Creativity is a difficult concept to measure, but scientists have teased out two cognitive processes that are thought to play a significant role: divergent thinking and convergent thinking.
In a recent study, researchers tested the effects of cannabis on creativity using a low dose (5.5 mg delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) or high dose (22 mg THC). The results showed that the participants who consumed the cannabis had better evaluations of their own ideas and those of others.
1. It activates the prefrontal cortex
The prefrontal cortex is the brain’s “adult in the room.” It helps us make decisions by bringing together different pieces of information. When it’s not working properly, we can be impulsive and unfocused.
According to Jacqueline-Marie Ferland, a neuroscientist at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York City, the prefrontal cortex has many roles, including controlling our behavior and toning down our emotions. As a result, “it’s the area of the brain that can help people focus their attention.”
Some research has found that cannabis stimulates the prefrontal cortex, which may increase creativity. However, it’s not clear whether this is because of the drug itself or how it affects the brain.
A study published in JAMA Psychiatry reported that using marijuana during adolescence can alter the growth of a part of the prefrontal cortex called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). It also changes the density of this region in adults.
Researchers believe that this change occurs because of the endocannabinoid receptors in the prefrontal cortex, which can be activated by marijuana. These receptors protect against stress by reducing anxiety-causing connections between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex.
In addition, cannabis can change the way we think about things, which can help to improve our ability to come up with creative solutions. In particular, it can enhance divergent thinking and convergent thinking, which are two types of creative thinking.
Another way that cannabis may boost creativity is by stimulating the release of dopamine. Dopamine is an important chemical in the brain that regulates our behavior and mood.
This is especially true when it comes to the reward-motivation circuit that sits in the prefrontal cortex. Several studies have shown that chronic cannabis use can affect the density of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortical (DLPFC) and other reward-related areas in the brain.
The authors of this study suggest that the endocannabinoid system in the brain may be responsible for the positive effects of cannabis on creativity. The study compared the results of a low dose of vaporized cannabis with those of a high dose and placebo, which was used to tap into divergent and convergent thinking, respectively.
2. It stimulates the release of dopamine
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that your body releases in response to both physical and mental stimuli. It is commonly used to trigger feelings of pleasure and happiness, but it also plays an important role in memory and creativity.
The psychoactive component of cannabis, D9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has been shown to stimulate striatal dopamine release in animals. This is in line with a growing recognition that cannabinoids modulate mesolimbic dopamine function (Devane et al. 1992; Devane and Mechoulam 1995; Mechoulam and Vries 1997).
Furthermore, THC was shown to affect the endocannabinoid system of humans, in particular, CB1 receptors. This system is responsible for regulating the brain’s endocannabinoid levels, which are the chemical messengers that connect your body’s organs and cells with each other.
In turn, a deficiency in this system can cause you to lose your motivation and become depressed. This is why many people with disorders like depression and schizophrenia tend to use drugs like cannabis to try and help them feel better.
However, this is not always the case. Recent studies have revealed that the effects of THC on the endocannabinoid and dopamine systems aren’t uniform, and can vary from person to person.
For example, some people who suffer from depression and schizophrenia may have impaired dopamine and endocannabinoid signaling, which can make it difficult for them to concentrate or feel motivated. This is where cannabinoids like CBD oil can play a big role.
By interacting with your endocannabinoid system, cannabinoids can stimulate the release of dopamine and increase your motivation and focus. This can lead to more creative ideas.
This is particularly useful if you’re feeling stressed or depressed, because it can make you feel more in control of your life. In addition, it can also improve your memory and concentration.
THC has also been found to reduce the effects of other drugs that affect your dopamine levels, such as amphetamine and cocaine. This is thought to be because it decreases phasic dopamine events, which are associated with drug seeking.
3. It boosts mood
In many ways, cannabis can help energize your mind. From a schoolteacher who takes a weed edible on her long afternoon walks to a grandfather who savors the effects of a gummy with 1:1 THC:CBD, people use cannabis to help elevate their mood and boost their productivity in daily life.
Mood-boosting cannabis may also help reduce depression. Several studies have shown that low doses of cannabis can improve depression symptoms. However, there is no clinical evidence that high doses of cannabis can cure depression.
One study found that participants who consumed a low dose of cannabis felt happier than those who did not, and they reported more positive feelings. They also rated their own ideas as more creative than those who did not consume cannabis. They were also less likely to report feelings of anxiety and depression, compared to those who did not use cannabis.
These findings suggest that cannabis can bolster mood, which in turn can lead to increased creativity. Moreover, the mood-boosting effects of cannabis can last up to 24 hours, which is great news for those who want to energize their minds and elevate their productivity in the workplace or in other settings.
The same study suggests that the effects of cannabis on creativity are mediated by dopamine. This could mean that other drugs that increase dopamine levels can also affect creativity.
Although the effects of cannabis on creativity are not fully understood, it is possible that cannabis stimulates divergent thinking, which is an important part of the creative process. This type of thinking involves breaking free from normal associations and connecting seemingly unrelated concepts.
For this reason, it is important to note that consuming too much cannabis can have a negative effect on creativity. Excessive use can damage the brain’s dopaminergic system, which may lead to a lack of creative energy.
This is particularly true of users who use cannabis on a regular basis. They are more likely to become dependent on the drug and experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop using it.
In addition, it is also possible that consuming too much cannabis can make you feel depressed and anxious. The psychoactive effects of marijuana can negatively impact your ability to relax and sleep, as well as your sense of appetite. It can also lead to cravings for more cannabis.
4. It relieves anxiety
Cannabis can help relieve anxiety because of the calming effects it has on the endocannabinoid system. This is the system that affects mood, sleep and relaxation in our bodies. It’s the same system that is affected by benzodiazepines, common prescription anxiety drugs.
The best way to use cannabis for anxiety relief is to find a high-quality strain with a low THC content and a moderate CBD (Cannabidiol) content, which will reduce the psychoactive effect and leave your body feeling more relaxed. Also, look for strains with terpenes and other phytochemicals that are known to be helpful for anxiety, such as limonene, pinene, and linalool.
Another important factor to keep in mind is that different people react differently to the same drug. Someone who has a generalized anxiety disorder might experience little to no reaction to marijuana while a person with panic disorder may have a severe, frightening reaction.
A recent study compared the anxiety-reducing properties of THC and CBD. Researchers enrolled 15 participants and administered them with various doses of THC, CBD and a placebo.
Interestingly, while THC increased the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) score in the experiment, CBD did not. This suggests that CBD can inhibit the anxiogenic effect of THC without increasing anxiety, as it has shown in other studies with humans.
However, this research is still preliminary and further human studies are needed to understand the exact role of CBD in treating anxiety disorders.
Anxiety is a common mental health problem, with more than 26% of Australians experiencing it at some point in their lives. It can be a normal part of life, but when it becomes too much of a burden or if it interferes with your ability to function, then you need help.
One common solution is to seek treatment from a doctor or psychiatrist. They will go through a series of questions and tests to diagnose you with an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders are serious and need to be treated. You should seek professional help to manage them, as this will improve your overall well-being and quality of life.