Before marijuana started its journey toward mainstream acceptance, it was easy to create (and spread) myths about cannabis and cannabis users. We have seen the stereotypical assumptions about people who smoke pot. The ‘cold pizza-eating crashed on the couch’ kind of lifestyle, checking cushions for change because the dealer delivers.
Is that true for some people? Of course. But the point is that it is not true for everyone. Many cannabis users are high-functioning, Type-A personalities. Ambitious professionals, solid money managers, happy, healthy, and fit. And some of them are even some of the world’s most renowned and successful businesspeople.
No one makes a movie about someone who smokes weed, who launches a billion-dollar start-up. When we see an example of a character who is a captain of industry, it is another type of drug. Cocaine or heroin. Maybe a bunch of business guys tripping out on peyote on a college reunion camping trip. For some reason, cannabis cannot be associated culturally with productivity. Or success. Unless you are a musician.
There are a number of reasons for this. Successful entrepreneurs and business professionals guard their reputations. And cannabis (with its colorful and inaccurate stereotypes) was a threat to that reputation. As we see millions of Americans adopting the medicinal benefits of marijuana for mental and physical health, that is changing.
While successful professionals were not likely to stand on a podium and advocate for weed before, they are more confident about it now because of the important cultural shift in public opinion.
Debunking the Myth of the Unmotivated PotHead
The negative portrayal of cannabis in pop culture and media has served a greater purpose. It is hard to believe that scripts and movie scenes could be written to influence American society. But where do our cultural mores (morals) come from? Often, accepted ways of living and the expectations of society are weaved into what we watch on TV.
Drugs are bad. They cause significant health problems, addiction and have the potential to influence violent behavior and crimes. But cannabis is not remotely in that category of influence. Other controlled substances that are legalized (like alcohol) have statistically higher rates of self-harm. Not to mention precipitating violence and the health risks associated with alcohol abuse. But alcohol is available indiscriminately to adults over the age of 21. And it is tax revenue for the state and federal government.
Four Leading Entrepreneurs Who Have Advocated for the Use of Marijuana
Some of the world’s biggest and most successful billionaire business people have acknowledged that weed helps them ‘be best’ at what they do. Some like Oprah Winfrey coyly refer to it as a thing they tried in the past (but liked), while others claim to not like it at all. Then donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to support legalization in their state.
Here are four entrepreneurs who are not afraid to call ‘the healing herb’ one of the secrets to their business and life success.
- Bill Gates
In 1994, Bill Gates (Microsoft Founder) was the subject of a famous biography called “Gates: How Microsoft’s Mogul Reinvented an Industry—And Made Himself the Richest Man in America.” Authors Manes and Andrews wrote that Gates historically admitted to using cannabis as the creative drug of choice.
The same year that the biography came out, Bill Gates was also interviewed for Playboy magazine. But all he would confess to was using ‘some drugs’ when he was under the age of twenty-five. Gates was asked directly if he had ever used other drugs like LSD, which he admitted. As something he did in his ‘youth.’
Since 2014, Bill Gates has avoided the question when asked by the media. In the 2012 referendum in Washington, however, he voted “yes” for the legalization of cannabis. His love for bud may endure (but he isn’t talking about it).
- Ted Turner
The founder of CNN, the national news network, Ted Turner, was rumored to smoke marijuana. But there are no public comments that confirm or deny that the media mogul loves weed. When Turner moved to ban cigarettes from the CNN offices in 1987, Philip Morris (cigarette manufacturer) fought back. In defense of a news anchor named Gwenn Scott, who was an anchorwoman who smoked.
Philip Morris shared a memo from Gwenn Scott, who was irate about the ban on smoking. Because allegedly, Ted Turner smoked cannabis daily in his own office. Turner is also the brainchild behind other stations, including TBS and TNT.
- Richard Branson
Richard Branson is so successful he doesn’t care what people think about his lifestyle. And that includes public admission that he loves cannabis. Not only does he smoke it, but he has also appeared in many interviews talking about cannabis use. Branson is not a fan of drinking alcohol and thinks weed is a safer alternative when smoked sparingly.
In the political arena, Sir Richard Branson has also been an advocate and supporter of cannabis legalization.
- Steve Jobs
Into meditation, Yoga, and old-world existentialism, it is no surprise that Steve Jobs loved a good joint. At one point in an interview, he claimed that LSD was one of the “most important things he did.” And chuckled over his college days and baking magic brownies with his college buds.
As the leader and founder of Apple, he claimed that he had not indulged in weed since the 1970s. But that’s probably what the Apple corporate lawyers insisted he say. Because if you have ever watched an interview with Steve Jobs, you can almost see him sparkling like a creative Sativa.
The Link Between Creative Entrepreneurialism and Mental Health Disorders
Did you know that many of the most intelligent and ambitious personalities have a statistically higher mental disorder rate? Call it the way a smart and high-performance brain is wired. When you set big goals for yourself and your life and want to change the world, there can be a lot going inside the brain that creates (and executes) strategies.
The University of California studied how mental illness may be more common among entrepreneurs. The study looked at famous creators and leaders throughout history who have struggled with mental illness. And the purpose was to isolate some of the traits those individuals shared.
The study found that 49% of entrepreneurs surveyed dealt with at least one mental illness or disorder. About thirty percent of participants in the study reported that two or more mental illness struggles.
According to the 2015 publication “Are Entrepreneurs Touched With Fire?” The most common disorders that entrepreneurs and creative geniuses share are:
- Bipolar Disorder
Some types of cannabis reduce anxiety (allowing for clear thought) and enhance relaxation and creativity. And for an entrepreneur, the best ideas can happen after smoking a bowl (or two) and visualizing new ideas.
Cannabis Strains for Productivity
There are three main benefits that cannabis can provide the entrepreneurial brain. The first one is to create energy. Strains that rev up the energy levels are perfect for daytime use. And if you haven’t noticed, most successful entrepreneurs work 100 hours or more per week. At least, on their rise to fame. And that takes more than a little coffee.
The second way that cannabis can help entrepreneurs is by moderating symptoms of anxiety and depression. Anxiety can make it difficult to think creatively, with “too much noise” in your head. While depression can impact productivity, appetite, and overall motivation and self-care.
Some of the most popular strains for productivity include:
- Lemon Diesel
- Super Lemon Haze
- Amnesia Haze
- Bruce Banner
- Black Lime Reserve
The third way that cannabis can help with productivity is by addressing insomnia. Some heavier strains of Indica are known to provide a “lights out” sensation. Stress? What stress? Shutting down the super genius brain for a refreshing night of sleep is a good thing. And valuable to busy entrepreneurs.
Cannabis may be more statistically tied to the success of world-famous inventions and business start-ups than anyone may admit, except maybe Billionaire Sir Richard Branson.