Updated on December 20, 2018.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Traditionally, marijuana use comes with a stigma attached to it, and even in today’s post-legalization era, open discussion about weed is still frowned upon in some social groups and workplaces. But in many lines of work, success depends on the ability to generate fresh and exciting ideas, to think outside the box and to make connections between topics. Unsurprisingly, many noteworthy and creative minds achieve these things by smoking weed.
Marijuana’s effects on creativity have been studied by doctors in laboratories, experimental college kids and tech nerds alike. As studies have found, marijuana can heighten our free-associative capacities and divergent thinking. In layman’s terms, this means that marijuana use can increase the connections we make between unrelated ideas. It can also help us reduce anxiety to things from a new perspective.
This helps explain why marijuana has been a cognitive catalyst for so many artists, philosophers and scientists. Granted, smoking weed doesn’t mean that you’re going to become a creative genius or develop brilliant business ideas overnight. In fact, you might never have that “aha” moment while toking up — there are pros and cons to getting high that are unique to each individual.
Maybe cannabis helps spark your creative side. Maybe it doesn’t. For most people, there is often some trial and error when it comes to understanding how cannabis affects your personal productivity and creative abilities. You may need to visit a local dispensary to different strains, quantities or change up your environment, and the only way to know for certain is to try it. Bottom line, there are plenty of individuals defying the old stereotype that marijuana users lack ambition — including some very smart, successful, and driven people. As they say, the proof is in the pudding and these entrepreneurs, CEOs and media moguls are some compelling proof that marijuana has the ability to promote productivity and inspire great ideas.