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My Experiences With Weed as an Autistic Person
Cannabis (edible) & Sertraline
Citation:   Dingus. "My Experiences With Weed as an Autistic Person: An Experience with Cannabis (edible) & Sertraline (exp116728)". Oct 21, 2022.

  oral Cannabis (edible / food)
  200 mg oral Pharms - Sertraline (daily)
My collated experiences with weed edibles as an autistic person with various psychiatric/neurological comorbidities

Some background:
I am an autistic trans man who has OCD, cPTSD, and possibly ADHD.
I have sensory issues so I am unable to tolerate drinking alcohol, smoking/vaping/snorting drugs.
I am consequently limited to eating/swallowing pills when it comes to dosing.
I also have idiopathic hives that I take 20mg H1 antihistamines daily for.
I have done weed both on and off of SSRIs, and with varying amounts of caffeine consumption with coffee.

I started using weed in college when someone offered to sell me some random bud that I subsequently made cannabutter cookies from. I had guessed it was the strain "ghost train haze" based on the smell and geographic location but I had no way of confirming, and it was likely lower quality if one of my classmates was just selling it for cheap. Some basic internet research and napkin math was done that told me a hit of weed from a blunt was about 1-2mg THC, and each cookie I made had about 20mg THC per cookie, so a quarter of a cookie had about 5mg. This tracks with the more accurately dosed edibles I've done since then.

This is where the first thing of note happens, from what I've read, apparently 5mg is on the higher end of starting doses. The first few times I had tried edibles, they had lower doses than this, and I felt next-to-nothing. However, my friends who did the same edibles, got significantly high from the ~2.5mg THC dose. If I recall correctly, I just felt a bit more giddy, which I had chalked up to sleep deprivation, since I was also tired. This may have been due to my weight, the SSRI I was on (200mg Zoloft), my levels of fat consumption prior, or all 3.

Initial experience:
Prior to getting high, I prepared by making sure anything I would need/want was easily accessible, and that I was in a generally positive state of mind before starting. I made sure I did it on a Saturday so I wasn't time-pressured to get sober, and I made sure I had nothing I needed to get done that couldn't be done on Sunday.

The first time I had actually gotten high was with the ~5mg THC edible I took a few months after the previously stated failed attempts. The first thing I noticed was time dilation, and this has been a feature of every edible high since. If I were to describe it, it was a significant impairment to my short term memory, for example, I would complete a task in the game I was playing and forget I had just done it, while my subconscious still remembers doing it. Additionally, everything was a lot funnier, which is a common experience as well.

As the high progressed, I would have points where I would blink and forget where I just was, but my body was still able to remember and execute simple tasks with what I would describe as my "lizard-brain", such as getting up and going to the bathroom, washing my hands, getting some water/food, showering, etc., albeit more slowly.

An interesting feature for me, as an autistic guy, was that although the high made all of my senses even more hypersensitive, it wasn't painful in the way that over-stimulation feels while sober. Like, I was able to enjoy the hypersensitivity instead of recoiling.
I was able to enjoy the hypersensitivity instead of recoiling.
The most significant change was that I was able to touch fabrics and textures that I would normally find excruciatingly painful to rub my hands over. I could also parse spoken words better, something that is normally impaired by being autistic. For example, I was able to tell what people were saying in songs where I normally wouldn't be able to tell. Even tap water tasted better.

//CW: sex//
Additionally, SSRIs are known for their sexual side effects, but I found weed mitigated these side effects, at least while high. Weed does make me extremely horny, and it might have to do with how I find sex and masturbation overstimulating a lot of the time while sober. Having sex while high is wonderful because I can touch and kiss consistently without the skin-skin contact being overstimulating or painful like it can sometimes get for me.
//End CW//

I did have anxiety crop up a lot, like "what if I forget to breathe and I die" and stuff like that, but the SSRI I was on already helped me push away obsessive intrusive thoughts and compulsions like that when I wasn't high, and this was not impacted much by the weed. And combined with the waves of relaxation, this was tolerable to me.

Overall, I had a great time, the high lasted about 7hrs, with a gradual increase and decrease in "high-ness". The warm fuzzy feeling gradually declined on a standard half-life curve, and the "afterglow" continued into the start of the week.

My single bad trip:
In all of my 4 years of semi-regular edible usage (1 time/2 months and up to 4 times/month) I can only remember one bad trip, and it was because of my cPTSD being more easily triggered due to the altered mind state.

I had some PTSD flashbacks that were externally triggered, and they became substantially more vivid as a result of the weed. I had mentally regressed to a child effectively, and that had never happened to me before. It was terrifying, but unfortunately, familiar, and it had brought up some previously experienced trauma. I wouldn't say I was completely hallucinating but it was a shit time overall and, as I said, I felt like a child. Not in a good way, more in a defenseless isolated horror kind of way.

However, I have since been able to prevent this by letting the people around me know what happened and what exactly triggered me, and to avoid those triggers in advance when preparing to get high. The experience also taught me how to mentally pull myself out of said PTSD loop, where I can recognize it when it starts, and avoid being triggered altogether, which is probably why it hasn't happened since.

Every other trip:
As I have experimented with higher doses, the effects are mostly the same as described earlier, just more intense, depending on whether I take it in the morning, after eating, etc. I have also had assorted psychedelic experiences at around ~10-12.5 mg of THC.

Somatic distortions included things like cold and wet feeling like stinging or muscle tension, and the feeling of warm water being intensely pleasurable. None of these were too distressing though.

I had slight visual hallucinations including seeing patterns in my normal visual snow (the visual snow that your brain normally filters out, but when it's pointed out, you may notice it). Or the colorful visual snow one might get when closing one's eyes tightly or getting up too fast.

I tend to get more easily lost in imagination, particularly visual imagination, and more significant time dilation also happens.

My limbs become de-synchronized with what my brain is trying to do, so if I'm walking, for example, my foot may have already reached the ground but my conscious brain takes longer to catch up. Think of like the camera effects when someone moves in slow motion in "The Matrix", but instead of visual, it's your own somatic perception of where your body is in 3d space.

Upon weaning off of Zoloft, I have also had auditory hallucinations that could not be pushed away like usual.
Upon weaning off of Zoloft, I have also had auditory hallucinations that could not be pushed away like usual.
So I would hear various sounds I have heard in the past replaying, sometimes in a musical fashion that would persist, even when trying to listen to something else. Notably, they weren't voices, just things like keyboard clicking, footsteps, leaf-blowers, alarms from machines at work, as well as other sounds that I recognized, but couldn't pin where I had heard them before. It was a little bit worrying because of my family history of schizophrenia, but they did go away after about an hour.

Longer term changes:

I was on Zoloft for about 6 years and have more recently weaned off of it, to the point where I no longer need it for my OCD. There were many factors involved with this change, the largest of which was obtaining a significantly more stable living situation. But I think there may have also been a long term change in my neurochemistry from the long term weed usage. Partially because my OCD now has less of an effect on my day-to-day behavior, and I feel like I trust myself more.

I've gotten better at recognizing PTSD triggers, and removing myself from the trigger if possible. I also get triggered less often and less intensely now.

Additionally, I feel that as a result of my long term use, and a lot of time to think, I have reached something akin to ego death. I am more comfortable with the transient nature of being, and I am more comfortable with the idea of death. I have mourned my own death while sober, even.

As a result of my experiences, I have gradually become more radicalized, specifically toward anarchist philosophy. I view my own life as one of many, just as important and insignificant as any other existence, and as a materialist (the philosophical definition), while this life will end, the matter that currently constitutes "me" is ever changing, dying, and being reborn, and will likely become other living things as soon as it exits this open entropy loop. With these changes, I've felt a sense of serenity that is hard to describe. I want to help others feel this way. The oppressive systems built over the past few thousand years can and should be destroyed. I feel like everything and everyone are all just islands of reduced entropy reaching into the eternal. I let my anger at injustice fuel my resolve to live this life the way I want, and help others do the same by dismantling and subverting oppression. Because striving for a better world makes me happy.

I probably sounded like a self-absorbed, self-righteous, pompous, overly verbose piece of shit just now, but I am really trying to be genuine. I just can't form the words to really describe it to someone who hasn't felt it themself. And I think these changes in my mental framework were partially shaped by my experiences with weed, as cheesy and stereotypical as that sounds. Take what I say here with a grain of salt, I'm just some dude on the internet talking about my own subjective experience of reality here.

Exp Year: 2018-2022ExpID: 116728
Gender: Not Specified 
Age at time of experience: 25
Published: Oct 21, 2022Views: 1,033
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Cannabis (1), Pharms - Sertraline (88) : Various (28), Retrospective / Summary (11), Combinations (3)

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