Citation: St. Stephen. "THC as a Psychedelic: An Experience with Cannabis (exp92628)". Erowid.org. Jan 6, 2013. erowid.org/exp/92628
I am a 22 year old male weighing about 215 pounds. This experience happened after about 6 months of casual marijuana use. I have found that I seem to be a lightweight as regards marijuana (and alcohol as well). On the night in question, in order to escape from some stressful thoughts I was having, I decided to get a little messed up.
THE BACKGROUND: I am a late bloomer as far as substance use. I have consumed the legal psychoactive caffeine since childhood. I began smoking nicotine (cigars and pipes, never cigarettes) at age 19. I drank my first alcohol at age 21 and later that same year I had my first experience with cannabis. As part of my ongoing exploration of substances, I have decided to try LSD, although I have not yet done so. However, the reader should be aware that I was researching it heavily at the time of this experience, and so my mind was filled with info on LSD trips and psychedelics in general going into this experience. I was surprised in reading psychedelia literature, particularly that of the 50s, to find that cannabis was considered among the psychedelics. I have never thought of weed as a hallucinogen and certainly among the casual stoners in my social circle, none have discussed marijuana as being in any way trippy. Since having the experience detailed here, I no longer question the inclusion of Cannabis among the psychedelics.
SET: My overall mindset was somewhat tumultuous (I was in the midst of a painful breakup), however my mindset toward the drug itself was positive.
SETTING: When I dosed, I was sitting on my back porch and watching a movie on my laptop.
T-1:00 Remember I was intentionally getting slightly messed up this night to put the brakes on some destructive thought patterns. Prior to dosing on the Cannabis I consumed a Red Bull (approx 76 mg of caffeine), smoked a heavy San Cristobal Maduro cigar containing probably 200 mg of nicotine (I absorbed a large portion of this because I was “retrohaling”), and drank a large snifter of brandy (about 90 mL of alcohol).
T+0:00 I took about six large hits of cannabis. This is far more than I have ever smoked (my previous max being 3-4 hits). The hits were likely larger than usual as well, because I was smoking from a tobacco pipe, which has a larger hole and a larger bowl than a weed pipe (I think). An unfortunate incident occurred right after I took my last hit: my roommate/landlord, C, came out on the deck and asked what I was doing. I rent a bedroom from a family, so I share their house with two adults and a toddler. I had not asked if it was OK to smoke weed (this was my first time smoking weed at the house), and only when C saw me smoking did it even occur to me that I might have transgressed a boundary of their household. Although C did not recriminate me and did not get mad, I became inwardly panicked and felt guilty. However, I was quickly becoming so stoned that this was no longer relevant. C went back inside, and as I watched the movie I became aware that I was getting too stoned to move.
I decided that if I didn’t move inside and go to my room, I would soon be too stoned to do anything and would end up freezing on the porch all night (weed has a tendency to make me shiver and feel cold). So I moved my computer and speakers inside (this task seemed to take forever), mumbled a word of apology to C, who was in the kitchen, and set off downstairs toward my bedroom.
This is when the “trippy” aspects of this weed high began to hit me. When the idea crossed my mind to go downstairs to my room, I had the distorted perception that my room was a very faraway place and that it didn’t exist in my present reality. Reaching it seemed like a laughable impossibility. This struck me as very odd and the thought passed through my brain “I’m tripping”.
My feet went on autopilot and I floated down to my room. I was experiencing visual/spatial effects. For instance, a sort of tunnel vision, as well as a reduced frame-rate that made my perceptions seem like a slideshow.
It took all my concentration to get undressed, put a CD on my stereo (of all things, Haydn’s Stabat Mater), turn off the lights and crawl into bed. Then things got way trippy.
According to the Wikipedia article for 'Psychedelic experience', what I experienced over the next 2.5 hours was representative of a Level 2 or Level 3 psychedelic experience. I did not have open-eye visuals (except for a warping/curvature when looking at objects that were immediately in front of my face), but I did experience 3-dimensional closed-eye/mind’s-eye visuals, I experienced a mixing of the senses, with the music I was hearing often manifesting in visual form, extreme
time dilation and a continuous perception of eternity. Body movement was difficult and disorienting because minute muscle motions caused intense euphoria to sweep over my body (the closest comparison I can make is to an orgasm). For this reason, I spent a large portion of the “trip” simply laying in the bed undulating my limbs.
The most striking aspect to me at the time was the extremely vivid ongoing mind’s-eye/closed eye hallucinations. I pictured all kinds of scenarios and apparitions, most of them cartoonish and inscrutable. The most nagging one was a continuously morphing object which always moved from left-to-right across my visual field, usually against a background of stars. It was a cartoonish object which I felt sure represented a motif from my childhood (probably a show I used to watch) however I felt that it never took its “true form” and instead was morphing through related/reminiscent shapes: a tennis shoe, a shark, a rollerblade, a car, a space shuttle, a lightning bolt, an electric guitar, a pizza slice. I had the very uncomfortable feeling that none of these were really what the object was. The cartoonish visions sometimes became very present and 3D. One recurring 3D image/sensation was of an enormous fungal venus flytrap which filled the space around me and closed around my body.
At one point I began to masturbate and have vivid sexual fantasies, which, while I knew they were not real, had an extremely vivid and lifelike quality, and were certainly rendered in a very present, in-the-room, 3D. After reaching orgasm I worried because I was not sure if the loud screaming in my fantasy had been merely imagined or had come out of my mouth and I share a relatively thin wall with my roommates’ bedroom.
My bedside lamp is an LCD lamp which means that after it is switched off, it gives a dull afterglow for several minutes. The lamplight was far too bright to have on, but I found if I closed my eyes then switched the light on and off, the glow was enough to see by (there was also a glow from the face of my digital alarm clock). This allowed me to do basic tasks in the dark such as drinking water from a glass on my nightstand. Mostly, though, I just held my hands up in the light and noticed that they appeared warped. They elongated and curved. Also, by holding them in certain configurations I could convince myself they were faces or other objects.
I had very vivid imaginary experiences that had a similar present, lifelike quality. For instance, at one point I imagined sticking my head into my own fingertip and getting sucked up my own arm. I also imagined that I had floated off my mattress and turned over 360 degrees and floated back down.
My mental state became very present-oriented and I lost track of time in a big way. The situations and issues of my life became totally forgotten, in fact I couldn’t really remember who anyone that I knew was. The only people I could really bring to mind in that semi-delirious state were my roommates’ infant son and my mother, both of whom seemed to me to be saintly beings of total goodness. Even my girlfriend, who had been the cause of my terrible mood earlier in the night, didn’t seem real or memorable at all. I had a persisting sensation of ego-loss or partial ego-death, disconnecting from my life and from my identity, although this was not accompanied by any sensations of cosmic oneness as I have read about in LSD or Psilocybin trips.
Throughout this experience I kept thinking 3 main recurring thoughts: “holy shit, I only smoked weed!”, “wow I’m fucking tripping”, and “wow this is lasting forever, when will it stop?”
I often feared that I was forgetting to breathe. I would feel a heavy sensation on my face, and realize I had not breathed for some time, so I would take a big breath. Vivid and detailed 3D visuals accompanied my breathing. At one point I envisaged the inside of my lungs as being a large hollow area like the inside of a ship, with my lungs, ribs, etc made out of wood and run by intricate clockwork. I could perceive this whole cavern expanding and contracting in three dimensions.
T+2:00 At this point I began to come down from the height of the high. I realized that I had plugged my clock in when I came into the room (when it is unplugged it resets to midnight), so the time showing on the face was the precise time since I had laid down, about two hours (it had felt like 5-6 hours). I found I was still very stoned, but I tried to turn on the TV to get back to reality.
T+2:30 I saw my friend A had texted me, so I texted him back and he came and picked me up. I was still very high and as I got dressed and walked out to his car, I was still experiencing the tunnel vision and slow frame-rate I had experienced earlier in the evening. I still experienced occasional vivid mind’s-eye visuals and had some stereotypical high experiences, such as eating a fuck-ton of donuts and being overwhelmed by the number of batteries on a grocery store’s display rack.
T+4:00 By the time we got back to my house, I was down off my high, although symptoms of dissociation from my life and general disorientation persisted through the next day.
The whole experience was far beyond what I believed was possible with weed (remembering, of course, that it was supplemented by significant doses of caffeine, nicotine and alcohol), and it made me excited to someday use LSD and experience a “real” trip.
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