Music sounds phenomenal when you're high. Maybe on a night when you and your friends got crazy lit and turned on some tunes, the first song was an instant hit. It just sounded so good. Then the next song started playing, and it was a bit mind-blowing how great this new song sounded after listening to the last song, which was just as great. The same thing happened with all the music you listened to that night. Even the smallest details in the music were super noticeable. What's going on here?
Here's what's going on in a nutshell: weed enhances the sound of music. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana known to stimulate feelings of euphoria and heightened sensitivity. The addition of music, which contains many complex layers such as instruments, mood, and pitch, appeals to those euphoric feelings and heightened senses. Daniel J. Levitin, a psychology professor at McGill University, suggested that music enhancement may also stem from marijuana's disruption of short-term memory in the brain. As short-term memory is moved to a back burner, it feels as if the past, present, and future are all blended together in a strange sensation of deepened self-awareness. As a result, people will take note of the smallest details in a song while "in the moment," and time will seem to pass much more slowly. What was originally a "good" song becomes a mind-blowing ride while high. In his book On Being Stoned: A Psychological Study of Marijuana Intoxication (1971), psychology Professor Charles Tart wrote a few findings on his research on being stoned while listening to music. One of his subjects reported, "I can hear more subtle changes in sounds; e.g., the notes of music are purer and more distinct, the rhythm stands out more." A few other side effects associated with listening to music while high include enhanced visual imagery and temporarily-induced synesthesia, or a blending of the senses that gives the music a visual and spatial aspect.
Many great musical artists through the decades have been avid users of marijuana. Among them — Louis Armstrong, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Snoop Dogg, and even Madonna, who admitted that smoking weed had a positive influence on her creative process. It seems that weed is not only a gateway to hearing music from a new perspective, but also creating music from a new perspective.
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