Cannabis and daydreaming used to be synonymous with time being wasted on foolish thoughts which were often dismissed as nothing but ‘pot dreams’. However, as technology, and the smartphone in particular, tightens its grip on our attention spans, perhaps it’s time to review that relationship. In this opinion piece, we take a look at the positive benefits of cannabis and daydreaming.
So here’s a question. You have 10 minutes to kill before your friend/ bus/meeting arrives. So how are you going to fill it? The answer for most people is to reach for the mobile phone in order to entertain yourself through those 10 minutes by exercising your index finger…
In 2021, it was estimated that the number of people using smartphones around the world was 6.4 billion, 80% of the world’s population. Various studies into smartphone usage suggest that the average time people spend on their devices is between 3 – 4 hours per day and that figure is only going to rise. So what did we do before the existence of the smartphone? Apart from watching a lot more TV, we got a lot more bored. And when we got bored, we tended to spend more time daydreaming.
Weed and daydreaming
It doesn’t have to be the strongest weed strain; anyone who consumes weed knows that the onset of a state of being high involves the distortion of thoughts, which will often race away at the start before settling down as the experience continues. As this occurs, those thoughts – without distraction – will offer enter a state which could be characterized as daydreaming – as thoughts drift, the imagination fires up and ideas begin to formulate.
At this point in the blog, we need to differentiate ‘benign’ daydreams from maladaptive daydreaming which can be associated with conditions related to psychosis exacerbated by the consumption of weed and marijuana products.
The benefits of daydreaming
Daydreaming has been credited with having several advantages for the human mind. These include countering the stress and anxiety of our busy lives by letting the thought process flow freely and activating different parts of the brain. Daydreaming can also aid the creative process and it can also help with problem solving, by allowing the mind to come at the problem from a different angle.
So the question is, if we are spending much of our ‘dead time’ being occupied by the superficial rewards provided by a smartphone, then what are our options for daydreaming?
When the tech pioneers who contributed so heavily to the age of smartphone entertainment are asking the same question you sense that something might have gone wrong along the way. It has been reported that many new media execs have outlined a different path for their own kids, including Alexis Ohanian (Reddit co-founder). Speaking about his daughter, he told CNBC in 2018, “My wife and I both want her to be bored…. it’s really important that she gets time to just be with her thoughts.”
Why weed strains are good for daydreaming
The pre-frontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for decision making and impulse control, reaches full development at 23 and this should be the ground zero for anyone thinking about using cannabis as a daydreaming aid. And yes sceptics may say that indulging in a monotonous task such as washing up or housework is a healthier daydreaming option, but firing up a zoot is a direct and speedy portal to the wonders of thought travel. Part of the great appeal of cannabis is the shift in perception that it brings to cannabis consumers, removing them from the rigors of everyday life and taking them to a different place for a brief period.
Some marijuana varieties have more of an effect on the thought process than others; a mostly sativa weed strain for example provokes a certain clarity and purposefulness of thought (which is why some of those thoughts will need reviewing!). A mostly indica weed strain is more associated with body relaxation that doesn’t mean that those thoughts will stop wandering as a result.
Who hasn’t had a ‘fantastic idea’ when high, which turned out to be not so great the next day? A good friend of Paradise, who is a well-respected writer, says that some weed strains are better for creativity than others and has a personal preference for the creative energy of sativas. However, she is keen to add that the secret is to write down those thoughts, keep them to yourself and then run them through a ‘straight filter’ the next day; “Often good things will come from those thoughts, but rarely in the way you initially thought them!” Aside from focused thought creation, there is a simple pleasure of course in just letting your thoughts wander and see where they go!