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Can Being High Make Musicians Better?

Have you ever noticed that music sounds better when you’re stoned? Somehow everything is amplified. Listening without distraction transports you to a new dimension. Listening to music after consuming cannabis is one of the most satisfying joys in life. Music pumps us up, mellows us out, and allows us to escape the stress day today. So does cannabis, so it shouldn’t be any wonder that the two pair better than french fries dipped in ice cream—hey, don’t knock it till you try it.

We love weed here at Greeley Gallery, and we also love music. So, this week we decided to find out more about this dynamic combination, because it turns out, there’s more to it than just coincidental attunement.

Good for Listeners and Musicians Alike

The neat thing about music and marijuana is it seems to benefit those who love to listen and those who are musically inclined. There’s some promising evidence that suggests cannabis may improve a musician’s abilities.

There’s one disclaimer, though. Unfortunately, there’s little confirmed scientific research into this phenomenon. However, there is a growing interest, and with it, some exciting possibilities.

One Theory About How Cannabis Aids Music Production

If you’re a musician, then this bit of info will probably interest you. There’s an idea circulating with some promising evidence showing that consuming cannabis impacts a person’s sense of time. A study from 2012 determined that,

“A psychoactive dose of THC increases internal clock speed as indicated by time overestimation and underproduction. This effect is not dose-related,”

In other words, our sense of time becomes a little distorted while high—regardless of the amount consumed. The results of another study make this a little easier to understand. These researchers concluded that participants who consumed cannabis perceived 15 second time intervals as an average of 16.7 seconds.

So, what does this have to do with music? Well, if you’ve ever played an instrument or danced choreography, then you know that timing is everything. Professor of music, health, and the brain at Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom, Jorg Fachner, found that time feels longer than it is when we’re high.

This means free-styling musicians have more time to improvise before time feels slowed down. This little side effect helps artists mentally squeeze more syllables or notes into every second in genres like rap or jazz.

How Cannabis Helps Listeners

But what about those of us who aren’t musically blessed, yet still find our escape in it? It turns out there are plenty of ways the same timing phenomena affect listeners too.

According to a 2002 study done by Professor Fachner, cannabis impacts our attention and focus. The brain areas responsible for spatial processing, auditory processing, and attention change while we listen to music stoned. One interpretation of this is that when we’re high from cannabis, we pay more attention to sound but exert less energy to do so. This makes listening to music easier than usual while enhancing our ability to focus and relax.

Another way cannabis aids music lovers is by keeping us in the moment. As humans, we’re all prone to getting stuck worrying about the future or past. Staying present often feels impossible in such a fast-paced world. But it turns out, listening to music while high might help us reset.

A psychiatrist at Stanford University, Frederick Melges, explained that consuming cannabis and listening to music makes it harder to combine past, present, and future. We become more aware of current events, which feel like isolated moments vs. continual progression. As a result,

“The greater concentration on the present was associated, in general, with euphoric moods.”

Final Thoughts

You really can’t go wrong when it comes to marijuana and music. Even without cannabis, music is healing and an essential part of life. But with cannabis, music becomes a portal into new dimensions…especially with the added effect marijuana has on our sense of time. Come see us at Greeley Gallery near University Park in north Portland. We’d love to answer any questions you may have or say hi!

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