Cannabis and music have long had a symbiotic relationship. Music provides a fuller social setting for smoking with others and a better solitary experience when smoking alone. Here’s a breakdown of how to best use bud to appreciate your favorites jams—or to make your own.
Why Weed Makes Music Sound Better
Cannabis shifts the way you perceive time. Because music is fundamentally a function of time, it also shifts how we hear melodies and rhythms as they develop and pass.
According to the book “Altered States of Consciousness,” events seem longer when we’re high. The impression is that external time must have slowed down while the internal experience continues at the same rate. “There is not the impression of speed or rapidity, but that the time available to the user is magnified,” the book reports.
McGill professor and psychologist Daniel Levitin hypothesizes that marijuana’s effect on short-term memory, in particular, may be the reason why music listening experiences are enhanced. Because listeners are “unable to explicitly keep in mind what has just been played or to think ahead to what might be played, people stoned on pot tend to hear music from note to note,” Levitin explains.
One of the most well-known effects of cannabis, of course, is that it can be relaxing. It doesn’t do this for everyone, but strains that are high in CBD, a component of the cannabis plant, are supposed to be an effective treatment for anxiety. This can allow for a presence and calm that helps a person sit and listen to an entire record rather than jumping from track to track (what a concept!). Some sativa strains are also said to increase alertness and focus which can allow for the listener to pick up on instrumental parts that they normally would miss.
Maximize Your Listening Experience
As with every cannabis experience, it just takes trial and error to find that perfect strain. Of course, if you’re thrown into panic, hallucination, and paranoia, you will miss the fun. Therefore, it’s best to stay away from extremely potent edibles or THC-heavy strains. It’s also good to start out just by smoking a little bit if the goal is to enjoy music. If you smoke too much, it will make it difficult to focus on anything—let alone that killin’ bass part.
Here are some strains to try:
- Blue Dream: This hugely popular and balanced hybrid makes everyone’s lists. The 60% Sativa and 40% Indica strain offers 2% CBD and 24% THC. It produces a significantly euphoric head high with compensating bodily relaxation. It rushes to change the user’s sensory perception, amplifying colors and sounds and increasing appreciation of art and music.
- Bubblegum: Bubblegum goes with dance music. A balanced hybrid, it is widely popular for its taste and aroma. It can also trigger creative energies.
- Green Crack: Festival fans favor Green Crack because it leaves them energetic yet focused throughout the day and night. A Sativa-dominant hybrid, it packs 15% to 25% THC. Also known as Green Cush, it has a direct and lasting cerebral effect with uplift, focus, and energy.
- Jamaican Dream: This Sativa-dominant strain has 15% to 23% THC for a fast hitting cerebral buzz, with an uplifting mood and light euphoria. It quickly relieves pain, depression, and fatigue. You’re left with a clear mind and enough focus to roll with the reggae rhythms.
- Master Bubba: Another 50/50 hybrid, it promises 6% THC and 1% CBD. It keeps you quite focused if you’re a little sleepy. Users recommend Master Bubba for listening to the lyrics in old-school hip-hop.
- Space Queen: The 50/50 hybrid delivers 15% THC for a fully relaxing experience with joy and comfort, a total relief from stress and fatigue. Some say it will get you up and dancing, but others let it knock them back for relaxed listening.
In Psychology Today, V. Krishna Kumar, Ph.D. reports on a study by G. Shafer and peers who concluded, “cannabis produces psychotomimetic symptoms, which in turn might lead to connecting seemingly unrelated concepts, an aspect of divergent thinking considered primary to creative thinking.” In short, it makes artists think outside the box. Cannabis also, as Herb reported, can help musicians and other artists create because it helps them overcome the insecurities that prevent ideas from flowing freely.