It’s an age-old image—lighting up your favourite strain, putting on your favourite record, then sitting back to relax while enjoying your favourite tunes and a smoke. But why does the music always seem to be better when you’re high? In this article, we delve into some possible contributing factors. Don’t worry, this won’t be some science-filled buzzkill post, but it might just explain why you "feel" the music that little bit more when you're high.

CANNABIS AND YOU

To gain a great understanding, we need to look inward—not on a philosophical level, but a chemical one.

Firstly, it is well-known that cannabis affects the area of the brain that processes auditory stimulation. There have been numerous tests where subjects reported a greater ability to recall lyrics, understand differences in sound, rhythm, and other nuances that make musical pieces sound better. Some subjects also claim that cannabis blurs the line between auditory and visual senses, producing a phenomenon known as synaesthesia.

CANNABIS AND MUSIC: WHAT'S THE CONNECTION?

There are many theories as to why cannabis produces such a reactive effect on our enjoyment of music. These range from our perception of time to even just a passive placebo effect. Here are some ideas as to why it feels different listening to music while high.

TIME PERCEPTION

Cannabis has an impact on our perception of time, as well as the speed of our internal clock. This potentially gives the listener a heightened auditory sense when listening to music and allows them to experience songs in a much more detailed way as they have “more time” to examine what they are listening to.

COULD THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM PLAY A ROLE?

As we know, cannabis triggers the endocannabinoid system. This is a biological system that monitors functions in the brain such as pain, memory, and mood. When this system is stimulated, it stands to reason that physiological changes to cognition may cause users to experience a more focused state of mind. Being able to pay more attention will allow you to hear parts of the music you would otherwise not notice.

PLACEBO AND RELAXATION

Another reason could simply be a placebo effect. Maybe we think the music sounds grander and the lyrics have a deeper meaning because we want to believe it, making us much more enveloped and "in the moment". It could be because of the ritual of enjoying music and cannabis together. For many people, sharing a joint or bowl starts with putting on the right music. As the smoke permeates the lungs, the music permeates the soul.

WHATEVER THE REASON, CANNABIS AND MUSIC ARE A GREAT DUO

CANNABIS AND ARTISTS

From The Beatles to Bob Marley and Snoop Dogg to Brian Wilson, drug use is often synonymous with the creative process for many artists, both past and present. This alludes to the notion that, while many artists will create music under the influence, listeners can also have a heightened connection to the music because of their own mind-altered state, picking out and appreciating subtle nuances that might go unnoticed to the average listener.

Famously, renowned astronomer and all-round brilliant mind Carl Sagan often preached the importance of combining cannabis and music during his lifetime. He explained how the change in state of mind allowed him to hear the music differently and understand parts of music theory he previously could not get a grasp on, such as counterpoint and harmony. If it was good enough for Carl Sagan, it is good enough for us, in our humble opinion.

WHATEVER THE REASON, CANNABIS AND MUSIC ARE A GREAT DUO

In conclusion, there are many factors that contribute to your enjoyment of music. But in the end, it really doesn’t matter why cannabis makes music sound more beautiful. But there is a pretty unanimous consensus amongst smokers that it does add to the overall enjoyment. So turn on some tunes, light up a joint, close your eyes, and enjoy.

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