Many musicians have expressed their view on psychedelics and entheogens. Pink Floyd members, the famous English progressive rock band, have always acknowledged the use of entheogens. From mild ones such as cannabis, to very powerful substances such as mescaline and/or LSD.
Nonetheless, the use of entheogens might also cause some negative effects, especially if abused or if the consumer has some predisposition to suffer from psychosis or paranoia.
For example, the great musician Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys stated that psychedelic substances were fundamental in the development of his musical production. However, he has also stated numerous occasions that it triggered serious mental side-effects that eventually led to a nervous breakdown, years of depression and serious paranoia.
Another famous example is Syd Barrett, the first leader, guitarist and songwriter of Pink Floyd. The use of potent psychedelic substances led to his impairment. Eventually, he had to be replaced by his friend David Gilmour.
Learning from Drugs
The great Spanish philosopher Antonio Escohotado, in his book “Learning from Drugs”, pinpoints the importance of a responsible use of any kind of drug or substance. The ins and outs of the mind can hide thoughts that can be difficult to digest. Therefore, the use of powerful psychedelics require preparation and a responsible use.
It is true that cannabis is a psychedelic of less potency than others such as LSD. However, certain types of cannabis can offer powerful psychedelic trips. Consequently, the user needs to know the pros and cons of a prolonged use of this sort of substances.
However, not all artists needed substances to enhance their creative. As Salvador Dalí said:
“I don’t do drugs, I am drugs”.Salvador Dalí
THC and Creativity: Increase Cerebral Blood Flow
THC increases cerebral blood flow to the frontal lobe, which is the area of the brain associated with creativity. When we are high, our brain gets so active that we consume more glucose. That is why we usually crave for sweet food when we consume cannabis.
There are two ways to classify ideas and thinking: divergent thinking and convergent thinking. Divergent thinking is commonly used to measure creativity and it is responsible for the development of spontaneous ideas (without an organized line of thinking), thinking outside the box and exploring ideas that fall outside the established limits.
Divergent thinking is necessary in brainstorming, while convergent thing is necessary to organize ideas developed in the divergent (creative) thinking.
THC activates the frontal lobe by increasing the regional cerebral blood flow (RCBF). Consequently, cannabis users increase their creativity and “outside-the-box” thinking. Moreover, divergent thinking is also necessary in the development of possible future scenarios. In other words, the consequences of our actions and their outcomes.
Furthermore, the dosage also affects creativity induced by THC consumption. For example, lower dosage help us keep a “coherent” creative process. On the other hand, higher dosages means a more intense psychedelic trip with a higher brain activity. In other words, with higher doses sometimes it is more difficult to process ideas and the creative output.
THC, the most famous psychoactive cannabinoid, enhances creativity but it can also cause some side-effects in certain users, such as overthinking and paranoia. Cannabis shows your mental state, that is, it can cause joy or increased worry. Everything will depend on your mood at the time of consumption.
Cannabis and its Uses
According to Antonio Escohotado:
Although many dislike admitting it, certain psychotropic drugs are incomparably more suitable to induce in their user a mystical journey than others.Antonio Escohotado
For this reason these substances have been used since immemorial times on various continents for such mystical purposes.
According to some studies, a low THC dose increases divergent thinking. On the other hand, a high dose (22mg) had the opposite effect, as it decreased divergent thinking. In my opinion, this has an explanation, when we take higher doses, we are experiencing a more powerful trip. Which means that we are so engrossed in the trip that it is not possible to produce any kind of creative production.
For instance, musicians who claim using LSD and other psychedelic substances, do not write music during their trips. This will not be possible as they are completely submerged in their psychedelic experience. Therefore, the creative production will occur only once the trip is over.
Let us emphasize that cannabis sativa does not have more powerful properties to induce creativity than cannabis Indica. This is a common misconception. It will depend on the percentage of THC that the cannabis strain has, no matter if it is Indica or cannabis Sativa. As a matter of fact, many botanists consider both Cannabis Sativa and Indica the same plant.
Conclusion: Cannabis and Creativity
Cannabis (THC) is considered a mild psychedelic. Nonetheless, some cannabis strains can induce potent psychedelic trips similar to a mescaline one.
In addition, THC increases regional cerebral blood flow to the frontal lobe, which is the area of the brain responsible for divergent thinking (creativity).
According to some studies, lower dosages are more efficient in increasing divergent thinking. However, if you are looking for a mystical or psychedelic experience, then a higher dose will be more effective.