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By Ren Anderson
Many popular artists credit marijuana for their musical inspiration, from the ancestral anthems of Bob Marley, Jerry Garcia, and Jimi Hendricks to more modern acts including Rihanna, Placebo, and Die Antwoord, all dedicate and thank cannabis for aiding them all in their creative process.
this article will show you how you can use the calming effects of both to help your mental well-being.
Music has an uncanny ability to trigger memories, both positive and negative. Create playlists that bring up your mood. Some days, we all need a good wallow in past regrets, sure; but also, it is within our power to make dedicated choices in all areas of our lives. Choosing music that inspires you to push through and/or counteracts your current stressors is good for your heart, according to this article on inc.com.
From experience, cannabis used to treat other ailments such as chronic pain and anxiety seems to largely produce the unintended, yet pleasant side effect of greater musical appreciation; this can be evidenced by the amount of artists' who have catered to the 420-positive community during both the decades of unconstitutional prohibition as well this time of greater freedom to both self-medicate as well as enjoy cannabis products recreationally in many places.
If you have yet to break through a creative block by pairing your cannabis to your music-you are in for a treat.
Related article: Best Marijuana Quotes by Successful People
For Listening to music, you cannot go wrong with a mellow Indica or Indica heavy hybrid such as the following:
Northern Lights: This classic strain is like the Jack Herer of Sativa’s in that it remains the progenitor of several other equally famous strains (namely, anything named “skunk” comes from this strain!) This mellow, painkilling bud is great for insomnia, pain, and anxiety making it perfect for listening to gentle atmospheric music right before sleep. The musical equivalent of this strain would be “Take on Me” By A-ha. It’s likely been around since the 1980’s and it’s that strain that is so familiar and yet you can’t quite name half the time; Also, generally associated with Scandinavians, this remains the ultimate nostalgia flower.
Blueberry: One of the most common and favorited Indica strains- this sweet tasting bud with the characteristic euphoric high for an Indica has been popular since it won the Cannabis Cup. This strain is easy to find and very reliable in quality. A sort of Die Antwoord of weed: “Baby’s on Fire” …always.
Related article: 7 Tips for first time smoking weed, how to inhale, and more
Grape Ape: This strain is a real heavy hitter for the skunk line- far stronger in my experience than Northern Lights, this heavy, crowd pleasing purple bud will have you listening to Snoop Dog’s “Drop it Like it’s Hot” on repeat for two and a half hours.
God’s Gift: If this strain were a song, it would be “The Pyramid Song” by Radiohead. Why? Because you hear its name so rarely outside of California that it has been used as rare as a Radiohead song being played that is not either “Creep” or “Karma Police” . They call it “God’s Gift”, I think, because it is rarely found East of the Mississippi- and when you do find it- you feel blessed. I can’t really separate this strain from “The Devil Goes Down to Georgia”, either honestly. But, then again me, that song, and this strain all have shared history on my old friend’s back porch.
Girl Scout Cookies:Now for the exact opposite in availability- the omnipresent Girl Scout Cookies: grandmother to every strain of related name from Dos-i-Dos to Samoa’s, this sturdy Indica is great on its own or simply listed as part of the lineage of your local dispensary variety of this strain. “I got Girl Scout Cookies” is pretty much accepted in common nomenclature as the archaic, Gen-X callsign of weed sign for well over a decade. This is one of those strains, like anything called “purps”, that is so omnipresent that it allegedly remains popular in the black and gray markets as well as via legal dispensary. The high is bright, social, and anti-nausea- pretty much the Britney Spears of weed. Popular for a reason, but occasionally not particularly stable in quality and varying in species from dispensary to dispensary. It’s a common name, I think, more for a genre than a specific hybrid cross - despite the description on leafly.com.
After a decent smoke session, you can learn a great deal about yourself by really spending time on a good playlist. Here is a link to the playlists I create; they are a small snapshot of songs that make me feel emotions more clearly or remind me of the zeitgeist of various times of my past.
I believe every life has its own soundtrack, yours included… so let's look at creating a playlist:
Pick a day off where you have little distraction as possible, also, pick a different a day with a great deal of stress.
Notice the songs you feel the most drawn to on each day.
On your low stress day, create a playlist of songs that help you appreciate your relaxed state.
On your day of high stress, create a separate playlist of the songs that inspire you.
Related article: How to choose marijuana strains - Marijuana strain guide
Now on your lazy days- you have a list that gets your blood moving and on days of high stress you have a set of songs that will chill you out and bring your stress level down to reasonable levels.
Now then- when needing inspiration you may find you are best served with more of the heavy Sativa strains to help motivate you. Indica’s are generally thought to be calming and more sedative.
By using cannabis and music together we now have the tools we need to overcome many more psychological barriers than ever before. Let’s look at some benefits:
Music and cannabis combined can help us relive the best and most triumphant moments of our lives. Remembering times of hope and camaraderie protect us against depression and inactivity.
The positive effects of music on human physiology are outstanding, according to USA Today the benefits of music are numerous, including such effects as reducing anxiety, promoting concentration, increasing blood flow to the brain, and better, more restful sleep. This article suggests that THC increases our appreciation for music and activates several regions of the brain that help with concentration.
Cannabis therapies have also proven to be beneficial to foster a sense of wellbeing and relaxation, when combined with music this effect greatly increases.
Related article: THC and CBD, and the Entourage Effect!
You undoubtedly already have spent your entire life developing your taste in music, and that’s fantastic! I am really excited to see the comments on what music you like to listen to when you are enjoying some fine cannabis products in this new period of freedom to smoke, vape, and enjoy this marvelous plant in better and greater ways than ever before.
The great news is cannabis culture has also provided us with a history of great artists, soundtracks, and even entire genres which can enhance your experience even further. By no means is this a complete list- but I want to introduce you to my top five artists, soundtracks, and Genres to listen to while stoned:
Thom Yorke (Radiohead) is an undisputed genius who created such unique and captivating music in every single album- going on to inspire artists of all formats to create Radiohead-song inspired works. Also- if you are one of the lucky individuals with synaesthesia (can see sound as color) Radiohead creates an almost unparalleled visual experience as well. If you are looking for a less depressing experience, try the band Muse. Darker? Placebo. The Radiohead family of bands is larger by the day. Regardless, just close your eyes and listen.
Maynard James Keenan (Tool/A Perfect CIrcle/Puscifer) - I said Thom York is almost unparalleled, Maynard James Keenan consistently creates beautiful music that remains complex yet soothing. I feel that Maynard is the Carlos Castaneda of Music: Perfectly fine on it’s own… but if you have weed, why wouldn’t you want to appreciate it stoned? My recommendation is getting “Lateralus” and “Eat the Elephant” and having a smoke session with a friend deep into Philosophy.
Keith Kenniff (Goldmund) - This electronic artist is one of those random gems that came up as “suggested” when I hit the “find music” button. I don’t think lightening often strikes twice, so I feel responsible to share this awesome artist with you! For a good time, put the album “Branches” in your list and make sure to listen to “Immersion” and “Grace” after enjoying the edible of your choice. The best part about his work is it seems to be entirely instrumental, so great for concentration.
Rihanna - Not only is her music absolutely fantastic, but it seems she is also a vocal pro-cannabis activist as well. Rihanna has the unusual quality of being both inspirational and bittersweet in her lyrics. The album “Unapologetic” is definately my go to for self-care. Combine the album “Anti” with some kush, a hot bath with a CBD bath bomb, and enjoy the song “Higher” until you can’t get any higher yourself.
Beck - Despite winning multiple awards, having multiple hit songs, and career spanning decades: his music often seems to slip through the cracks of people’s minds. Outside of “E-Pro” and “Loser”, there is an entire Beck universe of delicious melodies to round out any smoking experience,...further, the lyrics do not make sense off of cannabis. I highly advocate playing “Mellow Gold” at parties and “Mutations” through your headphones. “Mutations” and prescription edibles has gotten me through several incredibly boring train rides and very long flights.
Yolandi Visser (Die Antwoord) - There is something about Yolandi fronted songs of Die Antwoord; it is impossible to maintain a negative mood with a good, strong sativa vape pen, some “I Fink U Freeky” loud on your speakers while cleaning the house. If you are ever fortunate enough to see them in concert, do so. The place was not just loud in the musical sense; that smoke machine was somehow sharing a great Skunk with the audience. Die Antwoord are also outspoken South African cannabis activists: respect.
“Music From the Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby” - I am a huge fan of Lana Del Rey and Sia, and this compilation has a great song of each, in addition to some great early-century moments. This is a totally wake and bake soundtrack with both slow, sleepy tunes, and some upbeat swing. Enjoy it with your morning bowl of the Sativa of your choice.
“The Crow Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” - This is the ultimate combination of goth rock and grunge with the absolute best the 1990’s had to offer. Nine Inch Nails, Stone Temple Pilots, Rage Against the Machine this album is just a little slice of your cool older brother’s music collection- play smoking out of a homemade apple pipe wearing full Hot Topic regalia.
“Xanadu” - There is something classy and retro about the combination of Olivia Newton John and ELO. Also, everyone needs an album you can smoke with cool aunt with over afternoon coffee. This album is totally chill, and the movie is also a destination event when you are recovering from surgery and really need to heavily medicate.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” (The Original Soundtrack) - The soundtrack of this movie will wear well, it is already comprised of some of the best Queen songs of their decades long catalogue. The great thing about this soundtrack is that since it is so new it has a wide range of appeal to most generations. This is an album you can share with your parents as they tell you how they would never have conceived of smoking openly with their family as we have the freedom to do now. The enthusiasm is infectious and the songs are fairly familiar and easy to turn into an impromptu sing-along passing that bubbler to friends of all ages.
“Lord of the Rings” - Any of these are a fine choice for quiet atmosphere or sleeping. I like to load up a small bowl and cover it in kief before bed some nights, playing the complete Lord of the Rings soundtrack, and dreaming of being a flawless and immortal elf on Middle Earth has yet to cause any negative side effects. You will wake up well rested and ready to roll out of the early the next morning to pop some CBD and head to the gym afterwards.
“Twin Peaks” (Music from the limited event series) I am a huge Twin Peaks fan, and the only thing better than watching Twin Peaks stoned off your ass is listening to the Twin Peaks soundtrack with a friend staring at the stars at night and coming up with new theories about Mereological Nihilism, the existence of time, and swearing you will both join the FBI as soon as they lift their restriction on those of us who medicate with cannabis instead of alcohol (which is not prohibited at present).
Classical music - I have a soft spot for listening to Vivaldi, the Four Seasons paired with a heavy Indica strain. Among classical musicians, cannabis therapy is increasingly accepted; as early as 2014, the Colorado Symphony made headlines playing a concert in dedication to cannabis culture. Classical has such variety in that there are literally hundreds of years worth of composers and orchestras to choose from for your listening pleasure. Wagner, Greig, Mozart, Beethoven all the way to Philip Glass and John Williams are all excellent choices for work or study paired with a thoughtful hybrid.
Ambient/Techno/EDM - Which of these you choose is your preference in tempo. I prefer to sleep to Dark Ambient, but others prefer more upbeat electronica. The Prodigy, Aphex Twin, Enya, Chemical Brothers, Skrillex and Moby all fit into this category as well as every youtube video of 8 hours of sleep music or anything with the label of “Binaural Beats” with a vague melody. The repetition is meant to be soothing or let out excess tension either upbeat or down tempo- there is no wrong way to enjoy synth music and cannabis together… but I prefer dabbing.
Rap and R&B - Some of the greatest pro-cannabis anthems come from these genres of music, as well as some of the most familiar. Although the heavier, old school rap of NWA and Tupac is not appealing to everyone- there is also Eminem, Snoop Dogg, John Legend, and the Black Eyed Peas which hold a less controversial mass appeal with all the same pro-cannabis representation. Enjoy with a huge philly blunt or steamroller of your favorite purple kush.
Folk and Country - Folk singers such as Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Merle Haggard are popular southern favorites, and arguably, A summer night with good friends sharing a pack of pre-rolled joints or blunts around a bonfire listening to this the stuff great memories are made of.
Rock, Pop, and Alternative - Everything from The Beatles to The Foo FIghers to Adele, to Panic! At the Disco can be found is this category. These are the songs of Karaoke nights of future/past and rock band jam sessions. At home I currently listen to this great band from Germany called “Oomph!” for some passive language study. I find cannabis makes you more receptive to learning other languages; especially hybrid strains..and when combined with goth-rock Deutschlanders in guyliner there are no drawbacks.
Anyway. Listen to what moves you to tears or what “doesn’t remind you of anything” if that sort of thing is healthier. The point is to be functional and the music you choose while medicating sets the mood and tone of your experience and how you utilize your time while medicated.
That leads to the advantage of being high, listening to good music, and writing- being on cannabis makes this process an absolute delight! A tedious task is turned into a miracle of being able to communicate thoughts via the written word- and not only that, give you the soundtrack to my life as I write it. That’s amazing, and uber difficult to appreciate, at least for me, without the help of cannabis.
Ren Anderson lives in Reading, Pennsylvania. She holds two BA degrees from Moravian college. She both serves as a member of the board of directors and violist for the Reading Philharmonic Orchestra; she has also served for over ten years as a crisis and grief chaplain for the international Heathen and pagan communities while recovering from clinical agoraphobia and PTSD from long term trauma. She was both a study patient and strain tester for medical cannabis for use in PTSD and CPTSD treatments. Her etsy shop for her tie dye may be found on Ren's Instagram and/or Etsy. She lives with her husband, Edward, and her myriad of rescue animals. Email: email@example.com.