Thursday, July 18, 2013

Marijuana and Its Use for Creativity

People smoke marijuana for several different reasons. Some smoke because they see their friends doing it. Others do it for relaxation or to temporarily get their minds off of life's hardship. The THC chemical found in marijuana is what causes the psychoactive effect, meaning that a person's state of mind is altered.

In addition, there are weed smokers who believe marijuana is a medicine. According to, marijuana is used to treat cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, pain, glaucoma, and epilepsy. About 19 states in America, including the District of Columbia, legalized the prescription of medical marijuana. (I've also learned that cocaine is not totally illegal and can be prescribed under a doctor's supervision. But that's another story.) In contrast to popular belief, marijuana is illegal in Amsterdam. I remember watching a documentary on the topic of marijuana on the History channel. Although it is illegal, Amsterdamian police tend to "tolerate" the sale and use of it, at least in certain areas. Moreover, weed is not even legal in Jamaica. So drop the stereotype.

When it comes to music, some musicians feel as though weed and alcohol are catalysts for creativity. During the process of writing a new song or during the recording session at a music studio, they pull out a joint and light it up. They inadvertently believe marijuana allow the right side of the brain (the creative side) to overpower the left side of the brain (the analytical side). It is true that people sometimes over think something and potentially bar themselves from innovation and breakthroughs. Therefore, weed is believed to lessen the influence of logical thinking to maintain a state of craftsmanship.

But is smoking marijuana really a productive thing to do? Does it do more harm than good? Is there an alternative to smoking that inspire musical creativity?

I've read about brain waves corresponding to the different levels of consciousness: beta, alpha, theta, and delta brain waves. What's significant about these brain waves is that each represent a deeper train of thought than the one before it, with beta being the intentional awareness of your surroundings (the most conscious) and delta being deep sleep (total unconscious). Some musicians, designers, athletes, chief executive officers, and religious leaders find themselves with great achievements because they were operating their duties in deep states consciousness (towards delta), which lead to higher forms of creativity. These states of mind could be the alternative to the use of marijuana.

There have been several times in which I would have a great idea when sleeping. I'd intentionally try to grasp the idea and memorize it. Unfortunately, the more I try to memorize it, the faster it flees my mind. The idea seems promising in my sleeping state but I know I won't be able to remember it once I wake up. I don't know if it really was a great idea or just a false sense of inventiveness. My brother even told me he's more creative making music at night, when he's closer to being sleepy and life has quieted down, than during the day. In her book Awakening the Mind, Anna Wise describes techniques to intentionally accessing each level of consciousness without falling asleep. Honestly, this book is a bit dull to me, lacking fire. I prefer to--as well encourage you to--listen to music whose sole purpose is to activate your brain waves, inducing your creativity. I suggest we turn this type of music on before or during our study/performance. We will then have a sense of creativity.

The video below is an example of delta-induced audio. You get best results by listening with headphones or earphones.

Conduct your own research on the different brain waves to further your knowledge on accessing them. We may not have to resort to psychoactive substance for creativity after all.

Christopher Patton
Hot Bird Music

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