How Weed Can Influence Visual Art (And a List of Inspired Artists)

March 29, 2024

Cannabis and creativity—what's the connection? That's one of the biggest questions in the world of weed today, unfortunately, without a clear-cut answer.

There are tons of people weighing in on whether or not weed boosts creativity, and naturally, opinions differ. Today, we're diving into how cannabis might influence creativity, especially in visual art, and highlighting some artists who see it as their muse.

Cannabis and Creativity - the Science

People just can't seem to agree on whether weed makes you more creative. Some believe it's the antidote to artist's block, while others argue it dulls their senses too much for creativity while high. Ultimately, whether cannabis sparks your creativity might vary case-by-case and strain-by-strain, but there's one thing we know for sure.

What we definitely know is that THC prompts your body to produce dopamine, your "happy hormone." It's the same hormone that makes you happy when you snag an outfit you love, smell cookies baking, or greet your dog after a long day. THC can boost your dopamine levels, putting you in a happier state of mind.

However, a heads-up: this might not work as well for heavy users, the smoke-all-day-every-day crowd. Long-term THC exposure can lower your everyday dopamine levels, so it's wise not to smoke non-stop if you're aiming for that dopamine/creativity boost.

Dopamine enhances divergent thinking, the essence of creativity. Divergent thinking is your brain's way of thinking outside the box. For artists, writers, musicians, and other creatives, it's crucial. Imagine trying to paint the next Starry Night but only being able to envision the original. Divergent thinking lets you create your own masterpiece.

However, lighting up won't turn you into a world-class painter or a platinum-record musician. I could smoke all I want and still only draw a stick figure. Practice, perseverance, and dedication are key to becoming a great artist—the role of weed in the creative process is (almost) entirely up to the artist.

The Best Strains For Creativity

I say (almost) because there are a few tricks you can use to really amp up your creativity with the help of good ol' MJ. The following strains are mostly Sativa-based, which is what you want when you're trying to boost creativity. Sativa-dominant strains are energizing and cerebral, ideal for when you need a creative surge. Indica-heavy strains, on the other hand, are more about relaxation and a stronger body high. For studio sessions, stick to Sativa!

  • Kali Mist: Herbal, flowery, energizing (and a whopping 90% Sativa!)
  • LSD: Musky, euphoric, powerful (LSD weed strain, not actual LSD)
  • Lemon Cake: Sweet, musky, energizing
  • Gelato: Earthy, smooth, relaxing (this one is 55% Indica, 45% Sativa, for those who find Sativa-heavy strains a bit overwhelming)
The list you’ve all been waiting for: famous visual artists who are inspired by the ganja. 
  • Vincent Gordon: This amazing artist grew up in Chicago, then bounced around the country trying to make it work as an artist. Now, he’s done it! Vincent’s love of weed is evident in everything he creates, from murals in Harlem to prints of popular cartoon characters smoking blunts. His love of cannabis, counterculture, and creativity has made him a great artist who’s even created work for Snoop Dogg. 

  • Anita Toke: As a prominent artist and medical marijuana user, Anita Toke advocates for legalization of cannabis everywhere. She believes in the healing power of the plant, and uses her work to document its fine beauty. She typically paints the plant itself, working with a ton of detail to show off how naturally beautiful it is. We love her precision and level of effort to bring her paintings to life!

  • Fred Tomselli: Although he’s dabbled in more than just marijuana, Fred Tomaselli credits the plant with inspiring most of his work. He says that “art is really about perception, and mine has been changed through visiting other realities.” Sounds like something a stoner would say, for sure. Fred’s work is geometric, psychedelic, and something you should definitely buy to stare at during your next smoke sess.

  • Bentley Meeker: A bit more “out there,” this modern artist uses weed and unique settings to challenge preconceived notions about the plant. In the piece linked here, visitors could stroll through a room completely swathed in cannabis leaves, leaving them to think about how marijuana impacts our society on every level. He’s also a lighting and staging professional. 

Personal Anecdote

Despite the fact that I can't draw more than a stick figure, I enjoy smoking and seeing what I can write. However, my sister is an artist, and a pretty good one at that. One day, we were sitting at home, her staring at her blank sketchbook and me at my blank page. Suddenly, an idea struck me like a lightning bolt: why don't we smoke?

So, we lit up and got to work, listening to inspiring music and entering our flow states. By the time the high wore off, I had written one of my favorite poems, and she had painted one of the most beautiful landscapes either of us had ever seen. To this day, it remains one of my favorite pieces of hers, and she credits that smoke session with breaking through her artist's block. Thank you, MJ!

Exploring Cannabis for Creativity: A First-Time Artist's Guide

Curiosity about cannabis and its potential to enhance creativity isn't just a passing thought for many artists—it's a journey worth exploring. If you're considering lighting up to unlock new creative vistas, here are some tips and tricks to make your first foray both enjoyable and productive:

  • Start Small: If you're new to cannabis, begin with a low dose to see how it affects your creativity and focus.
  • Choose the Right Strain: Opt for Sativa or Sativa-dominant hybrids known for their uplifting and energizing effects.
  • Set the Scene: Create a comfortable, inspiring workspace with all your tools at hand before you start.
  • Mix It Up: Combine your session with music, nature, or whatever stimulates your senses and enhances your creative flow.
  • Reflect and Refine: Afterward, reflect on your experience. Did cannabis help? What would you change next time?

Remember, the goal is to enhance your creativity, not hinder it. Approach with an open mind and a willingness to experiment.


The quest to understand the link between cannabis and creativity is as varied as the strains themselves. While some artists swear by its muse-like qualities, others caution against its potential to cloud creativity. The truth likely lies in personal experience and the fine balance between inspiration and execution. Whether it’s a Sativa strain lighting up your next project or a self-discovery journey without it, creativity is deeply personal and boundless.

The stories of artists and their experiences offer a glimpse into the potential of cannabis as a creative tool, but the real masterpiece is how you wield it in your own creative endeavors.


Emma Grace is a full-time student, writer, and lover of Marvel movies. She spends most of her time ignoring her responsibilities in favor of reading, learning global geography, and finding new ways to prepare instant noodles. She lives with her parents and sister and a very needy dog named Eloise.

Get Your Weekly Dose of Green

Subscribe for Exclusive Cannabis News, Weekly Deals, and the Industry's Latest Tech and Innovations!