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Exploring Entrepreneurial Creativity and How Cannabis Can Impact Ingenuity

April 30, 2021 03:30 pm ET Estimated Read Time: 5 Minutes
Exploring Entrepreneurial Creativity and How Cannabis Can Impact Ingenuity

Creativity in ‘new venture or ‘entrepreneurial’ ideation is important for being innovative and sustainable in coming up with ideas or concepts which could perform necessary functions, solve problems or improve the quality of life. Ideation is the process by which one comes up with or creates new ideas and concepts. According to the Oxford Review, factors underpinning ideation include motivation, effort, capital, knowledge, the ability to accurately evaluate ideas, imagination, innovation, creativity as well as the ability to generate new and novel ideas. An interesting study took to exploring cannabis consumer’s creativity in terms of new ventures and entrepreneurial ideation since the consumers come up with creative ideas, though not always feasible. 

What Does The Study Have to Say?

Researchers Benjamin Warnick, Alexander Kier, Emily LaFrance, and Carrie Cuttler conducted a study called “Head in the clouds? Cannabis users’ creativity in new venture ideation depends on their entrepreneurial passion and experience”. This interesting study was published in the Journal of Business Venturing and began by stating that ideation is a critical entrepreneurial process. The study explored the differences between both cannabis consumers’ and non-consumers’ creativity in terms of originality and feasibility. 

The study found that cannabis consumers came up with more original, but less feasible, ideas compared to their non-consumer counterparts. The team of researchers built their study upon creativity research which places emphasis on motivation and knowledge as means of shaping creative thinking. They theorized that the cognitive effects of originality and feasibility of being a cannabis consumer are influenced by entrepreneurial passion for inventing. This is then reflected by the “motivation to explore new venture ideas” and “entrepreneurial experience”.  

Since new venture ideation is a fundamental entrepreneurial process, having an understanding of the sources of creativity, examining the influence of prior knowledge, alertness, experience, intuition, and pattern recognition are important and have long been sought out by scholars. Considering that cannabis has long been used for and thought to promote creativity, it is a wonder why it took so long for a study like this to come about. 

The team explains that creativity research has found cannabis users to generate original and new ideas at a higher rate than those who don’t consume cannabis. However, creativity is only one part of a successful idea for entrepreneurship, the other is feasibility. Creativity and feasibility are both necessary for ideas to be “implemented in a manner that creates market value”. Creativity refers to the ability to make use of imagination and original ideas in order to create something, while feasibility refers to the degree to which the idea can be easily or conveniently done. 

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The study built upon Runco and Chand’s model of creative thinking which states that the ability to think creatively is shaped by motivation and “knowledge gained through experience”.  The team of researchers tested their hypothesis on 254 entrepreneurs in which they “separately account for the originality and feasibility of cannabis users’ and non-users’ new venture ideas”. 

Creative Benefits of Consuming Cannabis

Warnick and team explain that most scholars agree on the fact that new venture ideation is fundamentally a creative process since innovation demands creative thinking. Entrepreneurs and researchers have attempted to understand what influences new venture ideation and found that “people across a range of cultures have long used certain drugs for creative purposes”. Warnick and team state that cannabis remains chief amongst those.  During the teams’ research, they found that cannabis users did “not only report heightened creativity” while under its influence but also reported to “demonstrate enhanced creativity when sober”.  

According to the study, cannabis consumers’ tendency to be more impulsive, disinhibited as well as being able to better identify “relationships among disparate concepts”, holds the potential to benefit their ability to be more original and creative. Cannabis can boost creativity since it has the power to alter perception and the thought process. One of the compounds in cannabis, Tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, causes the brain to have longer, uninterrupted thought which allows for a constant flow of neuron transmission. Dr. Schafer and team even explained that cannabis produces psychotomimetic symptoms which leads to the connection of unrelated concepts and ideas. All of which allow cannabis consumers to draw previously unseen connections with the potential to appreciate things previously dismissed or taken for granted. 

An Opportunity for Collaboration Between Consumers and Non-Consumers

While cannabis consumption is effective in boosting the creative part of new venture ideation, the study suggests that it may also “undermine idea feasibility”. The study states that this could be for several reasons, including: 

  • Alterations in perception or disinhibition could negatively impact one’s ability to be consistent, “good at implementing” and other skills which prove to be “instrumental in promoting idea feasibility”. 
  • Impulsivity may impair “opportunity evaluation”. 
  • A risk of ignoring potential negative consequences. 
  • The risk of putting in less effort in terms of gathering and analyzing information.

When considering these benefits and detriments of consuming cannabis for new venture ideation, one could see how cannabis-consuming and non-consuming entrepreneurs could benefit from one another. The passionate cannabis consumer can offer the out-of-the-box kind of thinking, necessary for innovative and creative ideas. The entrepreneurs who do not consume cannabis could then analyze the idea for feasibility- thus making a sort of yin-and-yang entrepreneurial partnership. As such, this provides more reason to break the stigma, and normalize cannabis by including those who choose to consume it. 

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