Why does cannabis enhance our appreciation of music?
Music and marijuana are intrinsically linked in our cultural consciousness.
Many people say cannabis enhances their appreciation of music. Depictions of marijuana in popular fiction are often accompanied by psychedelic rock, jazz or reggae. For those who experienced it, two ingredients that made the summer of love in 1967 so special were rock’n’roll and pot. Of course, enjoyment of cannabis, much like music is deeply subjective. Not everyone will experience a heightened enjoyment of music after consuming cannabis.
Marijuana won’t give you a new-found appreciation for music you wouldn’t normally tolerate. Nor will it suddenly turn you into a Rolling Stone critic. That being said, cannabis users often say listening to music while high enables them to hear parts of the music that hadn’t noticed while sober. Cryptic lyrics they have heard countless times before suddenly make sense. The song or album they grew tired of now sounds fresh and better than they remember. For many, a great night in can be had simply relaxing and listening to music while under the effects of cannabis.
While scientific consensus is lacking when it comes to deciding why cannabis makes music sound better, various reasons have been hypothesized.
The science linking cannabis with enhanced music enjoyment
Research has been carried out into precisely how cannabis influences our enjoyment of music. Marijuana can affect how we perceive the passage of time which may explain why we hear music differently. Songs can feel like they are going on for longer and the space between notes expanded. The author of this study, Jorg Fachner, found: “There is a feeling of time being stretched or expanded or perceived as slowed down or sped up.” This may be why people say they notice previously neglected parts of the music.
Fachner states: “It looks as if cannabis triggers a certain kind of insight into the mix of the moving musical time-spaces and allows the listener to temporarily overview and process more information at one time.” As a result, listeners are able to better process lyrics or process separate elements occurring simultaneously within the music.
Another reason is put forward by neurobiologist and McGill University professor, Daniel J Levitin: “Music combined with marijuana tends to produce feelings of euphoria and connectedness to the music and the musicians.”
Levitin says THC stimulates the brain’s pleasure centres while also disrupting short-term memory.
“The disruption of short-term memory,” he states. “Thrusts listeners into the moment of the music as it unfolds.”
It would seem that cannabis makes time stand still while focusing our attention on what is happening in the present. When applied to music, it’s understandable that this would enable users to zero in on what is happening in the moment, sharpening their focus on what they are experiencing at a given time.
What strains of cannabis are good for listening to music?
According to Levitin, it’s THC which causes us to perceive music differently, however, this does not mean you should seek out a THC-heavy Sativa strain to accompany you on your musical voyage. Too much THC may adversely impact your enjoyment of music. CBD can help you to feel more relaxed and can counter some of the effects of THC. Strains with balanced levels of THC and CBD can help you get into the music while keeping you focused enough to discern its intricacies.
As always, no one knows your body better than you. Choosing a strain to suit your marijuana experience and musical tastes ultimately comes down to personal preference.
What music is good to listen to while high?
The ability of cannabis to enhance music is not restricted to any one genre and you may find it suits any number of styles and preferences. In general, it’s enjoyable to kick back and listen to songs with a positive message. You may find an track’s meaning hits you more forcefully.
Musicians relish inserting hidden meanings and in-jokes into their work, often affording the listener little time to take in what’s happening. Lyrics may seem more profound as you process them in a different frame of mind after consuming cannabis.
It can be very rewarding to listen to music with multiple layers or complex arrangements. Many people say they have a moment of, “Ah, I see what they did there,” while listening to a well-composed piece of music.
If you want some ideas of music to listen to after consuming cannabis, why not try this Spotify playlist as a starting point?