Building a new business takes numerous skills, including creativity. Some entrepreneurs utilize drugs to expand their creativity, and marijuana users often tout its creativity-enhancing effects. Yet, there is little research examining what impact cannabis has on the creative process in business and entrepreneurship.
To expand our understanding of how cannabis use influences creativity in business, researchers compared new business ideas created by entrepreneurs who use marijuana with the ideas of those who do not. Their findings were published in the Creativity Research Journal. The cannabis-using entrepreneurs had more creative venture ideas than the non-users. However, their ideas were generally less feasible than those created by non-users.
Cannabis And Creativity
Marijuana users often cite their increased levels of creativity. As published in The Atlantic, Steve Jobs once said:
The best way I could describe the effect of marijuana and hashish is that it would make me relaxed and creative.
In the first study, researchers examined the influence of THC on creativity. Participants who had an acute THC dose of 5.5 mg demonstrated higher levels of creativity compared with a placebo, although the relationship did not reach significance. However, a higher THC dose of 22 mg yielded reduced creativity, highlighting the importance of dose on cognition.
THC is only one of the hundreds of compounds in marijuana plants. In the study published in Consciousness and Cognition, researchers examined how the entire cannabis flower influenced creativity. Marijuana users had their creativity measured on a day of natural marijuana use and a day of non-use. The participants showed higher levels of creativity when intoxicated than on a day of non-use.
Drugs, Creativity, And The Entrepreneurial Process
Most experts believe that new business ideation is a creative process. To formulate an idea that is both unique and realistic, an entrepreneur combines expertise with ingenuity. Some entrepreneurs use drugs hoping to enhance creative thinking. You can find stories of entrepreneurs and other professionals microdosing hallucinogens or smoking cannabis during the creation process.
While there is research that examines the relationship between cannabis and creativity in the general population, there have not been many studies that look at how drugs impact entrepreneurs. From idea formation to help mitigating stress, there are multiple ways that marijuana may influence entrepreneurial success.
With the continued increase in marijuana legality, researchers have more opportunities to study how cannabis impacts our creativity and cognition. In a recent study featured in the Creativity Research Journal, lead author Benjamin Warnick and his fellow researchers sought to understand more about how cannabis use influences new business ideation.
Marijuana May Increase Creativity In The Venture Creation Process
Two hundred and fifty-four entrepreneurs participated in this study. The scientists separated participants into two groups: those people who use cannabis and those who do not. There was no further distinction in these groups, which means infrequent and daily marijuana users were grouped together.
The researchers had each person partake in a new venture ideation task. Experts evaluated the ideas’ feasibility and originality, two aspects that determine a new venture’s success. Each entrepreneur also answered questions to assess their level of entrepreneurial passion and experience.
Marijuana users came up with ideas that were more creative and original than non-users. However, non-users formulated ideas with greater feasibility.
The relationship between decreased feasibility and increased originality was not as pronounced for more experienced entrepreneurs who use marijuana. Additionally, more passionate marijuana-using entrepreneurs were more likely to develop creative, yet not realistic, ideas.
Users And Non-Users Could Work Together
To formulate a market-ready business idea, entrepreneurs must pair originality with feasibility. Because marijuana-using entrepreneurs may experience greater creativity than their peers, the researchers postulated that these groups might benefit by working alongside one another. The entrepreneurs who use marijuana for creativity could pair with non-users to help focus their ideas into something more likely to succeed.