A new research studies suggest that cannabis users are more likely to be creative.  With that said, it could be that intelligent and creative people are more likely to smoke weed.  Scientifically, the findings are not far fetched, as the components of cannabis, ingredients called cannabinoids and terpenes, have been shown to improve brain and neural function in many ways.  

This paper discusses the results of a study about cannabis and creativity, with critiques from an assortment of informed cannabis users.  For the cannabis professional, a select list of peer reviewed studies on cannabis, cannabinoids and cognition is provided.


Study Highlights

• Straight marijuana users showed enhanced self-reported creativity to non-users.
• Straight marijuana users demonstrated superior convergent thinking ability to abstainers.
• Marijuana users were more extroverted, open to experience and less conscientious.
• Differences in openness to experience marijuana consumers' enhanced creativity.


Previous research suggests marijuana may enhance some aspects of creativity, although the results remain somewhat equivocal. Moreover, it is unclear whether the differences in marijuana consumers' personalities may account for any potentially beneficial effects of marijuana on creativity. This research study was constructed to examine whether straight marijuana users demonstrate superior self-reported and objective creativity test performance relative to abstainers, and to determine whether any of the BIG FIVE personality domains underlie these effects.


"CBD prevents the degeneration of the nervous system in several ways. The nervous system is composed of two main parts: the peripheral nervous system - nerves and ganglia  on the surface of the brain and spinal cord. the central nervous system, which includes the brain, cranial nerves, spinal cord, etc.  By protecting and improving neurological function, no doubt, the cognitive and creative processes must be enhanced."


"Pity, most studies focus on weed that is high in THC.  Back in the 1960's in Israel, they established that cannabis with a multitude of cannabinoids, CBD,THC, CBC, CBN had a much greater efficacy than THC alone.  In other words, most people that research marijuana didn't know the basics, quack, quack. "- Johnny Rodriguez


Busted for no shelling out $20  for MMJ ID.

Why Get Busted - Why win a Darwin Award for Pot?

A sample of four hundred and twelve straight marijuana users and three hundred and nine abstainers completed measures of marijuana consumption, personality, self-reported and objective creativity.  Unfortunately, the effects the various cannabinoids are not considered, with a focus only on "cannabis" as if it was only one thing.  Then there is the dose to consider.  Certainly everyone associated with cannabis consumption knows that getting really stoned is impairing.  And many artists know that it can help them write, draw, or even work out with improved focus and attention.


Relative to abstainers, sober marijuana users self-reported higher creativity, and performed significantly better on a measure of convergent thinking.  However, after controlling for personality traits, it appeared that these apparent improvements could be due to the general tendency of cannabis users to be open to new experiences, which is fundamental to the creative process.  


Controlling for marijuana consumers' higher levels of openness to experience abolished these effects. Therefore, while marijuana users appear to demonstrate enhanced creativity, these effects are an artifact of their heightened levels of openness to experience.


cannabis brain

Unlocking the creative you.


"CBD dials down an errant overactive enzyme system.  The human body manufactures a fatty acid enzyme called amide hydroxylase (FAAH), which breaks down a neurotransmitter, anandamide that is involved in motivation and pleasure, and is associated with fetal neural development.  CBD suppresses the effect of overactive FAAH in the body and creates higher levels of anandamide by binding onto CB! receptors on nerve cell membranes."






“So, marijuana use does not increase creativity, but certain personality traits tend to increase the likelihood that one will use cannabis, and that they will also be more creative? The average person should understand that according to the results of this research study, marijuana users may be more creative than abstainers, but this is not because using marijuana has increased their creativity. Instead, marijuana users tend to have different personality traits (they are more open to experience) than abstainers, and this openness to experience is associated with both marijuana use, and heightened creativity,” Dr. LaFrance



the brain, creativity and cannabis


MMJDOCTORONLINE Notes:  Did you know that medical marijuana patients will pay much less for marijuana in 2018, as much as $75 less per ounce? But enhancing your creativity is not grounds for a medical marijuana recommendation.  However, chronic stress, anxiety, insomnia and many other conditions and symptoms may qualify you for a Cannabis ID card, under the new laws.  The application process takes only a few minutes and patients are not required to submit payment until they have been approved.  MMJDOCTORONLINE documents are used at cannabis clinics, dispensaries, online delivery services and at other points of legal access in the State of California.


enlightenedI can't speak for everyone, but I definitely personally feel like psychedelics have permanently altered my personality and perception of the world. The BIGgest change would definitely be openness to experience, and contentment with life.

enlightenedThere is a reason these substances were at the center of so many ancient cultures and it’s a shame the stigma they receive in today’s society. Organizations like MAPS are working on studying some of them and are finding promising results like treatment for PTSD, anxiety and depression. I find it so interesting that this is all happening when it seems most needed in our culture. The plant allies are coming to the rescue!

Five Big Personality Traits and Cannabis

enlightenedPersonality tests, no matter where they come from, can't determine our real personality because of how complex humans and their hierarchy are. Like how you may be the coolest person in your D&D group but a nobody in your bowling group.  But they're fun and give you stuff to think about. You should take it if you're interested. Just don't let it define you.

enlightenedYou're right that you shouldn't let the BIG FIVE define you, but the full version of the test (which can take 30-4 FIVE minutes to complete) has really good test reliability and good predictive validity for a lot of aspects of life (e.g. people with higher levels of conscientiousness tend to do better in the workplace than those who don't). They are also being linked to areas of the brain (e.g. Extraversion and the dopaminergic system).


enlightenedThe rank-order of BIG-FIVE personality among people tend to stay stable across space and time (e.g. the most extroverted person at a party will also on average be the most extraverted party at a funeral - although their absolute level of extraversion will (hopefully) be less/ the most neurotic person in your class in school will likely still be the most neurotic person at your class reunion).


"The BIG FIVE personality tests give you a good indicator of your basic temperament or disposition that you will have for most of your life."


enlightenedYou're right that humans are complex, and to account for this, personality researchers build upon the BIG FIVE model with other ideas such as character adaptations (your goals, your plans, your values), life narrative (I am a hardworking person), and depending on the model other things such as self-identity and reputation (which adds in what you were saying about the D&D and Bowling group contrast). However, it is incredible useful to know about them, as if you consistently go against your basic tendencies then you'll be making your life unnecessarily challenging (e.g. an introvert looking for jobs in sales).

creativity, cbd, thc

enlightenedThe other traits of the BIG FIVE are extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism/emotional stability. The BIG FIVE is a theory used by many modern day personality psychologists. The FIVE traits are the "core" traits that ultimately make up a person's personality. You can find a test for it online with a quick Google search. Whether or not it's perfect is up to debate as psychology, and in particular personality psychology, is very difficult to measure with tests for a wide variety of reasons.


enlightenedBut the "BIG FIVE" theory has been through testing, correlating, and calculations for its reliability and discrimination and it's been shown to be relatively universal. Although most personality psychologists agree the FIVE main traits have been shown to be quite valid, many still disagree about "lower-order" facets of personality. I am typing this on my phone, so sorry for any errors I made. Sources: I am a psychology student. Edit: it is likely a BIG FIVE test you take online won't be perfect or valid, so if you decide to do so, take the results with a grain of salt (as you should with any test you take, NO test is perfect). The actual BIG FIVE test used to be online but I'm not sure if it is anymore.

enlightenedYup, this is also why artists are overwhelmingly more likely to be progressive/liberal.

enlightenedI never thought it would be the case, but software engineers are absolute fiends

enlightenedI'd be interested in seeing results from other countries. Only a negligible amount of jobs test in the UK, for example.

enlightenedI've worked at like 20 schools and have NEVER seen a teacher tested. ever.  One school I worked at had a BIG thing about drug testing in the application, but when I asked about it they laughed and said that was only for custodians.

enlightenedCreative people like looking at things from different perspectives, drugs give you different perspectives.

enlightenedNot quite: The average person should understand that according to the results of this research study, marijuana users may be more creative than abstainers, but this is not because using marijuana has increased their creativity. Instead, marijuana users tend to have different personality traits (they are more open to experience) than abstainers, and this openness to experience is associated with both marijuana use, and heightened creativity......So creativity doesn't make marijuana use more likely or vice versa. However, the "openness to experience" trait can cause marijuana use as well as heightened creativity. ...EDIT: nvm, that is definitely one thing that the article says.

enlightenedFair enough. My thought was that most creative folks will have that trait that makes them more likely to try it. But yeah, that's not the same as creativity itself causes it.

enlightenedCreative work, for me, goes: creativity->structure->actual work.  For the first part, psychoactives help. For the second, alcohol helps. For the third, stimulants help. I stick to coffee, though, because everything else overstimulates and my brain ends up making logical leaps that a reader won't, do anything above that grade of stimulation just makes more work for me in editing.   I say "help", of course, because nowadays I actually rely more on being well-rested, well-fed, and in a strong and stable mental state. The drugs helped when I was younger, but now that I know the tricks and shortcuts for storytelling, it's much cleaner and easier to just take care of myself.  




reddit discussion on creativity and marijuana




Reddit Journal of Marijuana Science  


Inspired by Mary Jane?  Mechanisms underlying enhanced creativity in marijuana users


Cannabis and creativity: highly potent cannabis impairs divergent thinking in regular cannabis users  Mikael A. Kowal, Arno Hazekamp, Lorenza S. Colzato, Henk van Steenbergen, Nic J. A. van der Wee, Jeffrey Durieux, Meriem Manai, Bernhard Hommel


Investigating the interaction between schizotypy, divergent thinking and cannabis use  Gráinne Schafer, Amanda Feilding, Celia J.A. Morgan, Maria Agathangelou, Tom P. Freeman, H. Valerie Curran


Responsible and controlled use: Older cannabis users and harm reduction  Nicholas Lau, Paloma Sales, Sheigla Averill, Fiona Murphy, Sye-Ok Sato, Sheigla Murphy


Hemispheric Language Asymmetry in First Episode Psychosis and Schizotypy: The Role of Cannabis Consumption and Cognitive Disorganization Daniela A. Herzig, Sarah Sullivan, Glyn Lewis, Rhiannon Corcoran, Richard Drake, Jonathan Evans, David Nutt, Christine Mohr

Cannabis in Sport: Anti-Doping Perspective Marilyn A. Huestis, Irene Mazzoni, Olivier Rabin  Sports Med. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2013 Jul 21.

Alcohol and Relatively Pure Cannabis Use, but Not Schizotypy, are Associated with Cognitive Attenuations  Daniela A. Herzig, David J. Nutt, Christine Mohr

Prevalence and Correlates of Cannabis Use in an Outpatient VA Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Clinic  Emily L. Gentes, Amie R. Schry, Terrell A. Hicks, Carolina P. Clancy, Claire F. Collie, Angela C. Kirby, Michelle F. Dennis, Michael A. Hertzberg, Jean C. Beckham, Patrick S. Calhoun  .

Abstracts for the 15th International Congress on Schizophrenia Research (ICOSR)

Vulnerability Factors for the Psychiatric and Behavioral Effects of Cannabi Marco Bortolato, Valentina Bini, Simone Tambaro

Childhood academic ability in relation to cigarette, alcohol and cannabis use from adolescence into early adulthood: Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE) James Williams, Gareth Hagger-Johnson BMJ Open. 2017; 7(2): e012989. Published online 2017 Jan 20. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012989

      The clinical significance of creativity in bipolar disorder  Greg Murray, Sheri L. Johnson Clin Psychol Rev. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2012 Aug 1.

     Cannabinoid-related agents in the treatment of anxiety disorders: current knowledge and   future perspectives  Simone Tambaro, Marco Bortolato

Illicit Drug Use and Treatment in South Africa: a review Karl Peltzer, Shandir Ramlagan, Bruce D. Johnson, Nancy Phaswana-Mafuya

      ACNP 55th Annual Meeting: Poster Session I December 5, 2016 Neuropsychopharmacology. 2016   Dec; 41(Suppl 1): S116–S288. Published online 2016 Dec 1. doi: 10.1038/npp.2016.240

Effects of drugs of abuse on hippocampal plasticity and hippocampus-dependent learning and memory: contributions to development and maintenance of addiction Munir Gunes Kutlu, Thomas J. Gould Learn Mem. 2016 Oct; 23(10): 515–533. Published online 2016 Oct. doi: 10.1101/lm.042192.116



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