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Does Weed Make You A Better Writer?
4 min

Does Weed Make You A Better Writer?

4 min
News Research

Are you a writer looking to add a little something extra to your process? Writing and weed could be a match made in heaven, or a nightmare made in hell. To find out, we'll break down the skills involved when writing, and examine how weed interacts with each. This will allow us to generate some advice on the best ways to combine writing with weed.

You’re staring at the screen. That dreaded cursor is blinking at you, a cruel friend winking at your misfortune. The words won’t come, the inspiration won’t come, the ideas won’t come.

But then.

You do get an idea.

Should you light up?

Many writers struggle with creative flow, with inspiration, and with maintaining an authentic voice. Writing is both creatively and cognitively demanding, and there are few interventions that bolster one without taxing the other. But could weed be one of them?

Read on as we explore what abilities you need to write, how weed could help or hinder these, and if you do smoke to write, what kind of weed you should turn to.

WRITING IS MORE THAN JUST PUTTING PEN TO PAPER

The modern writer needs a variety of skills to succeed. If we break down the skill of “writing” into sub-skills, can we analyse weed’s effects on these?

1. CREATIVITY

CREATIVITY

First and most obviously, writers need creativity. Creativity is a hard-to-define skill that can loosely be described as the ability to generate novel ideas. Creativity, by definition, eludes algorithmic capture: there’s no clear set of steps you can take to be more creative, and in general, attempts to force creativity lead only to the sad situation described at the beginning of this article.

Weed has a reputation for being able to help with creativity, though the research is ambiguous as to whether it actually helps. The relationship between weed and creativity may follow a biphasic effects distribution, where a small toke sparks the muse, and a large dose douses it out.

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2. FACILITY WITH WORDS AND IDEAS

FACILITY WITH WORDS AND IDEAS

The painter uses paint as a raw material, and lines, colour, and shadow as creative elements to produce paintings. Writers use words as raw material, and ideas as creative elements to produce written works.

To be a writer, you need to be able to play with, manipulate, and dig into the world of ideas. To do so, you’ll need sharp and clear cognition. Weed doesn’t exactly have a reputation for helping in this department, and with many strains, this is justified: now is not the moment to haul out your dankest Kush. That being said, a light touch of the right sativa may just give you the edge you need.

3. RESEARCH SKILLS

RESEARCH SKILLS

As the modern content writer knows, doing the research is a third of the work (along with writing and editing). In the research stage, you need to process information, build new mental models, and apply critical thinking skills. These are some heavy analytic abilities, and once again, you don’t want to overdo it with heavy strains that’ll leave you confused.

4. ORGANISATIONAL SKILLS

ORGANISATIONAL SKILLS

Organisational skills? Isn’t writing an orgy of untamed creativity?

In the brainstorming phase, it absolutely should be. But once you’re writing your piece, organisation takes on a huge role. You need to figure out how to structure ideas, where to put what, how to group concepts together, and how to make it all flow. It’s not all that different from cleaning your room.

Plus, you need to be organised to meet your deadlines.

5. FOCUS

FOCUS

Ah, focus: the downfall of many a skilled beginner. To be a writer, you need to be able to sit at your desk and pump out words, even when it sucks, even when it’s not fun, even when your brain keeps poking you with all the funny stuff you could be googling. This kind of focus requires determination, willpower, and most importantly, years of hard practice. Mark my words: every time you resist the drive to procrastinate, your ability to withstand procrastination grows stronger. Every time you give in to it, your power to resist weakens.

IMPROVED CREATIVITY MIGHT NOT HELP YOU HIT DEADLINES

IMPROVED CREATIVITY MIGHT NOT HELP YOU HIT DEADLINES
Snoop Dogg

Several famous writers credit weed with a large part of their success: Bob Marley, Lady Gaga, and Jay-Z, among others. But are they creative successes because they smoke weed, or are creative, rule-questioning people just more likely to smoke?

The research is shaky on whether weed even improves creativity. These studies tend not to control for strain, so it’s hard to say for sure, and individual variation can make studies like this difficult to generalise.

That being said, even if weed does improve creativity, if it impairs your ability to manifest other necessary skills for being a writer, you might move one step forward only to fall two behind. Your editor won’t be pleased if you’re a week late because of a weed-fuelled “creativity” binge.

DOES WEED IMPROVE OTHER CRUCIAL WRITING SKILLS?

DOES WEED IMPROVE OTHER CRUCIAL WRITING SKILLS?

The relationship between weed and cognition is controversial. Several studies show that long-term, chronic use damages cognition, while others claim that more moderate use may be benign. Still, you may want to consider not being a heavy pothead if you want to be a working writer.

What of the short-term effects? Many studies have shown that cannabis takes a toll on working memory and attention, both of which are crucial skills for writers. Still, this toll is likely attenuated by smoking cannabis at a strictly low dose. As mentioned above, cannabis follows a biphasic effects pattern, where a low dose often has a different or opposite effect than a high dose. Also, if you’re in the brainstorming phase, you may be willing to sacrifice some working memory and attention for a burst of creativity.

IF YOU FEEL YOURSELF MAKING TOO MANY ERRORS, CBD CAN HELP

IF YOU FEEL YOURSELF MAKING TOO MANY ERRORS, CBD CAN HELP

If you’re enjoying a creative boost from THC, but struggling with the cognitive effects, consider adding some CBD to the mix. CBD counterbalances the effects of THC, helping your brain process the latter more judiciously. If you’re going to smoke while writing, an equal balance of THC and CBD is the way to go.

AN EQUAL BALANCE OF THC AND CBD IS CRUCIAL

AN EQUAL BALANCE OF THC AND CBD IS CRUCIAL

Ready to get toking and writing? As we’ve discussed, strain choice is everything. Dance World is an ideal candidate, being a sativa-dominant strain with balanced THC and CBD content. Great White Shark and CBD Star are also among those rare strains well-balanced between THC and CBD, though they do contain more indica genetics.

BECOMING A BETTER WRITER WITH CANNABIS TAKES SOME TRIAL AND ERROR

BECOMING A BETTER WRITER WITH CANNABIS TAKES SOME TRIAL AND ERROR

Smoking and writing have the potential to add some extra magic to your writing process: it puts your head in a different, likely more creative place, which could allow you to see paths and possibilities in your work that you couldn’t before. Weed also takes a toll on cognition and attention, which can make writing more challenging.

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When smoking and writing, use trial and error: experiment with strain and timing to see what works. Lean into sativa-dominant, high-CBD strains taken at lower doses. It’s likely weed is a better choice for the early, creative stages of the writing process, or for when you’re stuck. It’s probably not ideal for when you’re facing a looming deadline.

Arielle

Written by: Arielle Friedman
Arielle is based out of Toronto, Canada and loves topics relating to the brain. When not writing she enjoys making art, learning about bioremediation, and trying to prevent the robot apocalypse.

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Disclaimer:
We are not making medical claims. This article has been written for informational purposes only, and is based on research published by other externals sources.


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