Cannabis and music is a powerful, transcending combination that can breathe life to one’s mind and body after a long day. Try cuing your favorite song that you’ve heard thousands of times while under the influence and it’s like you’re hearing the track again for the first time. Beats sound heavier, high frequencies whisper smoothly into your ear and vocals seem like they’re speaking directly to your curious soul.

“We don’t usually think of feeling music, we think of hearing it. But when people speak about listening to music while using cannabis, they describe it as richer, more textured; it has more depth,” said Joe Dolce, author of Brave New Weed.

This surreal experience makes cannabis one of the most unique plants on the planet. Read on to learn about how cannabis affects the way you listen to music and hear the world around you.

Enhancing Auditory Perception

The synergistic relationship between cannabis and music can be traced to the herb’s cerebral effects. During consumption, cannabis targets one’s brain receptors, resulting in heightened sensitivity and awareness. When it comes to specific sound-waves, scientists from a 1974 study observed individuals displaying signs of sensitivity to high frequencies above 6,000 Hz. High frequency ranges are known for providing information about the location of the sound source. Interestingly, this phenomenon also supports the beneficial aspects of cannabis for people suffering from high frequency hearing loss, which is one of the early symptoms of age-related presbycusis.

In addition to increased sensitivity to high sound frequencies, cannabis helps one become more personally receptive to the emotional and dream-like layers of music. According to neurobiologist, music producer and McGill professor Daniel Levitin, THC is capable of reducing stress and disrupting short-term memory. So instead of thinking about the next song in your playlist, you’re more likely to immerse yourself in every note or beat of the track.

“Subconsciously all of the usual processes of expectation formation are still occurring, but consciously, the music creates what many people describe as a time-standing-still phenomenon. They live for each note, completely in the moment,”

explained Levitin.

Maximizing Your Experience

There are several ways to maximize your musical experience while consuming cannabis. For an intimate, one-on-one listening session, the first step is to block out all other noises and distractions around you. The easiest and most direct way to accomplish this is by using headphones. Cannabis has a time-stretching effect when listening to music, making echo and reverb sound very appealing.

Due to one’s temporary ability to hear a wider range of frequencies, you should also ditch your low-quality, ripped mp3s (we all have them!) for high-quality copies. Disgustingly “pixelated” mp3s are missing a range of frequencies in order to suit smaller file sizes.

Lastly, to keep your experience fresh and memorable, try incorporating other activities that don’t involve listening, like exploring nature, cooking in the kitchen or painting. When adding a third activity into the mix, some people recommend letting your selected tunes unfold in the background by keeping volume levels moderate.