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A letter from one of our clients…Hello, we have a little bit of a problem here because our lead singer seems to think that smoking marijuana does not in any way affect his singing voice!!! Can you please let me know if this is true? We need more evidence! Can you give an example? We all have tried to tell him that smoking cannabis does affect your voice and that he needs to “stop smoking weed” but he seems to constantly battle the question and says that we don’t know his voice like he does and that he can smoke cigarettes or marijuana and it does not affect his singing in any way. Will you please help me out with this and set this straight for me? Answer: Without dealing with the political and moral implications, I’ll attempt to give a concise, effective answer about vocal health only. Unrelated side effects of ingesting cannabis or inhaling smoke or vapor derivatives are outside the scope of this Q&A.
What You Should Know About Smoking Weed and SingingCountless popular singers, such as Lady Gaga, have admitted to the use of marijuana. Lady Gaga says, “Smoking marijuana has helped her manage the stress of stardom.” However, other singers, such as Kehlani have stated that she stopped smoking cannabis because it “messed with” her vocal cords.
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The effects of using cannabis are numerous, due to the way that the drug interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors in the brain. However, the use of marijuana can also affect other parts of the body, most notably the lungs, throat, and vocal cords. If you choose to smoke marijuana, you should be aware of how it will affect your singing voice and lung health.
Is Smoking Marijuana Good for Your Vocal Cords?
Although the effects of smoking cigarettes have been well documented over the years, marijuana use and the effects of weed have not had as much research due to the legality. As the popularity of marijuana increases, so will the known effects of marijuana.
Research has shown that smoke of any kind, whether it comes from tobacco or the cannabis flower, is well known to have adverse effects on the vocal cords and can even lead to long-term effects of lung and throat injury, which in turn lead to a higher risk of voice problems.
We have heard singers say that they have used marijuana as a muscle relaxant, however, that is not a best practice. In fact, smoking cannabis can actually have a negative impact on a singing voice and overall vocal health. Those who smoke cannabis tend to have abnormally dark vocal folds – research shows evidence of damage to the tissue.
Whether smoking marijuana increases your cancer risk or not, there’s evidence to suggest that it can lead to voice injury, or long-term impact, as other inhalants do as well. No matter what, we all know that fewer toxins are better.
Will Smoking Make My Voice Deeper?
Having a deeper, raspier voice can be appealing to some singers, however, the by-products of smoking to sound different can be shortness of breath, loss of vocal range, and even irreversible damage.
To increase your vocal range, either higher or lower, check out our Vocal Range program.
Does Smoking Cannabis Help Vocal Performance?
Some of the commonly known side effects of smoking marijuana are sleepiness, reduced ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination, dry mouth and throat, and memory and speaking impairments.
While smoking pot will relax an otherwise “uptight” individual, lethargy is not a desired state of being for any singer that cares about intonation or vocal coordination. Simply put, when you are tired or feeling lazy, you are less likely to sing in tune or accurately blend in and out of your registers.
Middle or high notes in the mix will be harder to coordinate for most cannabis junkies. A solid performing voice needs a steady amount of high vocal energy. Obviously, that’s an uphill battle for anyone who wants to feel the extreme high of inhaling marijuana.
Being high can also make a person feel as if they’re singing the performance of a lifetime, yet the audience will attest to pitchy, out-of-control vocals. It’s a subtle, subjective self-deception that things are sounding better than they really are, very similar to singing while intoxicated. Some singers also report incredible excitement when performing music while high on marijuana.
However, they experience decreased interest and increased difficulty in performing while NOT influenced by pot. In other words, musicians potentially can become apathetic towards their music unless they are high.
Paranoia is another common experience for “potheads” everywhere. There are also many states of hallucinations depending on the user, but the process of becoming stoned can be a way of life for some.
In a positive light, cannabis smokers can have very interesting vocal performances and increase the chemistry of a singer who might otherwise be boring to watch. There’s no denying that many singers do feel more creative while under the influence, hence its popularity in the music industry sub-culture; something this article will indeed fail to change.
Can You Lose Your Voice From Smoking?
Overall, one of the most glaring problems or highest risk with smoking pot is the dehydration of the body during and after a smoke. Specifically, the mouth and throat can become severely dry with symptoms of cottonmouth, an uncomfortable feeling of dryness in the mouth.
With any logic, one can see that a dry mouth and throat means a dehydrated set of vocal folds. Moist vocal cords are a necessity.
We have seen several notable tours canceled because of the lead singer (no names mentioned…) smoking marijuana and losing their voice because of the consistent singing on a dehydrated voice.
Dehydration affects most people already, so engaging in any activity exacerbating the problem is not helpful. For some singers, no amount of water can rehydrate a voice in a short amount of time or in this state, period.
Other Potential Negative Effects of Smoking Marijuana
To answer your question fully, your lead singer might not feel the effects of his pot use due to self-deception or even his artificial excitement created by “being high”, but you can probably agree that the band isn’t playing four headlining shows a week, radio shows in the morning, and experiencing a lack of sleep due to a crazy tour schedule. Needless to say, smoking marijuana is not a good option for the serious performer in today’s music scene.
Can Your Voice Improve If You Stop Smoking?
The good news is that when someone stops smoking, takes extra special care of their voice, and gets the right training with the right techniques (See our world-renowned Vocal Coaches) you can improve your vocal cord health.
If you want to learn how to hack your voice and get results quickly – check out our Vocal Hacks program.
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