Cannabis users tend to come up with original but impractical business ideas


When cannabis makes you dream of places far away, it does so in such a way that most of the time it turns out to be unobservable. In a first study of its kind, which looked at how drug use affects new business ideas, it was found that cannabis use can both support and hinder an entrepreneur’s creativity.

The study was published in the Journal of Business Venturing.

Cannabis in business

A total of 254 entrepreneurs took part in the study conducted by Washington State University researchers. They were divided into cannabis users and non-users, with those who were cannabis users reporting that they used the drug almost 20 times on average over the past month. They were also asked questions about their business experience and passion for entrepreneurship.

Cannabis users were not high during the experiment; However, the researchers wrote that the cognitive effects of chronic cannabis use, such as increased impulsivity and free thinking tendencies, have been shown to persist for up to a month.

In the next step, the entrepreneurs took part in a new venture ideation task and were instructed to develop as many ideas as possible for a new business based on VR technology.

‘Head in the clouds’

After each entrepreneur had identified his “best idea”, a group of experts assessed the originality and feasibility of the concepts. It found that entrepreneurs who consumed cannabis came up with new business ideas that were ready to go, such as weightless, gravity-free VR training. In general, the ideas were more original but less feasible compared to those who didn’t use cannabis.

This case of increased originality and decreased feasibility only occurred with entrepreneurs who claimed a strong passion for researching new business ideas. This was not observed in entrepreneurs who started more than one business and also reported cannabis use.

The results show that cannabis use can have some benefits in the early brainstorming stages of the venture idea generation process. However, the researchers say a “reality check” is needed to make these ideas more informed.


“There are clearly pros and cons to cannabis use that deserve further study. As the wave of cannabis legalization continues across the country, we need to see the real impact of cannabis not only on entrepreneurship but also in other business areas shine well, “said Benjamin Warnick, the study’s lead author.

The authors say there is a need for future research into how much entrepreneurship can affect creativity in a randomized experiment.