By Luke Sumpter

Creativity, as we know it, is a trait largely unique to humans. The capacity of our brains allows us to manifest thoughts and ideas into physical reality. According to Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs, this ability to create sits at the top of the “pyramid of values”, and gives our lives meaning.

Many artists, painters, and poets are born with an expansive imagination and creative ability they can tap into throughout life. Others find their creativity through unique experiences and tools that lead to a shift in their way of thinking.

People choose to kindle their creativity in different ways. While a simple brisk walk does the trick for some, others prefer to light up a joint. But does weed really make you more creative? Research on this topic remains mixed, with around half of studies saying it does, and the other half rejecting this relationship. Quantifying creativity is a hard task for researchers, as creativity itself is more of a process than a singular event. Defined as arranging sets of novel ideas in novel ways, creativity depends on a host of variables, including our unique personality type.

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CANNABIS AND CREATIVITY: A LASTING RELATIONSHIP

Inadvertently helping the process, the natural world provides catalysts of creativity in the form of fungi and plants. One of these plants, cannabis, has served as a botanical source of human creativity for thousands of years. Even as far back as 2700 BCE, Chinese practitioners were using it to “cure” absent-mindedness. Today, many visionary artists would argue they’re using it for—more or less—the same purpose.

DIVERGENT VS CONVERGENT THINKING

Thought—what a weird thing. The noises, images, and ideas that fly in and out of our consciousness are hard to put a finger on. Whether they are the result of neurons firing, or the product of the metaphysical, they are ultimately what make us human.

You might not think about thought often, but not all thinking happens the same. In fact, researchers have identified two primary patterns to which our currents of thought abide: convergent and divergent.

Convergent thinking refers to a linear pattern of thought that utilises logic. This type of thinking comes into play when dealing with facts, numbers, and clear-cut information. We rely heavily on this type of thinking when solving logical problems, calculating, and engaging in other activities that require a single correct answer or outcome.

Convergent thinking

In contrast, divergent thinking revolves around the imagination. Creativity, inspiration, new ideas, and brainstorming all occur in this mental domain. Convergent thinking consists of critical and what’s referred to as “vertical” thought, whereas divergent uses “horizontal” thinking.

Cannabis comes into play by helping us shift gears from that logical, vertical mindset into one more open, horizontal, and abstract. This shift from one mindset to another, for many, is helpful in conjuring new, self-expressive ideas, and underpins artistic breakthroughs.

Divergent Thinking

BACKED BY SCIENCE

This isn’t just anecdotal, either; we have the research to back it up!

A 2011 study published in Consciousness and Cognition[1] investigates the acute effects of cannabis on creativity. The research team was inspired by the fact that cannabis appears to produce psychomimetic symptoms. Such symptoms, they discussed, lead to an increased ability to connect unrelated concepts—a trait of divergent thinking.

They recruited participants for the study and separated them into two groups: high creatives and low creatives. Both groups underwent tests for creativity when sober, and then repeated them when under the influence of cannabis. The researchers measured scores of creativity using tests for verbal fluency, category fluency, and word association.

They found that low creatives reached the same level of verbal fluency when experiencing a cannabis high as sober high creatives. After analysing the results, the researchers concluded that acute cannabis use has the potential to increase divergent thinking.

THE DOPAMINE LINK

Cannabis appears to nudge creativity into overdrive by literally changing the way we think. Specifically, THC chemically alters our thought processes via alteration of dopamine levels.

We’ve all heard of dopamine. Known as the “happy hormone”, the neurotransmitter helps to control mental and emotional responses, as well as motor reactions. When dopamine levels drop, both our mood and creativity can take a big hit.

It will come as no surprise to learn that the dopaminergic system plays a powerful role in creativity[2]. As many of you also know, THC ingestion causes a surge of dopamine in the brain. This neurochemical shift enhances our mood, explaining why the marijuana high feels so good!

After entering the bloodstream via the lungs or digestive system, THC penetrates the blood-brain barrier. Upon being granted entry, it begins latching onto the abundant CB1 receptors in the brain. This leads to increased dopamine[3] levels, along with enhanced neuronal activity and sensations of euphoria.

However, the research remains split on whether this dopamine tinkering has a true effect on the creative process. A large body of research has come to the explicit conclusion that dopamine elevation caused by cannabis use stimulates lateral thinking—thought processes that are associated with creativity. In contrast, an equally substantial collection of data suggests the opposite. These conflicting findings suggest that cannabis increases the ability of the user to consider multiple ideas, potentially through the adjustment of dopamine levels. However, these ideas don’t necessarily meet the criteria of truly creative and novel ideas.

So, dopamine levels are associated with creativity. On top of this, components within cannabis are capable of elevating the levels of this key neurotransmitter. However, the research remains divided on whether this mechanism drives truly creative thoughts, or merely temporarily increases the brain’s capacity to juggle and consider ideas that don’t meet the definition of novel and creative thought. But the findings don’t end there. Intriguing literature, divulged below, offers fresh insight into this debate.

The Dopamine Link

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?

Acute cannabis use sends a wave of dopamine splashing over the brain. Some people, for instance, might find smoking a joint before starting a project to inspire innovative, quality work.

However, using cannabis too frequently over a long period of time can take a toll on the dopaminergic system. Excessive and prolonged levels of THC in the brain overwork the dopaminergic neurons, causing a blunting of the system.

Cannabis and creativity go hand in hand when musicians, artists, and writers use the herb in moderation. An even balance of inspiring and elevating highs alongside periods of clear-headed sobriety synergise to produce the best results.

WHEN TO USE CANNABIS TO BE MORE CREATIVE

You might find it most effective to save your favourite strain for when you’re diving deep into creative work. Timothy Leary, famous psychologist and psychedelic advocate, advises an optimal set and setting before taking drugs. While weed isn’t hallucinogenic, a proper setting could help you concentrate and make the most of the high and your creative session.

However, other creatives find that being high while writing or making music doesn’t actually help them. These individuals find it more beneficial to separate the two experiences. Being high serves as a way to come up with new ideas and find inspiration; expressing this newfound creativity follows afterwards with a sober and clear mind.

Different types of creative pursuits require different approaches, so whether or not you choose to smoke during or before creating is up to you. The bottom line? Do whatever feels right.

MARIJUANA FOR CREATIVITY: DOSE MATTERS

Before blazing half your stash and reaching for your coloured pencils, you might want to consider moderating your dose a bit. Don’t listen to us, though; listen to the scientific journal Psychopharmacology[4] instead.

After testing low (5.5mg) and high (22mg) doses of THC on a group of subjects, researchers found they generally performed much worse on divergent thinking tasks under the higher dose. The researchers also mentioned that low-potency cannabis provided no changes in observed divergent thinking. Rather, small doses of high-quality weed seemed to be the way to go.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN USERS

As a highly subjective experience, smoking weed affects different people in very different ways. Experienced users usually develop a strong tolerance, and can rip bongs and blunts for hours at a time. In contrast, novices risk becoming overwhelmed after a single hit of some high-quality bud. But, even for herbal veterans, large doses of cannabis can be detrimental to creativity, especially compared to smaller, controlled amounts.

Cannabis and Creativity: Further Research

A 2017 study[5] published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition took a slightly different approach in attempting to understand the association between cannabis and creativity. Interestingly, this study did away with administering cannabis and measuring its impact on creative thought altogether. Instead, it assessed personality traits of cannabis users and non-users under sober conditions.

The team behind this research recruited a total of 979 students. Of the sample, 72.5% had never used cannabis, whereas the remainder had used the herb 10 or fewer times in their life. The researchers then used specific psychological tools to measure the personality domains of neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. Following these measurements, the team then collected data on objective creativity, divergent thinking, and convergent thinking.

Not only did sober cannabis users self-report higher levels of creativity than non-users, but they scored higher on creative and artistic tests. The results also show that cannabis users scored significantly higher in extraversion and openness to experience. The researchers concluded that, although some studies show a link between cannabis administration and a temporary increase in divergent thinking, the enhancement in creativity when using cannabis may result more from the personality type of those inclined to seek out cannabis to begin with.

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Unleash Your Creativity With Tropical Mirage

If you love to smoke a joint before pursuing creative projects, then you’ll get on great with Tropical Mirage—a strain specifically designed to enhance the creative process.

To create such a variety, we joined forces with DJ, musician, and music producer Henry Saiz. Alongside his trippy electronic music, Henry has gained a reputation for championing cannabis as a creative aid. In fact, he views cannabis and music production as almost inseparable. He believes that music doesn’t just sound better when high, but that THC can help to unlock untapped creativity when it comes to making music.

It only made sense to consult and work with Henry to create Tropical Mirage. Together, his view of the creative process and the horticultural skill of our breeders created something truly unique. As an indica-dominant hybrid, this strain descends from parent cultivars Forbidden Skittles and Melonade. Together, these strains passed down an enormous THC content of 25% alongside a complex terpene profile that offers flavours of citrus, diesel, blueberry, and herbs.

Such high levels of THC and a plethora of stimulating terpenes give rise to an electrifying and inspiring high. Within minutes, you’ll feel the desire to grab a pen, guitar, paintbrush, or whatever apparatus you use to unleash your creative gifts. But be careful—go low and slow with this strain. You want to hit that sweet spot between productivity and becoming too high to function. Take small but frequent hits as you put your head down to work, and you’ll find yourself entering an unparalleled flow state.

Effects aside, Tropical Mirage also performs great in grow rooms and gardens alike. Indoors, this stealthy plant maintains a height of just 60–90cm but produces up to 500g/m². Outdoors, plants peak at 150cm and produce a massive 650–750g/plant ready to harvest in the middle of October.

If you’re looking for a creative boost, then you better act quickly! Tropical Mirage seeds are limited in number, and only available until stocks last!

Tropical Mirage
23_genetic background_1 Forbidden Zkittlez x Melonade
33_Yield indoors_1 450 - 500 gr/m2
31_plant height outdoor_1 60 - 90 cm
25_flowering time_1 8 - 9 weeks
29_THC_1 THC: 24%
28_Type Blend_1 Sativa 40% Indica 60%
34_yield outdoor_1 650 - 750 gr/plant
32_plant height outdoors_1 120 - 150 cm
27_harvest period_1 Middle of October
22_Effect_1 Calming, Creative, Euphoric, Uplifting

Buy Tropical Mirage

TOP 5 CANNABIS STRAINS TO INDUCE CREATIVITY

Certain strains are known for enhancing creativity; in other words, they’re good for inducing divergent thinking. That being said, as we’ve discussed, the effects of cannabis can vary greatly between users. Even then, however, there’s a generally accepted consensus on the most “creative” strains, all of which we’re proud to present.

ROYAL JACK AUTOMATIC

Royal Jack Automatic’s main effect is an uplifting and creative high. As it takes hold, it lets the user feel uninhibited and unafraid of far-out ideas. While mainly a sativa hybrid, Royal Jack's indica ancestry is responsible for the relaxing feeling it provides, along with the focus that follows.

Royal Jack Auto

Royal Jack Auto
23_genetic background_1 Jack Herer x Ruderalis
33_Yield indoors_1 350 - 400 gr/m2
31_plant height outdoor_1 40 - 80 cm
25_flowering time_1 7 - 8 weeks
29_THC_1 THC: 16%
28_Type Blend_1 Sativa 40% Indica 30% Ruderalis 30%
34_yield outdoor_1 70 - 120 gr/plant
32_plant height outdoors_1 60 - 80 cm
27_harvest period_1 11 - 12 weeks after sprouting
22_Effect_1 Creative, Motivating

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ROYAL AK 

Royal AK got its name for having an incredibly strong punch, with many calling it a “one-hit wonder”. Even experienced stoners will find themselves taking a nap after just a few puffs of this brute. However, if you resist the urge to curl up and autumn asleep, an incredibly relaxed high will follow. Your unbothered mind, in that state, is likely to produce some unique ideas.

Royal AK

Royal AK
23_genetic background_1 Columbian, Mexican, Thai & Afghan
33_Yield indoors_1 525 - 575 gr/m2
31_plant height outdoor_1 80 - 140 cm
25_flowering time_1 8 - 9 weeks
29_THC_1 THC: 19%
28_Type Blend_1 Sativa 60% Indica 40%
34_yield outdoor_1 600 - 650 gr/plant
32_plant height outdoors_1 130 - 170 cm
27_harvest period_1 Early October
22_Effect_1 Balanced, Clear, Stoned

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SOUR DIESEL

Sour Diesel, often abbreviated as Sour D, is a sativa-dominant hybrid named after its pungent, diesel-like aroma. Its scent, along with the unique high it offers, boosted this hybrid to its acclaimed status. In general, users report feeling washed over by an energetic, happy, and uplifting sensation.

Sour Diesel

Sour Diesel
23_genetic background_1 Original Diesel x (Northern light x Shiva x Hawaiian)
33_Yield indoors_1 475 - 525 gr/m2
31_plant height outdoor_1 90 - 160 cm
25_flowering time_1 10 - 11 weeks
29_THC_1 THC: 19%
28_Type Blend_1 Sativa 70% Indica 30%
34_yield outdoor_1 550 - 600 gr/plant
32_plant height outdoors_1 150 - 200 cm
27_harvest period_1 Late October
22_Effect_1 Clear, Physically Relaxing

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LEMON SHINING SILVER HAZE

Lemon Shining Silver Haze is a quality sativa boasting an aroma and taste uniquely reminiscent of fresh-cut lemon slices. Combine that invigorating scent with a 20% THC level, and you have a recipe for a strong and creative high. You might struggle to focus, but you’ll be struck with storms of ideas no matter what topic you’re focused on.

Lemon Shining Silver Haze

Lemon Shining Silver Haze
23_genetic background_1 Lemon Skunk x Shining Silver Haze
33_Yield indoors_1 600 - 650 gr/m2
31_plant height outdoor_1 80 - 140 cm
25_flowering time_1 9 - 10 weeks
29_THC_1 THC: 21%
28_Type Blend_1 Sativa 75% Indica 25%
34_yield outdoor_1 650 - 700 gr/plant
32_plant height outdoors_1 130 - 170 cm
27_harvest period_1 Middle of October
22_Effect_1 Balanced, Clear, Stoned

Buy Lemon Shining Silver Haze

ROYAL COOKIES

Royal Cookies, another sativa-dominant hybrid, is the most THC-rich strain on our list at 23%. As such, we believe it should be consumed in moderation. The high is mostly cerebral, and the uplifting and happy buzz will likely build into sheer euphoria. You’ll be excited by your ideas, and unafraid to start exploring deep into your imagination.

Royal Cookies

Royal Cookies
23_genetic background_1 Forum Cookies S1
33_Yield indoors_1 450 - 525 gr/m2
31_plant height outdoor_1 80 - 110 cm
25_flowering time_1 8 - 9 weeks
29_THC_1 THC: 23%
28_Type Blend_1 Sativa 20% Indica 80%
34_yield outdoor_1 450 - 500 gr/plant
32_plant height outdoors_1 140 - 180 cm
27_harvest period_1 Middle of October
22_Effect_1 Euphoric, Physically Relaxing

Buy Royal Cookies

External Resources:
  1. Investigating the interaction between schizotypy, divergent thinking and cannabis use - ScienceDirect https://www.sciencedirect.com
  2. Dopamine and the Creative Mind: Individual Differences in Creativity Are Predicted by Interactions between Dopamine Genes DAT and COMT https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  3. The effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol on the dopamine system https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  4. Cannabis and creativity: highly potent cannabis impairs divergent thinking in regular cannabis users | SpringerLink https://link.springer.com
  5. Mechanisms underlying enhanced creativity in cannabis users https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Disclaimer:
This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.

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