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The Scientific Reasons Why Music Sounds Better When You’re High

Ever lit up a joint and just sat back, listening to your favorite band/artist as the cannabinoids kicked in? It's truly ascendant, isn't it?! Ever wondered why cannabis and music go so well together? We sure dis, so we put together the facts & figures on what makes music sound so good when you're high on cannabis.
September 16, 2022
Est. Reading: 9 minutes
Table of Contents

Science! Music! Cannabis?! These aren’t typically three words you’d put together in a thought-sandwich. Weed and music definitely go together like PB & J, but trying to decipher the science behind what makes music sound good while under the influence is like trying to conduct an orchestra when the edibles kick in. It’s no secret - cannabis makes music sound better - but have you ever considered why? Does music make you high on the good vibrations? Or does cannabis make the tunes more groovy?

This is kind of like a chicken-and-egg theory that loses most people - especially if they’re pondering it while high on their latest supply. We think it’s really important, however, so we’ve put down our guitar picks and big fat blunts and did some serious research instead. For your benefit, we’ve collected some interesting evidence that shows what makes music sound good when you’re in-tune with the universe - i.e. when you’re high on cannabis.

There are certainly a lot of substances that can enhance your musical experiences - psychedelics or booze, just to name a couple - but for the purposes of this article we’ll focus on the merits of marijuana’s musical machinations. Turn your speakers to 11 and put up those metal finger-horns, because it’s time to figure out why listening to music when high is so damn satisfying.

To The Beat: Does Music Make You High?

Before we try to put words to what makes music sound good, especially when we’re high on weed, we need to answer a precursor question that many people have pondered: does music make you high? Whether you need a scientific reason to believe this or not, the facts are that music has always held sway over human culture, spirituality and health.

Music is one of the oldest languages shared by all peoples from all points in history. The sounds of drums beating like the rhythm of a heart, the wails of strings echoing our emotions, the blaring of horns marking great moments in the human story. From tribal war chants to modern electronic dance music, the sounds of music have enchanted human beings for millenia and helped shape us into what we are today. For good or ill, music has always had a profound influence over our personalities, emotions and behaviors, sometimes directly impacting how cultures form or societies are governed.

Whenever you talk about the incredible effects that music has had on human beings you can’t avoid talking about its catalytic relationship to the arts. What has inspired men, women and children more than an epic symphony? What gets your creative juices flowing better than a catchy new tune? Is there any more lively feeling than dancing with wild abandon at a live concert?!

What else opens up the doors of your imagination? Are you reminded of anything else that boosts your creativity and sends your emotions into overdrive? How else do we like to lose control, relax, get fired up or socialize with friends and new acquaintances? When you start to take stock of all the feelings and things music can make us do, it sounds a lot like the experiences of being high on cannabis doesn’t it?

What makes music sound good will depend on your personal preferences or cultural background, but what music does to our brains & bodies is shared by all people. We’re all hard-wired to tap our feet, bob our heads and sway to the beat - even subconsciously. Everybody has a unique relationship with music, just like we’re all affected differently by cannabis. Some folks don’t need mind-altering substances at a music festival because they seem to get high on the music itself. Others find that cannabis or psychedelics help them to truly appreciate the sound waves of their favorite band. Whether you’re a quiet music listener or a death metal headbanger, we are all affected by music in numerous, profound ways.

Listening to music, playing instruments or dancing to some of your favorite tunes can have many effects on your mental state, emotional mood, physical health and more. What ways does music make you feel sort of high? Just to name a few, music consistently makes people feel/experience:


These feelings or heightened states of being are very similar to the kinds of experiences you’d have when high on cannabis, albeit to varying degrees. When we listen to music our dopamine levels can increase, just like with many psychedelic substances. Music engages our focus and is a lot for our audio-sensory functions to process, leading to increased cognition. This can manifest in ways like feeling content, euphoric, relaxed or restful. Music can also cause seemingly random bouts of creativity, heightened states of imagination or floods of intense emotions to take us over. This is where the notions of music making you high come from - they’re very close to the same emotions and states of being that cannabis or other substances can elicit.

So, if you consider all the activity in our brains and subsequent reactions in our bodies to music, listening to music when you’re high almost seems like double dipping. Music makes you high all on its own and in very manageable ways: music doesn’t make your mind foggy, it isn’t known to lower your inhibitions, and not only is it safe to use while operating motor vehicles it truly enhances the experience. We’re not here to argue against consuming cannabis products by any means, but sometimes listening to good music is enough to put your mind in the right state on its own.

Dancing Fever: Why Cannabis Makes Music Sound So Good

We’ve touched on what makes music sound good while skirting the edges of the science on the subject. The truth is that there isn’t much in the way of big budget studies or intense research into these particular subjects, so the scientific facts about music aren’t quite as far along as you’d assumed they’d be. What is known about music’s effects on human health & wellbeing has more to do with emotions, moods, behaviors and states of being than quantifiable statistics on brain chemistry.

This is fine with us since the same goes for a lot of cannabis research. Cannabis is legal in Canada and accepted in several other countries, but on the whole of the globe the majority of nations still regulate it as a controlled/illicit substance. This means that studying cannabis freely isn’t very easy, nor does there appear to be a strong appetite to do so in some parts of the world.

If there isn’t much in the way of fascinating studies up-and-coming that can shed some critical light on the relationship between cannabis and music, then what is currently known about why cannabis makes music sound better? The answer is simple: it’s all in your head.

Cannabinoids and terpenes combine for a wealth of unique effects on our brains and bodies, such as altering your perceptions, increasing the sensitivity of certain senses, or enhancing how short, long or intense certain feelings can be. Cannabis stimulates pleasure centers, it can radically increase your creativity or dreaming, and it puts us in states of euphoria, nostalgia and pure contentment.

A lot of these effects sound synonymous with the lasting effects of listening to music, don’t they? Listening to your favorite bands - your absolute favorite musicians that you have a deep connection with - can instill relaxation, euphoria, nostalgia while pulsing the pleasure centers in your brain… sounds word-for-word with what cannabis is known for. Not only do cannabis and music share similar influences on our states of being, they can also enhance the efficacy of one another.

Listening to music when high feels so right because of their synergistic effects. If smoking a certain strain of weed would elicit an emotional response or feeling of euphoria, pairing the feelings of being high with music that achieves the same will make those effects stronger. Simply put, complimentary effects from cannabis and music can combine to more powerful results - i.e. longer-lasting euphoria, more intense hallucinations, stronger feelings of mind/body highs.

What’s more, cannabis-music experiences can work to counteract some of the negative symptoms of being high when paired together. The endocannabinoid system is involved in many processes throughout the body, including pain, mood, appetite and memory regulation. Music, on another note, can instill relaxation, mental calm, energy and alertness. When you combine the two you can avoid some of the unwanted effects from cannabis - i.e. acting dopey, foggy-brained or uncontrollably hungry - with some pleasing music in the background.

This might sound like a stretch to say that music can be a remedy for many of your aches & irritations, but it’s true - music therapy has been a part of human health for centuries. Just like with cannabis, music has some very effective medical applications. A
Although these are not all considered/respected by some medical professionals, the results speak for themselves: human beings have been turning to cannabis and music to soothe their minds, bodies and souls since the forgotten epochs of human history.

What are some of the ways in which music and cannabis can heal your injuries, help you overcome a sickness or provide some much-needed mental health support? Let’s go over some in the next section. Synesthesia - that feeling of not being able to pin your attention/focus down, or when your senses get their signals crossed.

Perfect Harmony: Listening to Music When You’re High

Well, there’s no official report on what makes music sound good, especially when we’re high, because every person has a unique relationship with music and each person has their own personal sound that resonates with them. What we do know for sure is that cannabis and music go together better than fine wine and cheese. Together with some groovy tunes, THC, CBD and other cannabinoids can bring you up when you’re down, provide calm when you’re amped up and engage your creative mind when the world seems bland.

Listening to music when you’re high can not only help you to feel better, it can actually help you to process trauma, relax and heal physical injuries and assist you in overcoming illnesses. How is this possible? Let’s go back to some of the synergistic effects between cannabis and music to identify what/how/why they’re able to influence our health so effectively:[/et_pb_text]


That feeling of not being able to pin your attention/focus down, or when your senses get their signals crossed. This can be off-putting for some, but these kinds of feelings brought on by cannabis or music can provide some much needed mental rest & relaxation. Just enjoy the beautiful chaos of being high and listening to some spacey music for a dose of pure chill.

Deep Relaxation

Music is good for the soul, but it’s also great for your mental and physical health. The same goes for cannabis - whether you’ve got stiff, sore muscles & joints or you can’t turn off your overtired brain, some tokes & tunes will set you right, guaranteed. Many people struggle to relax properly, so weed and music can be very beneficial to these types of workaholics. These kinds of anti-anxiety effects are very critical to our wellbeing, so the importance of taking a load off with music and/or cannabis shouldn't be overlooked.

Sleep/Dream Induction

ASMR seems to hold the crown for best sleep-aid these days, but cannabis and music are no slouches at helping us sprawl out on couches. You don’t have to be high to sleep better (CBD vs THC), but it sure helps. The same goes for music - blaring some songs that get you jiving probably won’t help as much as some seductive, slow, relaxing music will. Not only can music and weed make you sleep deeper, faster and more consistently, they have this fun habit of making our dreams vastly more interesting and intense. This can manifest as some nasty nightmares, so beware, but more often than not cannabis/music engages the pleasure centers of your brain during your sleep cycles.


It can’t be overstated how important feelings like euphoria or nostalgia can be for your mental health. There’s a reason we always get nostalgic when we’re partying with friends, just like there is a reason why euphoric episodes can lead to breakthroughs in overcoming personal trauma. The “happiness factor” isn’t quantifiable in terms of data, but it holds a significant place in our overall health. Wellbeing is at its core about ‘being well’, and what makes you feel ‘well’ anyway? Excitement, joy, laughter, remembrance, spontaneity, and many more states of being are intrinsically tied to smoking weed or listening to music. Anything - or two things in the cases of music and cannabis - that can bring on some well-deserved euphoria during the spans of our tough lives should be valued above all else.

Interpersonal Relationships

Yes, love is an important part of your health and wellbeing. We’re not going to dive into the inner workings of how love affects your biochemistry, so instead we’ll just focus on how listening to music when you’re high with friends, family or colleagues can have profound effects on your relationships. Whether people are strained, in love, flirty, having fun, working together or just share similar interests, the combination of cannabis and music can open up new connection possibilities. Showing one another music when high together is profoundly personal, emotional, challenging, engaging and much more. What better way to truly get to know someone than to get high together, peer behind their curtain of personality and listen to the kinds of beats & melodies that make their spirit sing?

These are just a handful of the many ways in which cannabis makes music sound better, and how music can change the ways in which we appreciate cannabis. We’ll leave this article with a quote from the man who personifies music and cannabis, and how their healing powers can unite the world in hazy harmony:

“Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don’t bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake up! And Live!” – Bob Marley, R.I.P.


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