03 Feb Entrepreneurs on Pot developed creative but impossible business ideas
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Benjamin J. Warnick, PhD
Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship
Carson College of Business
Washington State University Vancouver
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Answer: Popular culture has maintained the idea that cannabis users are more creative. With that in mind, some successful CEOs and entrepreneurs – such as Steve Jobs – have claimed that cannabis use has benefited their creativity at work.
Despite these claims and the rise in legalization and cannabis use, the effects of cannabis use on the creativity of entrepreneurs remain to be explored in depth. My co-authors and I have been intrigued by the impact cannabis use has on entrepreneurs, good or bad. This seemed all the more relevant given the increasing legalization, destigmatization, and consumption of cannabis.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the key results?
Answer: For an entrepreneurial idea to be creative, it must be both original and feasible. We found that increased cannabis use both encourages and affects entrepreneurial creativity. This increases the originality of new business ideas from entrepreneurs, but decreases their feasibility compared to entrepreneurs who do not use cannabis. We tested this by having 254 entrepreneurs complete a creativity task in three minutes where they came up with new business ideas based on virtual reality, and then selected and worked out the idea that they thought was their best.
This increased originality and decreased feasibility of new business ideas by cannabis users only emerged to the extent that they were passionate about new business ideas or had relatively little experience starting new businesses.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Answer: Cannabis use has advantages and disadvantages for the creativity of entrepreneurs: it increases the originality of the ideas, but decreases the feasibility of the ideas. Cannabis-consuming entrepreneurs are particularly likely to come up with highly original but unworkable ideas if they are very passionate about new business ideas or have limited experience starting new businesses.
MedicalResearch.com: What are your recommendations for future research as a result of this work?
Answer: We compared entrepreneurs who use cannabis to entrepreneurs who don’t use cannabis – not whether the entrepreneurs were high or not. Our results showed whether or not cannabis users reported using a lot of cannabis, but future research might consider running a randomized controlled experiment that compares the creativity of entrepreneurs who are high at generating ideas to those who are sober. Some legal obstacles in the US make such an experiment difficult, at least for the moment.
Our study is the first to look at the effects of all types of drug use on entrepreneurs. Cannabis use could affect a wide variety of outcomes for entrepreneurs that we haven’t explored, including effects on health and wellbeing, performance in other business tasks, business performance, and many others. There is still a lot to understand about the effects of cannabis use on entrepreneurs and the broader population in general.
Benjamin J. Warnick, Alexander S. Kier, Emily M. LaFrance, Carrie Cuttler,
Head in the clouds? The creativity of cannabis users in developing new businesses depends on their entrepreneurial passion and experience.
Journal of Business Venturing, Volume 36, Issue 2.2021, 106088, ISSN 0883-9026,
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