Does marijuana affect the way we hear music?

Does marijuana affect the way we hear music?
Miguel Antonio Ordoñez

Cannabis has a reputation for making everything more fun. But do marijuana and music really create their own synergy? Let's toke, turn up the volume, and see.

Whatever your taste of music, you must have moments where music is the best medicine for a soothing and quite night at home. Sound and music is known to make people happy and relaxed. Perhaps you didn’t go as far (yet) as tailoring your playlists to suit a particular strain and/or mood, but if you enjoy cannabis, you probably enjoy listening to some good tunes while you’re toking up.

Sometimes time flies while you are high, while other times it can slow to a crawl. Although not hallucinogenic, some cannabis strains can have a trippy effect. And when you’re high as a kite, there is nothing better than some good music.

Some people believe that cannabis can affect one’s perception of time and space and that it’s possible that this altered perception helps the user pick up on otherwise unheard sounds or more clearly interpret the meaning of a song.

But what is it about cannabis combined with music? Does some weed really make music sound better?

Many have attempted to define precisely what is happening in the brain under the influence of dank weed and decibels.


The 6 levels of consciousness

Timothy Leary was a great believer in self-experimentation, routinely dosing himself with a myriad of psychedelics and listening to music in the name of science. Leary believed that 6 levels of consciousness existed. This is outlined in his groundbreaking essay "The Politics, Ethics, and Meaning of Marijuana” published in the 1969 book The Marijuana Papers.[1]

His consciousness-expansion research led him to conclude that marijuana as a mild psychedelic could take a person to level 3, otherwise known as the level of Sensory Awareness. Leary was of the opinion that weed smoking musicians were achieving this state of consciousness, somehow focusing the tympanic membrane more acutely on sound waves.


In September of 2017, the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology published a UK study titled “Cannabis Dampens the Effects of Music in the Brain Regions Sensitive to Reward and Emotion.” This study is the first to specifically analyse the combined effects of music and cannabis on the human brain.[2] 

The cannabis samples used for the study were two varieties sourced from Bedrocan in the Netherlands. Participants vaped hits of 12% THC Bedrobinol with negligible CBD, and Bediol, which is CBD-rich with 7.5% CBD and just 6% THC.

Of course, a placebo was also administered. Most interesting was the choice of classical music. Perhaps the weed didn’t suit the tunes? Who knows what kind of results OG Kush and Cypress Hill or Lemon Haze and Neil Young might have achieved?

The findings suggest that high-THC cannabis with low-to-nil CBD content actually reduces our natural brain responses to music. However, there was some good news too; CBD was proven to offset the possible negative effects of THC.


There are also people who believe in something completely different and according to some, The Law of One/The Ra Material (which may or may not have been authored by an extraterrestrial entity via channelling) gives us the ET perspective. Essentially, it espouses “all is one,” meaning all things are of the same essence.[3]

The relaxing effects of marijuana might simply allow us to open the channels to receive and appreciate music on a deeper level. If we accept we are all connected to the co-creative consciousness, then it stands to reason that music composed and performed under the influence of cannabis will sound better to the ears of fellow weed smokers.


While some people prefer classical music or Bob Marley, some people enjoy the sound of birds or the sound of waves rolling up the shore. No matter what the explanation might be or even which theory you wish to believe, music can make almost anything better and absolutely sooth your high.

So just give it a try yourself and put on a nice playlist the next time you toke up.


  1. ^ goodreads, The Marijuana Papers, retrieved December-09-2017
  2. ^ International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, Cannabis Dampens the Effects of Music in Brain Regions Sensitive to Reward and Emotion, retrieved December-09-2017
  3. ^ The Law of One, The Law of One, retrieved December-09-2017

Miguel Antonio Ordoñez
Miguel Antonio Ordoñez

Miguel Ordoñez is a long-time writer by trade. Utilizing his AB Mass Media and Communications degree, he has 13 years of experience and counting. He’s covered a wide array of topics, with passion lying in combat sports, mental health, and of course, cannabis.