As America does its best to dig itself out from the ashes of the great 2020 COVID debacle, many people are pondering new business opportunities. And while it might not be too difficult to come up with the same old tried-and-true business plan — buy a McDonald’s franchise and watch the money pour in — the savvy entrepreneur understands that it’s going to take a new, creative idea to have any longevity in the market. However, coming up with that one-in-a-million, big bucks eureka moment can be tough. That’s where marijuana can help, suggests a new study.
Researchers at Washington State University recently published a paper showing that cannabis can help spark the entrepreneurial spirit and spawn those all-important ideas that often lead to successful business ventures. The study, published in the Journal of Business Venturing, suggests that cannabis users are more likely to develop more original business concepts than non-users.
To come to this conclusion, researchers put more than 250 entrepreneurs to the task of coming up with as many creative ideas as possible in the realm of virtual reality technology. A line of questioning followed the brainstorming, which included queries into their cannabis use. Each of the participants was rated in terms of originality and feasibility of ideas. Researchers claim that the best overall concepts came from those entrepreneurs who admitted to smoking weed on occasion.
“Our results suggest that cannabis-using entrepreneurs might benefit from non-users’ insights to develop the feasibility of their ideas,” said co-study author Alexander Kier, assistant professor of entrepreneurship in the Carson College of Business. “This may be especially true for cannabis users who tend to get very excited about coming up with new ideas or don’t have much experience founding new businesses, since others can serve as a grounding influence, providing a reality-check on their ideas.”
Cannabis, creativity and entrepreneurship have gone hand in hand for a long time. In fact, some of the nation’s most popular businesses can likely be credited to a mindful of marijuana. Former Men’s Warehouse CEO George Zimmer, media moguls Ted Turner and Richard Branson, not to mention late Apple-founder Steve Jobs, have all admitted to using marijuana. It’s conceivable that many of their ideas came to them during the highest of times. Podcasting giant Joe Rogan said once that he thinks marijuana comes with some real creative benefits. “There’s states I think you achieve when you smoke pot that are unattainable without pot,” he said during an episode with Colin Moriarty.
But not so fast.
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Washington State University researchers also found that while marijuana seems to come with a little extra imagination, it also depends on the person. Those who had entrepreneurial experience and smoked weed seemed to fare much better than the average stoner with little business expertise.
“Entrepreneurial passion for inventing appears to play a role in channeling cannabis users toward idea originality but away from idea feasibility,” the study authors wrote. “Conversely, entrepreneurial experience appears to attenuate the positive relationship of being a cannabis user with idea originality and its negative relationship with idea feasibility.”
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In short, marijuana alone probably isn’t going to make you Steve Jobs or Joe Rogan. It could be argued that it helps smart, talented people tap into the creativity that is already there. But it certainly doesn’t appear to guide the imbecilic and dimwitted into the Rockstar realm of scholars.
Still, it doesn’t hurt to try.