The cerebral high or the psychoactive effect produced by cannabis use affects several cognitive processes that are part of creative thinking
The close relationship between cannabis use and the creative process is well known and, at the same time, quite complex to analyze. Throughout history, cannabis has been used by countless writers, painters, philosophers, musicians – artists of all types and from all over the world – as a means to get in touch with their muses and find inspiration. Big names like Charles Baudelaire, William B. Yeats, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davies, Billie Holiday, Diego Rivera, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Carl Sagan, and many others, used cannabis to create, write, compose and perform better.
On the other hand, the very concept of creativity is subjective by definition, and is open to interpretation. Creativity is often defined as “the ability to produce, create, innovate, generate new ideas or concepts or new associations between ideas and concepts already known, which usually lead us to reach new conclusions and help us solve problems producing original, creative and valuable solutions.”
Our creativity or ability to develop original thought, is a mental process that originates in our imagination and that involves several closely interrelated mental processes – which have not yet been completely understood by the study of our physiology.
When Cannabis Powers the Light Bulb
There is no doubt that cannabis enhances creativity by facilitating creative thinking and constructive imagination. However, this does not mean that cannabis automatically summons the muses wherever you are – as it is obviously not a direct source of inspiration, talent or skill.
Although we all know individuals who are very creative and others who are not, all people are born with a creative capacity that can be stimulated throughout life. Hence, creative thinking can develop and improve, as with all human capacities. Yes, inspiration comes from within, the light bulb is inside each one of us, but the plant helps and can power it.
Original or divergent thinking (that is, creativity) is the result of combining various very complex cognitive skills. The cerebral high or the psychoactive effect produced by cannabis use affects several cognitive processes that are part of creative thinking. To find out how cannabis affects creativity, we must observe the different cognitive alterations manifested during a cannabis high, and analyze how they can be beneficial or detrimental to the constructive imagination process or our sense of creativity.
Different Cannabis Types for Different Creative Processes
Things get even more interesting when we begin analyzing if all individuals follow the same steps before specifying the result of the creative process, be it a novel, a painting, a song, etc. The truth seems to be that all of us have our own understanding of the creative process based on our own experience. Nonetheless, although each person has a personal way of working, generating ideas or creating, there are some common phases or stages that are not linear and can be produced in an interspersed manner.
Cannabis can help all those who seek inspiration, artists, musicians and thinkers, through the multiple cognitive alterations that improve and enhance a wide variety of cognitive processes. As mentioned before, such alterations – produced by the cerebral effect of cannabis – have different effects on different creative processes.
When cannabis is used for recreational purposes, we should first determine if it can help us with a specific phase of a creative process. Cannabis users with more experience know that, among other things, the effects will vary according to the cannabis variety or type that is used. In addition, for cannabis to help you powering the light bulb of a specific creative process, it is important to consider that the effects of the plant are contingent upon the psychological profile of each one of us.
For example, cannabis can make it easier for a person suffering from an obsessive-compulsive disorder to relax and change his rigid routines. Certain cannabis strains can help people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to feel calmer and better focused, letting them concentrate their attention more effectively on the tasks they are dealing with.
However, there are people for whom the relaxing effects of cannabis can be counterproductive for their work performance or their ability to undertake creative tasks – because they do not find relaxation inspiring, they become blocked. But, undoubtedly, we have countless testimonies of artists and creators that, throughout history, have created some of their best works thanks to the creativity provided by cannabis.
The psychoactive effects of cannabis have helped many to focus better and channel their inspiration more efficiently towards the creative process. The power of the creative drive of cannabis is evident.
The Effects of Cannabis on Creativity
It seems clear that the cannabis high or cerebral effect generates different states of mental alteration that can be used positively during the creative process. But to achieve this, it is essential that the user has the knowledge and the ability to find the cannabis strain that best suits them, and that they use it under the best conditions for a specific phase of a creative process.
Based on a study entitled High: Insights on Marijuana by Sebastian Marincolo, published in 2010, we will analyze what the effects of cannabis are on our creativity and how it affects
creative processes. In his study, the author explains the results obtained after conducting an analysis of hundreds of reports of cannabis users and studies on the plant.
Marincolo describes different alterations, or improvements, that occur more frequently at the cognitive and perceptive levels when we experiment with the psychoactive effects of cannabis, and explains how they can be used – and have been used – for creative purposes. These are some of them.
Better Attention and Focus:
During a high, one of the most common effects is attention hyperfocus. Cannabis users can focus much more deeply on what has become the center of their attention, be it an object, a sensation, a thought or a memory. Everything is experienced with greater intensity and perceived in greater detail, that is, sensations intensify. Flavors, colors, the touch of a caress, become richer, complex, and intense experiences, about which we can paint, write or compose later.
In addition, this hyperfocus and the intensification of sensory experiences often cause us to perceive intensely the being “here and now“ of existence. Time appears to go slower; future and past have less and less importance. And all of that usually leads to an exciting sense of wonder and admiration, which for many cannabis users can be a catalyst for crucial and vital change, an introspective process that helps them explore new patterns more deeply. This is what Jason Silva in an essay entitled Creatividad, Marihuana y un Efecto Mariposa en el Pensamiento (Creativity, Marijuana, and the Butterfly Effect in Thought) explains:
“(…)Cannabis increases our ability to wonder: in a mysterious and surprisingly recurrent way, marijuana can almost provoke a “synesthetic ecstasy, through which the generally firm borders that separate the five senses relax. This allows a broader ‘interpretation’ and ‘internalization’ of what we experience every moment.”
Better Pattern Recognition:
Countless cannabis users have reported how, during a high, they experience an improvement in their capacity to recognize different types of patterns, in addition to being able to recognize new ones. They can perceive new patterns in the change of a singer’s musical style, in the artistic style of a painter or a sculptor, in the performance of a pianist, in their own behavior and that of others.
The cerebral effect of cannabis seems to improve our ability to find and recognize similarities between different concepts, objects, behaviors and patterns that in principle seem to have no relationship at all. Undoubtedly, this is one of the fundamental cannabis effects that have benefited, and continue to benefit, many creative minds in multiple fields.
When cannabis is consumed, the imagination of those who use it usually becomes richer. The capacity to imagine situations improves, and the imagination is much more vivid. A world full of new colorful, a sonorous, gustatory universe opens up before us; it is not just about defining imagination as the capacity to visualize images. This effect is of great importance for several cognitive abilities, and especially, for those with creative purposes. During a high, a musician can imagine the melody of his next song just as a cook can better imagine what will be the flavor resulting from combining some ingredients for a new dish on the menu.
Episodic Memory Improvement:
This is one of the most described and most impressive effects produced by the cerebral effect of cannabis. Users can remember episodes of their life vividly, and sometimes they can relive experiences and forgotten memories with incredible detail. In addition to using the cannabis high to experience the “here and now,” it is possible to redirect our attention to episodes of our life that happened long ago, to bring them back to the present and relive them in great detail and intensity. These experiences have inspired many artists in their creative processes later.
The improved empathic understanding experienced by many cannabis users is another of the effects described. It seems that it is easier for us to put ourselves in the place of others during a high; we feel greater sympathy for our fellow human beings. This increase in our empathy and understanding of others is of great importance for our different creative processes. Putting ourselves in somebody else’s shoes can help a writer give his characters richer personalities; it can help an artist see the world through the eyes of others – which will greatly help generate new ideas and perspectives that will enrich his works.
Better Introspection Skills:
Many cannabis users have described how, during a high, their introspective skills improved – which help them in the process of reflective contemplation of their own character, their mood or their emotions – enabling them to discover important aspects about themselves. Knowing ourselves better is crucial for the execution of creative processes in the most effective way. The greater the number of patterns we can recognize, the better our skills for introspection will be.
The Cannabis Creative Drive
As we have seen, when our creativity is engaged, we use different and varied cognitive abilities depending on the creative process. Making a painting is not the same as writing a poem. It is clear that a high or the cerebral effect that cannabis produces can help us improve, enhance and modify many of the cognitive processes that come into play when any person is engaged in a creative activity.
But for this creative drive to be real and effective, so that the relationship between cannabis and creativity goes well together, it is essential to know cannabis well and have a great deal of experience with the plant. This way we will know which cannabis variety is best suited to each one of us, under what circumstances, and at what stage of the creative process.
Cannabis Personalities Inspire Sensi Seeds
Sensi Seeds has been inspired by the cannabis plant for 30 years; it has been dedicated, among many other things, to the art of breeding cannabis varieties, putting great care, experience and knowledge in this creative process.
Sensi Seeds is characterized by its tradition of creating and launching original varieties dedicated to personalities from the cannabis world, with whom it shares their passion and dedication to the plant. Activists, creators, pioneers, creative and imaginative people such as Jack Herer, Ed Rosental and Howard Marks (Mr. Nice) have also found inspiration in the cannabis plant – and have been honored with varieties that bear their names.
This year, Sensi Seeds has the honor to present to the entire cannabis public – and especially to the whole community of sativa fans – a new variety, a creation inspired by a great cannabis personality, the French activist, writer and editor Michka Seeliger-Chatelain.
Michka: The Grande Dame of Cannabis
At Sensi Seeds, no one has ever doubted it. It was about time to pay tribute to the intelligent and creative Michka Seeliger-Chatelain with a variety of cannabis seeds named after her. This pioneer and heroine of the cannabis world is a true role model for women in this industry.
The co-founder of the Musée du Fumeur in Paris, and the Mama Editions publishing house, is also a prolific cannabis writer – she has been writing about cannabis for more than four decades – and is the author of some of the best-selling books on cannabis, cannabis growing, its medical use, its history and social impact. The admiration that she awakens within the French cannabis community, and internationally, has earned her the honorary title of “The Grande Dame of Cannabis.”
For more than forty years, Michka Seeliger-Chatelain, has been an inspiration to everyone in the cannabis community. Sensi Seeds is proud to have had her friendship for many years and is very happy to dedicate, at last, a cannabis variety in recognition of a life’s work devoted and inspired by the cannabis plant.
Michka® and Michka® Feminized
The variety that will be launched under the name of Michka® will offer cannabis enthusiasts an exclusive and powerful sativa at a very affordable price – which fits with the personal vision of Michka, who believes that “free access to the plants is a birthright of all creatures.” This new variety of cannabis seeds will delight those passionate about sativa with citric smells and a certain sweetness. Its cerebral effect is completely stimulating and is accompanied by an energetic high that is very propitious to the performance of all kinds of artistic or creative activities.
This is how Michka Seeliger-Chatelain describes her eponymous variety: “It’s also a great writer’s weed (I believe the Haze in its ancestry triggers verbal expressions).”
The new variety of cannabis seeds Michka® is offered in regular and feminized formats, and will be available at Sensi Seeds stores, online stores, and through its distributors and affiliates. Michka® by Sensi Seeds is a superb combination of powerful sativa: it’s creative, energetic, edifying and stimulating. A variety that, without a doubt, will inspire you!
by Sensi Seeds – Originally published in Weed World Magazine Issue 132