A Perfect Blend of Music and Cannabis

A Blend of Music and CBD

Cannabis users often say that the plant makes them appreciate the music better and be more creative — but what exactly does that mean?


Across the music genres of rock, reggae and jazz, the blend of music and cannabis has earned an infamous reputation in producing songs from some of the most popular musicians. When Bob Dylan introduced the Beatles to cannabis at the Delmonico Hotel in 1964, Paul McCartney thought he’d “attained true mental clarity for the first time in his life.” The rest of the party were in a constant state of laughter, and manager Brian Epstein “became so stoned he could only speak, ‘I’m so high I’m up on the ceiling.’” Meanwhile, Dylan answered the hotel phone by shouting, “This is Beatlemania here!” Other than that, they all had a good time.


Musicians have created great music, allegedly when they’re under the influence. However, music depends on harmony, rhythm and timing, it’s a mystery that composers get anywhere. According to V. Krishna Kumar, Ph.D. from Psychology Today, reports on a study that 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 other words, it makes artists think outside the box.


The relationship between music and cannabis begins with understanding how music impacts the brain. Another scientific study puts this relationship to a test and investigated the effects of cannabis on listening to music. In the study’s conclusion, it was stated that cannabis dampens the effects of music in brain regions sensitive to reward and emotion. However, these effects were offset by a key cannabis constituent, cannabidiol (better known as CBD — a compound that has medical benefits, but isn’t solely responsible for the “high”).


Cannabis with higher levels of cannabidiol  than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the psychoactive component) is reported to increase the release of dopamine. In such strains, the heightened activity in the reward system can psychologically condition the user to associate cannabis with a more positive listening experience.


Depending on the balance, it will also affect your serotonin and hippocampal levels. These all affect your mood and trigger your relaxation. Other researches suggest that receptor activation by plant-derived cannabinoids may promote hippocampal neurogenesis, or regrowth of neurons. In a sense, they prepare you and open yourself to larger sensorial experiences.


In particular, as stated by professor and psychologist Daniel J Levitin, cannabis’ effect on short-term memory may be a part of the reason why music listening experiences are enhanced. This disruption makes music listeners into registering thoughts at a different pace. Because listeners cannot explicitly keep in mind what has been played, or to think ahead to what might be played, people under the influence tend to hear music from note to note.


Cannabis provides relaxation based largely on the ratio of THC to CBD. More balanced strains can improve alertness, focus and openness to creativity, which make for a positive listening event.


With all these in mind, what will its legalization mean on how the public process music in the future? With the brain absorbing musical notes at a slower speed, popular music might experience a drastic change. Assuming that the cannabis, or even its CBD component, will gain popularity if it is legalized in a wider scope, it’s interesting to contemplate what effect it might bring on the future radio charts.


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