Cannabis and Ecstasy/MDMA: Empirical measures of creativity in recreational users

This study compared the creativity levels of 15 recreational MDMA users, 15 cannabis users, and 15 controls. It found higher scores for cannabis users on one scale and self-rating of creativity on another scale for MDMA users. As this was just an observational study, nothing much about the creativity of all three groups can be said.


“This study investigated the associations between chronic cannabis and Ecstasy/MDMA use and one objective and two subjective measure of creativity. Fifteen abstinent Ecstasy users, 15 abstinent cannabis users, and 15 nondrug-user controls, completed three measures of creativity: the Consequences behavioral test of creativity, self-assessed performance on the Consequences test, and Gough’s Trait Self-Report Creative Adjective Checklist. The Consequences test involved five scenarios where possible consequences had to be devised; scoring was conducted by the standard blind rating (by two independent judges) for “remoteness” and “rarity,” and by a frequency and rarity of responses method. Cannabis users had significantly more “rare-creative” responses than controls (Tukey, p < 0.05); this effect remained significant with gender as a covariate. There were no significant differences between the groups on the number of standard scoring “remote-creative” ideas or for fluency of responses. On self-rated creativity, there was a significant ANOVA group difference (p < 0.05), with Ecstasy users tending to rate their answers as more creative than controls (Tukey comparison; p = 0.058, two-tailed). Ecstasy users did not differ from controls on the behavioral measures of creativity, although there was a borderline trend for self-assessment of greater creativity. Cannabis users produced significantly more “rare-creative” responses, but did not rate themselves as more creative.”

Authors: Katy A. Jones, Mark Blagrove & Andrew C. Parrot

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