A new study from Washington State University shows that cannabis can inspire entrepreneurs to pursue bold business ideas, but can also send them down the rabbit hole of their desired vision.

Researchers found that entrepreneurs who use marijuana regularly proposed more original but less viable business ideas, according to a panel of experts who evaluated the ideas.

In addition to innate creativity, entrepreneurs can try to boost their creativity, according to a study published in the March 2021 issue of Business Venturing. Although we generated more original ideas, we found that the ideas of cannabis users were less feasible.

Other important variables, according to the study, are the entrepreneur’s passion, which can increase creativity at the expense of feasibility, and previous entrepreneurial experience, which increases the feasibility of an idea but inhibits creativity.

According to the study, the results provide insight into the creative advantages and disadvantages associated with cannabis use. They suggest that cannabis consumers, particularly those who are passionate about exploring new business ideas or those with relatively little experience in business, may benefit from realizing that they are not consumers, in order to develop the feasibility of their ideas.

To test the impact of marijuana on generating business ideas, 254 entrepreneurs developed as many new business ideas as possible based on virtual reality. Participants were given three minutes to come up with ideas and then choose the one they thought was best. Two experts then assessed the originality and feasibility of the selected areas.

Richers says her findings support one of the main hypotheses of the study: that there are differences in the way cannabis users and non-users find business ideas. Cannabis users are more impulsive, more uninhibited and better able to see connections between seemingly disparate concepts, according to the study. Nevertheless, these differences and the reduced executive activity of cannabis users are likely to affect the practicality of the idea.

The researchers did not ask participants to use marijuana as part of the study itself. To compare marijuana users with non-users, the researchers divided participants into two groups: those who had used marijuana less than five times in their lives and never in the previous month (non-users) and those who had used marijuana more than five times in their lives and at least twice in the previous month (users).

Unlike alcohol, where health authorities have set standards for heavy drinking, the study notes that scientists have yet to reach a consensus on what constitutes a cannabis user and what constitutes a non-user.

Furthermore, since the study was only an observation, it is impossible to determine whether marijuana use is actually responsible for the differences in perception between the two groups. One or more other characteristics may explain both the idea and the decision of a person to use cannabis.

The group of cannabis users in the study was 120, or 47.2% of all participants. The researchers tried to control for other factors such as gender, age, education and technological knowledge.

While the results suggest that cannabis in general can both inspire originality and limit feasibility, the results were strongly influenced by what the researchers described as an entrepreneurial passion for invention, as well as by their entrepreneurial experience.

The decrease in idea feasibility by cannabis users compared to non-users was significant among those with little entrepreneurial experience, the study authors write, but not among those with a lot of entrepreneurial experience.

Similarly, the low feasibility of the cannabis user idea expresses high entrepreneurial inventiveness, but not low entrepreneurial inventiveness, the study said.

Entrepreneurial ingenuity seems to play a role in steering cannabis users towards original ideas, but it is far from feasible. Conversely, entrepreneurial experience seems to mitigate the positive relationship between being a cannabis user and the originality of an idea, and the negative relationship with the viability of an idea.

As the study itself acknowledges, many successful business leaders and visionary entrepreneurs attribute their inspirational power to cannabis. Steve Jobs, the Apple lighter, for example, noted that cannabis use helped him feel relaxed and creative. (The biographer Walter Isaacson also quoted Jobs as saying, Another drug, LSD, was one of the most important things in my life…. It strengthened my sense of what was important – creating great things rather than making money).

On the other hand, researchers say cannabis use can be a double-edged sword. Regular use of cannabis is associated with many harmful effects, including. B. possible dependence and addiction, risk of road accidents, mental and respiratory disorders, as well as memory and other cognitive impairments.

Benjamin Warnick, assistant professor at the Carson School of Business at Washington State University and lead author of the study, said in a press release that the study is the first we know of on how any type of drug use affects a new business idea, adding that much more research needs to be done.

Clearly, there are advantages and disadvantages to cannabis use that merit further research, Warnick said. As the wave of cannabis legalization continues across the country, we need to shed light on the real impact of cannabis, not only on entrepreneurship, but also on other sectors.

New Johns Hopkins study examines best music playlists for psychedelic therapy

Photo courtesy of the Drug Policy Alliance, Sonia Iruel.

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