Creativity is a quintessentially human trait. Our brains enable us to express thoughts and ideas into tangible things. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, our sense of creativity is at the top of “the pyramid” and gives meaning to our lives.
Many artists, painters and poets are born with a great imagination and a sense of creativity that they can draw from throughout their lives. Others get creativity from unique experiences and resources that change the way they think.
Cannabis And Creativity: A Lasting Relationship
Now it just so happens that Mother Nature can lend us a hand in this process. In fact, creativity can be stimulated with the help of mushrooms and plants. One such plant, cannabis, has served as a botanical source for human creativity for thousands of years. Chinese doctors prescribed it 2700 years before our era to “cure” concentration disorders. Today, visionary artists claim to use it – pretty much – for the same purpose.
Divergent Versus Convergent Thinking
Thinking and thoughts – that’s really just weird, isn’t it? The sounds, images and ideas that fly in and out of our consciousness are hard to pinpoint. Whether they are the result of fired neurons or a metaphysical product, they are ultimately what makes us human. You may not think about it often, but not all thinking takes place in the same way. As such, scientists have identified two primary patterns for thought flow: convergent and divergent thinking.
Convergent thinking refers to a linear pattern of thought, based on logic. This type of thinking is employed when you need to process facts, numbers, and clear info. We especially depend on this thinking for logical problem solving, math, and other activities that require one correct answer or result.
Divergent thinking, however, is all about our imagination. Creativity, inspiration, new ideas and brainstorming: it all takes place in this mental domain. Convergent thinking consists of critical and what we call “vertical” thoughts, while divergent thinking uses “horizontal” thoughts.
Cannabis could help us switch from logical, vertical thinking to more open, horizontal and abstract thinking. This switch can lead to new ideas and artistic breakthroughs in many people.
Support From Science For The Creative Strain Effect
However, this is not just based on stories, science is behind it too! A 2011 study published in Consciousness and Cognition, focused on the direct effect of marijuana on our creativity. The research team was inspired by the fact that cannabis seems to have psychomimetic effects. This creative strain effect, they discussed, lead to an increased ability to connect with unrelated concepts – a hallmark of divergent thinking.
The researchers divided the study participants into two groups: high-creatives and low-creatives. Both groups underwent tests while sober and then had to repeat them under the influence of cannabis. The researchers measured creativity scores with tests of verbal fluency, categorical fluency and word association.
The researchers found that low-creatives achieved the same level of verbal fluency as sober high-creatives when they experienced a high. After analyzing the results, they concluded that acute cannabis use has the potential to promote divergent thinking.
The Link With Dopamine
Weed seems to enhance creativity by literally changing the way we think. Specifically, THC alters our thought process on a chemical level through changes in dopamine levels.
You have probably heard of dopamine. Known as the “happy hormone,” it is the neurotransmitter that helps regulate mental and emotional responses, as well as motor reactions. When dopamine levels drop, both our moods and creativity can take a big hit.
It should come as no surprise that the dopaminergic system plays an influential role in creativity. As you may know, ingestion of THC causes a sudden increase in dopamine in the brain. This neurochemical shift improves our mood, which explains why weed makes us feel so good!
THC, after entering the bloodstream through the lungs or our digestive tract, passes through the blood-brain barrier. After it has permission to enter, it begins to latch on to the many CB1 receptors in the brain. This leads to an increased concentration of dopamine, enhanced neuronal activity and sensations of euphoria.
Is The Creative Strain Effect Too Much Of A Good Thing?
Acute cannabis use sends waves of dopamine through the brain. Consequently, some people smoke a joint before starting a project to become innovative.
However, using cannabis too often and for too long can also wreak havoc on the dopaminergic system. Excessive and prolonged concentrations of THC in the brain often demand too much of dopaminergic neurons, blunting the system.
Cannabis and creativity do go hand in hand when musicians, artists and writers use the herb in moderation. A balance of inspirational and uplifting highs and periods of clear-headed abstinence produces the best results.
When To Use Weed To Become More Creative
It may be most effective to save your favorite strain for those times when you dive deep into creative work. Timothy Leary, famous psychologist and proponent of psychedelics, recommends an optimal set and setting for using drugs. Although weed is not mind-altering, a virtuous setting could help you concentrate and get the most out of your high and creative session.
Other creative people, however, find that being high while writing or composing doesn’t really help. These people argue that it is more useful to separate the two experiences. In this regard, being high serves as a way to gain new ideas and inspiration, which is later expressed with a non-intoxicated and clear mind.
Different creative projects require different approaches, so whether or not you want to smoke during or before you create something is up to you. The final conclusion? Just do what feels right. Before you smoke half your stock pot and reach for your crayons, however, you should consider moderating the dose a bit. Don’t listen to us, though; instead, read what Psychopharmacology has to say about it.
After testing low (5.5mg) and high (22mg) doses of THC on a group of subjects, the researchers found that the participants with higher doses often performed much worse on divergent thinking tasks. The authors also noted that lower-dose marijuana did not produce any changes in observed divergent thinking. Instead, low doses of high quality cannabis appeared to be the way to go.
Creative Strain Effect Differences Between Users
As a highly subjective experience, smoking marijuana affects people in different ways. Experienced users typically have a high tolerance threshold and can smoke a bong or joint for hours. However, novice smokers can quickly become overwhelmed after just one puff of good quality weed. But even for experienced users, high doses of cannabis can be detrimental to creativity, especially compared to smaller, controlled amounts.
Top 5 Cannabis Strains For Inducing Creativity
Certain strains are known to enhance creativity. In other words, they are suitable for inducing divergent thinking. However, you know by now that the effects of cannabis can vary quite a bit. Still, there is a generally accepted consensus on the most “creative” strains, which we gladly present to you.
Royal Jack Automatic Strain
The main effect of Royal AK Automatic is an uplifting and creative high. When it starts to kick in, you feel free and unafraid of outrageous ideas. Although this is a sativa cross, Royal Jack’s indica parents are responsible for the relaxing feeling she provides, along with the creative strain effect that follows.
Royal AK Strain
Royal AK got her name because of the strong thump she delivers. Many people call her a “one-hit wonder” for this reason. Even experienced stoners will want to take a nap after just a few pulls of this strain. However, if you resist the urge to curl up and fall asleep, an incredibly relaxing high will follow. Your calm mind can produce unique ideas in that state thanks to the creative strain effect.
Sour Diesel Strain
Sour Diesel, often shortened to Sour D, is a sativa-dominant cross named for its sharp diesel-like aroma. This aroma, combined with the unique high it induces, makes this strain very popular. Generally, users report being overcome by energetic, happy and uplifting sensations.
Lemon Shining Silver Haze Strain
Lemon Shining Silver Haze is a high-quality sativa and blessed with a smell and taste reminiscent of freshly cut lemon. Combine that empowering aroma with 20% THC and you have the recipe for a powerful and creative strain effect. You might struggle a bit with your focus, but you’ll be amazed at the tsunami of ideas no matter what you focus on.
Royal Cookies Strain
Royal Cookies, also a sativa-dominant hybrid, is the THC-richest strain on our list at 23%. Therefore, it is wise to consume her in moderation. The high is predominantly spiritual and the inspiring, happy buzz is likely to expand into pure euphoria. You get excited by your own ideas and are fearless to explore the contents of your brain pan. As you can guess by the name, this is a relative of the Girl Scout Cookies strain.
Creative Strain Effect | Frequently Asked Questions
Can I take as much cannabis with creative strain effect as I need?
Well, it’s wise to not take too much and use it in moderation.
Is the creative strain effect the same for everyone?
No, everyone is different and responds in their own way.
What are the weed strains with the best creative strain effect?
For now we can say Royal Jack Automatic, Royal AK, Sour Diesel, Lemon Shining Silver Haze and Royal Cookies.
When should I use weed with a creative strain effect?
Whenever you want, during work or after work; whatever suits your needs.
Does every strain generate creativity?
Not all, but there are some strains known to induce creativity.