The Science Behind Listening to Music While High
Cannabis has many different effects on the perception of reality, and one of its most beloved effects is that it allows you to enjoy music more. When you think of listening to music while high, you may imagine every note popping out. If the song has nonsensical lyrics, they may start to make a little more sense while you’re under the influence. Even music that normally sounds awful may sound great under the influence. Alcohol may make you shake your butt to some jams, but cannabis can make that music sound ethereal.
Everyone’s experience differs. It depends on you, your reaction to THC, or what strand you take. Heck, some people may prefer sober listening. However, most cannabis consumers can agree that listening to music while high enhances the experience. Why is that? Cannabis is something that hasn’t been studied as much as it should due to its taboo nature, but since the veil is being lifted, we do have some answers.
It’s All About the Pleasure
When you listen to music, it stimulates your brain. You don’t need to listen to some fine art for the brain to be stimulated, either. If a song as rhythm, a melody, or just anything else to keep your brain interested, your brain is going to focus on it. The sound your brain processes goes through your entire central nervous system. It doesn’t just go in one ear and out the other.
Now, let’s look at what cannabis does to your brain. When you are under the influence, the cannabinoid receptors enhance. These receptors are quite prominent, and this stimulates the brain even more. Listening to music while high gets your dopamine pumping. Dopamine, as you may know, is a feel-good chemical that is associated with reward. Many of our actions are driven by dopamine, whether you realize it or not.
When you smoke cannabis, the THC helps release dopamine, and the more you release, the more you get. Since music can help release dopamine as well, you get a huge dopamine rush while you’re listening to music. Because different amounts of cannabis have different amounts of THC, your results may vary.
Why Does it Sound More Profound?
Of course, this is just dealing with the feel-good effects cannabis has on the brain. It doesn’t account for why music just sounds better while under the influence. Why does every song sound more theatrical and epic with each toke? There are reasons for that.
It has to do with the hoppocampus. This is the part of the brain responsible for short-term memories. Cannabis can affect that and make you more mindful. You’re aware of the present more and are focused on that. Ever had trouble remembering what you’re going to do while you’re under the influence of cannabis? You mind find yourself walking to do something, and when you get there, you forget what you’re going to do for a bit. That’s because it affected your short-term memory. You’re not focused on the past or the future, but instead you’re fully focused on the present.
Mindfulness, which is being aware of the present at all times, is a great way to live your life, and you can achieve mindfulness with or without cannabis. When you do use cannabis, it makes you extremely mindful. You’ll pay more attention to the music and are way more focused on it. It’s not background noise, and it goes beyond just listening to it. It’s an experience you must put everything on or else it’s not good. This is why listening to music while high does that to you.
Also, music becomes less predictable when you’re high. Even when you’re listening to more progressive music and not some pop song, your brain has a general idea of where it’s going to go. When you’re high, you have less predictions. This means that you will enjoy the music more as your brain doesn’t know where it’s going next.
Picking Apart Every Instrument
Also, when you’re high and listening to music, you may feel as though you can feel every drumbeat, guitar pluck, or press of the piano key. This is because being high can affect how you perceive time. Everything seems to slow down, and this can warp you perception on music and make it seem more profound. A three minute pop song may feel like ten minutes. A classic rock opera ballad may feel like an eternity.
The next time you smoke cannabis, try to be aware with how your perception of time changes. This is why you can pick everything apart with ease. It’s great for studying music and having other experiences with music consumption.
Cannabis and Music History
Because cannabis can affect how we perceive music, it has naturally affected artists who use cannabis, and cannabis users who are inspired by the artists. The 1960s are the perfect example of this, but even to this day, cannabis is affecting how we enjoy music. Complex music like jazz or progressive rock can be enjoyed even more while you’re high.
Listening to music while high is something that is not going away. In fact, it’s going to be studied even more as more places become full-on legalized. It’s quite a fascinating subject, to say the least. We may somewhat know the science behind it, but cannabis has so many subjective effects and it’s interesting to see how it affects person to person. It can bring you joy, sadness, understanding, and a slew of other emotions.
As cannnabis continues its legalization journey, maybe more people will enjoy creativity or consuming creative content. Cannabis is stereotyped as the hippie plant for a reason. Hippies enjoyed good music, and cannabis helped them enjoy it.
What about you? How has cannabis enhanced your music experience? Are there any songs you hated that you enjoyed on cannabis? Did it affect your creative process? Tell us and we’d love to hear what you have to say.