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Oct 13, 2014 05:51 AM EDT

Cannabis Use Impairs Creativity, Study

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Researchers at the Leiden University in Netherlands have busted a myth that claims enhanced creativity and originality among cannabis users. The new study found that cannabis with higher levels of the psychoactive ingredient THC does not enhance creativity.

This is the first study to determine the impact of cannabis use on creative thinking.

For the study, the researchers divided cannabis users into three groups of 18. One group was given cannabis with a high THC content (22 mg), the second group was given a low dose (5.5 mg) and the third group was given a placebo. The high dose was equivalent to three joints and the low dose was equal to a single joint.

The cannabis was injected via a vaporizer. The participants were also asked to complete cognitive tasks that tested two types of creative thinking.

The researchers found that smokers, who consumed a low dose of THC, or none at all, performed best in thinking tasks. A high dose of THC in fact hindered the ability to quickly identify as many solutions as possible to a given problem. There was no evidence of increased creativity in their actual performance.

"The improved creativity that they believe they experience is an illusion. If you want to overcome writer's block or any other creative gap, lighting up a joint isn't the best solution. Smoking several joints one after the other can even be counterproductive to creative thinking," psychologist Lorenza Colzato said in a press release.

The finding is published in the journal Psychopharmacology.       

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