23 Jul 1969 --- Blues singer B.B. King  playing guitar and smoking. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Music and Weed: Creativity’s Assistant

Inhale. Exhale. Recharge.

Inhale. Exhale. Recharge.

Music and Weed are like peanut butter and jelly. Starting in the 1930’s with jazz artists ,Louis Armstrong was the first to make public his maryjane use, calling it “an assistant –a friend “ in his Autobiography. Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys also called marijuana his “assistant” helping him pen “ Pet Sounds “, one of the most important albums ever written.

Weed puts the DOPE in DOPAMINE.

From Lady Gaga, Bieber, Timberlake, Snoop , Pharell, Willie Nelson, OutKast, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, Beatles, Billie Holiday , Drake, Rihanna, Jay-Z,  Amy Winehouse ….the list of  pro-weed artists is humongous and forever growing.

Weed puts the DOPE in DOPAMINE. THC is the active ingredient in Marijuana, it causes the body to have increased levels of dopamine. This is the hormone behind the chilled-out calm and euphoria from being high. Dopamine can lower inhibitions, silencing the ‘inner editor/ judging’ allowing thoughts to freely flow. Countless writers, creators agree that scrutinizing every idea is the number one way to snuff out creative output. The ability to turn off self-consciousness while tuned into self-awareness is the key to the ‘sweet spot’.

Artists across the board agree that cannabis helps get them “ get in the flow” and “ out of the box”. A 2011 study done in London findings show that; when people were high they were able to make connections that regularly would not be linked, this ability is known as divergent thought , and that is what makes a person  “creative “.

According to “ Marijuana and Music: A Speculative Explorations”, by earth scientist Peter Webster ;

“The effect seems to be almost universal and does not fade with experience “.

He noticed that during “cannabis sessions,” people who loved pop music became fascinated by more complex, artful sounds, while people who had previously rejected pop music as “crude and trivial” came to appreciate it more through “cannabis consciousness.” This means, then, that artists can have more powerful gut reactions to their own output, enabling them to make stronger creative decisions.

A 2008 study conducted by a group of scientists showed, weed smokers had higher brain activity in the areas that are connected to the way we hear things. Cannabis causes people to feel and focus more intensely on music. Interestingly, in the 2011 study , the naturally creative folks had higher scores of unusual beliefs , after smoking all people whether in “ high “ or “low” natural creativity showed an increase in loss of contact with reality.

During an interview on “ 60 Minutes “ Lady Gaga said ;

“I smoke a lot of pot when I write music. So I’m not gonna… like… sugar coat it for “60 Minutes” that…you know…I… I’m some… like… sober human being, ’cause I’m not. I drink a lot of whiskey and I smoke weed when I write. I don’t do it a lot, because it’s not good for my voice. I don’t want to encourage kids to do drugs, but  when you ask me about the sociology of fame and what artists do wrong; what artists do wrong is they lie…and I don’t lie. I’m not a liar.”

Of course, like all things in life , moderation is best.

If one of the biggest popstars in our generation , recognizes the amazing potential weed opens in human creativity ability, as a race WE need to pay attention. Perhaps the happy medium lies somewhere between tapping into our flow, versus trying to fight or control it. If we can use weed as medicine to learn to let go, we will have gained everything.

Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

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