If you love cannabis, you’ve probably noticed the incredible way it can enhance listening to music. Putting on your favorite songs after consuming some marijuana can be an almost spiritual experience. Time seems to slow down, the music fully captures your attention and everything just sounds so good.
I’ve had many positive experiences listening to music while enjoying cannabis, but my favorites have been when the music was live. Listening to live music can be a fun, relaxing and enjoyable way to spend free time with friends. But listening to live music after taking marijuana brings it to another level entirely. And there are actually some scientific explanations about why music seems so much richer after consuming cannabis.
Curious about trying cannabis for your next live music experience? We’ve got a few recommendations on what kind of marijuana to try before your favorite artist’s next performance.
Marijuana consumers tend to report an increase in enjoyment with listening to music and playing it, too. But how does cannabis make music so entertaining? Scientists have explored this question, and they have a few ideas about what’s going on:
Cannabis slows perception of time for musicians: One of the major factors that researchers believe affects our enjoyment of music—especially for the musicians themselves—is how we perceive time. Interestingly, cannabis can actually speed up certain mental processes, leading to a relative slowing down of time. In one study, cannabis consumers perceived a 15-second time interval as 16.7 seconds. Some believe this helps musicians improvise, because they have more subjective time to figure out their next moves.
Marijuana increases focus and attention: For those listening to music, time slowing down allows them to perceive more of the music with more focus and attention. “When your time perception changes, your focus of attention changes,” says Jorg Fachner, a researcher studying the phenomena. “You might have an enhanced ability to select certain information and disregard other information, which could help distinguish the individual sounds a bit more intensively.”
This can leave the music seeming more clear, clean and distinct than it would otherwise. And this may enhance enjoyment. Previous research showed that marijuana could also cause noises to seem louder, an effect that may also increase our attention to music.
In Fachner’s research, he saw that the areas of the brain that lit up in music-listening cannabis consumers were the same areas stimulated in gifted mathematicians solving complex math problems. Cannabis can help us to focus more on the intricacies and details of the music, while using less mental energy to do so.
Cannabis keeps your mind in the moment: Fachner also explains that those listening to music on cannabis tend to stay in the present moment. With marijuana, it can become temporarily challenging to integrate past, present and future memories. This tends to make it easier for those consuming the plant to stay firmly in the present moment, focused on enjoying those tunes.
Much music has been made by marijuana consumers: Some argue that cannabis makes music more enjoyable because a lot of music has been made by cannabis consumers. Taking cannabis before listening can help people get into the mindset of the musicians, and so may help the listener have more of a connection with the music.
Whatever kind of music you love, cannabis can make it even more enjoyable. But there are big differences in the various types of marijuana and some strains may fit better with specific kinds of music. Before you head to your next concert or festival with some marijuana in your pocket, you may want to think about what type of cannabis would fit best with the performance you’re about to enjoy.
Here are our top cannabis strain picks for a variety of musical genres that you may encounter on your musical adventures:
Taking a trip to an electronic dance music (EDM) festival? Try an uplifting and energetic sativa strain like Super Lemon Haze or Jack Herer. These euphoria-inducing sativas will keep your energy levels up and keep you in the mood ready for more dancing.
Heading to an elegant orchestral performance or classical music recital? High cannabidiol (CBD) cannabis options may be the best choice for you. CBD products with a 1:1 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to CBD ratio like the strain Cannatonic will increase relaxation and musical enjoyment while keeping your mind sharp for conversations at intermission. Choose from the wide array of edibles like CBD gummies and 1:1 soft gel capsules for a discreet way to medicate at these often indoor and non-smoking events.
If you’re listening to live rap music, you’ll want to smoke like a rapper and try marijuana hybrids that will give you a heavy body high and relaxed mind like OG Kush, or GSC (formerly called Girl Scout Cookies). These stress-reducing strains will leave you feeling chill and ready to listen to some high-speed rapping. Remember, on cannabis time, everything seems to slow down, so you should be able to catch all of the clever puns, wordplay and pop culture references.
Listening to live folk music? Match the mellow acoustic vibes with a low-intensity hybrid or indica marijuana strain like Blue Dream or Mr. Nice. Both are relaxed and happy strains with a light body high. Both are also known to create a dreamy and creative state in consumers. Try one out and sway to the music. You may find yourself getting lyrical.
Photo credit: Kobe Subramaniam