The Cannabis Creativity Connection – Did the Great Artists Use Ganja for Inspiration?
Cannabis and Creativity: How to Enhance Your Artistic Process with Cannabis
Cannabis has been used for centuries as a tool for inspiration and creativity. From the ancient shamans to modern-day artists, many have found that cannabis can help to unlock their inner creative genius. It’s not just a matter of getting “high”, but rather it’s about the way that cannabis interacts with the brain to stimulate the creative process.
But don’t just take my word for it, the science supports it too. At least the studies I specifically decided to focus on to support my premise. There are other studies that say the exact opposite and then there are the countless examples of artists who got high and make some amazing art.
Studies have shown that cannabis can increase divergent thinking, which is the ability to come up with multiple ideas for a given problem or task. And who doesn’t want to be more productive and come up with more ideas? What cannabis strains work for creative juices?
So whether you’re a painter, writer, musician or any other type of artist, cannabis can be the secret ingredient that takes your art to the next level. And in this guide, I will show you how to use cannabis to enhance your artistic process, from selecting the right strain to setting the perfect environment. So, roll one up and let’s get creative!
Personally, I have used cannabis numerous times to tap into some alternate frequency to create. Perhaps it helped facilitate the “flow state”. I can recall one time when I wrote two completely different songs simultaneously.
Both songs had their own chord progressions, both of them had wildly different lyrics, tone, etc. Yet there I was, stoned as I could be – creating like there’s no tomorrow. Now, I’ve always been a creative guy, however, during those conditions, I certainly would agree with thousands of artists throughout history – weed can help with creativity!
The relationship between cannabis and creativity is complex and multifaceted, and it has already had a significant impact on the zeitgeist of our time.
For centuries, artists, writers, and musicians have been using cannabis as a tool for inspiration and creativity. From the ancient shamans to modern-day artists, many have found that cannabis can help to unlock their inner creative genius – or at least so they think depending on who you ask.
Some believe that it’s the psychoactive compounds in cannabis, such as THC, interacting with the brain in ways we still don’t fully understand, that can stimulate the creative process and allow for new ideas to flow. Perhaps something to do with neuroplasticity.
Cannabis has also had a profound influence on the cultural zeitgeist of our time. It has played a key role in shaping the counterculture of the 1960s and 70s, and it continues to be a powerful force in shaping contemporary culture. From music and fashion, to art and literature, cannabis has been a driving force behind many of the most important cultural movements of the last century.
Moreover, the legalization and decriminalization of cannabis has changed the way society views cannabis and its use, it has helped to reduce the stigma around cannabis and has made it more accessible for research and experimentation, this has led to a greater understanding of the benefits and the potential therapeutic uses of cannabis. But that’s for another article… in this one we’re tackling creativity and cannabis!
Let’s take a look at the historical connection between cannabis and creativity. For centuries, cannabis has been used as a tool for spiritual and creative pursuits. From shamans in Central Asia to the ancient Egyptians, cannabis was considered a sacred herb that could open the mind and allow for spiritual and artistic inspiration. Even in modern times, many artists, such as Bob Marley, Louis Armstrong and Salvador Dali, have been known to use cannabis to enhance their creativity.
But it’s not just anecdotal evidence, there is science to back it up as well. Studies have shown that cannabis can increase divergent thinking, which is the ability to come up with multiple ideas for a given problem or task.
However, “divergent thinking” is only one aspect of creativity. This is because there is still so much about the creative process we don’t know. However, divergent thinking is one way that scientists attempt to measure creativity. Allegedly, by increasing divergent thinking, you can “think outside of the box”.
As Dr. Julie Holland, a psychiatrist and author of “The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis” explains, “Cannabis is a tool that can be used to open up the mind, to make connections that aren’t otherwise apparent, to see things in a new way.”
Cannabis can also help you zone in on a particular activity – especially those that require creativity. For example, it’s not uncommon for someone who gets high to sit and paint all day, or play on their guitar – or engage in any other kind of “creative endeavor”. This kind of myopic focus is essential to the creative process and cannabis can help artists tap into this mode of engagement.
Historically, we have a trove of examples to support our major argument in favor of cannabis and it’s positive impacts on creativity. Artists and creators, such as the poet Allen Ginsberg, the musician Jimi Hendrix and the comedian Richard Pryor, have all been known to use cannabis to enhance their artistic process. Even the renowned scientist and inventor, Thomas Edison, reportedly used cannabis to help him focus on his work.
Allen Ginsberg himself said “I smoke marijuana to go into a state of pleasing thought and read poetry.”
Or in more modern times this would translate to, “When I get baked I go with the Flow”.
Cannabis has also played an important role in shaping contemporary culture and the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s. From music and fashion, to art and literature, cannabis has been a driving force behind many of the most important cultural movements of the last century.
Throughout history, we can witness an ever changing landscape when it comes to the relationship of cannabis and creativity.
In ancient China, for example, it was believed that cannabis had the ability to “stimulate the imagination” and was used by artists and poets for inspiration.
In ancient India, the Vedas, ancient holy texts dating back to 1500 BCE, mention the use of cannabis for religious and artistic rituals.
In more recent history, the illegality of cannabis fueled the creation of the counterculture, which in turn led to the legalization movement we are seeing today.
In contrast, in Jamaica, Rastafarianism, a religion that emerged in the 1930s, has traditionally used cannabis as a sacrament. Rastafarians believe that “ganja”, helps to open the mind and stimulate creativity, as well as bring them closer to the divine.
The point of all of these aforementioned examples is to show that cannabis is intrinsically connected with the individual and their artistic expression. From music, fashion, culture itself – we share a deep connection with the plant.
Many famous people have claimed that cannabis was instrumental to their process. Below you’ll find a few of them:
“I find that when I smoke, ideas are just kind of floating around in the air and you just reach up and grab them,” said the late musician and artist Jimi Hendrix.
“Marijuana enhances my perception of the many planes of existence,” said the late artist Salvador Dali.
“The thing about marijuana is that it makes everything that bored you suddenly interesting,” said comedian and actor Seth Rogen.
Musician, rapper and record producer Snoop Dogg stated, “It’s a good thing. It helps me focus. It helps me create. It helps me motivate. It helps me to spark my flame.”
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s plenty more where that came from. However, it’s not my objective to flood your mind with quotes from famous stoners, but rather to highlight the idea that creative people tend to use cannabis more than non-creative people.
Irrespective if studies show that it doesn’t increase divergent thinking, or has no impact within their perception of creativity – isn’t it interesting that people who are actually living off their creativity use it at greater frequency than those who don’t?
THE STICKY BOTTOM LINE:
Cannabis and creativity have a complicated relationship. It is indisputable that many creative people throughout history have used cannabis as a tool to boost their artistic process, even though scientific study on the matter may be inconclusive.
But what is it about cannabis that appeals to painters and other creatives so much? Some claim that marijuana’s euphoric ingredients, such THC and CBD, may free the mind and stimulate the flow of fresh thoughts. Others emphasize how cannabis can make people feel less anxious and have more focus, which enables creatives to work more deeply without the interruptions of daily life.
For me personally, it’s a fantastic tool that helps me find unique solutions to common problems. When it comes to writing, when it comes to thinking, or just letting go of my preconceived notions…cannabis is a fantastic ally!