For ages, people have been using cannabis to engage with musical performances or enhance how they perceive a new art exhibit. It can help expand how we understand our current place in the world by merging together our current perceptions of reality and imagination. This doesn’t just help us appreciate art, it can inspire creativity of all kinds.
Whether we choose to paint, write, knit, or garden; cannabis can help us take a look at those creative projects from a brand new perspective. On the flip side, it also has a tendency to cause the mind to wander, causing us to sometimes lose enlightened sparks of imagination in a wildfire of thought. Even so, from the beat poets to some of our most beloved musicians, artists and cannabis have gone hand in hand for years. But what came first, the artists or the pot?
The ‘Feel Good’ Chemical
Cannabis in the system causes the brain to release dopamine, which is why we feel a rush of euphoria after smoking or ingesting edibles. Dopamine is often referred to as the ‘feel good chemical’ as it’s responsible for anytime that we feel pleasure or reward. Research shows that inhaling or ingesting cannabis can increase dopamine levels in the brain, which could help inspire creativity in that it defers negative thinking. Since we tend to be our own worst critic, this euphoric feeling could be what inspires creativity in those of us who love getting high.
Priming is a memory effect in our mind. It is a neurological pattern where one stimulus causes us to think of another stimulus. One example is how we can see a dog and then without prompt, we think of frisbees. In 2010, a research team published a paper in Psychiatry Research that showed cannabis use could cause a phenomena coined as ‘hyper-priming’.
The use of cannabis enhances automatic semantic priming which for some could cause psychotomimetic effects. However, this can also help an artist push aside their corporeal knowledge and delve more deeply into their minds.
While these positives show that cannabis does inhibit creativity, all studies recommend that to use cannabis creatively, it should be microdosed. In the case of hyper-priming, that study was done to see how the effects of cannabis can cause schizophrenic behavior. Similarly, smoking too much can cause issues with our natural dopamine production. Other studies also show that smoking too much cannabis can cause divergent thinking. Divergent thinking is what’s happening when we rip the bong, have an epic idea, and then ramble so long we forget that first epic thought.
We recommend microdosing when using cannabis for the purpose of being creative. Cannabis can be used to help us ignite our creative passions, but it has to be used wisely in order to do so.
Cara began working in the retail cannabis industry of San Francisco, CA in 2011 and continued in that sector for years. In 2015 she put down her budtender hat and dedicated herself to writing full-time. Her passion for the written word and deep respect for the healing properties of the cannabis plant fuel the passion in her posts.