An Acoustic Analysis Of Cannabis-Intoxicated Speech


  • Arian Shamei University of British Columbia
  • Sonya Bird University of Victoria


Speech from medicinal users of cannabis was compared before and after the consumption of cannabis to determine whether cannabis-intoxication produces salient acoustic correlates within the speech stream. Eight participants completed a variety of elicitation tasks (reading, interviews, storyboards, sustained vowel phonation) before and after the consumption of cannabis. Measurements of voice-onset time (VOT), prosodic trajectory, and acoustic quality (jitter / shimmer) suggest that cannabis-intoxication results in a distinct acoustic profile. Intoxicated speech was characterized by significant and substantial increases to the variability of VOT, altered prosodic expression (reduced range and flatter trajectories), and decreased shimmer. These findings have implications for the utility of automatic detection methods in distinguishing cannabis-intoxication from the speech stream, which may be useful for medical or legal purposes. Furthermore, these findings may provide insight into the psychological and physiological effects of cannabis intoxication.

Author Biographies

Arian Shamei, University of British Columbia

PhD Student - Linguistics: Cognitive Systems

Sonya Bird, University of Victoria

Department of Linguistics - Associate Professor

Additional Files



How to Cite

Shamei A, Bird S. An Acoustic Analysis Of Cannabis-Intoxicated Speech. Canadian Acoustics [Internet]. 2019 Oct. 16 [cited 2024 May 19];47(3):108-9. Available from:



Proceedings of the Acoustics Week in Canada

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