Inspired by Mary Jane? Mechanisms underlying enhanced creativity in cannabis users

Conscious Cogn. 2017 Nov:56:68-76. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2017.10.009. Epub 2017 Oct 21.


Previous research suggests cannabis may enhance some aspects of creativity, although the results remain somewhat equivocal. Moreover, it is unclear whether differences in cannabis users' personalities may account for any potentially beneficial effects of cannabis on creativity. This study was designed to examine whether sober cannabis users demonstrate superior self-reported and objective creativity test performance relative to non-users, and to determine whether any of the Big 5 personality domains underlie these effects. A sample of sober cannabis users (n=412) and non-users (n=309) completed measures of cannabis consumption, personality, self-reported and objective creativity. Relative to non-users, sober cannabis users self-reported higher creativity, and performed significantly better on a measure of convergent thinking. Controlling for cannabis users' higher levels of openness to experience abolished these effects. Therefore, while cannabis users appear to demonstrate enhanced creativity, these effects are an artifact of their heightened levels of openness to experience.

Keywords: Big 5 personality; Cannabis; Convergent thinking; Creativity; Divergent thinking; Openness to experience.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Creativity
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology*
  • Extraversion, Psychological*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Use*
  • Thinking / physiology*
  • Young Adult