by Dan Ketchum
Whether it’s contemporary visual artists like Pierre Schmidt and Fernando de la Rocque, filmmakers like Harmony Korine and Katja Blichfeld, or musicians like Cypress Hill and Rico Nasty, cannabis has been the inspiration behind the artist, the vision behind the medium, for time immemorial. As the Emperor of Hemp Jack Herer (more on him later) pointed out, “Many artists and writers have used cannabis for creative stimulation — from the writers of the world’s religious masterpieces to our most irreverent satirists.”
But to heighten your vision in unexpected and beautiful ways, you’ll need just the right strain. So before you get to putting pen to paper or paint to canvas — or expressing yourself in the vast spectrum of ways that art manifests — take a little inspo from strains that have elevated more works of art than we’ll ever know.
How Cannabis Enhances Creativity
As is the case across the board, cannabis is a personal experience. While characteristics like unique terpenes and cannabinoid content make certain strains more likely to stimulate creative experiences than others, bear in mind the same strain that makes you want to go all Kandinsky, might make someone else want to take a nap. You’ll have more reliably creative experiences with strains that are tried, true, and tested by generations of artists, but always remember to start low and go slow when experimenting with the best strains for creativity.
Personalization aside, there’s plenty of logic behind why weed has a rep for intensifying creativity. When you’re high, your body’s built-in cannabis receptors increase blood flow to the brain, including certain cranial regions associated with creativity. This includes the amygdala, which generates feelings of euphoria, the reward centers of the nucleus accumbens, and the emotional and executive regulators in the frontal cortex. All of which contribute to the skillful mess that is art.
Sometimes making art is a process of capturing energy in just the right place, and sativa strains can help you bottle that lightning. The “mind high” of sativas generate feelings of euphoria and lightness and can help facilitate bursts of activity while simultaneously intensifying all sorts of sensory experiences.
- Kali Mist doesn’t just sport a spicy flavor profile, it’s a spicy experience. When big energy and soaring euphoria are the name of the game, the long-lasting, lightweight high of this sativa is hard to beat. A good bet if your project welcomes a touch of psychedelia.
- Tangie is the yin to Kali Mist’s yang, as a sativa that delivers all the euphoria you’d expect but with a far more laid-back vibe. A sticky sweet favorite of the Amsterdam art scene, you’ll find tangie alongside Electric Lemonade and the equally creative Super Silver Haze in our triple-strain blend sativa pen, Over the Rainbow.
- Durban Poison’s name is a bit of a misnomer — if you’re a creative type, you might just find it the antidote. Known as one of the most energizing strains out there, this South African strain also packs a THC content of up to 26 percent, which can make for a kaleidoscopic sensory experience to go alongside all that creative spark.
- Jack Herer is the classic creative’s sativa. While it can give you an energetic edge, it’s a more cerebral type of energy than most sativas. Potent Platinum Jack gets the creative juices flowing while keeping your brain on an even keel.
In contrast to the mind high associated with sativas, most indica strains lean into body highs (sometimes even full-body highs if the THC content is high enough). And while those seeking inspiration may not necessarily want a strain that puts them in-da-couch, relaxation and stress relief are often absolutely essential to the creative headspace. Likewise, some of the finest works call for a more meditative — or sometimes downright heady — tilt.
- Alien Kush reps the California kush contingent, and no list of the best weed strains for creativity is complete without at least one of those. In addition to a full-body buzz, this powerhouse indica goes heavy on the psychotropic effects.
- Papaya is among the best strains for creativity if de-stressing and freeing your body of anxiety is a key to your creative process. This fruity indica will keep your mind awake while letting the physical vessel get loose.
- Blueberry Bomb can be found in Mistifi’s Houdini triple-strain indica blend for good reason. When it’s time to get real down-tempo and deep into the meditative creative space, it’s time to go blue.
Just as it’s a misconception (and a potential danger to mental health) to believe that all artists must be miserable or depressed, not all works are created by sheer fits of impulse and instinct. Every artist works differently, and oftentimes the process is one of structure, discipline, and focus. When you’re chasing down the muse but need something to help you keep your eye on the prize, hybrid strains like these might just be the ticket.
- Cinderella 99, as Weedmaps puts it, “hits your head with a rush of energetic stimulation that rolls down into a deep body high.” Embrace those mental creative peaks and physical creative valleys the next time you start a project.
- Stardawg offers a hard-hitting creative strain that’s strictly for cannabis connoisseurs. A hybrid of Tres Dawg and Chemdog 4, earthy Stardawg will take you to outer space with a powerful combo of full-body stillness and mental supernovas.
- Horchata crosses Mochi Gelato and Jet Fuel Gelato to curate an appropriate sweet release. More on the calming side, Horchata lifts up the headspace while keeping the body nice and relaxed, emphasizing a smooth, easygoing creative experience.
Alongside Wunderdog and Hell’s Fire OG, Horchata also appears in our new triple-strain hybrid blend Oracle, made from solventless cured resin and engineered for premium inspiration. At the crossroads where creativity and craft cannabis meet, let the Oracle show you the way.
Dan Ketchum splits his time between Dallas and LA as a freelance lifestyle, fashion, health, and food writer with more than a decade of experience. In cannabis, been fortunate enough to collaborate with Cannabis & Tech Today, FOCL, Vitagenne, Reign Together, Tough Mama, and more.