Unexpected Effects, Edible vs. Mushrooms
Cannabis (edible) & Mushrooms - P. cyanescens
Citation: Cynic Sal. "Unexpected Effects, Edible vs. Mushrooms: An Experience with Cannabis (edible) & Mushrooms - P. cyanescens (exp112686)". Erowid.org. Dec 16, 2018. erowid.org/exp/112686
Cannabis-oil infused chocolate, psilocybe mushrooms p. cyanescens
This is the story of my first time on a classic psychedelic, and my third time using a cannabis edible. These two experiences, and the contrast between them, surprised me, and may surprise you as well. They support the sometimes-ignored role played by setting on how we experience substances, and the potential effects of differences in presumed brain structure. Finally, they serve as a reminder of the uniqueness of personal experiences.
If you want the short version, here it is; my second experience with a cannabis edible was the most frightening drug experience I have had in my life to date, while my first experience with psychedelic mushrooms was one of the least conflicted or troubling ones. Cannabis rendered me nearly incoherent. By contrast, while I was not eloquent on mushrooms, I was able to speak full sentences, and sometimes I was more articulate than after entactogens. Contrary to my expectation, neither substance deepened my experience of music. In fact, the cannabis edible drained music of its depth and power. Mushrooms gave some music greater or stronger associations, but did not amplify my pre-existing synesthesia or make the music any more profound or beautiful, leading me to conclude that music is best for me when I’m sober. Neither substance permitted more than fleeting visuals in both eyes, and for a long stretch of time, the slight visual alterations brought about by mushrooms completely eliminated my ability to imagine a visual scene of any sort. This didn’t bother me, then or now, but it was striking and completely contrary to expectation. Finally, the cannabis edible made breathing difficult, or at least made it feel difficult, to the point of panic, while mushrooms had a profound and positive effect on my breathing that lasted for several days.
Me: Female (inasmuch as I am gendered) and middle-aged. I have had a profound visual impairment since very early childhood. This is notable for several reasons. One is my experience of visual imagery. When using my “mind’s eye,” I see only with my right eye. Curiously, on the few occasions when entactogens have produced very mild visuals, I saw them with my left eye. Even now, I cannot recall them in in my right eye, despite all other visualization being observed on the right. Secondly, I have strong but purely “internal” (imaginal, not perceptual) timbre-triggered synesthesia. This means that voices and musical instruments have colors for me. Music is powerful for me, to the degree that many familiar songs open up windows to the times and places when I last heard the song or piece. Layered atop that is a general atmosphere or mood experienced with the music. Overall, early visual impairment or its cause may also have shaped my brain so that it is slightly to moderately divergent.
Substance use history/experience: Daily caffeine user, very infrequent drinker (between a drink once a month to a few times a year). Have smoked cannabis several times, with minimal effects, and a couple of experiences with edibles that produced either no effects or only slightly stronger effects, and very moderate entactogen use (about ten uses over a 20-year span).
Other details: I take a diuretic use for hypertension and a statin for high cholesterol.
Substance: A cannabis-oil infused chocolate “mini” purported to contain 10 mg THC, purchased at a (state-legal) cannabis store.
Setting: Before and during a medium-sized dinner held at a semi-public (but not commercial) space in an unfamiliar location, mostly with people I knew.
I find cannabis slightly more appealing (or less unpleasant) than alcohol, and I found my previous experiences with edibles to be intriguing. Nothing much happened during my first experiences, possibly because the edibles contained little to no active ingredient. The second time produced mild shifts in consciousness that included slower movement and a few mild closed-eye visuals that were not very memorable. At the same time, over the years, my lungs have “just said no” to smoking. Adult cannabis use is now legal where I was, and I decided to buy some edibles. My choice was some cannabis-infused chocolates.
I brought my purchase with me to our dinner gathering. We all bubbled with conversation, glad to see each other. We had all recently arrived at the shared space, and it was relatively new for all of us. I nibbled my edible while the rest of the group drank wine or smoked cannabis, knowing that I would have to wait for the effects to kick in but not minding.
I nibbled my edible while the rest of the group drank wine or smoked cannabis, knowing that I would have to wait for the effects to kick in but not minding.
I ate half the candy, waited a bit, and ate the other half.
I joined my friends at dinner, sitting next to my good friend A. and across R. Dinner commenced, and I enjoyed the food. I felt a slight wobbliness, but nothing too noticeable until I took a second helping of dinner.
Within the next few minutes, my body vibrated. I felt a strange tingling centered around my torso to upper chest. It was not painful, nor did it present as nausea, but I did not like the feeling. It felt strange, disconcerting. I continued to eat my dinner, but I felt light-headed. Someone poured a little champagne, as this was a bit of a celebration, but I opted for only a few sips. The conversation around me started to seem strange. I wondered if I had really heard A. say what I thought she had said, and I thought B. said something odd as well. I thought she was talking about me, saying that I outwardly judge people for their musical tastes (I judge music, not people, and keep my views to myself). I wanted to say that this wasn’t true, but I wasn’t sure if she had actually been speaking about me.
The tingling, blurry sensation continued, and my limbs felt heavy. I put my head down at the dinner table, in part hoping that someone would notice that I was feeling out of sorts; no one noticed. For very brief flashes, I perceived pale gray bubbles, first in one eye and then in the other. They were very drab as visuals go, and at least for a moment, I perceived them in both eyes before they shifted to the left eye.
I mentioned to A. that the edible was kicking in and that it was really strong. I think that at this point I said that “things aren’t making sense.” I could hear words bubbling around me, but I did not understand them, and they had become noise to me.
Periodically I wanted to cry out for help, and wanted someone to notice that I was in distress, but at the same time did not want to make a scene or actually acknowledge needing help. I fell into and out of this state several times during the evening.
A. brought me some dessert, usually something I am enthusiastic about. I picked at it, not really interested.
I left the table where I was sitting and wandered off to a couch flanked by chairs, sitting down to be alone, hoping that the effects would soon subside and that I could “wait them out.”
This did not happen. I should add, however, that at least when I checked on the time, it showed that sense of time was extremely dilated, and so while I thought I was waiting for many minutes, it might have only been a few minutes. (As an aside, it impresses me that I could open my smartphone even though I was nearly non-verbal.)
At this time, another friend and coworker, B., spotted me. She gave me a card and a gift, and I thanked her (I think) and admired the card, even as I was rapidly losing verbal capacities.
My friend A. and at least one other person joined me by the couch. I am not sure now whether she showed me the card again or whether I showed it to her. I recall she said that it had strawberries on it, and I said that I thought they were falling leaves. I recall saying, very slowly and with great effort, that B. had given me the card, stumbling on her name.
My body still vibrated and I felt estranged from the world around me. I don’t mean that I did not know where I was, but that I no longer felt connected to it. Using words or being verbal was extremely effortful. I found it almost impossible to communicate.
Around this point, I felt as if I was not taking in enough air. I was convinced that I couldn’t breathe, and said so to A. She assured me that I could breathe, but it didn’t feel that way. I was convinced that I wasn’t getting enough air into my lungs. Later at this point, I was offered water, but I was scared to take a sip, since I thought I was already not breathing.
A tried to get me to breathe slowly and rhythmically, saying “Breathe in, and then out” several times. She did very well, and under other circumstances I would have appreciated it, but at that time, I felt further alienated. I tried to breathe but was still pretty convinced that I wasn’t doing so. I did eventually concede to taking some sips of water. I said that I was scared, and moaned a little. I wanted to breathe again and to feel grounded.
I know that several other people stopped to speak with me. R. said something along the lines of “Don’t you want to say hi to me?”
I was aware that A. was trying to distract me, or so I perceived at the time. She showed me a scented soap and a little notebook. I could tell that she was trying to calm me down and this was vaguely embarrassing, and it wasn’t helping much.
At some point, I recall wondering if I was “in a dream” and voicing this aloud. Shortly after this point, I recall noting this statement and cringing, and stating that I sounded as if I was parroting internet “trip reports.” This at least gave me something to laugh at for the moment, but it was also disappointing to find that my utterances would be so predictable or ‘common.”
A. led me outside; this became a dilemma for me for other reasons related to the venue, but somehow we managed to wander outside. We went onto the venue’s porch several times. At one point, A. re-introduced me to someone I had met earlier. I did not mention this, in part because I could still barely make a coherent statement.
We went back indoors, and I watched A. try to bring music to the space. Even now, I am not sure if she knows that I was aware of her doing this. She tried to play it through a computer or perhaps a phone. I was aware enough of this activity to again be embarrassed and a bit annoyed, since I felt like she was treating me as if I needed to be calmed down, and bad for making her take so much trouble to locate music. None of these attempts worked, but someone struck a few keys on the piano. I do recall it being wincingly out of tune. It did not produce any synesthesia, nor did it have depth or expansiveness.
Dinner was ending and (I assume) people were preparing to leave. At the time, I was convinced that my taking the edible during dinner had made me a spectacle and had gotten all of us in trouble, and that the meal had to break up because of me. Looking back on this, I wonder whether being isolated by my intoxication led to my self-absorption and distress (or distressed self-absorption).
Looking back on this, I wonder whether being isolated by my intoxication led to my self-absorption and distress (or distressed self-absorption).
I was certain that we were going to be kicked out of the venue and apologized repeatedly, to the point where A. told me to stop; I am sure I was driving her nuts. When sober, I asked if I had caused a problem like this, and I was assured that I didn’t. (I also learned that some of the conversation that I thought of as surreal or odd had actually taken place.)
Several people walked me back to the place where I was staying. This was good because I had no idea as to where to go. I did recall that it was uphill from where we were, and I was frightened that I was physically incapable of making it up that hill. A. and others assured me that I could do it, but I wasn’t so sure.
Naturally the outer world conspired with my inner turmoil and decided to dump copious buckets of rain upon us. Nonetheless, we all trudged uphill. One strange benefit of my state at the time was that I was entirely unaffected by the pouring rain. I do not recall feeling or being wet. I do not know if everyone else was soaked or not. If so, I am sorry now that I dragged them out into the weather.
Upon arrive at the place where I was staying, A. took my jacket off and hung it in a common space in the shared living room. She took a seat and had me sit at a bench. I did sit down after dithering about what would happen with my jacket and my shoes.
I thanked A. for spending time with me and apologized for making her stay with me. She kept assuring me that she was just hanging out with me. I acutely aware of how I sounded like a “typical” person who was high and found this disappointing.
Sitting on the bench, I recall stating that this bothered me because I had a strong “self-critic.” A. said it sounded like I did. I’m not sure how we wound up talking about my perception of myself in “everyday life,” but A. assured me that I appeared to be doing very [well] and accomplishing things. Weirdly, this almost felt like “therapy,” though entirely unintended. I was not in the best shape to address or process it. I don’t recall starting this conversation, but I must have done so or invited it.
Prior to this, I believe that A. had located a book of odd sayings that were connected to cards, and one page featured “prayers answered.” She read it, and then I tried to read it as well. I was able to take in the words at that point.
Later on, I managed to find one of my playlists on my phone, and my headset. I should add that I was able to operate my phone.
It took what seemed another 20 minutes to make it to my room; it took nearly five minutes to take off my shoes, or so it seemed, and an equally long time to perform mundane activities. Meanwhile, thoughts were rapidly bumping up against each other, whirling from one thought to another. At the time, I had just enough sense to wonder whether people’s convictions that they have profound insights while high reached this conclusion because their thoughts were rapid, and associated rapidity of thought with profundity or insight.
Periodically, throughout this event, while at dinner and later, I returned to the decision I had made to during this visit to embark on my first experience with classic psychedelics. During my experience with the edible, I was certain that this was not a good idea and that I should back out of the decision. I returned to this thought several times, certain that it was a bad idea.
I continued to listen to music, and at some point, the effects of the edible began to wane. I listened to music and prepared for bed; I still felt intensely uncomfortable, but I no longer felt as if I couldn’t breathe. I went to sleep, doing so neither easily nor with great difficulty. I still felt ever so slightly altered when I briefly awoke early the next morning, hearing the hard splash of rain continue to pour outside. The next day, I seem to have returned to my usual state of function.
[Some of this report was written while listening to the playlist we played during the journey itself.]
The journey began with P. cyanescens, freshly collected; starting with two small mushrooms, followed about 1 hour later by two more mushrooms.
Setting: With a good friend A.
After telling my friend that I had never used a classic psychedelic and expressing interest in doing so, we decided that my first dip into the waters of psychedelics would be with freshly picked mushrooms. She viewed the fresh ones as fairly mild, and reported that when she had used them, there was no gastric upset. I have been intensely curious about what the experience would be like. I am one of those few people who does not have a simple ‘good time” with entactogens, experiencing some anxiety every time. I worried that if a low dose of THC produced even more anxiety than entactogens usually do, the mushrooms might be even worse. I also know that I have a lot of crap within me that scares me, let alone other people, and I didn’t want to unleash it all on my thoughtful friend.
We prepared for the event by setting our intentions. We used a couple of large glass marbles as our “containers,” serving as mnemonic devices for our intentions, and set them in a small “altar” space.
At this point, I had lost the severe apprehension I had about taking the mushrooms that I had during my journey with the edible, but I was still a bit nervous.
I recall that my intentions were to see what there was to see, to let it be ok that I was afraid, to let it be ok to be happy, and to see if I would have visuals in both eyes, given that imagination operates in my right eye and visual alteration takes place on the left. I had also wondered earlier about how the substance would change my perception of music, and that became part of my intention as well, though I did not speak it aloud.
A. stated her intentions. I recall that one of them was to reach or follow her true self. At the time, mostly sober, I asked her what a true self was. I said that I didn’t have one; I said this in a joking tone, but that is how I feel. A. said that the true self is the part of you that is giving and compassionate and wise. I was not sure then, nor am I sure now, that I can equate this with my true self. “But does that mean that the other selves are false?” I wondered aloud. I returned to this theme several times during the experience.
A. showed me some of the things that were in her altar.
The day was sunny and mild. Earlier that day, we had visited an open air market, enjoying the sights and sounds. We embarked on our journey in the middle of the day, after a light breakfast. We had decided on this time, thinking we would be able to engage in other activities later in the day.
We each ate two small mushrooms, reminding ourselves of our intentions before we ingested them. They had very little flavor, tasting only vaguely of earth or mushroom. They were ever so slightly bitter. I chewed and swallowed, eating them with a corn chip.
A. had gathered a couple of blankets, draping them on the couch. I had selected a playlist for the occasion, a string of mostly positive, ethereal, low-energy tunes, and A. started the playlist from her computer. We began reading items from a book of quotes. Some of them amused me; my favorite was one stating that religion was “just another attempt to popularize art.” That made me smile. I’m neither religious nor even that spiritual, but art warms my heart and I love all the art that has sprung from religion and spirituality.
First alerts for me were not mental shifts, but instead were shifts of how I felt “in the body. It is hard to reach for the proper vocabulary to describe them; increased awareness of the placement of my limbs and the proprioceptive space around me, an increased awareness of what it felt like to have a body? It wasn’t a transformation, but a shift in awareness. It was very slight. We both sat on the couch for an unmeasured stretch of time, waiting for the experience to come on. We had promised that we would ingest more mushrooms if the experience did not begin in full within the hour.
I closed my eyes but did not note any changes in visuals. I didn’t see anything in particular, and opened my eyes again. I tried this several times, but nothing appeared. A. and I continued to converse every now and then, but we were more often than not silent save the washes of slow instrumental music heard in the background.
When it was about an hour after our initially ingesting the mushrooms, we decided to take some more. I think it was a wise choice to start with the first dose before taking on a second, to see how I would be affected, particularly after the experience with the edible. I felt ready to take on more change.
I ate one small mushroom, and then, with some reluctance, one more, after contemplating my state. I had continued to experience a very strong awareness of my body and its shifts. I did not feel distressed. At this point, I also noticed that I could breathe very well – far better than I do when sober. I wasn’t coughing, my sinuses were clear and there was nothing to clear from my throat. I delighted in this change, and relished the experience of breathing. I think I was starting to experience alteration, again as a shift within the body.
At this point, I described how previous experiences with entactogens had been challenging, in part because my increased empathy or compassion made me work harder to conceal my anxiety. I was more concerned than usual about making anyone sitting with me worried up upset, and as a result, I compounded the anxiety by worrying about not distressing whoever was with me. I was looking for a promise from A. that it was alright if I became distressed and that she would not feel compelled to “look after” me. I don’t recall receiving that reassurance, but I let it be.
When we ate our second batch of mushrooms, A. showed me some more things on her altar, including an object of great personal significance to her that she had not shared with me before. Perhaps the mushrooms made this easier for her to share, or perhaps made her feel she should show me. I did not remark on this.
Writing farther out from the point, I do not recall now the exact order of what happened next; it did occur within a two-hour span.
1. I recall sitting or lying on the couch and feeling intense euphoria. I exclaimed about how beautiful everything looked. The sky was lovely and blue. It was so bright and so real. The euphoria was on par with or greater than that experienced with entactogens. It was big, the world unfolding before me. I wanted to share how wonderful I felt and the beauty I saw around me.
I knotted my hands together and swayed, listening to music. My experience was still very physical, intensely so. I felt compelled to press my hands together and throughout the journey I continued to experience these compulsions, almost as stereotypies (repetitive behaviors), a word I used later on in the journey when describing what I felt to A.
During this period, I also experienced intense feelings of strangeness and discomfort. Again, we don’t have a rich vocabulary for interoceptive (inside ourselves) experience, but I felt weak and shivery, almost faint.
Again, we don’t have a rich vocabulary for interoceptive (inside ourselves) experience, but I felt weak and shivery, almost faint.
However, uncomfortable as I was, these feelings did not frighten me. I was certain that there was no “real” problem or danger and to determined bear with the experience. The waves of bodily discomfort alternated with euphoria; sometimes they occurred almost simultaneously.
The only time that my perception of music was altered was at this moment. The music I was listening to seemed very “three dimensional,” as if it contained more details than usual. It was large and it made the space where we were seem larger as well, a cathedral, a theater. Eyes closed, hands pressed together, I imagined the ceiling being high above us, though it did not appear so.
[Another aside; entactogens shift my attention to the emotions expressed in lyrical content, particularly if they are discussing interpersonal relationships, but that otherwise music is also unaltered, and as noted from before, cannabis flattens musical experiences, and alcohol does nothing for music either.]
I recall then joking with A. that I still hadn’t found my true self, and saying something along the lines of ‘what if my true self is an asshole?” I laughed, considering that this was entirely possible. A. did not respond.
I closed my eyes, looking for visuals, but they eluded me. I tried to entice them by glancing at the light pouring in from the window, making tracers. This worked for my left eye, but did little for my right eye. I persisted in attempts to produce visuals.
At one point, fleetingly, I thought I observed something in my right eye before it vanished again. I‘m still not sure if it was there. What I did notice at this point was that I could not call forth any visual images. My capacity to generate visual images at will, or even involuntarily, had vanished. This was as startling an insight as any other I had had. I mentioned it to A., who was likely not sure what to do or say in response. Usually I have no problem generating visual imagery, or imagining scenes. Prior to ingesting the mushrooms, I had fully expected that the mushrooms would greatly enhance my ability to generate visual imagery. I did wonder, at this point, whether my visual impairment had reshaped my brain so that classic psychedelics interacted with it differently, shutting down rather than amplifying visuals. Were my bodily experiences an equivalent to the visuals others experience? I don’t know.
I was grateful for the space that A. had made for the experience and sheepish for the apprehension with which I had invested taking this step. Now that I tried a classic psychedelic, I was gladly surprised that there were no monsters rising out of the depths to attack me. I had experienced intensely unpleasant, though not painful, sensations, but was not frightened by them. It was ok for me to be afraid – that was an intention, and, I hoped, an agreement that A. understood, so she would not feel the need to “rescue” me, and now I wasn’t even afraid. However, what I found hard to stop feeling was the need to look back upon and compare my state under mushrooms with what I had experienced with the cannabis edible. It was at this point that I declaimed that what I found it hardest to give up was not my fear but my drive or need to be a storyteller.
“To be human is to bullshit”, I said. A., seemingly appalled, said, “But you don’t have to be.” What I meant to communicate at this time was my belief that the essence of humanity or to be human was the desire and capacity to narrate, to spin tales, and that it was impossible for me to give it up. Why did I want to give it up? Because I felt like my need to compare one experience with another was disrupting my unfiltered experience of the mushrooms and corrupting it, making it less “real” or authentic.
I am not sure if we went outside immediately before or after this point, which was between 2 and 2.5 hours after the initial dose. However, I know that we did head out into the back garden. It was bright and sunny out, and only slightly cool. A. brought me to different plants, including a lovely lemon tree. She broke off a lemon and I delighted at the fragrance. I sniffed it once again, enthralled by the powerful fragrance, and returned to inhale the fragrance several more times when we were back in the kitchen. She gave me some lavender, and I mentioned that you can use lavender in cooking, that it is part of herbs de Provence. We walked around the garden and she showed me geraniums, breaking off some leaves and I agreed, scenting the geraniol-heavy scent.
I spun around in a circle outside, again swept up with the fullness of light and sound, and wanting to express that in motion.
We headed back inside again – and either then had my reverie, or perhaps the reverie was first. I am not sure what led us to head back inside.
A’s partner S. showed up, and decided that he also wanted to ingest some mushrooms. He did so, but he did not end up being a participant in our space. Instead, he spent a good deal of time lying on his back on some blankets or cushions.
A. decided to make tea for us. She also fed me sections of a small orange. The flavor was bright and lively, delicious, I marveled at it. I remember talking about making tea and laughing at the fact that I recalled that green tea is made at a lower temperature than black tea and how ridiculous it was that I remembered this bit of tea-making trivia while tripping.
A. began chopping vegetables. I was very impressed, to the point of envy. How could she chop vegetables while I was having some trouble coordinating my body and some trouble reining in my thoughts as well? I continued to have intense, nearly involuntary hand movements or shifts in posture. But I watched her creating a slaw of carrots, beets and green onions. At times I worried that she might injure herself with her large vegetable chopper. I sampled a carrot as well.
At some point, I recall being displeased with the music; it sounded like a talk show. I hoped that this was not part of my playlist and, tracking the time, realized that the streaming service was likely now playing songs selected to be “like” my list, a feature called “autoplay”. (It was, about a half hour after the 2-hour run time of the playlist.) I also tried to communicate something about my exhibiting stereotypies. At first, I was blocked on the word, and stumbled about for it, only later recovering it. I think that A. guessed it or came close to guessing it, and we discussed the idea briefly.
I drank the tea that A. had made. At this point, a little later, I felt overwhelmingly heavy or tired and so joined S. in the living room space, lying down on the couch.
It seemed that a few moments after this, S. arose from his position on the couch and began speaking with A. I could not follow their conversation but was not trying especially hard to do so either. Rather, I let myself sink into the couch, taking time to rest, with eyes closed. My breathing was still incredibly clear and I still appreciated this and delighted in it, and I still did not experience visuals
My breathing was still incredibly clear and I still appreciated this and delighted in it, and I still did not experience visuals
; however, generating fragments of visual imagery was possible, if for a second or two.
A.,S. and I had discussed at an earlier point whether we would visit a beach or a park near the end of the journey. At one point, A. raised the topic of driving to the beach, and I laughed and pointed out that she was not in the state to drive anywhere. We returned to this topic again, and as the daylight slipped way, A. decided that we could walk to a nearby park. S. grumbled about this, but when A. told me how far away it was, I decided that I was up for the walk. However, I hesitated several times before agreeing to walk because I was still uncertain as to how well I would be able to walk without staggering or falling.
Once we made it outside, I was surprised at how easily I could walk down the street with A. I was sure-footed despite feeling wobbly and strange. I kept up the pace and when needed, had some assistance from A. in navigation. We walked past a few other people and I had fleeting worries that they would somehow know that we were tripping. If they did, they did not stop us or bother us. S. walked with us, walking A. and S’s dog.
We arrived at the park as the sun began to set, and we watched it set. A. said that I could now say that I had seen the sun set while tripping, or that it would be the most memorable event. It was lovely but what I still remember most strongly of my experience was my earlier reveries, how large the room had felt, and the realization that it was harder for me to let go of comparing or judging than it was to let go of fear, at least in the context of the psychedelic experience.
We headed back to A’s place in the growing dark. I could tell that I was still affected. I could hear it in our communication, which was slightly less rich and used fewer words than normal; sometimes it bothered me, sometimes it amused me. The experience as a whole was winding down.
Later still, we had soup for dinner, and still later after that, I wrote about both of my experiences, “journaling” or trying to process them.
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