Music and weed – they are an amazing match! It’s no secret that many musicians, both now and back in the day, use marijuana. The legendary ‘Summer of Love’ wouldn’t have existed without it! Marijuana was synonymous with jazz music, and plays an underlying part in many of the great pieces from the golden age of jazz. But drug use and musicians go back way further than that, so let’s see what we can find out.
Musicians and Weed
Although they didn’t have access to a weed pen – an essential and affordable device if you want to enjoy your cannabis safely and easily – the great classical composers of old were not immune to using drugs, even way back then. In fact, the availability of drugs even we would consider dangerous now was widespread in centuries gone by.
The great Wolfgang Mozart, for example, was a heavy drinker and may have smoked more than tobacco. Hector Berlioz, an innovator in music in no small way, was into opium, a popular drug of the time, as was Chopin, regarded by many as one of the finest of all tunesmiths.
Latter day composers such as Terry Riley, a master of minimalist music in the mid-20th century, used marijuana and LSD to help boost creativity. Robert Schumann took ‘mind altering drugs’ and is known to have quinine.
Move into the realms of rock music and the 1960’s and we see the beginnings of the marijuana revolution in music. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones – two of the biggest bands both then and now – each had their run-ins with the law and were not afraid to admit to taking drugs including cannabis. Lennon’s famous ‘A Day in the Life’ – the epic that closes the drug-fuelled ‘Sgt Pepper’s’ album – includes the line ‘found my way upstairs and had a smoke’ – a direct reference to smoking weed on the bus!
So what is it about marijuana that helps musicians get their vibe? What is the link between marijuana and creativity not just in music, but in the arts in general.
Why Marijuana Helps Creativity
We’ve mentioned just some famous musicians who use weed above but in truth we could go on and list many, many more from the 1960’s right through to the present day. Now that marijuana is being legalised in many states of the USA – and has been decriminalised in many more – it is no surprise that musicians are more open about their use of cannabis, and how it helps the creative process.
For many people, the best explanation is that cannabis ‘opens the mind’. It seems to open doors that lead to greater creativity and experimentation, an ability to see beyond our normal limits and create music or write words that come more easily. Cannabis is used by many musicians as an inspiration as well as to relax and enjoy the moment. That the two go together is no surprise when we consider that science has decreed music as a sort of drug of its own, something that stimulates certain hormone production in the body, giving us a feeling that is beyond that we consider normal.
Music and weed, a perfect combination? In the right amounts most certainly, but overdoing it can lead to a messy composition! It cannot be coincidence that so many musicians across so many genres – from jazz to hip-hop, rock to country and more – all feature famous stars who are not averse to a bit of the old weed! It’s been there, helping us get creative, for a long time now and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere fast!