picture: getty - Credit: MylesGoode

picture: getty – Credit: MylesGoode

A lot of rockers and artists have bought into the idea that taking drugs ‘makes you more creative’ – but they tend to be the ones who don’t live to see their 28th birthdays.

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But can smoking weed or dropping acid actually ignite the creative spark?

Researchers at Nottingham Trent University analysed existing research – and found that there IS a link, but it’s not quite as simple as what all those dead rockers thought.

Analysing 19 diverse studies, the researchers found that creative people are more likely to use drugs, according to Mark D Griffiths writing in Psychology Today.

The researchers write, ‘What the review of relevant studies suggests is that: substance use is more characteristic in those with higher creativity than in other populations, and it is probable that this association is based on the inter-relationship of these two phenomena.’


The researchers believe that while drug use might not directly inspire creativity – it might help artists by providing altered experience, and thus an altered artistic product.

The researchers write, ‘It is more likely that substances act indirectly by enhancing experiences and sensitivity, and loosening conscious processes that might have an influence on the creative process. This means the artist will not be more creative but the quality of the artistic product will be altered due to substance use.

‘On the other hand, it appears that psychoactive substances may have another role concerning artists, namely that they stabilize and/or compensate a more unstable functioning.’