And in this video, DNews looks into two of them. Marijuana and Alcohol.
It would seem at first that many writers tend to favor Alcohol, with guys like Fitzgerald, Hemingway, & Twain being on that list.
But on the other hand, many other artistic folk seem to favor Marijuana. To name a few of them: Carl Sagan, Alexandre Dumas, and Salvador Dali.
So which is the best “supplement” for creativity-boostage?…
Testing For Specifics Without Side-Effects:
Well, when we define Creativity, it’s roughly-considered to be new & different ideas, or what scientists would call, “Divergent Thinking”.
And when we think of a psychoactive substance that’s supposed to help it, it should be something that has effects that empower it, without so many side-effects that end up compromising it.
Unfortunately, this ideal is not always possible. Even with something like coffee.
Drugs change -some- thing about you, but not always just 1 or 2 things.
Many drug-users point out that they feel much more creative under the influence. -But the side-effects may render them ultimately unproductive; Exhibit A: Marijuana users.
Does It Only Help Existing Geniuses?:
A similar idea also follows the consumption of alcohol.
Several famous creatives didn’t just drink but also outright Advised consumption before anything creative at all. These included heavyweights like Ernest F. Hemingway, Winston Churchill, & Ludwig Van Beethoven. (apparently the Wu-Tang Clan isn’t the only clique one should not mess with.)
And here’s a very key question: Just because a few monster-creatives proved their own chops, does that actually mean their drug of choice will work for everyone? -Or is it more individual?
Well, according to a 2004 study by the University of Colorado, it might be a little of both.
On the X-Men side:
The UofC found that 15% of Caucasian people carried a gene that changed the way they responded to alcohol compared to everyone else.
This so-called “Churchill gene” made them react more strongly, both in Mood and Behavior.
Those people reported feeling a higher-than-average sense of happiness & elation after taking a shot of alcohol.
To obtain the results, this shot of booze was followed-up by a period of relaxation, and then some tests on creativity.
In subjects without the gene, this demonstrated creativity was much less amplified.
On the down-side, those with the Churchill gene were more likely to end up with alcoholism.
Wait! Normal People Get Some Love, Too!:
Never fear! -Even if you don’t have the Churchill gene, alcohol can still make you more creative.
And on this point, DNews falls just a little flat.
Because they tell you only that Alcohol impairs brain-activity and judgment, and imply that you will only be less judgmental of your (still-crappy) work, instead of more mentally-liberated.
This is a half-truth.
What’s really happening is that alcohol also shuts down the brain’s “Logical Traffic Cop” that says everything must make perfect sense immediately. -In a way, keeping that guy from making all of your thinking Con-vergent instead of Di-vergent.
Alcohol Shuts Down The Brain’s Grammar Nazi:
And other studies have shown this moderation of that part of the Pre-Frontal-Cortex does lead to more innovative thinking, along with the next one DNews cites:
In 2012, a study was published by The University of Chicago where the subjects were all given enough alcohol to raise their level to a measured .075.
-Which is just-about the threshold for impaired/ legally-drunk.
The subjects were then asked to find word-pairs when given 3 word-pieces that would fit with all of them.
Ex: Arm, Peach, Tar. So the word-association could be: Pit.
The Juice Will Set You Free:
Compared to the sober subjects, the nearly-drunk group was able to think of more, faster & more-insightful answers. And results similar to this have been shown on more than one study.
Drinkers have also been shown to improvise many more creative uses for everyday items in another type of test for intelligent divergent thinking.
So those are some results for Alcohol, but what about the results for Marijuana?
Well, one study from the Netherlands tested marijuana users for exactly the same type of improvisational-brainstorming mentioned in the last result.
Marijuana Helps Divergent Creativity Too, Right?:
In this study, subjects were given two objects, like a shoe and a pen, and then asked to come up with as many creative & new uses for them as possible in a given time-period.
At one level, subjects who inhaled a Low dose of cannabis experienced almost no effect on creativity.
However! -When the subjects took higher doses, their creativity was greatly-reduced.
The Tentative Answer For Stoners Is No; Except…:
Now in all fairness, some commenters have criticized the results for both method of inhalation & variant of marijuana used.
-But this was in The Netherlands, so let’s just go ahead and assume they have at least -some- idea what they’re doing with the stuff.
-I mean, Amsterdam is still located in the Netherlands, right? Ok, good.
All is lost for stoners, right?
The Internet Placebo!:
Yet another study tricked 1/2 its subjects into thinking they’d eaten a marijuana-laced biscuit.
And guess what? -They were significantly more creative than the control group that had none!
Strangely-enough, that increase was linked to -expected- drug use.
So, I guess this is just another big example of The Placebo Effect still alive and kicking.
So for Drinkers: Regardless of your existing genetics or level of intelligence, having a beer or two has been demonstrated to make you a little more creative.
And for Stoners: Until more species & delivery-specific tests are done, you may only be more creative because you -Expect- to be.
Anxiety, Intelligence, & Drug-Choice:
-Which we’ll start with a quote: “Only the paranoid survive.” -Bill Gates, alleged stoner.
There is a growing list of highly-intelligent, highly-achieving people, who all do or have once smoked marijuana.
And the most interesting point here is found among a few odd studies. High-levels of Anxiety are positively-correlated with Intelligence.
So, what might actually be happening with smokers is this:
Maybe it doesn’t really expand the minds of average-IQ people.
But people who are ALREADY very-intelligent, highly-practiced in their arts,
-and probably a bit more anxious than average all self-select to be marijuana-enthusiasts because of its calming properties.
One More Interesting Footnote About Alcohol, & Productivity.
One More Thing… Stacking To Optimize The Optimizer:
Among the drugstore list of substances taken by people like Jimi Hendrix and Hunter S. Thompson, is a particular type of alcohol-variant.
This drink is a particular favorite among writers, and is something called a “Push-Pull”.
-One that has Both Relaxing & Stimulating effects that don’t counter-act each other.
The two most famous examples of this are Absinthe and the more-famous/less-infamous old standby: The Irish Coffee.
…So maybe there is also a way to fiddle with ANY set of psychoactives, or at-least the two tested, to do what BioHackers call “Stacking” and improve both of them while also minimizing excesses in their effects and side-effects?…
-Lets’ just use this for creativity, though and not let things devolve into Red Bull+Vodka or Four-Loko territory, okay?
Video by DNews
Photo, “Dali Atomicus” by Philippe Halsman
• Source: YT-DNews
• More Coverage: 420Mag- Successful Stoners | PsychCentral-Anxiety&IQ
• Source Studies:
• Consc.&Cog.-Uncorking the muse: Alcohol facilitates creative problem solving
• Psychopharma-Cannabis and creativity: highly potent cannabis impairs divergent thinking in regular cannabis users