Cannabis and Ecstasy/ MDMA: empirical measures of creativity in recreational users

J Psychoactive Drugs. 2009 Dec;41(4):323-9. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2009.10399769.


This study investigated the associations between chronic cannabis and Ecstasy/MDMA use and one objective and two subjective measure of creativity. Fifteen abstinent Ecstasy users, 15 abstinent cannabis users, and 15 nondrug-user controls, completed three measures of creativity: the Consequences behavioral test of creativity, self-assessed performance on the Consequences test, and Gough's Trait Self-Report Creative Adjective Checklist. The Consequences test involved five scenarios where possible consequences had to be devised; scoring was conducted by the standard blind rating (by two independent judges) for "remoteness" and "rarity," and by a frequency and rarity of responses method. Cannabis users had significantly more "rare-creative" responses than controls (Tukey, p < 0.05); this effect remained significant with gender as a covariate. There were no significant differences between the groups on the number of standard scoring "remote-creative" ideas or for fluency of responses. On self-rated creativity, there was a significant ANOVA group difference (p < 0.05), with Ecstasy users tending to rate their answers as more creative than controls (Tukey comparison; p = 0.058, two-tailed). Ecstasy users did not differ from controls on the behavioral measures of creativity, although there was a borderline trend for self-assessment of greater creativity. Cannabis users produced significantly more "rare-creative" responses, but did not rate themselves as more creative.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cannabis*
  • Creativity*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence
  • Male
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine / pharmacology*
  • Sex Characteristics


  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine