There’s no denying that a wide range of professionals, from artists and designers to engineers and CEOs, use cannabis to fuel their creative spirits. That tingly feeling you get after consuming the herb is significantly responsible for the birth of Apple’s iPod, Lady Gaga’s catchy tunes and Dave Chappelle’s comedy specials on Netflix.

The plant has a reputation for engaging the mind and offering new perceptions about everyday encounters. Read on to find out why cannabis magnifies creativity and how you can use it to your advantage to boost innovation and expression.

Stimulating the Mind

Cannabis is capable of stimulating certain parts of the brain that are closely related to creativity. According to Jasen Talise from UC Berkeley, the herb is capable of increasing blood flow to the frontal lobe – an area linked to “high creative performance” by researchers from the Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatría Ramón de la Fuente, Mexico and John Hopkins University.

Another way cannabis enhances creativity is by increasing dopamine activity in the brain. Boosting the firing of the hormone has been proven to encourage new behaviors and reduce latent inhibition. The latter factor basically makes you more aware of your environment and personal thoughts. Indirectly, consuming cannabis may also help decrease anxiety in people, allowing them to overcome internal hindrances that are associated with cynical, depressive mindsets.

“As an artist, there’s a sweet jump-starting quality to [cannabis] for me. I’ve often felt telepathic and receptive to inexplicable messages my whole life. I can stave those off when I’m not high. When I’m high – well, they come in and there’s less of a veil, so to speak,”

said Alanis Morissette, a Canadian singer-songwriter.

“So if ever I need some clarity… or a quantum leap in terms of writing something, it’s a quick way for me to get to it.”

Sticking to the Right Dose

In order to maximize creativity while consuming cannabis, one has to stick to the right dose. Taking this into consideration, the first thing you should be mindful of is your tolerance level. For daily or frequent consumers, one would need higher doses to spark creative thinking, compared to an individual who hardly touches the plant. But before you start rolling giant blunts, there’s something you have to know: small doses are more effective than large hits for promoting creativity, according to science.

A recent study from Netherlands-based Leiden University found that giving trial participants low doses of THC (5.5 mg of 19 percent THC) resulted in higher levels of “divergent thinking traits like fluency, flexibility, and originality.” Individuals given high doses – 22 mg THC – displayed slightly decreased levels of divergent thinking, specifically below the control group’s average score. These results make sense, since THC is widely used to combat insomnia and high levels of stress.

It is important to consider that the study focused solely on THC – a cannabinoid known for its couch-locking effects on consumers. Strains that offer energy-boosting benefits, with moderate to minimal levels of THC, are recommended for this type of cerebral stimulation for consistent results and creative activities that require technical focus, such as choreographed dancing, soldering or computing.

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