Willie Nelson, Madonna, Bob Dylan, Jay Z, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Carl Sagan, Seth MacFarlane, Cheech and Chong.
I bet you can guess one thing that each of these individuals has in common. They’re all highly creative, right? And they smoke pot. While hardly exemplifying the bleary-eyed, coach loafing, stoner stereotype, they’ve also ushered in extraordinarily creative social contributions.
- Steve Jobs and Bill Gates inch towards iconic divinity when it comes to their creative and economic success.
- Seth MacFarlane is the creator of the “Family Guy.” His 420 episode in season seven includes the catchy tune, “A Bag of Weed.”
- Cheech and Chong; they magnified our stigmas about cannabis in a caricatural way, and that undoubtedly relaxed a tightened lip or two.
- Jay Z is not only a songwriter, but a brilliant entrepreneur as well. He’s the co-founder of a group of New York clubs, and the creator of Roc Nation; a high flying entertainment company that recruits both entertainers and sports celebrities.
- Madonna, beyond her creative talents, is also a pioneer in the pro-cannabis movement.
- Carl Sagan is the ultimate nerd who’s been spinning our minds into the cosmos for decades; the result of his degrees in both astronomy and astrophysics.
- Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan; well, you've just got to listen.
But does pot make people creative, or do creative people smoke pot?
Tests have been conducted in attempts to answer this question. According to the Independent, two tests were conducted. One was based on divergent thinking, the other on convergent thinking. Two groups participated; pot smokers’ vs non-smokers. The tests themselves were conducted with none of the members actively high. Where divergent thinking showed the same results between the groups, pot smokers excelled at the convergent test.
This means smokers had a higher ability to pull together various ideas to form a single optimum solution. Think “foot”, “high” and “cheese.” Pot smokers were more likely to come up with “ball” to tie the terms together. Granted, if we look at these tests from another perspective — the effect of openness to experience— the tests results don’t necessarily stand. Cannabis users' openness to experience may be what is responsible for their superior creative talents.
Recently a friend told me, “Pot makes me a better person.” I knew what he meant. Pot opens our minds to alternate ideas and perspectives. Pot creates greater sensitivity and creative insight, and such tools that bring us together in fellowship are desperately needed in our overly linear and strangely divisive lives.