So that was trippy, and scary
May 19, 2015 6:35 PM   Subscribe

I took some cannabis earlier (it's legal here) and weird physical things happened. Is this normal? Should I mark this as another medicine I cannot take?

A while ago, I asked this question and we have moved to Washington, and I have tried it, and for the most part, it's worked on the pain with no "high" involved. I don't use it very often because the only way it works even for pain the only way it works is to inhale it in vapor form (I haven't really tried smoking it, I have asthma).

Then today I used the vapor pen because I had a migraine. That was at 1:30 this afternoon. It's a little after six in the evening and I'm still having weird effects from that. It's been a strange five hours. I mean, the pain is gone, but my body is doing weird things. The right side of my face keeps tingling like it's going numb, and I kept having trouble with using my hands -- they won't do what I want them to do (pick up a pen for example). Obviously, it's better now because I'm typing this, but it was off and on since 1:30. My outer fingers (pinkie and ring finger) keep tingling, as do my feet and parts of my legs. My hearing has... just... been... odd. Like, I haven't been able to understand what I have been hearing though the speakers are always speaking English, and occasionally I haven't heard anything at all -- like seconds of not hearing anything then hearing again. And, the really weird part was the pressure in my chest (I have inflamed chest wall, so I'm used to chest pain) and weird tingling/warm sensation in my extremities whenever that happened. Plus, trouble breathing. Obviously, this has all lessened, passed by now, but I'm still feeling... weird. My face, for example still feels kinda numb and I still have this sense of disconnection, like I'm watching myself type this. It's disconcerting. And a little frightening.

So, I've never been "high" or "stoned" before and have no basis for comparison here other than television or movies and this is nothing like what's portrayed on there. But is this normal? Because it's scaring the shit out of me. I have bipolar if that's helpful. Should I add cannabis to the long list of pain meds I can't take because of freaky weird side effects? Also, I have a doctor's appointment this Friday for other reasons, should I mention this?
posted by patheral to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Perhaps you sucked a little harder on the pen, and held it in for a little longer, hoping for the pain to dissipate. So basically maybe you got a higher dose than usual and your body wasn't ready for it?
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:38 PM on May 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

I've experienced all that stuff while high, including weird hands and lack of them working properly, feeling disconnected, hearing sounds in weird ways, and being elsewhere and coming back several moments later ( the music thing).

And yes, trouble breathing, not feeling like your chest is expanding/contracting naturally, and various tingly sensations too.

I'm sure you're fine.
posted by Blitz at 6:47 PM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

You're almost certainly fine, but experiencing an anxious response that manifests as unpleasant physical sensation. I get that every single time I smoke/eat/whatever weed, so I don't use it. If you continue to have experiences like this, then weed might not be for you (and that's fine).
posted by Parasite Unseen at 6:51 PM on May 19, 2015 [8 favorites]

Also, I have a doctor's appointment this Friday for other reasons, should I mention this?

Its a doctor, not your mom. Tell them as its relevant to your medical care.

Also, you are fine...but many people don't like smoking/vaping marijuana.

posted by hal_c_on at 6:51 PM on May 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Well, that's a load off of my mind. Thanks y'all. hal_c_on, I've tried edibles and they take the edge off of the pain but not much.
posted by patheral at 7:00 PM on May 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

In addition to all of the above, anxiety and medical fear can also be exacerbated under the influence of cannabis, particularly with something sativa-dominant. (You might try looking up your strain and its listed potential downsides, if you still have its name.)

In your position, I would drink fluids and eat something to get my glucose up, take a nice bath, and then get a full night's rest. If I still had those symptoms in the morning, I'd go to the doctor. But that's just me and what I would do, not advice since I'm not you and don't know your medical history.

I hope you feel better soon!
posted by brina at 7:01 PM on May 19, 2015

These are all neurological symptoms. You need to tell your doctor. Whether they were caused by the marijuana or not, they are significant, and if you have migraine even more so.
posted by evilcupcakes at 7:15 PM on May 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

nth-ing that this sounds like you had a little too much.

Many people who use cannabis for pain management prefer a high CBD/low THC strain. THC is responsible for most of the "stoned" feeling. CBD appears to provide many of the therapeutic effects without the high.

If (outside of these side effects) cannabis is working for you for pain management, you might investigate high-CBD before giving up on it altogether.

See: Project CBD
And: Your guide to CBD strains in SF
posted by toxic at 7:34 PM on May 19, 2015 [4 favorites]

Yeah I've experienced all this when high before too.

Your post brought back to mind one time in high school when a friend and I got high and drove through the McDonald's drive-through and spent like 3 hours listening to the stereo in the parking lot all tingly and barely able to move. My hands kept feeling like they do when they "fall asleep" and I kept dropping french fries everywhere.

The first time I got high I had a panic attack -- shortness of breath and chest pains like you're describing -- and everyone made fun of me because I sincerely thought I was dying. Later back at home I was watching TV but it was like I was watching myself watch TV and the sounds kept cutting out (in my brain, not in the television). Very trippy.

So I think you'll be fine. To note, I had also smoked weed and had it be pretty uneventful, and like other posters have elaborated on, it seems to depend on the strain.
posted by sevenofspades at 7:47 PM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yes, you've had a bit too much. It's ok. Nothing bad will happen. You might feel more tired or "out of it" tomorrow.

Try to have a cup of decaf tea and maybe a hot shower. Pass the time. It will be over soon.
posted by sockermom at 8:06 PM on May 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Healthy, fit, mid 20s guy here. I've experienced all this and more.

It all just sounds like typical part of being Pretty Stoned™ stuff. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't. Some people shrug it off, some people notice it and are uncomfortable with it. Sometimes people who usually don't notice it are bothered by it.


I mostly commented other than to say this is all normal Very Baked stuff... to suggest you NOT try this. This awesome comment from an old FPP sums it up perfectly with Guys. Guys. Edibles are advanced weed.

If you got Too High from a couple rips of a vape pen, you would get holding on to the planet so you don't fall off oh my god i can't feel my heart beating i'm going to lose consciousness and die stoned from edibles. And also, edibles are very inconsistent, even from dispensaries(which i've worked at!). It depends on what you ate, how your body is working that day, how consistently made they are(even the commercially produced ones are sort of "commercially" produced, this isn't keeblers), etc. You might eat half a cookie every time you start to get a migraine for months, then eat half a cookie and spend 5 hours laying on the couch shaking and freaking out.

At this point i literally place edibles up there with like, mushrooms and LSD. They're not only for people who like getting really baked, but there's a very high chance of you being super fucked up in a way that makes you really emotionally/mentally delicate for the duration of it that you really need to be ready for.

Take it from someone whose spent the entire afternoon laying in the grass on a green belt practically in the fencing position and being couchlocked many times totally discombobulated/stressed out even when i was a huuuuuge stoner, and just yea, don't try edibles if you can't smoke.
posted by emptythought at 8:21 PM on May 19, 2015 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I've been unpleasantly high a bunch of times and hated it a whole, whole lot. This does not sound like that, but that is not to say it doesn't sound familiar. What this sounds like is migraine aura. I've had this: "haven't been able to understand what I have been hearing though the speakers are always speaking English" and this: "outer fingers (pinkie and ring finger) keep tingling" and face tingling, all from migraine, all many times. Never anything remotely like that from pot, even though basically every time I've tried it I've loathed everything about it.

Knock wood you don't, but if you ever get migraine-induced aphasia again, try reading, writing, and talking. Yippee, fun times! Practice for future strokes! I'm sorry this happened to you--it's unnerving always but frankly terrifying the first time it happens. On the bright side, though, it sounds like you've had migraine before but not this kind, so with luck it turns out it's a one-off. I'd definitely go see a neurologist.
posted by Don Pepino at 8:44 PM on May 19, 2015 [4 favorites]

Your doctor, due to the really strict laws about pain medication dispensing, may have serious legal issues with you disclosing weed use. I have no idea how it works in a legal weed state, but after working in a non-legal state, it is currently causing doctors issues.
posted by Jacen at 9:08 PM on May 19, 2015

Best answer: Oh how I hope you're comfortably and peacefully resting by now. If not, please know that this is so very, very common, and you will be okay.

The disconnected feeling and hyperawareness of your own senses both sound like the kind of anxiety caused by having inadvertently gotten more of a high than you wanted (probably made worse by the lingering effects of your migraine).

I've been there, and the anxiety feeds on itself even after the high wears off. Are you opposed to having a glass of wine? Sometimes watching a lighthearted film or TV show can help pass the time while adrenaline leaves your body (and so long as you're actively frightened, there will be a supply of adrenaline that needs some time to work its way out).

On the other hand, if you try watching a show and find yourself thinking, OH NO NO, I'M NOT ENJOYING THIS AND SOMETHING IS WRONG AND I ONLY APPEAR TO BE FINE AND RELAXED BUT I AM NOT FINE AND RELAXED, then you won't be the first person to experience that either. Maybe some soothing music would be better, but really, anything that lets you zone in on those sensations in a hypervigilant way is likely to keep the anxiety alive, so if you can't find something truly distracting for relaxation, it can help to go the other direction and go scrub your bathroom (or, if that seems impossible right now, lay back and imagine the entire process of doing it, gently pushing out other thoughts).

I'm so sorry. It's a miserable set of sensations and thoughts, but again it is extremely common, especially with people who have hesitations about marijuana to begin with. sockermom is right that you might feel fuzzy tomorrow, and that's common too. This has been mentally and emotionally taxing, so be kind to yourself.

Also, sure you can tell your doctor, but for now please believe that whatever negative reaction* you had already happened and left you feeling this way. Effects of the marijuana are not going to increase now, and you're still very much alive, albeit frightened.

*Far and away the most common negative reaction to marijuana is anxiety, and that's what I'm referring to here. IANAD, but I'll eat my hat if anything more harmful happened.

I really hope you feel better soon.
posted by whoiam at 9:48 PM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

hal_c_on, I've tried edibles and they take the edge off of the pain but not much.

You weren't getting the correct dosage, probably. Good luck, though. And just in case you do need tips...hmu.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:03 PM on May 19, 2015

Congratulations, you've now had the experience of being high! Whenever I've had a little too much, it feels like that--a hyperawareness of physical sensations is, I think, fairly common, as is the out-of-body feelings. The first time I got stoned, I ate a bunch of altoids and was convinced I could breathe fire. Another time, I was really, really fascinated by the physical sensation of cold on my skin, as though aware of it for the first time. Once, and only once, I had mild hallucinations--namely, I was convinced that what was happening to me was actually a dream. I found it really difficult to speak and move that time, as I'd way overimbibed.

I don't think anything you describe is anything to be concerned about, at all. In my experience, not knowing if something is a normal reaction can ramp up anxiety. It's good to have a safe sitter around who can remind you that you're high and it's okay and it's normal.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:45 PM on May 19, 2015

Also want to second that you probably shouldn't go for edibles. It's so difficult to guess how much you've had, and so easy to overeat it--and then it hits you an hour later and it's already too late. You actually might have better luck smoking it, even though it can be harsh on your lungs. It's easy to get just the exact amount you need, especially off something like a pipe.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:49 PM on May 19, 2015

some of the 'tingling' things you're experiencing sound like things that can happen with a non-typical migraine. this is something you can talk to your doctor about.
posted by sciencegeek at 2:47 AM on May 20, 2015

Coming in to also say that I have complicated migraines with many of these symptoms.
posted by tamitang at 8:07 AM on May 20, 2015

What you're experiencing—basically everything you're experiencing—is called anxiety, and certain drugs can awake latent issues with anxiety.

The cannabis has heightened your sensitivity to certain sensations. Hidden some, accentuated others. Some people enjoy this like a carnival ride. In some people, this can turn into lengthy struggles with GAD.

If I were you, I would spend time objectively weighing the value that cannabis brings you, given that it may not be the ally you hope it is.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 10:14 AM on May 20, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks y'all. I think the reason it weirded me out so much is because I've been vaping MJ for a while now (six months) with no high at all... I don't used it often -- once a week or so, usually less than that -- only when the pain gets too bad to handle because I don't want to build up a tolerance to it. Oh, and this is a strain for pain relief that we got from a dispensary, so it should be one of the high CBD strains y'all mentioned above. I don't have the box with me, but we specifically asked for that when we went in...

Anyway, I usually just suck on the vap pen until the pain goes away because it hasn't affected me in any other way. The hubs has watched me puff on that thing for minutes with no high at all. So I guess that's why it scared me when all of a sudden weird things started happening. I guess because I was in such pain with the migraine yesterday, I went a little too long a little too far. Plus, I'd just taken some Excedrin not too long before. I was in a lot of pain and not thinking clearly, migraines do that to me. I can handle all different kinds of pain, but migraines are my Kryptonite. That might have made things worse.

Glad to know it was within the realm of normal. And I'll mention it to the doctor on Friday. Again, thanks for the reassurances.
posted by patheral at 10:48 AM on May 20, 2015

Response by poster: I also wanted to add that I've made budder and infused oils with the same stuff (different form of course) and used it without problems. It takes the edge off of the pain, but then you have to deal with all of the extra calories and it the benefit to use ratio isn't all that great. I'm not sure about actually smoking it because vaping it makes me cough, wheeze, and gasp.
posted by patheral at 10:51 AM on May 20, 2015

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