Cannabis and Creativity: Highly Potent Cannabis Impairs Divergent Thinking in Regular Cannabis Users

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2015 Mar;232(6):1123-34. doi: 10.1007/s00213-014-3749-1. Epub 2014 Oct 7.

Abstract

Rationale: Cannabis users often claim that cannabis has the potential to enhance their creativity. Research suggests that aspects of creative performance might be improved when intoxicated with cannabis; however, the evidence is not conclusive.

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the acute effects of cannabis on creativity.

Methods: We examined the effects of administering a low (5.5 mg delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol [THC]) or high (22 mg THC) dose of vaporized cannabis vs. placebo on creativity tasks tapping into divergent (Alternate Uses Task) and convergent (Remote Associates Task) thinking, in a population of regular cannabis users. The study used a randomized, double-blind, between-groups design.

Results: Participants in the high-dose group (n = 18) displayed significantly worse performance on the divergent thinking task, compared to individuals in both the low-dose (n = 18) and placebo (n = 18) groups.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that cannabis with low potency does not have any impact on creativity, while highly potent cannabis actually impairs divergent thinking.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists / administration & dosage*
  • Creativity*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Dronabinol / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / psychology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects*
  • Thinking / drug effects*
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists
  • Dronabinol