Terpenes For Creativity Boosts

Posted by Jack O'Leary on

Within everyone is a wealth of creativity. For some, the mind is a boundless reservoir of imaginative ingenuity, but for many it is a challenging and frustrating practice, a shallow colorless puddle, rarely utilized to its full potential. While terpenes and cannabis aren’t the be all end all in terms of boosting creativity, they  certainly can provide a cerebral boost, an altered state of mind that can bring about the one singular stroke of genius that snowballs into something great. Obviously things like exercise, running, meditation, and journaling can help profoundly, but terpenes can be the thing that present the quick, direly needed boost in creative juices. For many, terpenes and cannabis can bring a vivacious color to an otherwise mundanely gray world, a vibrant resonance to a monotonous life. Consider experimenting with the following terpenes and cannabis strains next time you feel a writer’s block or a creative wall blocking you.


Alpha-Pinene and strains with high pinene content provide a cerebral boost that is explained by its ability to act as an inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase. This results in extra protection in the brain for the molecules transmitting information. Many drugs used to treat dementia are cholinesterase inhibitors, like alpha-pinene. This feature could counteract short-term memory deficits induced by compound-related intoxication. Upon consuming the monoterpene, one feels more lucid, with a better memory and attention span. Through the monoterpene’s cerebral properties, creativity can be stimulated, and short-term memory retention may also be improved. Pinene is also useful when feelings of anxiety or paranoia arise, as the compound is known to provide a calming effect. This terpene is great to use when concentration and creative problem solving are needed, as THC boosts creativity while pinene supports concentration and short-term memory.

Other terpenes that have been associated with creativity boosts are beta-caryophyllene and limonene. Diffusing either of these or pinene on your work desk or wherever your aiming to be creative and productive is an excellent method to get the creative thoughts flowing

Cannabis strains for creativity include:
Jack Herer
Blue Dream
Green Crack
Space Queen
Durban Poison

These strains are high in creative terpenes like B-CP, limonene, and pinene. Cannabis, in general, alters your thinking, creativity and brain state. A drug induced altered state of mind may lead to breaking out of ordinary thinking and associations, thereby, increasing the likelihood of generating new, novel ideas, which may be exactly what’s needed for a painter, pondering how to fill the canvas or a scriptwriter, aiming to wrap up the compelling climactic point of a manuscript. One of the major drawbacks to cannabis use is the short-term memory loss associated with THC, which is why strains loaded with pinene are so valuable. Pinene supports short-term memory and feelings of focus and alertness are common in such strains.

The connection between cannabis and creativity has not been extensively studied, due to federal laws, but as tides are turning, more and more is being learned about the exact mechanisms behind THC and the brain. The most recent study on marijuana and creativity came out of Leiden University in the Netherlands, in 2015. This study had participants do tasks that called on either divergent or convergent thinking.

Divergent thinking is what happens when you try to find as many solutions as you can to a loosely defined problem. The most accurate layman's term is "brainstorming." Convergent thinking is finding the most effective solution to a clearly defined problem. Divergent thinking has been linked to higher levels of striatal dopamine (DA).

The researchers dosed participants with a placebo, a 5.5 mg THC dose, or a 22 mg THC dose. They found that there was a correlation between cannabis and increased divergent thinking, but it stopped at a certain point. The 5.5 mg of 18% THC led to a small increase in divergent thinking, but the 22 mg dose actually tanked divergent thinking scores to below the group's sober levels. In other words, a small dose of marijuana may enhance creativity, but at some point higher levels actually do the opposite.  

Smoking cannabis may not be an effective method of stimulating creativity for all. Trying different types of strains may be necessary. If you prefer to boost your creativity via terpenes without smoking cannabis, try (diff)using essential oils. A superb essential oil combination is: nootropic - Bergamot, Black Pepper, Caraway, Cardamon, Cinnamon Bark, Clary Sage, Coffee, Frankincense, Ginger, Lemon Eucalyptus, Nutmeg, Rosemary, Spearmint, Sandalwood, Vetiver.

A nootropic is a cognitive function enhancer, particularly with memory and creativity, so use this combination when writing, studying, or doing any sort of creative venture. Sandalwood promotes mental clarity memory, and overall cognitive function.  Studies have evaluated the effect of sandalwood oil on attention, memory, and arousal levels.  Those who received the sandalwood oil, when compared to control subjects, felt more mentally aware and demonstrated behaviors linked to increased attention and cognitive brain clarity. Vetiver is often used in trauma helping with self-awareness, calmness, stabilization and brain focus. This is oil is great for boosting energy levels during exhaustion and has been proven to lower anxiety level in rats.[1]


1 - "Anxiety-like behaviour and c-fos expression in rats that inhaled vetiver essential oil." US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, NCBI, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25553641.

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  • Thank you for this information!

    Tiffany on

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