Summary and opinion by John Fouts.
With much speculation about whether or not consumption of cannabis leads to better access to creativity, one question begging to be answered is if musicians can create better music while using it to influence the creative process in general. There are many articles present on the internet on both sides of the issue including artists who feel they did better without it, and artists who feel like they would not have been able to bring their songs to fruition without a little help. Louis Armstrong is noted as one of the first musicians to make his cannabis use public stating, “…it’s an assistant – a friend.” Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys who wrote Pet Sounds also spoke of its use to help him write the music on that album.
THC causes the body to release dopamine. This neurotransmitter can cause reduced inhibition to occur within individuals and remove roadblocks to the thought process. In 2010 at the University of London, researchers discovered that cannabis can help with drawing connections between unrelated concepts. This is called divergent thought, and is what makes a person creative. In addition, University of Temple found that frequency of use and creativity were correlated directly. Many studies exist on this subject matter, and the results often conflict with one another. Regardless of whether or not cannabis can help facilitate better creativity, it is clear that to become the best musician possible, dedication and perseverance while practicing for many years are solidly a part of the road to success.
My Opinion: I think what we may have here is a which came first, the chicken or the egg type of situation. Was the musician creative a great deal already before utilizing an aid like cannabis to help facilitate access to his or her own creativity, or does one or more compound found in the plant provide the development of neural pathways opening up allowing creative strengths to develop more fully (rather than Dopamine levels alone)? It is a question we may not have sufficient data to answer completely for a long time, at least for the unforeseeable future.
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Still, the stigma persists. Many people see cannabis users as lazy, unsuccessful, and potentially troubled human beings. Where does this dated stoner stereotype come from? We could cast the blame upon television, movies, or newspapers, but we could also act mature and admit our own responsibility for the unfavorable image.