Music and Weed: A Perfect Match
September 14, 2020
Ask anyone passing the joint around at a festival (well, pre-COVID that is) why they’re doing it and you’ll probably hear a lot of, “it makes the music even better.”
If you enjoy getting high, you’ve probably experienced the phenomenon of music sounding different when you’re under the influence. Whether it’s dancing at a music festival in the sunshine or just taking a walk through your neighborhood with headphones in, there’s no doubt music and weed are a good pair.
So why does weed make music sound better? Let’s take a look.
Why does music sound better high?
Music is an integral part of our existence. Whether you’re a passive listener or an impassioned fan, humans are basically hard-wired to react to music in one way or another. In fact, some studies even suggest music may have a role in health care.
So it’s no surprise that to many, music and weed go hand in hand. Some science shows senses like taste and smell can heighten when high, so it is not a big stretch to assume our sensitivity to sound changes. But let’s dive deeper to really see what is going on.
Surprise! Like many things cannabis-related, the federally-illegal status of the plant has made it more difficult to conduct research. Unfortunately, the relationship between music and cannabis has not been thoroughly studied.
One study from 2002 offered a very interesting take on how cannabis and music go together. The researchers used an electroencephalogram (EEG), which can detect small changes in the brain’s electrical activity, to see differences in brainwave activity for different activities.
First, subjects listened to music sober. They sat in a living room to prevent biases that may occur from being in a laboratory and to recreate the at-home listening experience. After participants listened to three songs, they had a 30-minute rest period. Then, they smoked weed and listened to those same songs again.
The results are interesting. Researchers found changes in the parietal, right temporal, and left occipital cortices after listeners consumed cannabis. These areas of the brain have been associated with auditory and spatial processing, as well as attention management.
Jörg Fachner MD, MEd, the research for the study, had a few interpretations from the results. One was that subjects could focus better on the sound and that giving the music attention required less mental energy than when sober. Thus, he suggested that it was easier for subjects to listen, focus, and relax when listening to the music.
Fachner’s study was small and did not include many participants. We cannot use the research as definitive evidence of anything, but it does help to inform other theories and possibilities as to why weed affects the music listening experience.
Theories about the music and weed connection
In 2016, VICE set out to investigate why music and weed make such a great pair. They spoke with several experts, including Fachner from the above study, to get a better understanding of what causes music to sound different when high.
In the article, Fachner states that cannabis “works like a psycho-acoustic enhancer. That means you are more able to absorb, to focus on something, and to have a bit of a broader spectrum. It doesn’t change the music; it doesn’t change the ear functioning. Obviously it changes the way we perceive ear space in music.”
Perception is a big part of the conversation when discussing how music and weed go together so well. It’s obviously not that the music changes, it’s just that we can perceive it in different ways. This can make for a very powerful experience.
In the same article, Dr. Zach Walsh, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, states similar ideas.
He says that cannabis “puts you in a relaxed pleasant state, and there you are able to be receptive to music, or to be perhaps in the moment. Cannabis improves all types of things that are related to being present in the moment, as opposed to long term planning and worrying and ordering and organizing.”
Walsh also discusses the ways that cannabis affects the formation of memories and how this may tie into our music-listening experiences. He mentions that the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is involved in memory formation, has a large concentration of cannabinoid receptors. He suggests that the way our minds process memories could play a part in the way music sounds while high.
Why? Well, Fachner also proposes this idea in his previous study. He states that disruptions in memory processing may contribute to our changes in music perception.
Because attention tends to shift more rapidly while high, according to Fachner, it makes sense that your attention would shift more quickly to interesting parts of music. This may explain part of why music sometimes sounds so fresh and new when listening while high.
Additionally, the rapid shift in attention and the intake of more information can cause the brain to need to “empty” its short-term memory more frequently. This can make the listener more present and in-tune with the music they are listening to. It can facilitate a more engaging listening session with more focus on individual sounds.
Final thoughts on why music is better (or different) high
If you’ve ever noticed you have a different experience listening to music high than sober, you’re not alone. In fact, music and cannabis have a long history and there is no doubt that cannabis use has contributed to some incredible creations and experiences related to music.
Not only do music and weed make a perfect match for listening, but there are some other similarities and benefits of the two. Like we mentioned earlier, the human body tends to react to music in one way or another. Music may even play a role in health care, something we can also say about cannabis.
Additionally, cannabis and music both are powerful catalysts for community and connection. What brings friends together more than hanging out and listening to your favorite music? For many, the only answer is adding a joint to the mix to enhance the experience.
It’s no surprise that the two make such a great pair. Music is a powerful and universal experience, despite different tastes and preferences across the globe. And one thing is clear: cannabis can enhance or alter the listening experience.
If you’ve ever gotten too high and struggled to listen to music, it may be because your mind was picking up on too many parts which contributed to more stress and overwhelming feelings. But if you’ve ever put on a favorite album after smoking a joint and relaxing in your happy place, you know how powerful the listening experience can be.
Want to elevate your next jam session or kick back and listen to a favorite album in the sunshine? Stop by Satori to stock up on your favorite cannabis products that you can rock out with today!
See Related: How to Infuse a Watermelon with Weed
Top 8 best songs to listen to stoned, paired with the best Cannabis strains & products!
Once you’ve reached the proper level of elevation using some high quality Cannabis from Satori, close your eyes, lay back, turn up the volume and feel the music.
The Wind Cries Mary by Jimi Hendrix
Pair with any sativa variety of flower, preferably from the haze family. We recommend the Seatown Lemon Haze by Western Cultured. If you aren’t much of a smoker, grab a 25 mg strawberry lemonade by Ray’s Lemonade.
Time by Pink Floyd
Pair with any sativa leaning hybrids or a 20 to 30 mg edible. We recommend OG Chem by Phat Panda, which is now available in a convenient 3 pack of pre-rolls! Not smoking? Try some infused Sour Jellies from Journeyman!
Third Eye by Tool
The Other One by The Grateful Dead
Pair with the perfect hybrid, Blue Dream! Try a blue dream inhaler vaporizer from Fairwinds so you can lean back and get lost in the ‘other one’ by the Grateful dead. Not into inhaling vaporized cannabis? Try the Blue Dream pre-roll from House of Cultivar or some mint chocolate Verdelux bon bombs!
Free Tibet by Hilight Tribe
Pair with a indica flower or cartridge, or an indica tincture! Our favorites while listening to Free Tibet are Kosher Kush by No Mids, Frosting cartridge by Leafwerx and the indica lifestyle tincture by Fairwinds!
Hard Sun by Eddie Vedder
Mind Mischief by Tame Impala
Svefn-g-englar by Siqor Ros
Pair with a really strong concentrate, some infused edibles or an infused joint for this Siqor Ros song! Lay back and drift away with our recommendations, the Washington Hash Co Wedding Cake Rosin concentrate, an infused pre-roll from Phat Panda, also known as a ‘firecracker’ with up to 40% THC! and the relaxing cinnamon mints by Mr. Moxey!
Keep Reading: How to Make A Zero Calorie Sparkling Cannabis Drink
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