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness were measured by the researchers using particular psychological instruments. The team then gathered information on objective creativity, divergent thinking, and convergent thinking in response to these assessments.

In addition to self-reporting greater levels of creativity than non-users, sober cannabis users also performed better on tests measuring creativity and artistic ability. Additionally, the results demonstrate that cannabis users had much higher extraversion and openness to experience scores. The researchers came to the conclusion that, while some research has linked cannabis administration to a brief increase in divergent thinking, the personality types of people who are more likely to seek out cannabis in the first place may be more responsible for the increased creativity associated with cannabis use.