We’ve all been there. You take a couple hits of cannabis (or the edible starts to kick in), you throw on your favorite record and, before you know it, the music you thought you knew so well sounds like the first time you heard the Beatles — beyond words. Every note sounds clearer, more refined and emotional. You hear things you’ve never heard before, like the guitar pick scratching against the strings, fluctuating rhythms from the drums and… Hey! The bridge has background vocals!
To put it simply, you listen with more attention and sensitivity when you’re high— and everything just sounds better.
There’s no question that the combination of marijuana and music has been making hits since the jazz age in the early 20th century. Jazz legends like Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington are a few of the many musicians who pioneered the creative concoction and composed songs that have withstood the test of time. Entire decades like the 60s and 70s were defined by cannabis use. The Beatles, Grateful Dead, CSNY not only used cannabis, but wrote songs celebrating their consumption. Contemporary artists like Rihanna, Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg (and just about every rapper with a SoundCloud link) have pointed to the harmonious partnership between cannabis and music has influenced their creativity.
With so much empirical evidence, you would think scientists would have an answer as to why cannabis and sound play so nicely together, but nobody has come up with anything concrete. The good news is, there are hypotheses that attempt to demystify how the effects of marijuana enhances musical experiences.
If you’ve never tried getting a little high before listening to music, I highly recommend it — especially if you’re listening with friends. If you’re a musician, try playing high to elevate your creativity! You’ll be surprised at the ideas you come up with. If you’ve been stuck on your next masterpiece, cannabis can really help you get through your mental block. As Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac says, “If you’ve been working on something for a few hours and you smoke a joint, it’s like hearing it again for the first time.”
Pro tip: Take a few hits, play your favorite Spotify playlist, go on Netflix and watch Blue Planet on mute. Any episode will do. You’re welcome!