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6 of the Best Songs to Listen to When High

You’ve probably noticed how incredible your favorite music sounds when you’re high. No, it’s not just a high thought; you’re not imagining it. When we enjoy our favorite leafy green, various factors combine to make the experience of listening to music feel more intense and pleasurable than ordinary listening does.

Cannabis and music go hand-in-hand—and not just as an experiential phenomenon. There’s no shortage of songs about getting high, and cannabis is deeply rooted in many musical movements.

Keep reading to learn more about the surprising science behind what makes music and cannabis such potent partners, and stick around for a curated list of some of the best songs to listen to while high.

Ready? Let’s get this party rolling!

Why Does Music Sound So Good When You’re High?

It doesn’t matter what you listen to: Old-school Hip Hop, Bro-country, Classical or Death Metal. If you love cannabis and you love music, it’s going to sound better when you’re high. A lot better. What’s the deal?

As it turns out, cannabis exerts a wide range of effects on our bodies and brains, changing how we perceive not only music but the passage of time itself. Here’s what the research of the past few years has revealed about this powerful phenomenon.

Cannabis and Dopamine

Dopamine is a critical neurotransmitter, a signaling molecule that relays messages from one nerve cell to the next. And as it’s tasked with helping enhance feelings of pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation, it makes sense that it’d be affected by cannabis. In fact, research shows a significant link between the endocannabinoid system—the crucial bodily network that connects THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids to our bodies—and dopamine.

When we ingest cannabis, dopamine levels tend to increase. If we then interact with something already pleasurable—be it music, dancing, sex, or food, just to name a few—it’s just going to feel better than it normally would. Under these circumstances, good songs can become great, and great ones life-changing.

Cannabis and Sound

As studies are making clear, the endocannabinoid system is involved in auditory processing. As far back as 1972, research suggests that cannabis enhances our ability to hear certain frequencies, as well as making them more pleasurable to hear.

a man listening to his headphone

What’s more, the research suggested that those under the influence had a greater ability to decipher words within music, fostering a deeper sense of connection with the lyrics. In other words, cannabis doesn’t just make everything feel better; it really does take us deeper inside the music with enhanced perception. Which, come to think of it, makes it sound kind of like a superpower!

It’s All About Time

Do ordinary things like boiling water or getting dressed seem to take forever when you’re high? For some time now, researchers have known that THC—the principal cannabinoid and the one responsible for the psychoactive high—changes our perception of time. And seeing that music—regardless of whether it’s an ambient drone or high-BPM EDM—is all about time and rhythm, it’s no great surprise that cannabis has a very marked effect on how we perceive it.

Because being high tends to slow down the perception of time, it feels like we’re perceiving each and every beat in greater detail and depth. Some listeners liken the effect to synesthesia—the “blurring” of different types of sensory information—a theory that has been at least partly borne out by fMRI imaging.

Forging Connections

Remember how we wrote that cannabis allows listeners to pick out lyrics with greater precision? That characteristic—combined with the fact that they tend to be perceived as more emotionally pleasing or resonant—combines to help forge the perception of a deeper bond between artist and listener. As Daniel J. Levitin, Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience at McGill University, writes:

“Music combined with marijuana tends to produce feelings of euphoria and connectedness to the music and the musicians. They live for each note, completely in the moment.”

Frankly, that sounds pretty great to us! And speaking of which, that’s a great cue to switch gears and move into a list of songs to enhance your high.

Six of the Best Songs to Enhance Your High: A Curated List

No two people are exactly alike—and come to think of it, no two strains are exactly alike, either. That said, the music on this list has been chosen as some of the best high songs of all time. Even if it’s one you’ve never heard before, we invite you to relax, put on your headphones, and enjoy.

1. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Remix)” by The Beatles

Yeah, yeah, you’ve likely heard this band (and this song) thousands of times before. But trust us: Not like this. Giles Martin—the son of original Beatles producer George Martin—completely disassembled the album, remixing it from the original source tapes using technology the band could only have dreamt of when it was recorded in 1967. The result is a stunning sonic experience, bringing crispness and punch while staying true to the original.

Strain pairing: Super Boof from Vireo. Strong relaxing effects, euphoria and focus? Yes, please! Just the thing to help you fall into the music and tag along for the ride.

2. “Sativa” by Jhené Aiko & Swae Lee

Come on. There was no way we were gonna leave this slow-burner off the list. Seductive, downtempo and gooey, it’s a great track to spin at the end of a work day to change up the mood, especially when guest vocalist Swae Lee, described by some as “the songbird of a generation,” kicks his verse into gear.

Strain pairing: Strawberry Cough from 1937. Sweet, skunky, and notorious for a head-expanding rush, this sativa might be just the thing to kick off your night.

3. “Still Don’t Know My Name” by Labrinth

The brainchild of English rapper and producer Timothy Lee McKenzie, Labrinth bridges R & B, Soul, Funk and Rock in unbelievably mind-bending ways. This track—from the hit American adaptation of Euphoria, featuring Zendaya as troubled addict Rue Bennett—hits all the marks. It’s deep, haunting, trippy and catchy, all in the same breath.

Strain pairing: Gary Payton from Vireo. Potent, award-winning, and flavorful, this hybrid strain hits all the marks and then some.

4. “The Less I Know the Better” by Tame Impala

No surprise that Tame Impala began as a psych-rock recording project. Though the group’s sound has morphed into an artful but danceable pop, the hazy, wavy throughlines are always crystal clear.

Strain pairing: Chesapeake Haze by 1937. While its sativa-leaning lineage suggests danceable energy, the indica side of this powerhouse hybrid strain keeps you grounded and groovy.

5. “Hits From the Bong” by Cypress Hill

Another track we just had to include? Sure. But face the facts: “Hits” is a stone(d) cold classic, blending everything from Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man” to DJ Muggs’ trademark touch of thumping psychedelia. If you’re getting ready to hit the town on a Saturday night, there’s hardly a better soundtrack….

Strain pairing: Duct Tape by 1937. With a whopping 30.1% THC level, this hard-hitting indica is the perfect complement to Cypress Hill’s bass-heavy wallop. You’ll be feeling no pain in no time.

6. “Vertigo” by Nick Hakim

An interloper between indie-pop, R&B, Soul, and Psychedelic, Hakim continues to grow and amaze with luscious, thick, and evocative tracks like the above cut from 2022’s COMETA. Collaborations with Erykah Badu, Onyx Collective and others have boosted his profile in the last years, but for the moment at least, it’s possible to catch this rising indie star in intimate venues (or the comfort of your own earbuds).

Strain pairing: KDOG Fruit from Vireo. First comes the rush of tart citrus and pineapple aromas; then the bomb-like waves of deep relaxation washing over you tell you this isn’t a strain for beginners. Take it easy, slip on the headphones, and you’re good to go.

Enhance Your High With Green Goods

As we’ve explored, it’s no accident that being high has a profound effect on the experience of listening to music. From increasing our dopamine levels to expanding our sonic perceptions and altering our experience of time, the science around music and cannabis is clear: they go better together.

Ready to queue up our playlist and enhance your high? We can help! As a family or dispensaries serving Maryland and Minnesota, we’re excited to connect you with great cannabis, friendly customer service, and useful information that helps enhance not only your high but your overall appreciation for this great plant. Shop online or in person today.

If you have any other questions about songs to listen to while high, the best ways to enjoy cannabis—or any other cannabis-related topics—just drop us a line anytime. We’re always here to help!