Altered States: Music & Cannabis


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Altered States: Music & Cannabis

By Margo Amala

Humans love to shift their states of consciousness. Exploring our consciousness is a driving force behind even simple daily activities such as: drinking coffee, consuming cannabis, having sex, listening to music, doing yoga, exercising or going skiing. While each of these activities elicits a different experience, the underlying drive behind all of them is to alter our state. Music is one of the most ancient and powerful tools we can use to alter our state. Music stands out as one of the most ubiquitous human activities of every known culture in the world dating back 250,000 years or more. Through the study of music and humanity, scientists have found that music coordinates and shifts emotions, helps messages communicate messages, shifts perception, and brings people together. Dancing to music with repetitive drum beats has been used to induce trance states in rituals over the centuries. If you have ever attended an electronic music event, when you step onto the dance floor you can feel your state shifting with the beat.

Music and cannabis have a long and entwined history: from the era of jazz music to the current counter-culture of electronic music, and everywhere in between. Both cannabis and music have deep roots as a social practice. Cannabis use has long been something that brings people together as a ritual around consumption.

Music also binds people together. A recent study conducted by the combined efforts of companies Sonos and Apple with neuroscientist Daniel Levitin gave us statistical proof that one of the primary functions of music is to unite people. First, they polled 30,000 people about what effects they felt music had on their lives. Then they conducted a first time experiment in 30 homes of people around the world. For the first week the people did not listen to any music out loud in their homes. The second week they did listen to music. These homes were set up with Sonos sound systems and Apple devices: they used Apple Watches, iBeacons, and Nest cams to observe what happened. What they found is that when music is playing in homes, it physically brings people closer together. With music playing, people were 33% more likely to cook together, 85% more likely to invite people over, 15% more likely to laugh together, and 18% more likely to say “I love you.” They also found that listening to music out loud resulted in 66% more intimacy between couples. It has been discovered that listening to music out loud increases oxytocin and serotonin – two of the feel good neurochemicals naturally occuring inside our bodies. Further statistics found when listening to music out loud people were 16% more positive, 22% more physically active and 25% more inspired. Now those statistics give us reasons to keep the music playing out loud!

When we consume cannabis it has a vast array of effects, which can span a spectrum from blissful to downright uncomfortable. In order to enhance social experiences with cannabis, a person wants to avoid being uncomfortable after they partake in the cannabis experience. The key to using cannabis to shift your state of consciousness in a way that is euphoric is to find the right dose for your own unique endogenous cannabinoid system. Our endogenous cannabinoid system is largely responsible for signalling and keeping our bodies in homeostasis (or balance). Some people have very sensitive endogenous cannabinoid systems that respond to the slightest dose of cannabis, while others require a larger amount of cannabis for stimulation. It is a good idea to know where you personally stand on the spectrum of sensitivity before jumping into a cannabis session with your friends. While smoking and vaping is a long standing social tradition among cannabis enthusiasts, if you find yourself on the sensitive end of the spectrum for THC, try bringing along a CBD heavy cultivar to the session. Cannabidiol (CBD) helps ground your cannabis experience and actually helps your to lengthen your THC experience. At Urban Farmacy, our menu always has at least five CBD dominant cultivars to select from. If you know you are super sensitive, check out the microdosing blog for tips on using very small amounts of cannabis to achieve subtle shifts in mood.

There are a myriad of ways to consume cannabis. Obviously, smoking and vaping create a social experience due to the customs that surround the act of smoking together. That said, ingesting cannabis edibles or drinks have different effects that enhance physical endeavors like dancing to music or doing yoga. One of my favorite ways to shift consciousness is to take a microdose of a cannabis edible, listen to some of my favorite electronic music and go dancing, or do yoga. This recipe is the sweet spot for me. Music and cannabis are soul mates. This weekend Urban Farmacy will be a sponsor at the Rose City Entertainment Kalya Scintilla & Liquid Bloom show at the Bossanova Ballroom this Saturday May 11th, 2019. To honor the music and cannabis connection: Urban Farmacy is offering 15% off any purchase with your ticket to the show!


The Psychological Functions of Music Listening

Photo by Spencer Imbrock on Unsplash

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