Within the cannabis community, there is a general consensus that cannabis helps facilitate the creative process. Artists, musicians, scientists, and creatives alike have all vouched for this notion but why is this the case? What is it about cannabis that enhances creativity?There have been a number of studies throughout the years on cannabis and its effects on creative cognition. While there is still uncertainty around the topic, some have suggested that cannabis can affect the brain in two ways. First, it is suggested that cannabis helps with divergent thinking by stimulating blood flow to the frontal lobe. Divergent thinking is crucial to the creative process because it gives the creator an opportunity to think outside of the normal realm, leading to new possibilities. Second, it is believed that cannabis helps rid the creator of inhibition by slowing down the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that is responsible for a number of cognitive functions including decision making, conflict resolution, mood regulation, and timing. Being able to act on new ideas without any previous reservations is imperative in the creative process, as it allows the creator to carry out the final step in bringing their ideas to life.
Meet our resident Director of Health & Wellness, Cody Freeze, PharmD RPH. In this monthly feature, he will field your questions around cannabis and the interactions with the human body. To submit a question, please send to email@example.com with the subject line "Ask Dr. Freeze."
Q: How do I know which strain might work best for me?
A: Cannabis is made up of thousands of naturally occurring chemicals (phytomedicinal agents). Primary agents are cannabinoids like THC, CBD, and CBN. These are the main action of the strain, but are not the entire source of all activities. We know THC as the psychoactive ingredient that can produce desired effects like anti-nausea, pain relief or anti-inflammatory effects. But also, keep in mind the use case for CBD as an anti-inflammatory among many other desired effects. CBN can help with sleep, among other things.
Certain secondary agents (terpenes) are more likely to be stimulating (like pinene, eucalyptol, limonene), whereas others are more likely to be sedating (myrcene, linalool). These secondary agents give cannabis plant its unique flavor and aroma. The action of the entire spectrum of contents (commonly known as the “entourage effect”), as well as patient variables will also come into play.
While a seasoned budtender can help with navigating between candidate strains (also known as chemovars), I recommend keeping a “Strain Diary.” Write down what was tried, the feelings involved, and whether you found relief for various ailments. Documenting a journey using cannabis as medicine will help determine what cannabinoids (THC, CBD, THCV, CBN, etc.) and terpenoids (myrcene, pinene, beta caryophyllene, limonene, terpinolene, etc.) gave the most relief.
Cannabis as medicine is a complex thing, and although there is open sourced and catalogued data, it still is early and not everything that matters has been measured. Because this is the case, I advocate for patients to use online sources such as Leafly or allbud.com as a general resource. However, patients should listen to their bodies. These online sources, combined with a strain diary, will help guide the experience.
By researching the activities of the strain/chemovar you’re considering, you can have an idea of the positive and negative effects. Although it isn’t perfect, the data surrounding cannabis strains online is fairly accurate. And, sometimes, the dispensary will even list common cannabinoid content and terpene content, so you know what you’re buying. A trained and professional budtender can help guide patients to help patients achieve the treatment most effective for the patient’s unique symptoms.
We are all biochemically and genetically unique, and so is cannabis. Although resources like the ones I listed above are usually very helpful, a good strain diary can be incredibly useful! The more data we have, the better we get at our recommendations. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Be an advocate for your own well-being!