Excerpted from Cannabis for Creatives: How 32 Artists Enhance and Sustain Inspiration by Jordana Wright. Copyright © 2022 Rocky Nook. Reprinted with permission from Rocky Nook. San Rafael, CA. All rights reserved.
We are all born creative. When we’re young and our concepts of the world are based on possibility rather than doubt, limitation, or worry, our imaginations carry us through wild and inventive scenarios. The worlds we can create in our minds are boundless, so we build block towers, imagining medieval cities, and we transform cardboard boxes into rocket ships.
Some of our earliest imaginings are based in the world we know, and we play to practice existing in that world. Other imaginings are pure creation. They’re inspired by things we’ve experienced but unrestricted by the rules and realities of the world we will one day inhabit as adults. As we grow and learn to exist more in practical realities, imaginative play dwindles. We may still experience creative pursuits and explorations, but our focus shifts to the final product: a painting, a graded project for school, a recipe, etc. We stop creating for the act of creation itself and instead create for results. If no result occurs, what was the point?
I remember my early interactions with cannabis as a return to the imaginative state of my childhood. I was a teenager when I began experimenting with pot—not that far from childhood, but already feeling boundaries and hard edges where once only pure possibility existed. Most of my creative projects were either in art class at school or following along with a tutorial. Pure, self-guided creation was rarer and harder to come by.
My creative education in school was highly structured and focused more on teaching an existing language of art than it was about inspiring kids to invent and define their own words. Cannabis reawakened some of that free-flowing creativity in me. It reminded me that sometimes you must build things purely for the experience of building them and seeing what happens. Creation isn’t just about assembling a polished product and showing the world how clever or talented you are. You create for the joy, the frustration, and the challenge of the process.
I’ve always felt an overwhelming impulse to create, and after exploring a wide variety of artistic pursuits, I found that photography best allowed me to interpret and intuit the world. I’ve worked as a professional photographer since 2006, but my first real camera, and the fulfillment it brought, came into my life the same year that I discovered pot. For me, cannabis and photography have been linked intrinsically from the start. Much of the way I think about and choose to depict the world has been influenced by the experiences I’ve had while high.
As cannabis has become more mainstream, I, like many of my pot-loving peers, feel more confident in discussing its effects on my thought process and my creative flow. I’ve managed to shake some of the shame that the American education system and well-intentioned programs such as the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) instilled so many years ago. The world is waking up to the benefits of cannabis. Much of the United States has legalized cannabis for adult use, so rather than sending coded text messages and blowing pot smoke through paper towel tubes stuffed with dryer sheets to mask the smell (this is called a sploof and was a common smoking accessory in high school and college), we can shop in stores for flavors we like and smoke in our homes or backyards without concern.
What follows is an exploration of the human mind—the magic spark called creativity that lives at the intersection of inspiration and execution, and a plant that has been an influential catalyst since our earliest civilizations. Inspired to find other cannabis enthusiasts who work in creative fields, I interviewed artists from a wide range of backgrounds and specialties. I hoped to learn about the commonalities and nuances of the creative experience and to form actionable ideas on how to harness pot’s creative energy most effectively.
The experience of writing this book and engaging with this impressive collection of artists has confirmed some of my beliefs about pot, triggered new ideas about creativity, and reinforced the notion that something as magical as the act of artistic creation deserves at least a little experimentation with this mind-expanding and clarity-inducing super-plant we call cannabis, pot, weed, ganja, herb, chronic, and a variety of other names.
We’re still early in the process of social and legal acceptance, so while it feels a little uncomfortable to put these words to paper, I believe so completely that cannabis has enriched my creative life that I want to help lessen the stigma and remind anyone who’s reading this book that we are put on this earth to do more than create things for accolades or because someone told us to be productive.
If cannabis can help you rekindle that spark of imagination to explore and enjoy the inner workings of your mind and the world around you, then it just might be the most precious creative resource you will ever find. Whether you’re a chef, a painter, or a person with plenty of creative energy with no idea where to start, thank you for joining me on this adventure and for being open to exploring your own creative journeys with cannabis.