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"The Effects of Cannabis Use on Creativity" -

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"The Effects of Cannabis Use on Creativity" - Empty "The Effects of Cannabis Use on Creativity" -

Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:15 pm

See The Beckley Foundation for more:

The most recent addition to the Beckley Foundation's cannabis research program is the investigation of the effects of cannabis on creativity. This will be a large naturalistic study, involving several hundred participants smoking their own cannabis, and testing the effects of cannabis use on creativity. In a related study we will also examine the neurological changes associated with creativity whilst under the influence of cannabis. In this study we will be collecting both genetic and personality data of the individuals involved and testing the chemical composition of the cannabis in particular for its THC/cannabidiol (CBD) ratio.

Together these studies may shed light on why so many individuals use cannabis, and investigate the reputed beneficial properties of the drug. We aim to show that THC alone is not a satisfactory model of naturalistic cannabis use, and that other cannabinoids such as cannabidiol, which have been hitherto neglected, may have beneficial actions in synergy with THC.

In a time when the use of 'cognitive enhancing' prescription drugs, such as modafinil and Ritalin, is at its greatest levels, the cognitive enhancing properties of recreational drugs like cannabis have been largely overlooked. Musicians and artist's alike claim that cannabis aids in the creative process and even scientists have remarked on the link between cannabis and creativity. In a naturalistic pilot study, one research team found that cannabis users under the influence of their own cannabis were more likely to see relationships between pairs of words than a non-cannabis using control group. The cannabis-using group also showed tendencies to see more associations when drug-free. As one aspect of creativity is the capacity to see remote associations, our findings may reflect a cannabis-related enhancement of this process.

The cannabis plant itself contains over sixty different chemicals - or cannabinoids - that are unique to it. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most widely known cannabinoid, and the one responsible for the high experienced by cannabis users. However it also increases anxiety in healthy volunteers, and can cause other negative effects such as 'flight of ideas', where individuals will experience thoughts and ideas coming to them so thick and fast that they are unable to keep track of them. Conversely, cannabidiol (CBD) has been found to reduce anxiety, cause psychomotor slowing and is thought to be neuroprotective in cannabis users. The ratio of these two compounds varies in different strains of cannabis. Most moderen genetically modified cannabis strains show high THC and low to no CBD. Our research group recently conducted a study that found that users of cannabis who smoked strains that are rich in both CBD and THC experienced fewer negative psychological effects (Morgan & Curran, 2008). Thus far only two laboratory studies have assessed the impact of cannabis on creativity by administering THC alone to volunteers (Tinklenberg et al., 1978; Bourrassa & Vaugeois, 2001). The former study found no impact of THC on creativity, and the latter found that THC actually impaired creativity. However, given that THC is associated with the 'flight of ideas' and that naturally-smoked cannabis contains both THC and CBD, these findings are perhaps to be expected. Furthermore, we would argue that it is not possible to draw any conclusions concerning the effects of 'cannabis' on creativity from studies using THC alone.

By testing the potential connection between cannabis and creativity, this study fits into a wider Beckley Foundation research programme looking into the neural basis of creativity and the processes that contribute to this elusive quality, as well as how these processes might be enhanced through the use of psychoactive substances. Moreover, in helping to develop a clearer picture of the effects of cannabis and why so many people choose to use the drug, this study is well complemented by the other projects in our research programme.

What do you think? Does cannabis inhibit or promote creativity?

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Registration date : 2008-09-15

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