Cannabis, CBD, and Creativity
From Bob Marley to Snoop Dogg and Canibus, a lot of famous artists have promoted cannabis as a creativity booster—Willie Nelson has even created his own strain. How about CBD, though? What is the relation between CBD and creativity? And are those rumours linking cannabis and creativity anything but hype?
Cannabis and creativity
Besides famous musicians, many other artists have claimed to be inspired after taking cannabis: Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Maya Angelou are just a few of those who acknowledged taking marijuana for inspiration.
Since cannabis is mind-altering and hallucinogenic, artists consume it in the hopes it will help them unleash their imagination and create works of art that are inspiring. When a person is “high,” the theory goes, they appear unhindered by logic and linear thinking. Therefore, it is believed they can bring out the most intense feelings that are normally kept locked inside.
Perhaps surprisingly, research suggests otherwise. A 2022 study on 300 cannabis users showed that cannabis did not increase their creativity. Instead, it made the subjects more jovial. This feeling of inner joy made participants believe they were being more creative, even though results show they were not.
Since marijuana is illegal in the UK, it is not a legally available substance, and we obviously don’t advocate its use.
How CBD may help boost your creativity
Unlike marijuana, consumers may legally purchase CBD oil, tinctures, chocolates, edibles, and pills to help them ease into their daily life. Since CBD is not hallucinogenic and doesn’t create a feeling of “high,” people have been using it to deal with common issues such as occasional pain and discomfort. Many also use it as a mood enhancer and to relax.
When it comes to creativity, though, precious little is known. What we do know is that CBD interacts with the human endocannabinoid system. Specifically, CBD appears to interact with several brain neurotransmitters, including dopamine and serotonin, to support mental health.
CBD and dopamine
Dopamine is often associated with a pleasant feeling of reward, as when we do something that pleases us. CBD seems to increase the body’s dopamine levels by interacting with the endocannabinoid system’s receptors.
Increased dopamine levels may help keep us focused on something new and engaging. This is due to the promise of a dopamine release that increases our desire to remain active and explore, in expectation of the emotional reward we will get in the end.
CBD and serotonin
As for serotonin, it is a neurotransmitter that helps us feel happy.
CBD seems to increase the level of serotonin in the body. It achieves this indirectly, by affecting how the brain’s chemical receptors respond to the serotonin that’s already present in the body.
Many artists, including Frida Kahlo, Charles Dickens, Virginia Wolfe, and van Gogh could deliver astonishing pieces of art despite being depressed. Depression, however, typically robs people of the desire to do anything at all—let alone compose music, paint a painting, or sculpt a statue.
By helping fend off “the blues,” CBD may thus support our mood and help us feel happier and more relaxed.
Thinking outside the box with CBD
Most jobs require creative thinking. We are often asked to think outside the box. Even if we don’ care about becoming renowned artists, being creative and problem-solving is always a quality that is highly appreciated, both at work and in everyday life.
When it comes to creativity, mental balance matters a lot. Typically, it is much easier to be creative and imaginative when we are relaxed and pain-free, our mood is boosted, and our mind is open to all possibilities. And that’s something that CBD may be able to help with thanks to its potential anxiolytic, mood-supporting, and pain-relieving properties.
Several studies have suggested that CBD may help ease anxiety, social anxiety, and depression. It may also help us sleep better because we feel less stressed. CBD also appears to lower cortisol levels, which are linked to a feeling of high stress.
CBD and creativity
While there is no clear link between CBD and creativity, taking CBD may help you have a more solid and stress-less attitude to life. Besides being a great way to tackle life problems and find balanced solutions to any issues that occur, this may help boost your creativity by removing any mental blocks you may have.
So, if you want to let your inner artist shine through, CBD may help in an indirect way. Better sleep quality, a more relaxed demeanour, and a light-hearted outlook on life are excellent stepping stones for artists to start creating.
As for everyone else, CBD consumption may help us find ways to deal with whatever life throws our way in a more balanced and creative way!