By Marion Lefevre
VANCOUVER – Louis Armstrong first tried cannabis in the 1920s and used it throughout his career. Lady Gaga told Anderson Cooper in 2011 that she smokes “a lot of pot” when writing music. Astronomer and astrophysicist Carl Sagan wrote, “For the first time I have been able to hear the separate parts of a three-part harmony and the richness of the counterpoint,” about his experience with marijuana.
So what does science say about weed promoting creativity?
Unfortunately, due to the prohibited nature of the drug, science has been unable to conduct long-term peer-reviewed studies on the matter. This means a lot of our “hard data” has come from the anecdotes of users. BeatRoute interviewed a few local musicians to get their input on weed and the potentials and pitfalls of its creative side.
Robbie Slade of HUMANS
“[I find it] helps — but only in very small doses, and at the right point in my creative process. Too early on and I can hit stumbling blocks. I find it helps me look at a project from another perspective. It can be a gamble. Sometimes it can cause anxiety, or tiredness. I try to stay away from the mild-acid-trip level of strength, and I don’t really like using cannabis to, like, spice [up] my life.”
Richie Alexander of Did You Die
“I smoked it throughout high school almost every day. It was a part of my lifestyle as a teen and from what I can remember with weed, I don’t really see it as a channel for creativity at all for myself. I would write a song every couple months, but without, I pump out so many more songs. I work on them harder; it’s a completely different approach. I just want people to understand that marijuana does work for a lot of artists when they are creating (I know for a fact that a lot of hip-hop artists I listen to use it and bang out some awesome stuff) but for me, personally, it hasn’t worked out that way.”
Sam Lucia and Geoffrey Millar of So Loki
”We find that weed definitely helps. It helps with creativity but hinders productivity so we generally smoke while writing and having creative dialogue, but when it comes to the hard shit — stay sober, kids.”