Why does it seem that you get good/creative ideas when you're stoned? I have found the answer to this question. It's because one doesn't see the all the facets or consequences of the ideas.

I have an excellent example of this. Tonight I got the idea of doing a writeup on "Why it seems you good ideas when you're stoned", while I was stoned. At the time I conceived the idea it seemed like one of the best ideas I've ever had. As you can see, it clearly isn't. (Hey that's interesting... check out the node on recursion) Although I spent some time concentrating on what points I would cover in the writeup, they turned out to be completely pointless and off-topic upon later (and sober) inspection. However there is also the possibility that another factor is coming into play here. Could it be that the short-term memory impairing ability of THC is clouding my recollection of what points I had really come up with and I am forced to take an educated guess instead? This just goes to show yet another problem inherent with getting ideas while stoned.

As for the times people actually do get a good idea while baked (and remember it):
1. People can and do get good ideas all the time maybe this time it just happened to come to you while you were under the influence.
2. The person who gets an idea while stoned, and remembers it, can't be that out of when one it considers the short-term memory impairment involved when smoking marijuana.

I, too have a theory about why it seems that you get good ideas while you're stoned. In David Sedaris' book Me Talk Pretty One Day, there is a story from when he was in college. Though it involves a different drug, I argue it applies here. He starts taking lots of crystal meth, and starts to fancy himself a conceptual artist. He and his friends believe that everything they say and do is brilliant! Brilliant! He and his friends compose bizarre, silly conceptual art. I believe this is because the methamphetamine disconnects or distorts the part of his brain responsible for judging aesthetics. In the end, as Sedaris makes painfully clear, he was never a genius simply because he took drugs. The drugs just blocked his ability to accurately perceive himself.

I believe that when you're stoned, it's pretty similar. Perhaps the whole reason people take drugs, and get stoned in particular, is to break down mental barriers. Some mental barriers are purely artifice, imposed by society or by habitual "ruts" of thinking. Some barriers are basic logical barriers, such as the barrier that keeps you from trying to fly, for example. When a person evaluates an idea's quality, they try to find barriers that make the idea invalid. If all the barriers no longer exist because THC has squelched them, then nothing stops the mind from determining the idea is good. Thus, many ideas which are very stupid when sober "seem like a good idea at the time."

On the other hand, weed changes the operation of short-term memory, causing linear trains of thought to dissolve. Many more unrelated ideas can slide into the thought process, a fun and definitely exhilarating barrage of randomness. The brain attempts to interpret these new, disconnected ideas without its usual barriers in place to bring it down to earth. So a large proportion of ideas seem clever at the time, and oftentimes your brain will succeed in remembering a general "I had a lot of ideas which were good (did not hit barriers)" afterwards, but not really remember the specifics.

In terms of creativity, though, much of the very idea of "creative" is simply breaking out of the normal patterns of thought and "ruts". With weed, for some people, they can find new and interesting ideas, obtained after the ruts have been broken down.

YMMV, but this seems to work more often when you have been going easy on the buds. Since marijuana has a range of effects on different users, it makes sense that light amounts of THC cause more mental stimulation than heavy use, which is more effective in sedation.

Perhaps the most common reason why it seems you get good ideas when you're stoned is that it removes your normal thought patterns and encourages you to think about a problem from another angle. Unfortunately most of those problems are your typical pothead problems like "How can I make a better paper-towel-tube-filter to hide the smell from my parents" or "What kind of cool bong can I fashion out of common household items to show off to my friends". Now, problems aren't limited to ones these simple. Someone could go further in depth and ask "How can I build a better, low power, fast, portable vaporizer?". But then again, these are by no means the only problems that you may find easier to figure out, It could even be a math problem or that elusive bug in the program you have been writing.

Music and poetry are other good creative outlets to flex your mental muscles, so I would suggest keeping a small notebook nearby so you can write and extrapolate on any fleeting thought that you grab on to. You might be surprised what you came up with after you come down.

Though HongPong and Lacuna have valid points, I think the issue is more complex (along the lines of BlueJayW's concepts). What kind of mental distortion one recieves from marijuana largely depends a number of factors.

Firstly, the type (schwag, midgrade, or dank) of weed is very important. Lower quality weed will influence someone much more like alcohol than real weed. One tends to get stupid, giggly, hungry and clumsy. My theory is that this is due to higher chemical content and other impurites that are hard to detect. Higher quality pot will produce more of a buddha-like state of contentment. While you are not exctly as sharp as you would normally be, it does not impair your ability to act normally. One can reason rather clearly, perform complex tasks, drive, code, etc. Any ideas that one might conceive while high on low quality maryjane will quite possibly be retarded, much like most ideas that one might get while drunk. Conversely, indoor pot can get you to see angles that you normally wouldn't.

Another important factor in how marijuana affects you is how long you have smoked for. In my personal experience, the longer you have been a pothead the more normal you are while high. I can personally smoke several rips off a 2 foot bong just before going to a Political Science discussion and get A's on every quiz. Meanwhile, a pothead in training would probably not fare so well. The reasons for this kind of difference are quite obvious. Someone who has been drinking for a while can function much better than a relative newbie after 4 or 5 beers. While they are both drunk, the experienced drinker knows what to expect and how to compensate for the alcohol. The same goes for you when you are stoned.

Personally, the first time I smoked, I had the privilege of smoking a joint of indoors. I got high as a kite, but my thoughts soon turned to my C++ pet project. I was coding an mp3 player for the past month, and had hit a dead end with my playlist structures. After about two minutes of stoned reflection I came up with an elegent, simple and workable solution to my problem. I credit it to being stoned, and looking at my problem through "different" eyes.. Just my two cents

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