Here’s a nice stoned thought for you. You probably already had it, but maybe it got lost between dab hits and Adult Swim episodes. Anyone who’s smoked (or dabbed or vaped, edibled or tinctured) a few times knows that music gets a little deeper when you’re under the influence.
Or it’s more like it goes a little deeper. You seem to hear more and enjoy it more. So, what we’re looking at today is: what is up with that? What’s the scientific explanation? Luckily for us all, some eggheads have paved the way on this road for us potheads. Here’s what they’ve found:
Cannabis Affects The Way You Tune In To Music
According to some studies, weed alters the way you focus on and perceive stimuli, music in particular. If your brain was a car tuning into the radio, it’s a little bit like being under the influence of weed gives you a brand new receiver and stereo. It’s not that it actually sounds that different. It’s that the way you hear it changes.
In 2002, Jorg Fachner, a professor at Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom, conducted a study where he played music for subjects before and after consuming 20 mg of THC. He hooked the brains of his subjects up to an electroencephalogram (EEG).
Fachner found that the way the brain responded to music differed when it was high. Areas associated with attention strategy and auditory processing, and spatial processing mapped out differently under the influence.
“One of the interpretations that I had from this data is that when it comes to attention, subjects were focusing a bit more on the sound, and that this attention also required less mental energy,” Fachner told Leafly in a recent article. “So it’s easier to listen, to focus, and to relax.”
Cannabis Affects Time Perception
Another way that marijuana affects melodies is in time perception. According to another of Fachner’s studies, weed slows down time. He found that a high person experiences 16.7 seconds for every 15 seconds a sober person perceives.
This slowing of time might mean that stoned peoples have “more time” to select what parts of the music they want to pay attention to, like Neo has more time to decide how to dodge a bullet when it comes at him in slow motion.
“When your time perception changes, your focus of attention changes,” Fachner said. “So when you put on a stereo headset you might have an enhanced ability to select certain information and disregard other information, which could help distinguish the individual sounds a bit more intensively.”