If you’ve ever hit a wall of writer’s block, you understand how frustrating it can be. Trying to find ways to spark your imagination can sometimes seems like a never-ending battle. It’s no secret that marijuana has long been touted as a great option to use when creativity is lacking.
Even some of the greatest creative writers admit to using marijuana. In an interview with High Times, Stephen King expressed his feelings on marijuana. King spoke about supporting decriminalization and feeling that the marijuana industry should be a “cottage industry.” Maya Angelou reportedly began smoking weed heavily when she became a waitress.
There are theories that float around about William Shakespeare partaking as well. Although there’s no definitive proof, Shakespeare frequently mentions a “notched weed,” and a 17th-century pipe containing hints of cannabis surfaced where his home was.
So, what connection, if any, is there between creative writing and weed? Can it help stimulate your creative writing, and how would it work? Let’s take a look.
When combining creative writing and marijuana, dopamine plays a significant role. A recent study shows that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in marijuana stimulates the dopamine system, as well as brain activity. Dopamine is a natural chemical that makes you feel calm and euphoric. Production of this chemical lowers your inhibition and turns off the overly critical and closed off part of your brain. Without these barriers, creativity may flow freely. Even dumping a bunch of words or concepts on paper and coming back while sober to refine it propels your creative writing forward.
Divergent thinking allows you to see things from many different perspectives. Using divergent thinking, you can branch out your writing angles in a way that makes your reader see a viewpoint they had not thought of before. A 2015 study showed that cannabis use leads to an increase in divergent thinking. For this result, the study determined that low doses or more potent doses could have the opposite effect. Finding a beneficial middle ground optimizes creativity.
The same study finds that cannabis consumption also increases convergent thinking. This thinking is essentially the opposite of divergent thinking. Convergent thinking correlates to intelligence and exact answers to standard questions. For example, convergent thinking is what helps you answer multiple-choice questions correctly. Although these two forms of thinking are opposites, combining creativity with knowledge is valuable nonetheless.
When You’re Sober
The benefits of cannabis for creativity aren’t limited to the high. One research study shows that sober pot smokers performed better on creativity tests compared to nonsmokers. Some people may react better to the creativity-inducing effects of cannabis due to personality. A person that is more receptive to creative experiences may benefit from cannabis use than others. Cannabis consumers in this study were less conscientious. This trait leads to more focus on creativity than on overly thorough details and critiques.
When it comes to boosting creativity, both anecdotal evidence and scientific research show high potential for cannabis. There are possible limitations based on personalities, dosages, and THC potency, of course. As it remains, however, marijuana has been a widely discussed remedy amongst creative artists and writers for helping to boost their creativity and/or get them in the right headspace for writing.