How Cannabis Can Help Us Appreciate Art

By Maya Novikov

Going to a museum high is one of my favorite activities when I have at least half of a day to myself. I’ve been doing this for years. It has even changed my career path and my life priorities — for better and happier.

I discovered art in the age of 21. I mean, I did know the things every person should know about art, but I never enjoyed it, and I never wanted to study further. One morning, my friend suggested going to an exhibition of Amedeo Modigliani pictures that was held in the biggest fine art museum of our city. For some reason, we decided to smoke before. In fact, having some good weed was a reason enough for a couple of college kids.

We managed to skip an hour-long wait to enter the museum and began observing. Most of the pictures were portraits in Modigliani’s unique manner. Clothed figures, heads, nudes. Anna Akhmatova, the key figure in Russian ’Silver Age’ of poetry, painted by Amedeo Modigliani. A fragile boy, who looked like a girl to us. And just then, I gained a fantastic ability to see everything in the world as if it was painted by Modigliani, with his lines, his brushstrokes, his color palette, his textures.

I wanted more art. In the next few months, I visited museums many times, high and sober. I wanted to know more, and I started reading about art. Next step was pursuing a second BS degree — in cultural studies. We studied history, history of literature, art history, history of philosophical studies, history of religion and many other disciplines. The best part of it: going to art museums was recommended. I even had a student discount everywhere.

I worked full-time as a news editor, but I also had to write essays and course papers, to take tests and read hundreds of books. I don’t really understand how I could still smoke marijuana and play video games, but I was doing it all, and it felt great.

Why do I need to tell the story of my life? Because I’m not alone. Many people admit that one lucky cannabis experience helped them appreciate something that’s now important and meaningful for them, be it fine art, arthouse movies, music, nature walks, gardening, culinary, or paper cutting. Marijuana enhances our ability to perceive colors and sounds, it helps us concentrate and brings out an explorer in us — if we stick to sativa-dominant strains. 

I’d like to finish my story with several suggestions for those who decide to try visiting an art museum this weekend:

  1. As I’ve mentioned before, stick to sativa-dominant strains. You don’t want to be sleepy or just too stoned.
  2. Choose a relatively small exhibit. Wandering around a giant museum without a plan or purpose is nice, but doesn’t bring you any closer to understanding art.
  3. Download an audio guide beforehand, if it’s available in your place of choice. Again, it will help you remember why you’re here.
  4. Take notes and re-work them into a diary entry at home in order to preserve your memories. For inspiration, take a look at some museum trip reports available online.
  5. Don’t overdo it. Moderation is the key.

As for my own plans for the weekend, I’m going to roll a couple of joints and begin my journey into the world of classical music.



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