Marijuana definitely alters our mental performance and creativity on a temporary basis. At cognitive levels in the brain, research shows that the person who’s taken pot will often experience pronounced cognitive alterations in which the brain's associative function expands and generates unique combinations that are often quite creative and valuable.
It's true that for most people, there's a cognitive downside to being high. Short-term memory is often disrupted unless consciously managed. And our thoughts flow in sometimes disjointed fashion, jumping from one theme to another suddenly, with the thread of conversation getting lost in the bargain.
When the mind is thus engaged in just ‘being’ for half an hour or so, right after taking marijuana, formal studies show that motor skills and reaction times are temporarily slowed down, so that skilled activity can be negatively effected. This is important to acknowledge regarding driving a car or thinking of doing your everyday work while high.
But ... in exchange for the reduction in particular mental functions, our inner experience is often able to expand, for instance through a pleasurable awakening of all the senses in the present moment, and a loosening of free-flow memory and thought associations.
New ideas will often spring into mind, allowing us to shift into unexpected thought flows, pleasing reveries, and intense vivid fantasy adventures - and this stimulates creativity without question. That's why musicians and artists and writers and the like tend to value cannabis in their art work.
Marijuana is definitely a drug, and it does generate serious alterations that can be both bothersome and outright dangerous if not approached mindfully. That's why, when using pot, many people choose to temporarily stop their daily routine, shift from ‘doing’ to ‘being’ for an hour or two, and just relax into the experience that comes to them.
It's Always New ... When We Allow It
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about marijuana and creativity is that each person responds to the effects of the drug in their own unique way, depending on their personality, social situation, moods, energy level, etc. And within the general parameters of the marijuana high, each time we smoke or ingest it, an utterly unexpected experience can emerge.
If you take morphine or cocaine or coffee or alcohol, you can be fairly sure how you’re going to react to the drug – but with marijuana you need to be ready for a wide variety of physical and mental possibilities. This is one of the complex positive creative attributes of the drug.
It’s true that a lot of everyday people get up in the morning and puff and go off to work and perform adequately or even exceptionally well. As discussed in the Mindfully High text, we can’t assume that grass and work don’t mix. Each person must explore and decide, on their own, how and when and where to include the marijuana high into their everyday lives. Some people smoke it once a month – others five times a day. It’s the same with using cannabis for medication, each person responds uniquely to the drug.
As I mentioned, a great many artists and musicians and writers have lauded weed as their primary muse, and there's a strong reason for this. Marijuana sets the mind free to explore newness and invention on all fronts. By liberating the associative function of the mind from old habits, pot can give everyone the experience of being creative ... and this is truly liberating!
There are certain things we can do when high, to augment our creative urges. We've designed our High Together App to be a stimulus for people wanting to be more creative and insightful when high. Each program focuses on a particular creative aspect of the THC high, offering specific Focus Phrases to hold in mind throughout the cannabis trip, to help you flow into unique and often uncharted realms of imagination and creativity.
Balancing Freedom And Form
When high, we often get carried away into new insights and ideas, visions and possibilities. What experienced artists learn is how to balance the wild rush of new ideas with the need for focusing on one insight and idea, and advancing it into some form of manifestation.
Often after a high experience, people lose their great ideas - they're just gone. Sometimes they keep reappearing until they're given form - but all too often our great visions just dissolve after a high journey.
The general assumption is that our great pot ideas aren't really all that good - in the cold light of post-high reason, our seemingly-brilliant flights of fancy can seem ridiculous and uncreative. However, over the years I've learned to record my great pot flashes, and in fact, many of them are lastingly good ideas. They simply need time and attention to manifest.
One of the rules I run by is this - when I get high, in the first half hour loads of great ideas come flowing by. But after a while I'm exhausted by all the great flashes of insight and all the rest - and just let go of all of them and move into a more sensory wholebody focus.
So I do my best to discipline myself, and stick with the early flashes of brilliance that come to me. I record them or write them down, and keep exploring them further ... and in this way, I harvest some of the best ideas, and just let the others go.
This whole idea of employing self-control during a high journey might seem contrary to the whole purpose of getting high and letting go all control - but I find a b it of control to be of great value. We do need to honor our flashes of brilliance, even if they don't ever manifest as a picture or poem or song.
Likewise with business ideas - brainstorming while high can be highly productive - but only if we learn to harvest the cream of the crop. Each time when you get high, you might want to set a certain goal in this regard - just manifest one thing that pops into mind while high -write it down, record it - and later on, honor it and advance it!