Cannabis and creativity
Very little is known about the exact neuroscience of creativity. The traditional view that the right hemisphere of the brain is for creative processes and the left hemisphere is for logical processes is a huge oversimplification. Recent research has focused on using MRI technology to scan the brains of jazz musicians and rappers whilst they are ‘free-styling’. The results show that in fact, many different parts of the brain are involved in the creative process, including parts of both the left and right hemispheres. Creativity does not belong to one single part of the brain, rather multiple and varying combinations of different sections and sub-sections, depending on the type of creativity being performed. But where does cannabis fit into all this? Does cannabis make you more, or less creative?
Can I use cannabis to be more creative?
Cannabis is well-known as being the most popular illicit substance in the world. Many artists (painters, writers, musicians) are famed for their consumption of marijuana, and many have promoted smoking cannabis as a way to help them with their craft. Bob Marley and his band were known to ‘smoke a spliff’, as well as reciting a psalm before recording sessions, in order to get ‘good vibes, for a good sound’.
One problem with scientifically testing whether or not cannabis can make you more creative is coming up with a way of objectively measuring creativity. Scientists use several types of tests, involving verbal fluency, remote word association, and category fluency, to determine the creative capacity of an individual at a certain time. Using these benchmarks, Schafer et al. (2011) studied how participants responded to intoxication using cannabis. The results showed an increase in verbal fluency scores, but only in the group of participants who showed lower scores whilst non-intoxicated. This may have been due to dopamine release in the frontal cortex. The scientists speculated that the group who scored higher whilst non-intoxicated may already have some form of disinhibition in the frontal cortex, meaning that they were unaffected by the cannabis. This would imply that cannabis may in fact help creativity in individuals who find themselves to be lacking somewhat creatively. It would also imply that highly creative individuals will not find any additional creativity in consuming cannabis. However, this is just one study, and until much more in-depth research is done, the answer to whether or not cannabis makes you more creative will continue to elude scientists.
Which cannabis strains are best for creativity?
Putting science on the back-burner for the moment, and just going from anecdotal evidence, we find there is a wealth of information online. Bob Marley himself reportedly favored indigenous Jamaican strains. ‘Lamb’s Bread’, also known as ‘Lamb’s Breath’ is one of Marley’s strains, and the effects of the bud are generally energetic and giddy; typical of a Sativa strain. Another Marley recommendation is Blue Mountain Fire, again a Sativa strain. This strain is renowned for its ability to fight fatigue and stimulate the mind, and may users report feelings of increased creativity, and fast-paced euphoria.
Best strains for creativity
More popular strains such as Sour Diesel, Jack Herer, and Super Silver Haze are also known for their capacity to induce creativity and may be more available locally compared to more exotic strains. All of these strains can be consumed in any way which the individual user prefers. Different methods of consuming cannabis will produce different highs, so you can customize your creative buzz. If you’re looking for a short, sharp shock-type of high, then smoking butane hash oil (BHO) - also known as ‘dabbing’ is the method for you. If you prefer your creativity spread out over a longer period of time, then consuming cannabis edibles is the way forward. The effect will take longer to come on, but the high will last longer and be less intense (depending on how big the dose is!). For example, a musician requiring an inspirational boost for a short song might try BHO, and a writer requiring a longer period of creativeness might try cannabis edibles.