Music & Weed: 15 Songs to Enhance Your High
Peanut butter and jelly, apple pie and vanilla ice cream, Bert and Ernie. Some things are just made for each other. At the top of our dynamic duos list? Marijuana and music.
Whether it’s from a stereo in the comfort of your own home, inside headphones while walking down the street or at a packed concert, listening to music is the perfect complement to cannabis. There’s nothing better than songs that makes you feel high, paired with your favorite strain.
But more than just a caricature of stoners getting lost in endless Grateful Dead tunes, there is now growing scientific research suggesting that your favorite chill weed songs are actually accentuated by the sweet leaf. Are there actually songs that get you high? What are the best songs to listen to when you’re high? Sit back, roll up and put on your favorite weed smokers songs, because we’ve got answers to all that and more of your burning questions about the intersection of joints and jams, as well as a hand-picked selection of great songs to listen to while high.
Like to play video games or watch a binge-worthy series on TV? So do we. Check out two of our latest articles on Top Video Games to Play While High and Top TV Shows & Movies to Stream While High.
Music That Gets You Higher
Thanks to continued federal cannabis prohibition, studying pot has long been difficult for scientists and universities looking to research weed and its effects. Just like marijuana consumption, the feds haven’t been able to stop all weed research. When it comes to music that gets you higher, or at least songs that make you feel high, German university professor Jorg Fachner is the man to listen to.
In his research paper, “The Space between the Notes: Research on Cannabis and Music Perception,” Fachner hypothesized that marijuana’s ability to slow and expand the perception of time, which is a relatively common concept for anyone who’s got stoned and wondered how a two hour movie felt like a 5 hour epic. This could explain pot users’ extra special experience listening to songs while high.
“When your time perception changes, your focus of attention changes,” Fachner surmized. “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.”
Back in 2002, Fachner performed another study using an electroencephalogram (EEG) machine to measure subjects’ brain waves while they were listening to music, both sober and after smoking weed. At the end of the study, Fachner found that the cannabis listening sessions showed changes in parts of the brain responsible for auditory processing, attentional strategy and spatial processing.
“Results represent an inter-individual constant EEG correlate of altered music perception, hyper-focusing on the musical time-space and cannabis-induced changes on perception of musical acoustics,” Fachner wrote in the conclusion of that study, also noting that “Cannabis might be of help for hearing impaired persons.
Those ideas were backed up in a much older study from 1976. In that research, scientists concluded that cannabis did not improve subjects’ ability to actually hear music but weed did help listeners process what they were hearing.
The Best Songs to Smoke Weed To
So it looks like cannabis can certainly help slow our minds and pay closer attention to music, but are songs about getting high or trippy songs to listen to while high really better at enhancing your cannabis experience?
If you listen to Fachner, it has less to do with the music itself and more to do with the listener. While some may think stoner rap like Cypress Hill, Wiz Khalifa, and Snoop Dogg make the best songs while high, that doesn’t discredit someone else who thinks country tunes from Willie Nelson or heavy metal from Slayer are the best songs to get high to.
“[Marijuana] works like a psycho-acoustic enhancer. That means you are more able to absorb, to focus on something, and to have a bit of a broader spectrum. It doesn’t change the music; it doesn’t change the ear functioning. Obviously it changes the way we perceive ear space in music,” Fachner told Vice in 2016. “It also changes time perception, and if you listen to music, it is a time process, so if you have a different time perception of course you will listen differently to music.”
But with that change in auditory perception and reduced inhibitions, cannabis can certainly make room for closed minded people to enjoy new forms of music that they previously disregarded. If you’ve been stuck on the rap radio station or can’t get out of a country rut, weed might be just what you need to expand your horizons.
With that universal appeal in mind, we put together a list of 15 of our favorite songs to listen to when high. Some are about weed, some are trippy songs to listen to while high, while others have nothing to do with toking, but are simply great songs to listen to high.
Best Songs to Get High To
- Ray Charles – Fever
- Young Dolph feat. Snoop Dogg – I Think I Can Fly
- Sleep – Dopesmoker
- The Prodigy – Out Of Space
- The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part 1
- Outkast – Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik
- The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army
- J Balvin & Bad Bunny – Yo Le Llego
- Van Halen – Runnin’ With The Devil
- Beenie Man – King of the Dancehall
- Sheryl Crow – All I Wanna Do
- Glass Animals – Gooey
- Alt-J – Fitzpleasure
- Sylvan Esso – Coffee
- Cypress Hill – Hits From The Bong
Got a favorite song to listen to while high? Let us know in the comments below!
Peanut butter and jelly, apple pie and vanilla ice cream, Bert and Ernie. Some things are just made for each other. At the top of our dynamic duos list? Marijuana and music. Whether it’s from a stereo in the comfort of your own home, inside headphones while walking down the street or at a packed concert, listening to music is the perfect compleme
We Asked Some Experts Why Weed and Music Go So Well Together
Winding through the crowds of Coachella, Electric Daisy Carnival, or any other summer festival, you’ll inevitably catch a whiff of weed smoke in the air. We may not all have the same taste in music, but we can definitely agree on one thing: smoking pot and listening to tunes is the greatest combination since peanut butter and marshmallows.
Despite plenty of stoner message boards on the internet scribbled with pseudo-science attempting to answer that question, it’s more complicated than you might think. Marijuana has been studied for decades in North America, but continues to be illegal in most places. Like many psychedelic drugs, it has suffered from a social stigma that has affected the potential for research on it.
However, there’s been a growing body of work, drawn from multiple disciplines including psychology, neuroscience, and musicology, that looks at how our brains react to music while on drugs. Just last year, in 2015, a study was published on how LSD affected a listener’s emotional reaction to music.
While there is plenty of anecdotal evidence out there about the link between music and weed, actual research is surprisingly hard to find. Nonetheless, we got together several academics from different fields to find out more.
Dr. Sophie Scott: A British neuroscientist who teaches at University College of London in London, UK.
Dr. Zach Walsh: A professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC.
Dr. Jörg Fachner: A professor of music, health, and the brain at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK.
THUMP: Why do music and marijuana seem to go together so well?
Dr. Zach Walsh: It seems like people love listening to music when they smoke cannabis. Cannabis users will often include increased appreciation of art in general and music specifically. There’s just this deep relationship.
Dr. Sophie Scott: I sometimes wonder if the relationship with marijuana isn’t a happy coincidence in two things that might be activating similar brain areas, but also have been so culturally brought together. There may be more cultural bringing together than neural.
What’s actually happening in the brains of stoned people listening to music?
Dr. Jörg Fachner: [Marijuana] works like a psycho-acoustic enhancer. That means you are more able to absorb, to focus on something, and to have a bit of a broader spectrum. It doesn’t change the music; it doesn’t change the ear functioning. Obviously it changes the way we perceive ear space in music.
It also changes time perception, and if you listen to music, it is a time process, so if you have a different time perception of course you will listen differently to music.
Walsh: [Marijuana] puts you in a relaxed pleasant state, and there you are able to be receptive to music, or to be perhaps in the moment. Cannabis improves all types of things that are related to being present in the moment, as opposed to long term planning and worrying and ordering and organizing.
What parts of the brain are you looking at?
Fachner: In the study that I’ve done with the EEG [electroencephalogram, a machine that measures electrical brain activity], there are changes in the occipital area, which is processing visual; the temporal area, which is processing the auditory; and then in the parietal. These three connections seems to be of benefit for the listener.
Walsh: When you think about psychedelics, their effects are largely on the serotonergic system, whereas cannabis’ effects are very diffuse. Cannabis can facilitate the activity of a bunch of other things—like gamma [waves], which is where you get the relaxation; all the systems that facilitate dopamine, which is why people like it so much. But, when we think about the main effect, a large concentration of cannabinoid receptors are in an area called the hippocampus, which is involved in the formation of memories.
Why is there so little research on this aspect of cannabis?
Scott: Essentially [marijuana and music] are looked at by two totally different groups of people. The people interested in how drugs affect the brain are not interested in music and vice versa. Even if you see similar networks [in the brain] getting activated, I don’t think there’s anybody theorizing about that relationship quite so strongly.
Walsh: We’re looking at major indications, as far as medical use, that are going to have public health implications and alleve suffering. Because of the barriers that there have been to studying cannabis, it was hard enough to be able to do studies that could really help the health and well-being of veterans.
Interviews conducted separately by Gigen Mammoser.
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Investigating the science behind one of the world's best pairings.