The Science Behind Why Music Sounds Better High


Marijuana, cannabis, weed, pot, ganja – these terms are all commonly associated with the psychoactive plant that has been used for centuries for both medicinal and recreational purposes. One of the many reported effects of marijuana is its ability to enhance one’s experience of music. Many individuals have claimed that music sounds better when they are under the influence of marijuana. But what is the science behind this phenomenon? Why does music sound better when we are high?

The Endocannabinoid System and Music Perception:**

To understand why music may sound better when high, we first need to look at how marijuana interacts with the human body. The key lies in the endocannabinoid system, one of the body’s regulatory systems that plays a role in various physiological processes including mood, memory, pain sensation, and appetite.

When marijuana is consumed, its active compounds, such as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), interact with the endocannabinoid receptors in the brain. These receptors are widely distributed throughout the brain, including in areas involved in sensory perception and emotional processing. By binding to these receptors, THC can alter the way our brain processes sensory information, including auditory stimuli like music.

Research has shown that the endocannabinoid system plays a role in music perception. In a study published in the journal Neuropsychologia, researchers found that THC increased the pleasure derived from listening to music by enhancing the connectivity between auditory brain regions. This increased connectivity may lead to a more immersive and pleasurable music listening experience when high.

Enhanced Sensory Perception:

Another reason music may sound better when high is due to the enhanced sensory perception that marijuana can induce. THC has been shown to alter the way we perceive sensory stimuli, making colors appear more vibrant, tastes more intense, and sounds more immersive.

When high, individuals may experience music in a more vivid and engaging way, with heightened emotional responses to the sound. This enhanced sensory perception can make music feel more immersive, emotional, and enjoyable, leading to the perception that music sounds better when high.

Emotional Enhancement:

Marijuana has long been associated with altered emotional states, ranging from relaxation and euphoria to introspection and enhanced creativity. These emotional changes can also influence the way we perceive music.

When high, individuals may experience heightened emotional responses to music, with increased feelings of euphoria, nostalgia, or empathy towards the music they are listening to. This emotional enhancement can make music feel more powerful and meaningful, leading to a deeper connection with the music and a greater sense of enjoyment.

Time Perception and Flow State:

One of the effects of marijuana is its impact on time perception. Many individuals report that time seems to slow down when they are high, leading to a more immersive and flow-like state of mind.

In the context of music, this altered time perception can enhance the listener’s ability to focus on the nuances and details of the music, leading to a deeper appreciation of the composition, instrumentation, and lyrics. This flow state can make music listening a more engaging and rewarding experience, contributing to the perception that music sounds better when high.

Memory and Association:

Marijuana has also been shown to influence memory and association, which can impact the way we perceive and relate to music. When high, individuals may experience changes in memory recall and the formation of associations between different elements of the music.

These altered cognitive processes can lead to a different interpretation of the music, with new connections and meanings emerging during high-induced listening sessions. This fresh perspective can make familiar music feel novel and exciting, contributing to the perception that music sounds better when high.


In conclusion, the science behind why music sounds better when high is a complex interplay of neurobiological, psychological, and cognitive factors. The endocannabinoid system‘s interaction with THC, the enhanced sensory perception, emotional enhancement, time perception, memory, and association processes all contribute to the overall music listening experience when under the influence of marijuana. However, it is important to note that the effects of marijuana can vary between individuals, and moderation and responsibility should always be practiced when consuming marijuana.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  1. Is it safe to listen to music while high on marijuana?
  2. Listening to music while high is generally safe, but individuals should be cautious about their dose and environment to ensure a positive experience.

  3. Can marijuana enhance music appreciation in individuals with musical training?

  4. Yes, individuals with musical training may have a deeper appreciation for the nuances of music when high due to their background knowledge.

  5. Are there specific genres of music that sound better when high?

  6. Music preferences while high vary among individuals, but genres with rich instrumentation, lyrical depth, and emotional resonance are often favored.

  7. How long do the effects of marijuana last when listening to music?

  8. The duration of marijuana effects can vary based on dosage, tolerance, and individual metabolism, but typically, effects can last from 1-3 hours.

  9. Can marijuana improve creativity in music production?

  10. Some individuals report that marijuana can enhance creativity and inspiration in music production, but effects may vary and should be approached with caution.

  11. Does the method of marijuana consumption affect how music sounds when high?

  12. The method of marijuana consumption, such as smoking, edibles, or vaping, can influence the intensity and duration of effects on music perception.

  13. Can combining marijuana with alcohol enhance the music listening experience?

  14. Combining marijuana and alcohol can have unpredictable effects on music perception and overall well-being, and may not be safe for everyone.

  15. Are there any risks or drawbacks to listening to music while high on marijuana?

  16. Risks of listening to music while high may include overstimulation, paranoia, distraction, or negative emotional responses, especially in sensitive individuals.

  17. Can habitual use of marijuana lead to tolerance and reduced music enjoyment?

  18. Habitual use of marijuana can lead to tolerance, dependence, and diminished effects on music perception, requiring regular breaks to maintain enjoyment.

  19. How can individuals enhance their music listening experience when not high on marijuana?

  20. Enhancing music listening experiences without marijuana can be achieved through active listening, exploring diverse genres, optimal audio settings, and mindful attention to lyrics, rhythm, and emotional content.

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Kavya Patel
Kavya Patel
Kavya Patеl is an еxpеriеncеd tеch writеr and AI fan focusing on natural languagе procеssing and convеrsational AI. With a computational linguistics and machinе lеarning background, Kavya has contributеd to rising NLP applications.