by Lilli Marvin
Making music is a vulnerable endeavor—often more emotionally draining than other professional occupations. From the first time an artist sits down and strums up some rudimentary chords to the thousands of hours logged in a touring van, with musicianship comes a wearying burden upon mind and body. There is, perhaps, some truth in the often-stereotyped “tortured artist” trope, as some of the most excellent music produced is often synonymous with extreme emotional vulnerability. Then to compound the already taxing culture of musicianship, the physical demands of being a musician are another sort of challenge often overlooked. Thankfully, artists throughout every genre are finding ways to mitigate these occupational stresses—one of the most uplifting and holistic responses being the use of CBD as a means to address both physical and mental afflictions.
Jack Brereton of the Chicago-based indie-rock band Noodle Boy doesn’t put it lightly: “If your hands go out of commission, you’re done.” Physical health and dexterity, he says, are some of his top values as a musician. Not only is the technical act of playing physically demanding—Brereton notes that in his work as a studio engineer, it is common for musicians to play the same repetitive tracks for up to four hours continuously in a session—but so is the prep for shows. “You’re constantly being worked on the road, whether it is loading gear into a van, mic-ing up a stage, rolling t-shirts for merch tables, sleeping on basement floors…your body is practically screaming at you at the end of every day,” Brereton says. Although in the early years of his life and career, Brereton often worries about conditions like arthritis and carpal tunnel being occupational hazards of his creative line of work.
Savanna Dickhut, another Chicago-based songwriter from the band Burr Oak, mentions how CBD has helped her overcome such worries. Given the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties of products such as
CBD creams and oils, Dickhut is able to find relief after sessions with heavy fingerpicking and other repetitive actions. Furthermore, after long runs of touring, CBD offers much needed respite from the chronic anxiety and fatigue of life on the road. In the past, Dickhut tried to have a drink or two before going on stage but notes how alcohol isn’t good for singing or staying in healthy shape while traveling. Instead, she offers that CBD is a great “alternative to calm the nerves before performing,” giving her physical and mental relief without the drawbacks of nicotine or other substances.
Perhaps the most beneficial way CBD contributes to musicianship, though, is the creative environments it fosters. With mental health and creative productivity being so closely interlocked, taking care of one’s headspace is integral to musical success.
“The intersection between mental heath and being creative/making art hits so close to home for me and if it wasn’t for music and using songwriting as an outlet I know I would be so self-destructive. I am so thankful to have my music as a form of therapy in a big way to get what I need to out of my head.” —Savanna Dickhut, Burr Oak This is especially evident on Burr Oak’s forthcoming single “Trying,” which touches on themes of situational depression and substance abuse. Such sorts of adversity have the potential to completely inhibit musicianship, but when asked about all of the social, political, and environmental stressors present today, Dickhut was confident that despite those obstacles art and music has the potential to thrive if artists are supported in the right ways. “Maybe more so than ever…there is so much to say, so much art to be made,” she says. CBD serves as the perfect tool to facilitate such creativity by easing anxiety and regulating tumultuous moods in times of uncertainty. Therefore, CBD works doubly in that it helps musicians execute their creative workflow, which in turn allows artists to further address challenging themes and issues through their art.
Not only is CBD beneficial to the producers of music, but also consumers. The calming effects of CBD can help listeners feel more at ease in packed concert halls and heighten enjoyment of the music itself. For those rowdy headbangers, a dose of CBD the morning after a packed mosh pit can be the difference between an aching day spent laid up on the couch and getting back into the crowd, business as usual. Even for the easy listeners, the soothing effects of CBD products can help create a more nuanced listening experience through being more attune to the compositions. It’s clear that no matter how you relate to music—be it punky, soft, crazed, and elegant alike, CBD helps facilitate an overall more enjoyable and productive experience.
From chronic physical pains to debilitating mental ailments, musicianship can be taxing. However, with hemp derived CBD, it’s revelatory powers can be empowering for all. Evidenced through music makers like Noodle Boy and Burr Oak who use CBD to treat chronic pains, promote career longevity, ease the demanding stresses of touring, and foster healthy emotional headspaces—musicianship and CBD are a match made in heaven. When coupled together, creative pains turn into moments of excellence, career anxieties transform into prospering projects. With just a little CBD magic, perhaps we can begin to turn the “tortured artist” trope into a blissful one.