Red Rocks summer season is upon Colorado, a favorite time for locals and tourists alike. Every year around this time, the world-famous music venue opens up to gorgeous Colorado sunsets and some of the biggest names in music. The only thing that can make Red Rocks Amphitheater even better is combining the epic views and incredible acoustics with cannabis.
Cannabis and live music go together like peanut butter and jelly. It’s been a popular combination since at least the American jazz revolution of the early 20th century, when musicians made smoking marihuana seem cool. But despite the long history of cannabis and live music, what do we actually know about the scientific connection between cannabis that makes listening to music so much better?
The History of Cannabis and Live Music
The duo has had a long and rich history together all around the world, but we’ll focus on America’s part in the story.
It was well known in the height of the jazz era that many musicians liked to imbibe in cannabis. In the 1920s and 1930s, jazz musicians were the tastemakers of a generation. The problem was that most of the musicians were black in a time when America’s racism and segregation were still very much in place. Higher powers in the government looked at the jazz revolution, its connection to cannabis, and the powerful influence talented black musicians had on white youth, with trepidation.
The combination made many government officials anxious. World-renowned drug prohibitionist Harry Anslinger said, “Because the chief effect of marijuana as far as jazz musicians were concerned was that it lengthens the sense of time, and therefore they could get more grace beats into their music … In other words, if you’re a musician, you’re going to play the thing the way it’s printed on a sheet. But if you’re using marijuana, you’re going to work in about twice as much music between the first note and the second note. That’s what made jazz musicians. The idea that they could jazz things up, liven them up, you see.”
Anslinger used the connection between jazz and marijuana as a basis to start a “Marijuana and Musicians” file. It was chock full of information on popular American musicians and their criminal records; he later tried to use this file to spark a nationwide crackdown against jazz musicians. In 1949, Anslinger testified in front of congressional committees saying, “I think the traffic increased in marijuana, and unfortunately particularly among the young people. We have been running into a lot of traffic among these jazz musicians, and I am not speaking about the good musicians, but the jazz type.”
So, we know that at least some jazz musicians regularly liked to toke on cannabis before and during their shows. We also know that at least one of the fathers of jazz, Louis Armstrong, was actually booked by police officers for smoking cannabis with his drummer during a break in one of his shows. Now let’s take a look at the science behind the connection between cannabis and music.
The Science Behind Cannabis and Music
If you haven’t dosed up with a cannabis edible, vape pen, or tincture before a concert you are seriously missing out. You’d be hard pressed to find a regular cannabis consumer who hasn’t had at least one near magical experience with pot and music. Whether it’s listening to your favorite album during a smoke session at home or hearing it live, cannabis has a way of enriching the experience in ways that are hard to describe. The spaces between the notes don’t feel empty and the notes themselves seem to resonate even more when under the influence of marijuana.
One study from 2002, published in the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, actually makes a scientific case for the cannabis and music phenomenon that so many “stoners” have been talking about for years. The researcher was interested in exploring previous claims that cannabis speeds up our internal clocks, making actual time feel like its passing slower. The researcher discovered that a 15-second interval of time felt like 16.7 seconds to people under the influence of cannabis. The same study found that people who smoked cannabis before listening to music experienced an uptick in activity in the areas of the brain that are associated with auditory, spatial, and attentional processing.
It is thought that this change in the perception of time is a huge part of why cannabis makes music sound better. That’s because our perception of time affects where humans focus their attention, including their auditory attention. When under the influence of cannabis, music listeners may focus their attention on what the researcher calls “the space between the notes” more than they would when sober. What is empty space to a sober mind is much more lively and robust when under the influence.
Enjoying Cannabis at Red Rocks This Summer
If you want to put cannabis to the music test this summer, there’s no better place to do it in the world than Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Smoking (including vape pens and e-cigarettes) is strictly prohibited in the seated section of the concert venue, but there are designated smoking areas located along the rail of the outside stairs.
If you’re worried about the smoking rules, there are much easier dosing options that will be a little more low key. Try bringing a bit of tincture to mix in a drink while there, or a couple edibles to keep you dosed up through the entire concert.
No matter what consumption method you go with, you know that Buddy Boy Brands will have the products you need in stock. Stop into one of our many locations and let us know what concert you’re planning to see. Our budtenders will have a fun time matching you up with the perfect product for the vibe!