Is there anyone who hasn’t come up “the best idea in history!” while completely baked? If so, we don’t think we’ve met them.
Weed-fueled brainstorms, though, aren’t always the same as true creativity. Conceptualizing “a spaceship that will visit other planets to gather all the natural resources we could ever use!” is very different than solving a difficult work-related problem, or taking a beautiful, artistic photograph.
Neurologists disagree on whether, or how much, cannabis can encourage someone’s creative juices to flow. There have been studies showing that smokers perform better on a test designed to measure one aspect of creativity (divergent thinking), and research has shown that pot consumption increases blood flow to the part of the brain (the frontal lobe) associated with creativity.
Many experts, though, insist that people whose creativity is enhanced by smoking are more creative to begin with, with cannabis simply enhancing their focus or calming the stress they might feel. And even if weed isn’t a golden ticket to a wonderland of creative genius, enhanced focus, and less stress would seem like a very good place to start.
The Case For Weed And Creativity
Whether you believe the skeptics or not, there are plenty of first-hand testimonials attesting to the power of pot when it comes to creativity.
Dozens of artists in every discipline have publicly credited marijuana for helping to stimulate their creative juices, and it’s not just modern-day icons like Willie Nelson and Snoop. Musicians from Louis Armstrong to Madonna, artists like Modigliani, comedians like George Carlin, even entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs have all publicly vouched for the positive effect that weed had on their creative thinking or writing.
One obvious truth before we go further: scientific experts, celebrity devotees and everyday potheads (for the most part) agree that there can be too much of a good thing – at least when it comes to smoking up in order to stimulate creativity.
On the research side, studies have shown small increases in divergent thinking and originality with small doses of cannabis, but marked decreases with larger doses. And on the pothead side, anyone who’s passed out on the couch more than once after a long smoke sesh can vouch for the effects of overindulging.
So there’s definitely some evidence that marijuana may help boost creativity – in smaller amounts and in at least some people.
That would mean finding the right type of cannabis.
Your Mileage May Vary
Sativa or Indica? There should be an easy answer to this one: Sativa strains are well-known for energetic, stimulating, uplifting (and sometimes hallucinogenic) head highs. Indicas, by contrast, generally provide relaxation, calmness and even sedation. So if you want to be creative, Sativa is the way to go, right?
Not necessarily. A Sativa or Sativa-dominant strain generally makes sense, but not everyone reacts the same way to them – particularly if they’re very high in THC content. One person’s inspiration may be another’s racing mind, and those who are prone to anxiety may react very badly to a powerful Sativa.
On the other hand, the typical Indica-dominant strain will mellow many people out to the point where they’re more sleepy than creative. However, the same bud might help a high-strung smoker calm down enough to break through a mental block and create something exceptional.
The lesson is simple: know yourself and factor in how various strains affect you, before deciding whether a bowl, vape, or edible has actually helped your creativity.
Here are the ones to try first.
Best Weed Strains for Creativity
This Sativa-dominant strain can actually take care of two tasks for those ready to create. It starts off with an uplifting, invigorating head high which will get the juices – and the ideas – flowing. Later it morphs into a more relaxing, calming high which lets you come back down and chill after you’ve reinvented the wheel or come up with something more useful.
The THC content of Blue Dream is high but not off the charts, averaging somewhere around 20% with much lower CBD levels. So like most strains that encourage creativity and focus, this one isn’t the best choice for those with anxiety issues. In addition to its cerebral high, Blue Dream also contains the terpenes linalool and limonene, making it an ideal choice to battle depression symptoms that may be blocking your creative genes.
The misleadingly-named Amnesia Haze is an 80/20 Sativa-dominant strain that doesn’t put you into a fog but actually helps sharpen focus. This Dutch strain is deservedly famous, not only because it’s one of the stars of Amsterdam coffee shops, but because it’s won the Cannabis Cup several times in the 21st century.
You experience a fast-acting, euphoric high with sharp focus when partaking of Amnesia Haze. Thanks to the Indica, though, the euphoria won’t usually get out of hand unless you’re already prone to anxiety and racing thoughts, and your creativity should definitely be enhanced. Another benefit to this strain is an increase in physical energy, so this is a great option to sample before working out (or “working out,” if you know what we mean).
Here’s another multi-Cannabis Cup winner which is known for its uplifting, motivational and long-lasting high which is perfect for complicated brainstorming that may take a while. It’s definitely not going to get your brain racing too fast, though, because the THC-content is moderate and the high is as almost peaceful as it is productive.
AK-47 is not just a good option for stimulating creativity; it’s just as good for keeping you mentally alert and even allowing you to socialize when you’re more inclined toward introversion. A little goes a long way, too, as it’s earned the name “one-hit wonder” among many stoners.
If you’re sitting down to write some incredibly creative fan fiction or paint an abstract work of art, LSD (the bud, not the acid) could be the flower of your dreams. With a potent THC content that can reach around 25%, this Indica-dominant hybrid got its name because of the trippy, cerebral high it produces. But the indica shows as well, producing a strong body buzz and warmth shortly afterward.
Don’t expect the clarity and focus you’ll experience with most of the other strains on this list. LSD (again, the weed) is more likely to leave you in a calm haze that lets you come up with weird or offbeat ideas that might not otherwise surface. Be warned: the trip is not for the inexperienced or the faint of heart, but this strain is known for – among other things – helping you blasting right through writer’s block.
OG Kush is a balanced strain that leans only slightly Sativa. That makes it a very good choice to enhance creativity without slowing you down too much. The initial head rush fades into a high that’s less euphoric than happy, and body relaxation that doesn’t go all the way to the couch-lock territory.
Focus is generally improved when partaking of this weed. So you should experience plenty of mental stimulation that can be used either to write the next great American novel or engage in lively discussions with friends. OG Kush can also ease the depression that might be blocking creativity, in part due to its terpenes that include limonene and linalool. It’s been called a classic strain for good reason.