Cannabis & Music

The Effects on The Brain and The Body

Photo Credit: Daily Trojan

Cannabis and Music, two of my most favorite things in the world. The feeling that comes over my mind, body, and soul when I consume Cannabis is equally satisfying as when I hear my favorite song or band play – just in a different way. Cannabis and music helps heal and cope; I use them daily to help with my debilitating anxiety. They keep me motivated and keep me focused.

Few studies have documented the effects that Cannabis users seek. The extremely limited evidence that points in a positive direction came about during studies of Cannabis related dangers. In this article, I will share findings from The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology wherein they detailed results found across three sessions, with sixteen Cannabis users.

In this study, they analyzed music-evoked reward and emotion after their subjects had inhaled Cannabis with cannabidiol (CBD), Cannabis without cannabidiol, and a placebo.

Just as A Reminder

The main psychoactive component of Cannabis is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). It produces individual effects such as feeling “stoned” and can impair memory. Certain types of Cannabis also contain cannabidiol (CBD), which can have opposite effects of THC. CBD has also been found to offset any harmful effects of THC.

Brain Circuitry Between Drug and Nondrug Rewards

The regions of the brain comprising the “reward system” use the neurotransmitter dopamine to communicate. Music enlists key regions in the reward network while Cannabis is reported to increase appreciation of music. These reward-related brain regions are characterized by a high density of Cannabinoid Type-1 Receptors – CB1Rs.

THC is an agonist of CB1Rs and may influence response to music. THC causes increased dopamine releases – enhancing the experience of music. This explains why we all love going to a concert and sparking up a joint while we listen!

Cannabis (Without CBD) Dampens the Effects of Music in Brain Regions Sensitive to Reward and Emotion

Cannabis decreased response to music in several brain regions linked to reward and emotion. These effects were counterbalanced by a key Cannabis component, cannabidol (CBD). Compared with a placebo, Cannabis without cannabidiol dampened response to music in three areas of the brain.  Functional connectivity in other areas increased with use of Cannabis with cannabidiol. Results did not differ with a placebo on any measures.

In all sessions, the effects of music in the ventral striatal region correlated pleasure ratings and increased functional connectivity with the auditory cortex, supported its involvement in music reward. Basically, both types of Cannabis increased ratings of wanting to listen to music and enhanced sound perception, just in different parts of the brain. On top of that, CBD may even increase your pleasure!

The Impact of Music Therapy and Cannabis on Mental Health

Depression is highly prevalent and associated with an impaired quality of life and an increased mortality rate. Research shows the many healing benefits of music therapy for various mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety.

Music acts as a calming agent, the same as Cannabis. THC appears to decrease anxiety at lower doses as CBD appears to decrease anxiety at all doses. A Washington State University study has examined how Cannabis combats stress, anxiety, and depression.

The team found that Cannabis – high in CBD and low in THC – was optimal for reducing symptoms of depression. Any type of Cannabis was found to reduce symptoms of anxiety, while Cannabis – high in CBD and high in THC – produced the largest reductions in stress.


Although I thoroughly enjoyed all the research for this write up, I already knew what the conclusion would be. Music and Cannabis are good for you! They heal you and feed your mind, body, and soul what they need (in my opinion and in the opinion of some)! I will advocate for both until my dying day! I cannot live without either one and will continue to educate and advocate!

Cannabis + Music = Healthy

Written by: Nicole Stover AKA “Canna PinUp”

Edited by: Veronica Castillo

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