From Bob Marley to Jim Morrison, Louis Armstrong to Ben Harper – ever wonder about the link between weed and music? Not just for the creative process either. Even as listeners music sounds and feels differently on weed.
Different, yes, but in what way? Better, much much better. We’re not crazy, the science supports it.
If you’re ready to learn more about how and why weed makes music better (and better music), light up, crank up those jams, and read on my friend!
Weed and Music
Anyone who has tried weed and then listened to music will tell you that it made it a richer experience, each element enhancing the other. What we don’t know is exactly why that’s the case. But there are a few convincing hypotheses that look at the effect of cannabis in the body.
The theories range from a changed sense of timing to increased pleasure, enhanced memory, and even the placebo effect of believing. Ready to check the science? Let’s take a look.
1. Our Pleasure Center Lights Up
One theory goes that since cannabis triggers the brain’s pleasure centers and alters our sense of timing while we are high, it makes the experience of music more complex. It can keep us focused on the moment in each song, not what proceeded or what will follow, but a note by note experience.
2. Listening to the Detail
Marijuana activates the endocannabinoid system. This system regulates appetite, mood, memory, and pain. It seems to induce a more aware, focussed state in us, where we can bring our focus to small things, perhaps even becoming fixated.
In this way, cannabis can bring our attention to the rivers of detail that flow in any piece of music. You might find yourself in awe of a powerful lyric you never noticed before or feel the beat of the song match that of your pulse. Rich, rhythmic backing vocals might jump out at you whereas, before smoking weed, it was just background noise.
3. Sense of Timing
Some studies show cannabis has a habit of speeding up our internal clocks. This makes the external world feel slower. A 15-second time interval, for example, might be ‘expanded’ to 16.7 seconds.
What does this mean for music? Effectively the time frames you’re hearing seem enlarged, giving you more time to experience melodies and other building blocks. The idea is that this aids musicians in creating more complex music too.
4. Sound Perception
With an expanded sense of time, we hear more of the music. We have more time to examine beats, melodies, lyrics, and vocals we’d been too distracted to pay proper attention to before.
You’ve heard the phrase, ‘get lost in the music’. On weed, it’s a very real possibility.
5. Defined Focus
Weed relaxes you. Now you’re not distracted by lists and guilt and regret, you can just sit back and enjoy the music. This defined focus helps you experience sound and music as rich, complex and deep.
6. Memory and Processing Differences
Now we’ve seen that marijuana triggers the endocannabinoid system and that it triggers our memory. That’s why when you listen to music when high it can really take you places in your past. What’s more, you might not merely remember events or moments, but feel like you could almost taste, smell or touch them.
Ever had that sensation that you could feel or taste music when you were high? The science says you’re onto something. Weed appears to produce something called mild synesthesia.
That’s where sensory information from one sense is partially processed in another area. You might feel like you’re feeling the music instead of just hearing it, making for a richer experience.
7. The Placebo Effect
The placebo effect says that we feel what we expect to feel. Such is the body’s ability to respond to suggestion. Did you know even placebo knee operations work?
So, if the placebo effect is powerful enough to make your knee feel better after someone pretends to operate on it, it’s not so crazy that weed makes music better because we expect to. While this might explain a small element of what’s happening, there is certainly research that points to more going on. The placebo theory also doesn’t explain why some people find music better on weed before ever hearing that it would be.
8. Auditory Stimulation
Weed appears to act on the part of the brain that processes auditory input. Researchers found people seemed to process music more effectively when high, later remembering lyrics and other nuances better than the control group. That suggests that weed actually heightens our ability to process complex input from our senses.
The Final Reason: Relaxing into the Beat
We promised you 8 explanations for why music is better with marijuana, but there are many more explanations than that, and the science is evolving practically daily. Now that relaxed marijuana laws make important scientific research more possible, we can expect many more insights into the amazing effects of weed on the body. This last hypothesis is about marijuana’s power as a stress-reliever.
By removing the day-to-day stresses from your mind, the suggestion is that it allows your brain to process music better. By being more present in the moment. You might find that on weed, you can hear – or feel, space between the notes. In a way that just doesn’t happen when you’re not high.
Don’t Believe Us? Try it!
There you have it, it wasn’t your imagination. When you put weed and music together it heightens both experiences. There isn’t one answer as to why this is the case, but a bunch of theories, many of which intersect with each other.
Maybe it’s timing and perception, maybe it’s enhanced memory. Perhaps we’re just finally so damn relaxed on weed we can hear the beauty in ways we’re not used to. One thing’s for sure: what you need to do, is to stop reading about it and try it for yourself.
Reading about weed’s effect on music makes about as much sense as understanding the fun of a roller coaster or the taste of dark chocolate by reading about it. Get out there and experience it. To enjoy music with sun-grown cannabis stop in almost any Saturday for live music in our dispensary, or check out our online shop today!