Music is an important part of life for people in every culture. Most of us associate certain songs with specific events or periods in our lives – a song can remind us of the good times and the bad times, the first kiss, a bad breakup, and big life event… and who can resist the simple pleasures of singing at the top of your lungs in the car or in the shower? We all have music we listen to when we’re happy, and music we play over and over when we’re sad. If you enjoy smoking marijuana, you may find that your musical experience is enhanced under the influence of cannabis.
Why is Listening to Music Better When You are Stoned?
There are several possible reasons:
- Cannabis is a stress reliever. When your body and mind are relaxed, you’re more attuned to music – the mental chatter has slowed or stopped, and you are able to appreciate music on a deeper level. You are more focused on the melody, harmony, rhythm, and lyrics and it’s easy to get ‘lost’ in a song.
- Cannabis affects the area of the brain responsible for processing auditory input. A study found that when research subjects were exposed to burning marijuana leaves, they experienced better recall of lyrics. They were also better able to pick up differences in sounds coming from various instruments. Some even reported that they experienced synaesthesia, a phenomenon where the line between auditory and visual input is blurred (the phenomenon of ‘hearing’ colors and ‘seeing’ sounds).
- Cannabis also causes the brain to loosen its filters. Normally, your brain has to filter out a great deal of irrelevant stimuli and data that would cause total overwhelm as you go about your day. Even when you listen to music, you typically don’t notice the sounds of each instrument – but you do when you’re high. In other words, you become able to notice differences in pitch, or pick out individual melodies or rhythms within a song.
- Music is also typically part of the marijuana-smoking experience. Under the influence, many people start to feel an affinity for the composer or the performer (who was probably high while composing, performing, or recording the piece), and an ability to understand the more subtle messages and intentions in a piece. This is nothing new. People have been using mind-altering drugs in conjunction with rhythmic drumming for millennia!
In the end, music stirs the soul, and getting high helps you strip away the day’s worries that can make it difficult to really lose yourself in the music and let it do its soul-stirring magic on a profoundly deep level. Ultimately it doesn’t matter why the musical experience is better high, but it is. So put on some music, light up a bowl, and enjoy!