Does CBD Have an effect on the Manner We Understand Music?

It’s no secret that music and cannabis have a very friendly relationship. They just go together. The two have always been inextricably linked throughout American music history, from blues and jazz to rock-n-roll, soul, funk, R&B, disco, hip-hop and electronics.

Everyone has their own way of feeling better after a long day: taking long walks, doing yoga, Netflix marathons – there are many options, but listening to music is always high on the list. Music is romanticized as a panacea for all ills.

While this is literally incorrect, music can convey human experiences and emotions in ways that words simply cannot. That’s why we all have a playlist when we’re sad. Listening to music is not just relaxing. It is a deeply cathartic activity.

While getting high and turning up some tunes may be a stoner stereotype, the astute cannabis enthusiast cannot help but notice that there is something special about the way we perceive music when we are high. And researchers have also examined this dynamic. After all, the effect of cannabis on auditory perception is one of the most defining features.

In the 1970s, a study discovered that marijuana improved our ability to hear sounds in the highest human hearing range, around 6000 Hz. Not only were participants able to hear these sounds better, but they also reported that they enjoyed hearing them more.

THC, one of the most important cannabinoids in cannabis, is known to activate the pleasure centers in our brain while disrupting short-term memory. Since short-term memory is disturbed, the listener is completely absorbed in the present as the music unfolds note by note.

Your brain no longer automatically clings to the notes you are playing, looking for patterns to predict which sounds will be played next. You just record the music and enjoy it. Many have described the experience as feeling like time has stopped. It’s just you and the music, and you live for every note.
But what about CBD? CBD started out as the newest craze in the wellness industry and is ubiquitous now. Everyone has heard about it, and the list of health benefits is getting longer.

CBD oil, also known as cannabidiol, is a natural compound extracted from the hemp plant. Hemp is also a cannabis strain, but it contains less than 0.3% THC, which means it doesn’t cause the same euphoric high that we can expect from THC. And how does CBD affect the way we perceive music in this case?

CBD, THC and music

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is a psychotropic cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. The effects can vary from person to person, but most people who have experienced them report an altered state of consciousness and an increased awareness of their surroundings. Most agree that this makes you more sensitive to certain stimuli.

Music has also been shown to affect brain chemistry, including mood, emotions, memory, and behavior. So we can think of music as a collection of sounds organized in a particular pattern with an observable, psychoactive effect. As a result, the increased awareness associated with cannabis use can enhance our musical experience.

If you don’t want the “high” THC levels, there is still a cannabis-based solution that can help you sit back, relax, and enjoy music a little more than usual – CBD.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is another cannabinoid that is known to reduce stress and help people relax. Nowadays you can find it in a variety of products like tinctures, oils, edibles, softgels, or even as nugs and vapes like organic CBD nugs. It goes very well with music too. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many scientific studies that investigate this interaction.

Professor Valerie Curran, director of the UCL Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, led a study that looked at the interplay between music and two types of cannabis: Skunk, which has a high concentration of THC (around 13%) and almost no CBD, and hashish, which has a lower THC concentration (approx. 6.5%) but significantly more CBD (approx. 8%).

On three different days, each of the 21 participants went to the laboratory, where they inhaled the placebo, high-potency or low-potency cannabis, which had been vaporized into a balloon. The group inhaling the low-potency cannabis was given double the amount to keep the dose of THC at around 5 mg for both groups not inhaling placebo.

After the inhalation, participants from all three groups were asked to complete a series of tasks, some of which were performed in an MRI scanner.

When participants listened to music they liked, the results showed that both types of cannabis improved brain activity dramatically. Compared to placebo, the desire to listen to music increased by 55%. On the other hand, the cannabis with a higher concentration of THC impaired connectivity in the brain’s salience network, which is said to help motivate people to turn ideas into action. These differences could explain why those who used highly potent cannabis performed worse on a motivational test where they had to decide whether to try harder in exchange for bigger rewards.

Participants given low potency cannabis reported better sound perception than those given high potency cannabis or a placebo. When shown photos to memorize, they showed greater brain activation in the visual cortex compared to placebo and made fewer mistakes in retrieving these photos compared to the highly potent cannabis group.

It was also found that blood pressure varied depending on the type used. The placebo group had a mean diastolic blood pressure of 70, while the low potency group had 74 and the high potency group had 79.

The researchers believe that through the results of this study, they confirmed that CBD helps offset some of the adverse effects of THC.
Anecdotally, people who use CBD products and have tried observing their effects while listening to music report that this has become their preferred form of relaxation as it is easier to immerse themselves in the music. They feel that they are more responsive to the music and the music in turn increases the relaxing effects of the CBD products.

Likewise, those who use CBD products to increase focus reported that when combined with the right music they had a noticeably positive effect and made them more productive.