Weird reaction after smoking weed
June 10, 2010 7:25 AM   Subscribe

I smoked half a joint yesterday and had some horrible reactions. I am not a daily or weekly smoker. I tend to go years with out smoking but recently started doing it a couple times a month. I never take more than a few tokes. I get really lazy, a little silly, and a little munchy. I go from feeling very dry and then back to normal (mouth).

This time was a little different. I had the overwhelming fear that the weed was laced with something. While watching a music performance on TV there were some flashing lights in various colors and I had to turn away. Later on I was watching something else and there were some black and white flashing lights and I had to turn away as well. The paranoia was out of control and I had difficulty burping, breathing, moving. It was really weird and unpleasant. A nightmare with my eyes open. All of my senses were inside out.

Usually when I smoke my boyfriend does as well but he recently quit due to a job opp he is anticipating. He is trying to convince me that he was also feeling weird and that it was due to the Indian food we ate.

Is there anyway to tell if it was laced with something (I still have the other half of the joint) or is this some kind of allergic reaction? I usually like how I feel but right now, not so much. I'm trying to make myself look at some flashing lights to get over the fear.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (26 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have you smoked from that particular batch before? It could have just been much stronger than you are used to. I had a similar response years ago from a pot brownie that was way too strong - complete sensory overload.
posted by something something at 7:28 AM on June 10, 2010

Half a joint can be a LOT, depending on the joint.
posted by hermitosis at 7:31 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Back when I used to smoke the stuff I had one or two freak-outs that scared me off it for a few weeks. One time it was so scary I was convinced I was having an acid flashback and I had to leave the room and go for a walk. It was similar to what you're describing. Once I calmed down I just chalked it up to really bad (or really good, I guess) weed and/or the environment I was in at the time.

As far as I know, "laced" weed is generally a myth. Pot dealers aren't really in the habit of giving away something for nothing.
posted by bondcliff at 7:51 AM on June 10, 2010 [6 favorites]

It wasn't laced. It probably just had a different sativa/indica ratio than anything you had previously. Also modern varieties are so strong that, yeah, half a joint can be enough to really put you the fuck out.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:07 AM on June 10, 2010

Yeah, it probably wasn't laced. Different kinds of pot and the reaction they can cause in people vary a lot. When I used to do it, I would only take one or two hits and then wait to see my reaction. Sometimes I felt great, but if it was strong I would start feeling weird, and then stop. My partner also used to get horrible panic attacks when he was stoned which sounds like what you described, and he completely stopped all together.
posted by Rocket26 at 8:21 AM on June 10, 2010

It's not laced, it's never laced, it's an urban legend.

You had a bit too much, had a bit of a panic attack, a bit of a freakout, it's ok. It happens. Chin up, best foot forward, that feeling will fade quickly.
posted by unixrat at 8:51 AM on June 10, 2010

You got some weed with a higher THC content than you are used to. The lazy, silly weed has more cannabinoids and lower THC, so it's a different high. In case you find yourself in that situation again, I've found that eating something with high carbs, like spaghetti or ramen, and taking a hot shower can help with the anxiety.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 9:04 AM on June 10, 2010

Yeah, sounds like you just got really high. Next time this happens, turn off the lights and put on some chill music.
posted by gnutron at 9:36 AM on June 10, 2010

Shoot me a MeMail, if you can.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:14 AM on June 10, 2010

Pot is strong stuff but it's almost never laced with anything (i've heard of it happening to a friend...probably more of a problem with cheap crap) and it's never going to kill you. It just makes you think it will. Too much weed is seriously, seriously unpleasant. In my younger and dumber days, I definitely needed to be talked out of calling 911 a couple of times. Convinced I couldn't breath. Convinced I couldn't swallow. Trapped in a bubble of panic for what felt like hours and hours.

Pot tends to intensify every sensation, good or bad. Since smoking tends to make your mouth, lungs and airway unhappy it's pretty easy to overreact and think you can't breath/swallow. Find something to get your mind off that. Do pothead stuff and eat something delicious while listening to music. Have sex or masturbate. Have a glass of wine.

Smoke less of this stuff next time. If you want to salvage what you've already purchased, mix it with something you know is a bit more mellow. Smoke slower. Five or ten minutes between puffs will help you calibrate your experience a bit better. Consider using a vaporizer of some sort.

For irregular users, a half joint of crazy-making weed can be waaaaaaaaay too much. Visual and auditory hallucinations are not out of the question if you overdo things. Just remember it's all in your head.
posted by pjaust at 10:16 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

I meant to say I've *NEVER* heard of a friend getting laced weed. And I have a lot of friends.
posted by pjaust at 10:16 AM on June 10, 2010

May sound stupid, but it's possible the effects of a lot of chilli and too much fat could have sent you the wrong way, if your curry was like that.
posted by Not Supplied at 10:31 AM on June 10, 2010

I've had those exact same symptoms, and I no longer smoke. Even the smallest amount would set off anxiety, panic, pain in my chest, inability to relax or calm down, trouble breathing, etc. I went through a period of about 2-3 years where I'd smoke maybe once or twice a month, and I enjoyed it. Then about 2 years ago, I just started having these sorts of reactions, no matter how little I smoked. I just decided those experiences weren't worth continuing. I don't have any explanation for why this started happening, though.
posted by rbf1138 at 10:40 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

You had a bit too much, had a bit of a panic attack, a bit of a freakout, it's ok. It happens. Chin up, best foot forward, that feeling will fade quickly.

Yeah, this has happened to everyone who has smoked any significant amount of pot over a significant amount of time.

The only 'lacing' of pot I know of is something like a woolly (sp??) where it's laced with cocaine...but as has been mentioned, that's not something a drug dealer would sell you without you knowing and him charging more money.

It is possible the spices from the Indian food could have exacerbated the problem. Unlikely, but possible. Certain spices and such can have hallucinogenic effects, so I wouldn't rule it out.

But the most likely thing is that this was a normal 'i smoked too much and got a panic attack' kind of situation. It isn't anything to worry about...and because it happened doesn't mean it will happen again or regularly or whatever.

Memail if you wanna talk about it. This sorta thing happened to me once when I was a pot noob and it scared the living fuck out of me.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:02 AM on June 10, 2010

I was thinking more of the general comedowny feeling I get after curry making things negative rather than spices, but agree it's probably not a major factor.
posted by Not Supplied at 11:17 AM on June 10, 2010

but there was recently a clip of a documentary (I think on the BBC?)

Greg, I believe you are thinking of BBC's "Should I Smoke Dope?" which appears to be available on YouTube.

Also, Nth'ing that OP was hellabaked, hence the reaction. Slow your proverbial roll a bit next time and hopefully all will be well.
posted by theBigKahuna at 11:28 AM on June 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

Did you have mango lassi by chance? Supposedly, eating mangoes about an hour before smoking magnifies the effect.
posted by idiotfactory at 12:38 PM on June 10, 2010

Woah, dude, just mellow out. You're totally stoned out of your gourd, man! This one time there was like a blunt and two bowls circulating the rooms for EVER and I was like, "Dudes! I'm freakin' out here!" Sam Elliot's moustache was reaching into my brain, and I didn't even CARE about the rug.

But, yeah, you were in all likelihood just really high. It's a difficult concept to keep track of when you're stoned, but it takes maybe five minutes for the full effect of a hit to, well, hit you. So, if you smoke half a joint over 5 or 10 minutes, you won't realize how much you've smoked until a little later and sometimes the delayed rush can be a lot.

Also, some unsolicited advice: If what you're smoking has enough chance of being doped with unknown substances that you're seriously worried about it, then don't smoke it.
posted by cmoj at 2:30 PM on June 10, 2010

I'm gratified to know that the "I can't breathe" part is common. I once had a total freak out where I was convinced if I didn't consciously decide to breathe, I'd stop. Luckily, I had someone there to calm me down. All was well the next day, but it was years before I could smoke again without the fear that it would happen again.
posted by crunchland at 3:09 PM on June 10, 2010

One time I convinced myself I was going to swallow my tongue and die. My friends assured me I'd be fine, and despite pleas for them to take me to the hospital, they just gave me water and eventually it subsided. Another time, shortly after seeing the film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, I was certain that I was going to fall asleep and wake up with Locked-in syndrome. Yeah, good times.
posted by rbf1138 at 9:10 PM on June 10, 2010

It's extremely unlikely but not out of the realm of possibility that your weed was laced with one of a new breed of synthetic cannabinoids. There's about a half dozen of them being mass produced right now with more coming out all the time. There are retail outlets lacing smoking material with them, I suppose some dealer could try beefing up some weed with one of them in a similar fashion. I haven't heard of it actually being done but economically it'd be just about cost-effective if he wanted to. Unfortunately I don't know of any way short of very expensive GC/MS testing to find out if this is the case. Even without false positive masking from the weed itself, some of these compounds don't even show up on a simple THC test.

But really, it's way more likely you just smoked up a bit too much on weed that's stronger than you're used to, plus that bad food thing.
posted by scalefree at 9:50 PM on June 10, 2010

On rare occasions I'll smoke and get so high I freak out a bit, somewhat like you describe. It could be any number of factors, but yeah, it's likely that you just simply got a hold of some strong stuff. I always find it good to get confirmation from my stoner buddies/buying contacts who have had a chance to sample the merchandise. I'll hear a range from "Ya, this stuff is pretty good, nothing special" to "DUDE, this shit rocked my balls off!" Remember that your hippie drug source should also be a source of info. (A situation that's really funny and done really well, btw, in the movie Pineapple Express).

Nthing the "laced weed" myth is exactly that. I think what happens is some people do in fact mix their weed with whatever (I knew some folks who put coke in their weed), and that weed is mistakenly smoked by someone else. But dealers have no incentive whatsoever to lace their product.

For me, the only times I really felt freaked out while high was when I ate some brownies or cannabutter-derived food. When ingested, it takes a long time to hit you, so it's easy to overdo it ("It ain't working, I'll have another bite!").

I've found that the older I get, the less I need/can handle. One or two hits off a joint, or one decent bong rip and stick a fork in me--I'm done. Maybe just a tiny hit next time?
posted by zardoz at 11:49 PM on June 10, 2010

What rbf1138 said, and Zardoz. In my case, and in the case of several friends, smoking just became painful at some point. Some things used to give you pleasure, and all of a sudden, they trigger an outburst of fear or despair. Substance isn't everything, it sort of uninhibits you. Your reaction to it somehow echoes an unconscious pattern. Mental health is a balance, and your psyche always evolves.
posted by nicolin at 2:59 AM on June 11, 2010

Been there, it sucks. I suspect another factor is blood sugar. You don't want a sugar crash when you're too stoned, you'll think you're dying (as opposed to afterwards, where you just get hella munchies).
posted by Goofyy at 7:15 AM on June 11, 2010

It very well could have been laced. Trust your body and intuition. Weed dipped in a solution containing ice (liquid crystal meth) then dried is more common than you think. It also could have been sprayed with weed killer by law enforcement then still harvested and sold by the grower. A third possibility is that a novice grower used artificial fertilizer to increase yields. Yum. Makes a case for government standards doesn't it?
posted by Muirwylde at 11:30 PM on June 11, 2010

Also if there is a history of mental illness esp. schizophrenic disorders in your family, marijuana has been known to trigger psychotic episodes with persons with that particular predisposition. In fact if you had called the paramedics or gone to the emergency room and told them you had smoked pot and were experiencing the symptoms you described, they would have in all probability rendered a 'drug induced psychotic episode' diagnosis.
posted by Muirwylde at 11:41 PM on June 11, 2010

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