Cannabusiness: Marijuana growers play music for their plants, and no — it’s not all Bob Marley

By on January 24, 2018

It wasn’t until I noticed the bluetooth speaker high up on the wall that I realized that the music was a part of the grow, not just background music for work. (PHOTO: Cory Garcia)

Music is emotion. It’s a perfectly written lyric that brings tears to your eyes. It’s a guitar solo so powerful the hair stands up on the back of your neck. It’s the beat that hits you so hard that you feel like your mind is exploding. The best music, your favorite music, it reaches inside you and makes things happen. It’s outside of your control, but if music is your first love, there’s no rush better. I don’t pity people those who don’t love music, because I don’t need my passion to be everyone’s passion, but I have trouble imagining what a life where the only function music served was background noise.

But music is also concrete. It’s math and science. It’s experiments and peer reviews and journal submissions. A lot of time, energy and money has been spent exploring why music does what it does, how it does it and the important role it plays in our lives.

Then there’s the plant thing.

A simple Google search will reveal that many, many words have been written on the subject of music and plants, and whether the former can affect the latter, and it’s interesting stuff. You probably know at least one kid who used it as the basis of a project in your local science fair.

Now, I’m going to be honest with you: science is supremely not my thing. Anything more complicated than “clouds get heavy and then it rains” just makes my eyes glaze over. What I’m saying is that there’s a world of research out there, and if you think the guy who was making jokes about John Fogerty song titles seven days ago is smart enough to have taught himself musical botany since we last spoke you must be out of your goddamn mind. I can, however, tell you this: people don’t have to understand the science behind playing music for your plants to do it. It’s like anything else: someone tells you something worked for them so you do it yourself because if it did work for them it’ll have to work for you.

All of this has built to the follow question, based on something I learned this week: Did you know that marijuana growers play music for their plants?

There I was on an ordinary Friday morning, surrounded by marijuana plants, watching a grow team make the first harvest for a medical marijuana company. As you can imagine, the mood was upbeat and celebratory, which is why it didn’t strike me as odd at first that there was music playing in the grow room. It wasn’t until I noticed the bluetooth speaker high up on the wall that I realized that the music was a part of the grow, not just background music for work.

Now curious, I asked one of the guys on the grow team what music the plants enjoyed the most. He told me, more seriously than you’d guess for a guy harvesting marijuana plants, that different growers have different feelings on the subject. Some people pump in classical music while others go the hip-hop route; in this grow room the important thing was that there was music, no matter what the style. Then he kind of trailed off the way you do when you don’t want to tell someone that they just asked a stupid question.

I’ll be honest: I liked his style. The idea of playing classical music for pot plants seems a bit too try hard for my tastes. The idea of playing hip-hop music for pot plants, especially when you consider that most growers are white, seemed too on the nose at best, too problematic at worst. In fact, as I went down the list of various styles of music in my brain, I’m going to be honest: none of them really stood out as better than the other when it came to the subject of pot growth.

This makes sense, because while the subject of how music affects plants still has a lot of room for study, we have plenty of evidence on the effect of pot on music, and the results are pretty obvious: smoking pot does not make you a musical genius. There are cool musicians who smoke pot and their are garbage musicians who smoke pot. The effect of pot on music is probably vastly overstated, with one exception: it’s the only thing that can explain why there are multiple, terrible white boy reggae bands out there, and white boy reggae is the worst music genre by any metric.

Were I the type that had to build a playlist for a grow operation, I’d probably do my best to keep things balanced. A dash of Mozart here, some ZZ Top there, a tune or seven from Outkast with some Andrew WK in the mix for maximum positive vibes. The plants probably don’t care all that much. Like us, they’re just keeping an ear out for the perfect thing to help them grow. PJH



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