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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cannabis and Creativity: Should drugs be used to facilitate creativity? | V. Krishna Kumar, Ph.D, Psychology Today

Kumar's article raises some provocative questions but doesn't provide definitive answers.

The writer describes a literature review in which the researchers:
suggested that cannabis produces psychotomimetic symptoms, which in turn might lead to connecting seemingly unrelated concepts, an aspect of divergent thinking considered primary to creative thinking. A drug induced altered state of mind may indeed lead to breaking free from ordinary thinking and associations, thereby, increasing the likelihood of generating novel ideas or associations.
Kumar then describes some research on test subjects that, I think, provided some evidence that cannabis can, indeed, heighten creativity.

But then he asks--and answers:
"What do we do with such findings? Obviously, we cannot recommend smoking cannabis as a way of stimulating creativity." 
And again, he asks: "Should we consider designing drugs to unlock our creative potential?"

It seems that his analysis becomes a reasonable warning about using drugs to treat too many conditions "in an over-medicated society"--from controlling attention deficit disorder to increasing happiness to enhancing creativity.

He concludes:
We can put aside most of the research on understanding the complexity of creative processes to become creative—instead, all we would need to do is take a pill and become instantly creative and, hopefully, instantly happy. A word of caution: you can be happily intoxicated brimming with creative thoughts after consuming a cannabis derivative, but don’t drive or operate machinery.
That flippant comments suggests to me that this issue needs more serious, open-minded research, analysis, discussion, public involvement, and decision-making.

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