Citation: DrSeuss. "Unexpected Ego Death: An Experience with Cacao, Cannabis & Alcohol (exp115988)". Erowid.org. Jan 9, 2022. erowid.org/exp/115988
Last night, I had quite an unusual experience: I had a trip, including what I believe was partial ego death, brought on by a moderate amount of alcohol, cannabis, and inability to sleep. But the trip only occurred when I closed my eyes, and I was able to effectively stop the trip at any time by opening my eyes.
For background: the first time I tried LSD was in my senior year of high school. I experimented with LSD for about a year after that, trying it around 5 times with up to 2.5 tabs. At the end of this year, I had a bad trip on 2.5 tabs, which turned my off from psychedelics completely. I was fairly confident that the reason for the bad trip was improper set and setting, but from the intensity of the experience I had no desire to use psychedelics even with better planning in the future.
Fast forward six years: for various reasons, I’m now interested in experimenting with psychedelics again, with my main goals being to improve my emotional health, interpersonal skills, and mindfulness. I got some mushrooms and have been using them in small doses (from microdoses to 1g) for the past month to gradually become used to more intense trips.
I’m now going to describe the events leading up to this trip; given how strange the circumstances of this trip were, I think these details are important to mention. For the entire week, I had been working long hours on a project for work, and my sleep schedule had gotten pushed back a bit from staying up late to work. I was getting 6-7 hours of sleep per night, which compared to my usual 8-9 left me feeling exhausted every day when I came home from work. On Friday, the night of the trip, my exhaustion led me to fall asleep from around 7-8pm.
Another important detail is that I was particularly sensitive to caffeine as I had quit caffeine about a week ago (I was taking 50mg/day before that). My roommate had left out some cacao chips from some brownies he had baked the previous night, and without thinking about it, I ate around 10 while I was in the kitchen microwaving some food to eat after the nap.
Around 10pm, I vaped a small amount of cherry diesel, a stimulating strain of cannabis, mixed with an indica strain of hemp known as special sauce. During this high, I had a number of significant thoughts, including a realization relating to my career goals which I had been thinking about for years. I mention this for completeness but don’t think it was related to the events that followed.
Later that night, I got in bed around 1am, but as I soon realized, the combination of the nap, my caffeine sensitivity, and the cacao chips had completely throttled my ability to sleep, even though I felt completely out of it. I laid there for a while and read a few articles on my phone to pass the time, getting up to use the bathroom every so often. At some point, which I think was around 3am, I went downstairs to have some alcohol — roughly 1 shot of spiced rum — which I thought might help based on past experience.
I felt quite buzzed (I am very sensitive to both alcohol and cannabis), but was still unable to sleep. At 4am — the latest I had been up in around two years — my frustration grew and I decided to up the ante. I took some purple punch cannabis, a strain known for inducing sleep and euphoria, and vaped around 0.2g, which I knew would get me quite baked. I then went drank more spiced rum — around 1.5-2 shots’ worth, although I didn’t measure it.
Very shortly after I laid down again, I noticed very powerful euphoria in my entire body. I remember in particular an ASMR-type sensation in my forehead, which I often get while meditating, and very deep relaxation in my legs. Shortly after this, I also felt an orgasmic sensation in my stomach, a feeling I occasionally feel after taking cannabis but am not sure how to trigger.
At this point, I started feeling a sensation which is difficult to describe, but to do my best, it felt as if my mental field of view (with my eyes closed) was spinning. As soon as I felt this, I realized that I was beginning to have a psychedelic experience. When I was experimenting with psychedelics 6 years ago, I had noticed that cannabis sometimes brought very mild trips, but this had stopped happening to me long ago. So while I was surprised to find myself tripping, I didn’t get scared or anxious. I shifted my goal from falling asleep to engaging in the trip.
I didn’t get scared or anxious. I shifted my goal from falling asleep to engaging in the trip.
However, it quickly because apparent that this trip was different: the intensity increased far beyond what I had experienced from any other cannabis-induced trip. I was still in the driver’s seat for the trip, in the sense that I could choose not to engage with it — when I opened my eyes, I was still baked, but not tripping. I think I verified this pretty soon after I noticed I was tripping. But I was interested to see what kind of experiences I would have, so I decided to keep my eyes closed and go deeper into the trip.
This is when what I consider to be the main culmination of the trip happened. At some point I meditated on nothingness, trying to imagine life before and after death and the universe before the big bang. This triggered my brain to go into a kind of overdrive. The sensation in my forehead became more intense, and with each second I felt less awareness of my body — as if it were painlessly dissolving. My closed-eye field of view was filled with a network of red filaments evolving randomly over a black void. At this point I was a bit scared, but the last fragment of my existence decided to go deeper rather than opening my eyes. And the result was what I believe was a kind of partial ego death: time seemed to not exist, and my existence was filled with nothing but the red filaments. I had no awareness of myself or my body. I heard the words “this is it” repeatedly. I think that I heard these words because in the seconds before the culmination I realized I might be heading toward an ego-death experience, and that “this is it” may have been my last thought before I entered this void.
I describe this as a “partial” ego death for two reasons: first, I believe part of my subconscious was still there, because even though I wasn’t aware of myself, I was aware of fear; and second, the fact that I heard “this is it” means that I could still understand language, even though I wasn’t aware of myself. I am guessing that in a true ego death one cannot understand language, although I am not sure of this.
I’m not sure how long the ego-death lasted, but I would guess 30 seconds to a minute. At some point I began to regain awareness of my body, while still seeing the filament network. My awareness continued to increase until, with my eyes still closed, I no longer saw the filaments had the spinning visualization again. At this point I opened my eyes and took stock of what just happened. I had never experienced ego death before, so I believe this was the most intense psychedelic experience I had ever had — without actually taking a psychedelic. I was quite calm, in fact a bit excited, but also extremely terrified of what I had seen, and immediately pulled out my phone and started writing down notes on what had happened. I think it was around 4:20am.
After this I closed my eyes and continued the trip. I’m not sure if I could have entered the ego-loss state again, but I decided in advance that I wouldn’t enter it if I felt it coming on. I continued meditating on nothingness, and this continued to bring on extremely intense visualizations and sensations. I don’t remember the exact order of things, but a few of the things I felt / saw were:
* Out of body experiences, including one in which I left my body and went into space
* Strange perceptions of my body
* Intense fractal zooms — I had never seen anything like these before, it’s what I imagined DMT would look like
* Some scary things — not writing them down to avoid jogging my memory. Nothing truly terrifying, though — I chose to keep my eyes closed.
* At some point I became somewhat paranoid that the trip wouldn’t end, but I convinced myself that this was nonsense.
* A few times I was about to drift off to sleep, which would lead to the trip rapidly increasing in intensity and jolting me awake
Through all of this (except at the moment of ego death), I felt that I could open my eyes at any time to pause the trip — and I did a few times. The default state of my body, when I wasn’t feeling some strange sensation, felt heavily euphoric. At some point I fell asleep and woke up around 11am feeling very much out of it but not tired enough to go back to sleep.
To summarize, I had a trip induced by cannabis and alcohol which resulted in what I believe was partial ego death. But the trip only occurred while I closed my eyes, so I could pause it at any time by opening my eyes. I also had some control over the trip — e.g. “this fractal is scary, let’s change it”. I was scared at a few points, but was calm the whole time and kept my eyes closed for almost all of the experience. My guess is that the combination of all three of alcohol, cannabis, and sleeplessness was what led to this strange trip. If this method of tripping is reproducible, I would consider using it again. It was amazing to have so much control over the trip.
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