Why can I no longer smoke (this?) marijuana?
September 5, 2010 10:23 AM   Subscribe

I started smoking marijuana a couple of months ago, primarily to help with pain from nerve damage. From the first time, I loved smoking it. It set well with me, producing a very mellow high that took away my pain and allowed me to sleep. But that's all changed.

I started smoking marijuana a couple of months ago, primarily to help with pain from nerve damage. From the first time, I loved smoking it. It set well with me, producing a very mellow high that took away my pain and allowed me to sleep. My hook-up (hooker-upper?), however, said when he delivered the most recent eighth, "This is some powerful shit!" he was right, but it didn't seem powerful in a bad way. At first. Perhaps a week after I'd bought the eighth I ground it with the remnants of a previous buy and smoked the two together for several days with great results. But a couple of days ago I took a hit and it went to my head immediately. And, rather than produce the mellow high I was expecting, my body got jittery and my mind became agitated. I felt as though my whole body was twitching. And I became angry. I tried the same stuff 3-4 times since and it continues to produce the same undesirable effect. I won't be able to buy anymore until late next week, but my plan is to try a new batch from someone else to determine if the problem stems from the weed, or if something else is going on. So, has anyone heard of something like this happening before? Any idea what might be going on? As always, thanks in advance!
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried smoking a much smaller quantity?
posted by alms at 10:26 AM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

indica vs. sativa, maybe?
posted by Mach5 at 10:27 AM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

This is one of the most aggravating aspects of the war against marijuana: at the retail level, one cannot reliably buy the same product again and again over time. Yet different breeds have different effects, and this can be particularly noticeable when switching between indica and sativa strains.

It's worth trying buying from someone else, but the truth in my experience is that it's always going to be hit or miss unless you're buying from someone higher up on the weed distribution cycle. Your smaller-time dealers typically don't know what they have, though they sometimes will try to brand their weed by telling you it's White Widow or some such. That's almost always nonsense.

Also, I'm not sure if this is what you were inferring by your concern about "something else gong on," but I doubt very much that your weed is laced with something. I've never heard of a dealer doing that, since he'd just be giving away the lacing agent for free and screwing with his customers.
posted by gabrielsamoza at 10:33 AM on September 5, 2010 [4 favorites]

Trying baking with the pot. This produces a mellow, bodily, physical high (as opposed to a mental trip). It comes on slowly (may take up to an hour to kick in) and the high lasts much longer than smoking it. You'll need to cook it in butter to release the THC and then use the butter to bake cookies or spread on bread, really any way that you use butter in normal cooking. There's plenty of recipes online for how to cook with THC.

Even though your dealer may be the same, his source of pot may change from time to time, and the quality of the weed may be different. There are so many different types of pot and they all produce different effects.
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 10:37 AM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sometimes people will develop anxiety symptoms from marijuana, even if they've been smoking with no ill effects for years. I know a LOT of people this has happened to, including someone I know very well who ended up quitting marijuana because of it after about five to six years of almost daily smoking. The good news is that it doesn't seem to last forever: twenty years later, the person I just mentioned was happily able to return to weed. Also, I have heard that if the problem persists no matter what kind of marijuana is being used, anti anxiety meds such as klonopin will handily deal with the symptoms.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:37 AM on September 5, 2010 [4 favorites]

Seconding cooking with it.

The only pot panic attacks I've had, incidentally, have been from old pot smoked in large quantities.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:45 AM on September 5, 2010

A typical Amsterdam coffeeshop "menu" will distinguish between trippy, stoney and mellow highs. This ability to discriminate (with a certain degree of consistency and quality control) does not, of course, exist in places where sale is criminalised.

This doesn't preclude it being a random psychological or physical trigger along the lines described by mygothlaundry, but chances are that your dealer's supply has changed and you're going to be punting around trying to find something that replicates the first batch. When that happens, it might be worth consulting online or local weed bores connoisseurs to get them to take a punt at the strain for future reference.
posted by holgate at 10:49 AM on September 5, 2010

Agreed with Mach5.

At medical dispensaries in my city the employees are able to discuss the strains and cross-strains available in terms of what kind of high/relief they deliver. It would be worth it to read up on the Indica/Sativa distinction, hybrids, and so forth and then see if you can talk with your supplier about these things. Unfortunately, if marijuana is illegal where you live it's likely they don't really know the story of the plant they're distributing&madsh;but they're likely to either make something up or pass on bad info that someone else made up instead of admitting that.
posted by carsonb at 11:00 AM on September 5, 2010

I'm going to add a warning about cooking with marijuana. It's basically impossible to OD when you're smoking because the effects come on quickly; you'll stop as soon as things get unpleasant. But when you're ingesting pot, there's a significant lag time between consumption and the onset of the effects, so consuming too much is a definite possibility. I've seen people OD (and talked them down for over an hour) on pot brownies, and I can assure you that it's not a pleasant experience. So if you decide to give cooking a shot, be conservative with your amounts until you get a feel for it.
posted by dephlogisticated at 11:06 AM on September 5, 2010 [4 favorites]

To get rid of the anxiety, just smoke less than you normally would - I basically stopped smoking about ten years ago because of "The Fear", but have found pot cookies to be a much more palatable. I just limit my dose, and have a far more pleasant experience than I would getting totally high.

This AskMe question is pretty interesting.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:43 AM on September 5, 2010

Most definitely. There are all kinds of growers. All kinds of chemicals they put in there. All kinds of energies and all varieties of the weed itself. It's a spectrum from the most natural and untainted grown with love and organic all the way down (or up) to the tainted genetically modified hybrids.

Take a break. Beef your body up with lots of vitamin C and natural foods and try to get back on track with a dealer you can trust to supply you with MELLOW weed and steer clear of the chronic.
posted by watercarrier at 11:47 AM on September 5, 2010

Seems like I've had a similar experience to others mentioned in this thread. I loved weed for a long time, but occasionally I would have what I would call "bad trips," even though that's a phrase more commonly associated with LSD. Instead of enjoying the high, I'd get anxiety about my health (either short-term or long term), paranoia, and really dark, morbid thoughts that I couldn't shake until I was no longer high.

Eventually, the good trip vs. bad trip ratio got to be so skewed toward the latter that I had to quit. I miss the good trips/fun highs like crazy.

I think one of the reasons for this is that, as gabrielsamoza mentioned, it's impossible to know what you're getting. But also, I think the way your body/brain handles weed changes over time: this thread may be useful. In the meantime, I think I will try the cooking/combine with anti-anxiety meds trick mentioned above.
posted by mreleganza at 11:54 AM on September 5, 2010

In my own experience paranoia comes and goes for no discernible reason whatsoever. Try smoking less if you can (if you took one bong hit, you can certainly smoke less by using a pipe), maybe at a different time of day. Also, I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice, but just drinking a beer can help. -- I've also heard people say that using one of those vaporizer thingies gives you a more mellow high. Finally, I assume you're not mixing it with tobacco, or smoking a cigarette around the same time, but in my experience that can also trigger anxiety and paranoia.
posted by creasy boy at 11:55 AM on September 5, 2010

This is an interesting article written by a woman who treats her son with marijuana and had an issue with different strains at one point. It's a three-part article so be sure to read it all.
posted by cabingirl at 11:58 AM on September 5, 2010

I second finding different weed and changing up HOW you're smoking. In my experience, I've found bongs are extremely effective and it's easy for me to get "too high", anxious, paranoid, etc if I'm not careful. My favorite way to smoke is to vaporize or small joints. I've found that vaporizing almost always produced a more clear-headed, productive body high and I've never ever gotten anxiety.

About ingesting, definitely experiment first. I always god terrible motion sickness (to the point of vomiting if I got in a car) and strange, scary trips from ingesting marijuana. I've finally learned that I need to eat about a fourth as the average person. I'm not sure if it's my metabolism or I have a weak stomach but everyone really varies as far as how much is too much so be very, very careful. Also even though I've learned how much I need to eat to stay sane, ingesting is still by far my least favorite way to enjoy marijuana.

Remember: You can always eat more, but you can never eat less!
posted by ad4pt at 12:06 PM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm going to take a different tack than the other respondents in this thread. I do not know if you have access to a doctor, or have a doctor, but I have some significant neuropathy which causes severe pain at times, and definitely will keep me awake without some medication.

My main doctor was little help, but a consult with his certified nurse assistant (a guy who looks like a 50-ish Mark Twain) got me a prescription for generic Neurontin. It not only blocks the nerve pain, but as a side effect it seems to increase slow wave sleep cycles with fewer sleep interruptions.

IANAD, and IANYOURD, but I get all the gabapentin I need for $5 a month, and my foot pain no longer keeps me up at night, which was not true for 5 of the last 6 years.

There are, of course, side effects and contraindications, so this is best discussed with your medical professional but it could be less of a crapshoot than the non-formulary path you have been on. Make no mistake, I am not a shill for the allopathic industry, and I greatly respect the availability of medical marijuana, and I generally come down on the side of legalization, but I also know that not everyone responds the same way to marijuana, as you've also found.
posted by beelzbubba at 12:59 PM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think that for many people, the set and setting concept also applies to pot. A small kernel of any 'negative' mood can bloom into a big scary tree with the addition of a bong hit. Likewise, positive thoughts and feelings frequently expand when herb is added to the mix. Maybe you could spend 2 or 3 minutes breathing slowly and deeply before smoking, in order to ensure that there are no overwhelming thoughts tangling up your mind.
posted by palacewalls at 4:18 PM on September 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

It sounds like you're smoking every or nearly every night. You should back right off doing that for your own health. Consuming any kind of intoxicant that much is problematic; imagine if you were getting drunk every night instead of stoned: you would be an alcoholic with the alcohol taking a large toll on your body and mental health.

I'm not saying quit the doobies, but if smoking every night is the only way to feel okay, you need to see a doctor. Pot is not the answer to that level of problem.
posted by smoke at 5:25 PM on September 5, 2010

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