Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt on Cannabis and Creativity


Today marks the birthday of Joseph Gordon-Levitt who turns 35. It’s no surprise that the talented actor well known for such films as Inception, Looper and Premium Rush, would have an open mind towards cannabis given his progressive upbringing. In the 70s his mother ran for US Congress in California for the Peace and Freedom Party while his father was news director of Pacifica station KPFK. Both were founding members of the Progressive Jewish Alliance.

While Joseph Gordon-Levitt may not be as outwardly radical as his parents, we salute him for his courageous and articulate support for cannabis exemplified by the following relevant statements from an interview he did with Playboy last year:


Is weed a creativity booster for you?
It is. When I smoke weed I’m more liable to make connections I wouldn’t otherwise make. Sometimes those connections are ludicrous. [laughs] But sometimes they’re great. You’re like, Oh shit, I might not have thought of that, and it actually makes sense in the morning.

Are you a connoisseur? Do you know your Afghan Sour Kush from your Banana Candy?
I don’t pay attention to the strains that much, but I know they say sativa is more up and indica is more down. I don’t like the sleepy ones. I never get that, so I always buy sativa. Even though the tide is turning, I think marijuana is overly demonized in our culture. I do know people who let it get out of control and let it play a part in their lives that’s not beneficial. There’s definitely an addictive quality, but it’s psychological. It’s not physically addictive in the way cigarettes or alcohol are physically addictive.

Do you smoke when you’re making movies?
No. It’s illegal to smoke on sets because of insurance companies and stuff. And during breaks when I was shooting Snowden, for instance, I did it rarely. But I smoked with Oliver Stone a few times, which was awesome.

Wow. What was that like?
The experience you have when you’re smoking weed is so determined by the context and who is around you, which is why I don’t like smoking in large social settings. But with Oliver it was really nice because most of the time we were in this kind of high-stakes situation of working, and when we were smoking, we just smoked and watched a couple of movies a few times. We watched Paths of Glory, the Kubrick movie, and we watched Grand Hotel, with Barrymore and Garbo. Oliver’s a hilarious, fascinating dude—incredibly smart and good to hang out with. But he’s also very direct. He’s not afraid to challenge you, both at work and in social settings. He’ll say shit people don’t say. If I laughed at something while we were watching a movie, he would be like, “Why are you laughing?” Then you have to think about it for a second and say, “Well, I think maybe I identify with Greta Garbo’s sick ballerina character in some manner.” He’s always kind of nudging you.

How does smoking pot compare with your experience with other drugs, like, say, acid?
Well, acid’s a lot more intense. I consider both psychedelic and kind of the same thing. Your mind will make connections that you wouldn’t otherwise make. I remember having a vivid bird’s-eye view of where I was. Somehow, my vision went up above me, and not only could I see…. It wasn’t so much about myself. It was seeing a totality of how everything is all part of one thing, connected.


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