Cannabis (THC) & Art

What do Shakespeare, Bob Marley, and Picasso all have in common? Yes, they were all men who were creative geniuses, but they were also all cannabis users. Though a lot of people say it is a cliché that THC or cannabis can inspire or nudge the creative mind, medical experts all around the globe are now in agreement that the effects of cannabis on the creative process are valid, and many artists can be inspired by using it.

There is, as Shakespeare said, a “rub” to this issue, and it is that all of us are different and cannabis hits each of us differently. That means there is no “universally accepted approach” for the use of cannabis in any creative endeavor.

To understand this a bit better, let’s start with your frontal lobe.


Pablo Picasso

Your Creative Brain on Cannabis

Cannabis is a stimulant. While the Indica variations might mellow you out, they are still doing something stimulating in the brain. The Sativa, as you might already know, are the variations that most smokers know as the stimulating type. Though they are the varieties that give you a blip of creative juice, they may not be right for you.

As a recent report on this issue noted, “cannabis has an inherent neurological relationship with both art and creativity…[it] has the ability to stimulate the brain’s frontal lobe – an area that is highly active in creative people… And most stimulants…boost output of all kinds,” including creative output.

Artists eager to gauge the impact of cannabis on their work do have to understand a few facts. We’ve already touched on the ways that different variants (Indica or Sativa) operate, but the dosage is also another factor. The amount of THC one person requires to enjoy the benefits of cannabis on creativity may be far greater or lower than another.

As that same report said, “what works well for one artist might spell catastrophe for another. That being said, remember that cannabis does increase frontal lobe activity, meaning there is a ‘sweet spot’ that individuals can dial in to enhance their creativity.” It is finding which variety and dose that works for you that matters, as this is what will open the mind and reveal all kinds of possibilities.

Others Who Have Tried and Succeeded

If you need further evidence that the use of cannabis can be of benefit to opening the mind, just consider another list of famous creatives who have benefited from their recreational use of cannabis. This list includes:

Carlin is noted as saying that cannabis worked as a “value-changing drug,” capable of opening doors of perception.

Beyond Stimulating

So, is Carlin right, or is that medical report right – is it a creative stimulator or something that just bumps up frontal lobe activity and offers a possibility of creative support? As another medical expert says, “The answer isn’t black and white,” and studies done on those demonstrating higher creativity often display more frontal lobe activity, too. Cannabis will also vary in its effectiveness where creative stimulation is concerned, based on the individual’s personality. Someone who is naturally anxious can get a bit of a mellowing effect that will help their creative juices, but someone who is traditionally more low-key and calmer may find themselves a bit too laid back after using cannabis.

A podcast about the influence of cannabis on creatives also noted that individual responses vary and reflect the fluctuating use and efficacy of the compound over the course of any artist’s life. It will take some trial and error, but if the artists noted are proof, the use of cannabis could prove profoundly beneficial to your creative process.

Painters like Picasso and Modigliani are often described as some of the most creative, expressive, and well-known. Their work speaks, even though it is decades old, and influences today’s art world from formal painters to street artists. THC is a stimulant, and its results are all around us in the works of some of the best artists.


Bob Marley

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