Does CBD Help Boost Creativity?

by Sugar Team October 04, 2022 6 min read

plant paint art

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis. It has been shown to have numerous medical benefits, including reducing anxiety and inflammation. Some people believe that CBD can also enhance creativity.

There is some evidence to support this claim. For example, a study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology found that CBD increased blood flow to the prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain responsible for executive functions like planning and decision-making. This suggests that CBD may improve cognitive function and creativity.

Let’s dive a little deeper into the potential impacts of CBD on creativity, exploring the science behind this claim and real-life examples of people who have used CBD to improve their creative output.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis. It is one of over 100 cannabinoids that are present in the plant. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD does not have any psychoactive effects. This means that it will not make you feel “high” or “stoned.”

Instead, CBD has been shown to have several potential medical benefits. These include reducing anxiety, pain, and inflammation.

CBD is currently classified as a Schedule I drug in the United States, so possessing or using CBD for any purpose is illegal. Many states have legalized CBD for medical use, and the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC.

This means that CBD products are now widely available, and people are becoming more curious about their potential benefits. One area that is of particular interest is the impact of CBD on creativity.

The science behind CBD and creativity

First, let's understand how humans create. The process of creativity involves the generation of new and valuable ideas. This can be done in many ways, such as through art, music, writing, or problem-solving.

creative drawing, art

The act of creation usually begins with what is known as divergent thinking – when we come up with new ideas by brainstorming and exploring different possibilities. Once we have a pool of potential ideas, we use convergent thinking to select the best one.

Divergent thinking is believed to be mediated by the prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain responsible for executive functions like planning and decision-making. This area of the brain is also known to be sensitive to changes in blood flow.

CBD's effects on the brain's endocannabinoid receptors may help to facilitate both of these processes. In addition, CBD has been shown to increase blood flow to the prefrontal cortex. This is likely due to its ability to reduce anxiety and improve focus, which allows us to think more freely and creatively.

Artists commonly call this the "flow state" or "being in the zone," a state of heightened creativity and focus. The flow state is characterized by a feeling of effortless action and increased productivity. CBD may help to induce this state by reducing anxiety and improving focus.

These effects can be connected to CBD's interactions with the brain's endocannabinoid system. This system regulates many important functions, including mood, memory, appetite, and pain.

The role of serotonin and dopamine in our minds

Serotonin and dopamine are two neurotransmitters that play a significant role in our mood, motivation, and creativity.

Dopamine is often referred to as the “reward chemical” because it is released when we do something that feels good – anything from eating food to scrolling on Facebook. In the creative process, dopamine helps us generate new ideas and see possibilities that we wouldn’t have otherwise.

paint, painter, hands

On the other hand, serotonin is often referred to as the “happy chemical.” It plays a role in our mood and feelings of well-being. Low serotonin levels are linked to depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.

CBD has been shown to affect dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain, suggesting that it could potentially improve mood and creativity.

Artists and CBD

While there is no evidence that Shakespear was a habitual cannabis user, the plant does have a long and storied association with arts and artists. 

Willie Nelson is one of the most well-known musicians that has been open about his use of cannabis, and he even has his own brand of CBD products. Nelson isn’t the only musician to have found inspiration in herbal remedies. Bob Marley was also a fan of smoking weed, which showed in his music.

One of the most popular stories was when Bob Dylan introduced marijuana to the Beatles. The band was in New York at the time, resting at the Delmonico Hotel after a concert. After Dylan showed them how to roll a joint, the rest is rock and roll history.

It’s not just musicians who have found CBD helpful for creativity. Authors like Maya Angelou and Carl Sagan were both known to enjoy cannabis. In an interview, Angelou said, "Smoking grass eased the strain for me” when she needed to be creative.

playing guitar

Carl Sagan even wrote an anonymous essay in 1971 for the book "Marihuana Reconsidered," describing it as "an aid to meditation, not a substitute." He also mentioned, "when I’m high, I can penetrate into the past, recall childhood memories, friends, relatives, playthings, streets, smells, sounds, and tastes from a vanished era."

While there’s no guarantee that CBD will make you the next Bob Dylan or Maya Angelou, it may be worth trying if you’re struggling with creativity.

How to use CBD to ramp up your creativity

There are many forms and ways to use CBD, from oils and tinctures to gummies and topical creams. Whether you’re a writer looking for a muse, an artist seeking new inspiration, or just someone who likes to dabble in different creative endeavors, CBD may be able to help. 

Here are the most common ways people use CBD to get creative:

1. Consuming CBD oil or tincture: This is the most popular method for using CBD to increase creativity. Place a few drops under your tongue and let it absorb for 30-60 seconds before swallowing. You can also add it to food or drinks, although it may take longer to feel the effects this way.

2. Smoking or vaporizing CBD flower: If you’re a smoker or vaporizer user, you can also use CBD-rich hemp flower to increase creativity. Simply roll a joint or pack a bowl as you usually would and enjoy the creative boost that comes with it.

3. Applying CBD topical: For those who prefer not to consume CBD internally, there are also topicals available that can be applied directly to the skin. These are ideal for localized relief and can be great for targeting specific areas of the body.

4. Taking CBD edibles: CBD edibles are another popular way to consume CBD, and they come in a wide variety of forms, including gummies, candies, chocolates, and more. Simply eat one or two of your chosen edible and wait an hour or so for the effects to kick in.

No matter which method you choose, start with a low dose and increase gradually as needed until you find the perfect amount for your needs. CBD is non-intoxicating and non-addictive, so you don’t have to worry about negatively affecting your work. 

Routine to help you be creative

While CBD is a great way to increase creativity, it’s not a magic bullet. You need to pair CBD with a healthy routine with plenty of creative activities to see CBD's benefits. Here’s an example of what your day could look like:

relaxing on hammock

1. Relax

The number one hurdle when a person wants to be creative is stress. It can be challenging to come up with new ideas when you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed – and if you’re stressed about the lack of ideas coming through, the thought pattern grows into a vicious cycle!

That’s why it’s important to take some time for yourself to relax and clear your mind. Anything from reading to napping under a shady tree will give you that much-needed relaxation. If you’re struggling to really unwind, meditation helps to clear your head and bring your focus to a point.

2. Stimulate your mind

After you’ve taken some time to relax, it’s time to start stimulating your mind. This is where CBD comes in. Consume a small amount of CBD oil or topical and let it work its magic while you engage in some creative activities. This could be anything from brainstorming, writing, drawing, painting, playing an instrument, or working on a project.

3. Reflect on your day

Once you’ve spent some time being creative, it’s important to reflect on your day and what you’ve accomplished. Reflection will help you see how CBD has helped you be more creative and productive and give you a chance to wind down before bed. Simply take some time to journal or write down your thoughts before heading to bed.

Following this routine gives you the best chance to be creative and productive daily. And with CBD as your secret weapon, you may find that your creativity knows no bounds.

Bottom line

As you can see, a number of studies indicate that CBD does have some favorable impacts on the creativity of artists. Never surpass the sweet spot since the chemical will start to lose its effectiveness.

Instead, handle cannabis products as you would medicine. CBD may be able to unleash potential and aid in overcoming mental obstacles, boosting creativity, and producing more art if artists require their brain function to be improved.

CBD has the potential to ease anxiety and stress significantly. These benefits could lead to increased creativity; artists are freed to focus more on their work and not worry about distractions. Why not try it out yourself?

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