Citation: newmark42. "43y/o Learned to Vape, Got Uncomfortably Baked: An Experience with Cannabis (exp111588)". Erowid.org. Mar 24, 2018. erowid.org/exp/111588
This is a story of my process learning to inhale from a vape properly, and accidentally getting uncomfortably baked in Jan 2018.
If you just want to read about me getting baked, skip to 'Getting Baked'.
If new recreational consumers want a soft-landing into cannabis, in addition to following the common 'start low and go slow' wisdom, start with a 1:1 CBD:THC product, either in a vape-cartridge or soft-gel. This can give one a taste of the relaxation and lightness without the potential for racing or anxiety from a THC dominated product.
If one coughs at all (or alot), it's because one are taking the 'hit' in the throat and bronchial tubes, where it's poorly absorbed and mostly just causes coughing reflex. On can take a smaller hit, and chase it with a deep deep inhale of clean air to take it all the way into the lungs. If one do this, one will not feel *any* urge to cough, and one will get much more absorption. One should be careful, as this makes it much easier to inhale too much.
If one is looking for the safest ways to consume cannabis, it's edibles or vaping and stay away from water bongs and bubblers. The MAPS inhalation studies showed that water and ice bongs, while making the smoke more comfortable, actually produce the highest and least healthy tar-to-thc ratio.
Practice a basic 'mantra meditation' for a few minutes first. It's basically repeating a non-meaningful sound to oneself over-and-over in your head. (I use 'ayam', like 'i am', but you can use 'ohm' or anything you want). If ones thoughts bother one when high, one could just mantra meditate.
The portability of the PAX Era system is really nice, but I prefer the vaping experience, better cartridge selection, and economics of the standard 510 cartridges with a variable voltage vape pen battery set to low.
* How I decided to try it...
I'm a mid-40s successful computer programmer with very young kids and a wife. The only legal infraction I've ever been given is a speeding ticket. The most illegal thing I've done was pirating computer software when I was a kid, in the 1980s. When I drink alcohol, I generally only have 1-2 drinks, as too much alcohol first makes me tired, then startles me awake in the night. The last time I was drunk was more than a decade ago.
I have several life-long friends who smoke occasionally (1-2 times a week, normally on the weekends), and so I'd taken a few hits before. The first few times were in my mid-20s (near 2000), and I didn't feel anything. (in hindsight I think I was inhaling improperly) One of my pot smoking friends took it as a challenge, and when he got some really good stuff months later, he called me to try it. I was probably 28y/o when he got me stoned. We were sitting in the dark, and I remember not being able to complete sentences. It was a curious feeling, but not something I would intentionally repeat.
With California legalizing medical cannabis 10+ years ago, and recreational cannabis as of Jan 1 2018 (a month ago), it's much more available. At a big gathering we threw, a long time pot smoking friend brought a joint and a friend who would never have touched it while it was illegal had a pack of edibles. I took a hit and ate a 5mg indica edible. It made me buzzed enough to be happy, laughing, and a little more fun than usual that night. Later, I decided I liked it much better than being buzzed on alcohol, and since pot was legalized, I got curious to buy some myself.
I'm a very calculated risk taker and a quick study. Before I went to a dispensary, I read as much as I could about cannabis.
Addiction rates being low is good, though that's not my primary concern. I've had lots of doctor prescribed hydrocodone (for kidney stone pain) and benzodiazapines (for sleep), with no abuse patterns. Being in my 40s, the negative effects on the adolescent brain (and life patterns) are not a personal concern for me. The possible correlation with mental illness exaggeration is more worrisome, as I've struggled at times with anxiety and depression, and tried many prescribed psychotropics. After a bunch of research I couldn't find any 'smoking gun' here with cannabis and mental illness.
I'm certainly not one to regularly inhale burned tar and carcinogens, and I didn't think vaping would fly around my wife, so I thought edibles would be the way to go. I went on a field trip to a super-posh over-priced dispensary. It was actually pretty intimidating, as there was a huge 4 page printed menu, and all the product was hidden from view. I picked up some edible Valhalla gummies and a disposable hmbldt calm vape pen (which I didn't know at the time was 10:1 high CBD). At home, I took a couple hits off the dose pen and felt something so mild I wasn't sure if I felt anything.
That night I had a conversation with my wife about this all, and her opinions turned out different than I thought. She was terribly against the gummies, and most forms of 'kid appealing' edibles. Even though I keep mine in a locked-safe (with my ibuprofin), she still doesn't want laced kid candy in the house. Her preference was for me to take capsules, so if the kids are ever aware of it, it's just medicine. She isn't thrilled about vaping, as she doesn't want our kids ever see it and then grow up wanting to emulate this. However, our 6 year old wouldn't know what to do with a vape device, so she considered that much safer than a package full of sweet candy that would send a kid on an hours long traumatic high. She also pointed out two friends we have who are true medical cannabis consumers, swearing by it for anxiety, and supported my exploration. She expressed concerns about the safety of products in this 'new' market.
* Toes in the water, dispensary visit #2
A couple times in the first week I took half an edible in the evening (5mg of indica). The effect was mild, but noticeable. I'd describe it as a lightness which is part relaxation and part tingling. I realized I have to take it much earlier than I thought, because it takes 1-2 hours to even have an effect, and then the effect lasts a super long time. I also tried the dose pen a little. I didn't get much from it.
The experience made me really curious, and I flew back into research mode.
I found out that the dose pen is 10:1 CBD, and extremely small cost-inefficient doses. I learned more about the long delay and duration of edible effects, and that they tend to make you more sleepy than inhalation. I also learned just about everything I could learn about vaping. The different forms of waxes and oils, the different extraction methods, and the wide array of devices.
I read up on cannabis legalization and product testing. California has tough standards for mold and pesticides, but lacks the testing facilities to enforce it immediately, so they gave dispensaries a 'free pass' to sell anything they have until July 2018. I found some dispensaries that claim to only sell mold and pesticide tested products, and made a list of which oil concentrate producers that publish test results or at least make strong testing claims, and which have been found contaminated.
Armed with all this new information, I decided I want to try a 510 oil cartridge, the pax era, and a dab pen. I ordered a Linx Hypnos Zero online, and I'd pick up the other two at a local dispensary.
I found out that the high end posh dispensary not only had ridiculous markup, but also had very little product selection. I visited a much more down-market (one could say seedy) recreational dispensary. Ignoring the dreary location, I actually found it much better than the posh place. All the product was laid out in plain sight, so it was easier to wrap my head around. When I asked about absolute extracts cartridges, the 'budtender' just put all the cartridges on the counter and went through each one, explaining the differences. It was much more helpful and less intimidating than the posh fancy place.
I ended up getting two abx carts, two kurvana carts, a 510 battery, and 2 pax era cartridges. They were out of the pax era devices, so I went to another dispensary and got a Pax Era, 2 more pax carts, and a 0.5g shatter. If that sounds like alot, it's just because I'm not at all financially constrained, and wanted a bunch of different stuff to try without having to make another hour trip to a dispensary. It was under California's 8g of concentrates per day, which honestly seems like an insanely high limit considering how little it eventually took to get me super baked.
* Learning to vape
With the new stuff, I shifted gears and started trying to learn to vape. First I tried the Pax Era Legion of Bloom Lavendar, hitting it, then waiting, then hitting it again. I found it pretty harsh, and mostly just coughed a lot. I didn't feel much. A different day I tried the absolute extracts OG Kush. I liked the lighter draw, but still coughed alot. After a couple hits, I felt a little something, but not much.
I didn't understand two things. Why I wasn't feeling much, and why I was coughing so much. Time for more research.
I watched vaping videos on youtube, and watched experienced vapers cough and cough and sometimes edit out their '10 minutes of coughing'. That was no help.
I found lots of conflicting experiences, some claiming vaping didn't get them as high as smoking, others claiming vaping was more potent. I tend to trust science, and the science says vaping can deliver higher doses, so I concluded I must be doing it wrong. I read about Mouth to Lung vs Direct Lung inhales. I tried to execute them, but I still coughed.
Then I stumbled upon the article that would teach me how to vape without coughing, and inadvertently get me super high. Basically, it explained that what one wants to do is draw to create the vapor (with either mouth suction, or inhalation), and then chase it with a giant column of *fresh* air to get the vapor deep into the lungs. I've read in other articles that THC absorbtion is small in the mouth and throat, so this made sense to me. I must not have been getting the vapor far enough into my lungs.
* Getting Baked
I set out to try the new technique. First I tried Mouth to Lung. It was complicated. Once I ended up swallowing rather than inhaling. Then I tried direct inhalation. Using the abx 510 battery and OG Kush cartridge, I took a gentle draw for ~3 seconds, then chased it with as much fresh air as I could inhale. I felt a warm gentle sensation in my lungs (the hit), but absolutely zero coughing. There wasn't even an urge to cough to suppress. I was so surprised, I did it again, just proving to myself it wasn't a fluke. (I might have even done it a third time?)
I was really really satisfied at having vaped without any coughing or discomfort. I took that small victory and decided to see how it went. I went back to my computer, where I was playing PUBG with real-life friends online. At some point later, I started feeling kind of woozy and lightheaded, and realized something was definitely happening. I suddenly felt a little uncoordinated in the game, a bit like being really drunk, except I wasn't mentally foggy like being really drunk. I think my friends said something about having to go. It was after midnight, I was tired, and I could tell I was getting high, so I said goodbye.
When I stood up, my entire body felt light. Like I was filled with helium. It was really weird, but really neat. I was actually pretty tired, so I made my way to our guest room, so as not to wake my wife. I felt a little unsteady walking. When I made it into bed, the covers felt nice, and I could feel the high was still increasing.
I looked at something on the wall, and in a couple seconds my visual field tunneled, with the periphery blurring, and the center becoming very clear, almost seeming closer or zoomed-in. I was familiar with the sensation, as it was a really exaggerated version of something I've experienced many times during sitting meditation when staring at an object for 90 seconds or so. Moving my eyes made everything normal again, but if kept my eyes in one place everything would tunnel. So it was basically the same thing, but it happened in 2 seconds instead of 90s. I thought that was cool.
It was cool, but I really was tired. As soon as I closed my eyes, it felt like the world was spinning and I felt like I was going to throw up. Kind of like when really drunk, except all the nausea was from dizziness, none of it from a belly full of poison. So I opened my eyes and immediately felt better. At this point, I was mostly annoyed, because I was feeling super tired, but couldn't very well go to sleep if I was going to throw up by closing my eyes.
That's when I got the negative idea that I might be way too high. I didn't really understand how it happened, because I'd taken a couple hits off these things several other days in past couple weeks, and got virtually nothing. Yet this time three hits sent me to the moon? I wondered if something was wrong. I took out my phone and did some searches on what it's like to get high. Most everything says MJ can't actually hurt you, but somehow I stumbled upon serotonin syndrome, and spent a little time wondering if it's possible something had triggered in my brain. I wasn't immediately fearful or anxious, just planning. I really didn't like the idea of going to sleep alone if I was going to have a problem, but I didn't want to go wake up my wife, tell her I was super high, and ask her to make sure I lived through the night.
I didn't want to go wake up my wife, tell her I was super high, and ask her to make sure I lived through the night.
I figured if things got really bad, I could call an uber to take me to the ER without waking my wife.
I could tell I was getting a little too worried. I recognized the feeling from a different experience on a doctor prescribed psychotropic. It was like the gap between thinking something, and believing it, was becoming smaller.
It was like the gap between thinking something, and believing it, was becoming smaller.
My typical way of dealing with this in life is just to stop my internal dialog and be calm. Several seconds of failing at that was making me anxious, so I switch to a mantra meditation. That made me much happer, so lie there chanting my mantra for a minute or two. Once I was calm, I decided my symptoms didn't match seratonin syndrome, and that all this spiraling ideation was the kind of thing that people said happens when they are high.
I did a couple searches on 'what to do when you're too high', and read through various suggestions. One of them said to watch porn, which sounded like a good enough idea. I felt like I was wobbling all over as I got headphones from my computer and made my way back to bed. As soon as I got some porn on my phone, I got another window into how crazy high I was. I was getting the tunnel vision, but also something else. It almost felt like I was there. Like the stuff in the porn was happening to me. It was pretty crazy in a fun way. It distracted me for a little while at least.
When I'd bored of watching porn, I tried to close my eyes, only to again feel dizzy like I was going to throw up, so I immediately opened them and felt fine. At this point, I was feeling super annoyed. I just wanted to go to sleep, but I couldn't. I wondered how long it would last, and decided I didn't really know when I had vaped. I took out my phone, guessed it was about 30 minutes ago, and started a stopwatch to track the time. I just had to wait out 1-2 hours and it would go away.
I watched some more videos on my phone (maybe porn? i don't remember) Then I checked the clock and it was only a few minutes later. This is when I realized time was moving very very slowly. At this point I was super annoyed, and wondered why anyone would voluntarily get into this state. I had some thoughts about how ironic it would be to have bought several hundred bucks worth of cannabis products only to toss it after getting too high once. I really just wanted it to stop, but knew there was nothing I could do but wait.
I decided I wasn't going to make it two hours lying in bed trying not to close my eyes while uncomfortably holding my phone. So I moved to our media room with a big TV. I considered watching one of my favorite movies, but didn't want to trigger any exaggerated fear or anxiety with a violent or scary movie, so I put on a kids movie, Madagascar.
For the next hour and a half, I basically chilled on the couch, sometimes watching Madagascar, sometimes zoning out into my thoughts, the whole time forcing me eyes to stay open so I wouldn't feel dizzy and nauseated. Sometime around 3am, I felt all the effects calming, and made my way back into bed to fall asleep.
The whole next day I felt predominately tired, from having only slept 3-4 hours. (bed at 3am, kids woke me at 7am). I also felt a slight mood lift.
At various times during the experience, and a little the next day, I experienced tingling sensations, mostly on my hands and arms.
* Since then...
I've taken tiny vape hits off the ABX OG Kush and enjoyed just the little buzz. That's really all I'm looking for. For me it's like a 'good alcohol buzz' which I so rarely get off alcohol.
I've tried the Legion of Bloom PAX ERA pod 'RE:lieve 1:1' a bunch of times. A couple hits off that makes me a little relaxed without impairment or a mental high, which is nice. I feel a little tingling in my hands and occasional sensation in my mouth. If I keep my arms and hands really still, I can 'feel' sounds running through them. This same thing has (rarely) happened to me during meditation without any drugs, but the cannabis makes it much easier to experience.
I tried the Legion of Bloom PAX 'Lavender' pod one night. I was able to get 'just a little high', but I didn't like the high as much as the ABX OG Kush. It was much more head centered, and ended up feeling like a tight sinus and slight headache after a while.
The PAX Era portability is really really nice, but I don't really care for it. The draw is too tight for me, and I don't like that pods are very overpriced and have very limited selection. So far I prefer the typical variable voltage push-button 510 battery, like the one ABX and many other companies slap their logos on.
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