Programming and Cannabis — 5 Things to Know

Written By Mary Walton

Since we’re on the verge of full-blown cannabis legalization in the U.S., it’s important for us, especially programmers, to have knowledge about every aspect of it. Does cannabis enhance one’s ability to code? Does one exhibit a sense of clarity or mental completeness that allows them to code more efficiently than when not under the influence?

We’re going to take a closer look at cannabis and its influence in the world of programming.

Note: All information included in this post has been taken from various research articles. Nothing should be taken as medical advice.

Programming and Cannabis

It wouldn’t be fair to assume that marijuana “enhances” one’s ability per se. What it actually does is make you obsessively focused on detail, which is essential in programming or coding.

Now, how it feels depends on a few things, including dose and a specific individual’s brain chemistry. But the effects are usually the same. Time slows down, and you feel a great deal of ecstasy. People who consume weed typically say that things become more fun to them, food tastes better, and even music sounds better.

However, anxiety and paranoia are two known side effects of acute marijuana intoxication. Even though they usually reduce in severity as the user’s tolerance increases, some may find these symptoms become chronic and increasingly problematic.

So, if you’re young and have a long-term desire to remain a coder or developer, and work on complex feats of programming, it wouldn’t be the smartest idea to smoke a lot of weed on a daily basis, according to research.

As with any brain chemical-altering substance, try consuming cannabis in small doses at first to ensure you don’t pass out, get itchy hives, or induce paranoia.

Although marijuana legalization is becoming more and more widespread, many workplaces still have a problem with their employees smoking pot, even in states where it’s partially legal. As a result, surprise drug tests are conducted to make sure employees aren’t breaking company policy. So, if you plan on working as a programmer in an office, you should be well aware of their policies and make sure not to violate them.

With all that said, let’s check out the best ways cannabis can help you in programming.

It Enhances the Ability to Focus

When you get the right amount of THC in your system, it impairs your ability to multitask and increases your focus on specific tasks. While it doesn’t enhance your ability, it helps you stay obsessively focused on detail.

Cannabis can be incredibly motivating and help you keep your head in the game. Coding requires you to be creative while also remaining focused. If you’re someone who gets distracted too often during the process, consuming some cannabis beforehand can drive you to code more productively.

It’s a Great De-stressor

Weed can help you calm down. When you’re naturally fussy about your code, consuming cannabis will make you feel mellower about it. This can help at least an initial code outline flow.

As cannabis slows the flow of time, you start experiencing a great deal of euphoria, your brain connects ideas that it normally wouldn’t, and you get fully immersed in coding. Even if you’re doing some writing, it can help gather ideas to write better code. But, what you deliver will almost certainly require heavy editing and revision when sober.

It Helps You Achieve a Blissful Mental State

Studies show marijuana can help battle depression, anxiety, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder. For many, weed can help them feel relaxed and happier than usual, which is probably related to chemical stress reduction and getting rid of distractions.

The well-being of the mind is crucial in the world of programming. It’s easier to code when your mind is relaxed, which allows you to be more creative, energetic, and optimistic. With more and more research, scientists conclude that the active ingredients of cannabis have a positive effect on mental health.

It provides calm to the mind and improves the quality of sleep. You can also avoid frequent waking by consuming marijuana judiciously.

It Changes Your Perspective

Marijuana contains a terpene called pinene—an aromatic compound found in the cannabis plant that smells like a pine tree—which, according to studies, enhances memory and boosts learning. When you’re stuck on a hard, important task, consuming weed will boost your perception of detail at all levels: auditory, visual, taste, etc. to help you capture some new insight.

Let’s say you have 500 units of brain processing power per second. Normally, you could put 100 units to five different things, and thereby handle five things at the same time but on a more superficial level. Weed can help you focus 500 units on whatever you’re doing or thinking about so you can do that one thing better and gain some new insight but at the expense of everything else.

It Improves Code Production

The effects of the Cannabis sativa make you feel fully engaged but in a relaxed and comfortable way. This enables you to churn out boilerplate code faster than ever.

When it comes to creative problem-solving or programming for enjoyment, or for something you’re specifically interested in (like game development), weed could help you greatly.

The best coders tend not to have that “get stuck and beat self up” gene. But for an average programmer, especially one in a room of people who seem never to be flustered and always have the answer, marijuana can help with that. It enhances the ability to engage in coding and produce the best possible code as per requirements.

In short, marijuana makes you more creative, so there’s value in the right context, even if it’s not constructing the code itself.

Programming and Cannabis—At a Glance

Cannabis can help programmers in many ways. It can:

  • Impair your short-term memory and the ability to multitask
  • Increase your focus on specific tasks as well as the perception of detail
  • Subjectively slow the flow of time
  • Help you notice and look at things from a different perspective

Marijuana obviously doesn’t allow you to code like a pro when you’re high if you don’t already have the proper skills. What it does is allow you to work on the same thing from a different perspective. Sometimes, that’s all you need to fix an issue or come up with a different solution to a problem.