Teachable Moments

Continuing right along with my medical marijuana experimentation, I made some ganja butter by simmering leaves in butter overnight in a crock-pot. I had no idea how strong it would be, so I started with ¼ tsp straight-up—instead of in a recipe—and, when I felt nothing, I took ½ tsp three hours later. When I still felt nothing, I concluded that ganja butter must be as woosie as the tincture I had made. I decided that I was going to get some effect from it or die trying, so I started in again at noon the next day with ¾ tsp, and by midnight was up to 1½ tsp. I still had nothing to report when I went to bed at 2:00. At 2:50, I felt as if I had been catapulted into the air and was floating above the bed. “Uh oh,” I thought, “any trip that starts out this intense is going to be a bear."

I resolved, no matter what, not to awaken Peggy (who has her own room) because she had a migraine when she went to bed, and because she has a hard time dealing with anything that approximates mental illness. If I had been less experienced with marijuana, I would have panicked, but as it was, I mostly felt poisoned. I was so sick in body and spirit that I figured a hard death couldn’t be much worse, and then I became scared that I might have to go through the same thing all over again when I die. My heart was racing, sweat was pouring off me, and breathing and swallowing felt increasingly awkward. As I lay there watching the high wash over me in waves, I thought to distract myself by thinking about things I had to do, but, to my horror, it took me awhile to remember the basic facts of my life, things like who I was, where I lived, and the floor plan of my house. Yet, I could easily remember things that were bothering me. For instance, I recalled that three weeks have passed since I last visited a friend who is dying of cancer, and I brooded about the large dead tree that is threatening to fall upon my house, the one that my neighbor doesn’t want to cut. I also thought about a dinner invitation for the coming night that I felt sure I was going to have to cancel by humiliating myself with the truth about what I had done.

I thought I might feel better if I got out of bed, so I made my way unsteadily to the bathroom, where it occurred to me that I had better hurry back to bed while I still could. I took an Ambien on the way because I hoped it would help me sleep through the worst of the trip. I wondered if I should call someone for support, but I didn’t know a single soul whom I felt—at that moment—that I could awaken with such a problem, this despite the fact that I would feel honored to receive such a call. Besides, I doubted my ability to form words even if I were able to look up a number and dial a phone. I then thought about getting support by writing a blogpost and publishing it immediately, but I realized that I was too far-gone to write coherently. I could just see all of you finding a post that contained ten pages of, “3x4r-0u@vmpIO!UJ_jo7gn….”

I consoled myself with the thought that, as bad as things were, at least I wasn’t throwing up like I would be if I were really drunk. At that moment I realized that I was about to be at least as sick as I had ever been on alcohol. I tried to race off to the bathroom, but I couldn’t make my hands or feet work, so I rolled out of bed and puked on the floor. So much for not waking Peggy.

She was soon kneeling beside me, her frightened voice asking what I had taken and if I had fallen out of bed, but I was too far gone to speak (she figured out for herself what had happened). She brought me a trashcan, so as I lay in puke, I puked into it, so weak and uncoordinated that I couldn’t find my face with a washcloth or blow my nose with a Kleenex. I was drenched with sweat, so Peggy brought a fan, and we sat on the floor together hoping I could eventually get back into bed. With her help, I finally made it, but it was a difficult journey. In bed, I continued to puke as Peggy held the trashcan. When I at last appeared to be settling down, she said that her migraine was so bad that she simply had to go back to bed, but she didn’t reach the door before I was puking again.

Except for feeling weak and having a sore throat, I was better than fine the next day, so I did two things soon after I got out of bed. The first was to call my dying friend and arrange a visit. The second was to talk to my neighbor again about the tree. Both of these conversations went well, and I passed the day in a glow because of them and because I felt so proud of myself for having survived the night. Aside from people who end up in mental institutions, I had literally experienced the worst marijuana trip that I had ever heard of. I had survived it largely by reminding myself that I’m a mature person who has survived other bad trips, and so I would surely survive this one too.

You might find this incomprehensible, but I wouldn’t go back and do anything differently. Along with the pride I take in having held myself together psychologically, there is also—and I’m ashamed to admit this—something about the experience that draws me. I mean, have YOU ever had such a trip? Probably not, and you probably wouldn’t want to either, but given all the horror stories I’ve heard about ganja butter, I can see in retrospect that I invited it.

What I was seeking during those years when I took every hallucinogen that I could lay my hands on was an encounter with ultimate reality—at least inasmuch as it exists within myself as an integral part of the universe—because things look pretty bleak from my perspective. Take our species. We like to think we’re special, but the way I look at it, one—or even all—of us is of no more intrinsic value than a glob of snot, and the same could be said of our entire galaxy. That’s hard to accept, yet the evidence supports no other conclusion.

So, having no book, no god, no guru, or anyone else who I think has a clue more than I do about ultimate reality, there is no help for it but for me to turn within. Do I see much there? No, and if I had found drugs of any great benefit, I wouldn’t have given them up. Yet, they do offer something that I haven’t found elsewhere; they enable me to see myself more deeply than normal and from more angles than normal. On the one hand, marijuana, for example, goes a long way toward annihilating my left-brain intelligence (which is why math, language, spatial relationships, my sense of time and speed, and my planning and organizing ability wanes dramatically), but it also makes my right brain explode. Thoughts and associations come and go at lightning speed, and the power of some emotions is quadrupled while other emotions seem downright alien. I don’t say that there’s much in the way of concrete learning to be gained from drugs, but not all learning is concrete.

I just paused to think, and my eyes went to a paint-by-number piece (see photo) that was in my house when I was born. Maybe you have something from your childhood that has given you pure joy for all these many years. If so, you’ll know how much I love this painting, and you’ll probably agree with me that such objects bring us lessons that we can’t put into words. Likewise, you surely understand that when Peggy was holding that trashcan in the darkness despite the noise, the stench, and the fact that she had a migraine, she was teaching me something, not just about love, but about romance. One night like that tells me more about her and her love for me than all the Valentine’s cards in the world, but such knowledge can’t be put into words.

Peggy and I were walking Bonnie today when we passed another couple who, upon our approach, made their half-grown dog sit. “We’re having a teachable moment,” the woman explained. That about sums up life, I thought. We’ll soon lose all this learning that each of us has gained over a lifetime, and the universe will go on as if we never existed, but while we’re here, what else is there for us but to sit at the feet of the universe as reverently as that dog sat before its Mom and Dad, and to see what it is that we might lay up as knowledge that will carry us to—and through—the moment that we die?

34 comments:

Linda said...

A few shades of Eiseley here it seems. I can recall summers of mescaline many years ago but had no idea pot could do the same. Welcome back.

Beau's Mom said...

I have to assume that Ganja is just a Jamaican name for marijuana (correct me if it's something different).

I'm an idiot where the different uses, effects, and types of marijuana are concerned. But I'm the type of person who hates to be ignorant of anything and I will learn even if I never get to put my knowledge into action.

It seems to me that there should be a proper recipe for the best dosage that would help you, and wouldn't the blind man you bought it from be the one to ask?

I still just want a "hit" before I die. It's such a waste to be a child of the 60's with no personal experience and, if it can help me handle pain, I grieve that it is locked away from me by the same government/FDA that allows Chemo to be one of the largest profit making poisons known to mankind.

Snowbrush said...

Beau's Mom said: "I have to assume that Ganja is just a Jamaican name for marijuana..."

I'm pretty sure it's Sanskrit.

Linda said: "I can recall summers of mescaline many years ago but had no idea pot could do the same."

I've had far more intense experiences on pot than on acid or psilocybin, but then I only did those drugs a few times, so maybe I simply didn't do enough or else the ones that I did simply weren't strong enough.

Beau's Mom said: "It seems to me that there should be a proper recipe for the best dosage that would help you, and wouldn't the blind man you bought it from be the one to ask?"

He advised that I make cookies, and eat no more than 1/4 cookie at a time. I wish to heck that dosages could be more specific, but too many variables go into making marijuana recipes.

The Elephant's Child said...

Oh Snowbrush: I remember this all too well. It happened to me the last few times I smoked marijuana, and I wound up spending the rest of the night lying face down in the bath vomiting my heart out, sweating and in a panic. Since that time I have become acutely sensitive to the drug. You could use me as a sniffer dog at airports and the like. One whiff and I want to vomit. Which was a shame, because I preferred it to any of the other drugs I experimented with, and maybe, just maybe it could help with my current pain.

I love that in its aftermath you were able to make an appointment to see you dying friend and to talk to the neighbour about the tree.

Beau's Mom said...

I'm amazed that smoking it is not the best delivery system. I assume it is a good thing I haven't been given any.

After leaving Indiana, I really regret not taking the chance to place some in the garden next to the marigolds and tomato plants, but I wouldn't even know which part to smoke. Leaves, seeds...roots...lol..

1/4 of a cookie must mean that baking it and digesting it causes a stronger effect.

There comes times when I'd certainly be willing to try anything that's not doctor prescribed.

Snowbrush said...

Elephant's Child said: "I wound up spending the rest of the night lying face down in the bath vomiting my heart out, sweating and in a panic."

You and I are the first people I've ever heard of who puked pot. I figured that maybe it was the butter that made me vomit because I never eat butter, but if you did it too, maybe the pot itself has that potential. I wondered even as I lay on the floor if I would EVER be able to eat ganja butter again, and I didn't even take a hit for two days, and then when I did, I was up nearly all night trembling as I wrote the draft to this post. Bless you, kid. I'm so sorry you suffered so, but of course I have no idea how you feel about it. Clearly, pot isn't for everyone, and even a little pot isn't for a lot of people. I would guess that sensitive people are hit much harder, although I can't prove it.

Elephant's Child said: "I love that in its aftermath you were able to make an appointment to see you dying friend and to talk to the neighbour about the tree."

Me too. It's important to me--especially as someone who spent much of his life crippled by shyness--that I be able to take care of business almost no matter what's going on. It's what I have to do in order to feel strong, but it's also true that doing it makes me strong. There were years though when it would simply have been too much.

Beau's Mom: "I'm amazed that smoking it is not the best delivery system."

The advantage to smoking is that you're far less likely to overdose because the effect is immediate. By the same token, smoking won't get you as high (if that's what you're after--not every medical marijuana user is by any means), and it's bad on your lungs, or at least it feels that way to me, although I don't know the actual health risks are. Vaporizers have actually won a lot of people away from smoking pot simply because they're far kinder on your throat and lungs.

Beau's Mom said: "1/4 of a cookie must mean that baking it and digesting it causes a stronger effect."

The active ingredient had already been moved into the butter by cooking the pot for 15 hours. Heres' the thing. I had been eating it all day, so the amount that I got by taking it a little at a time was a whole lot more than 1/4 of a cookie would have contained. Also, the high keeps building for hours after you eat pot (unlike when you smoke it), and is accumulative. Basically, my mistake was that I didn't take the butter seriously enough simply because I didn't feel anything after I had eaten a good bit more than I thought I should have to. Truly, one is never too old, too smart, or too knowledgeable to do something astoundingly stupid.

The Elephant's Child said...

No, we aren't the only people its leaves helplessly vomiting. Though in my experience it usually affects people that way who have eaten/drunk it rather than smoked it. The cumulative effect perhaps? Me, it gets me every way now, so I leave it alone.

Interesting that you too battle shyness. I can appear confident, but it is a facade and I am guessing the same applies to you.

I love the last line of your last comment. 'Truly, one is never too old, too smart, or too knowledgeable to do something astoundingly stupid.' So true. Unfortunately.

Snowbrush said...

"I can appear confident, but it is a facade and I am guessing the same applies to you."

I can't say that there is never any situation in which I feel shy, but I can easily say that shyness no longer cripples me. As to how I got over it, all I can tell you is that I took Zoloft for depression for several years, and one of the effects of that was to eliminate my shyness. When I stopped the Zoloft, I wondered if the shyness would return, but that was six or eight years ago, and it never has.

Lorraina said...

Wow i can relate or at least understand and yet i've never been on a real trip such as this; puking is something i can't and won't do ever; it's the absolute worst thing that could happen to me and i will avoid it at all costs. Theres young men renting the house next door and i smell them smoking it every night; it smells good but never had the pleasure.
But i once came close to having some kind of an episode that included some of the stuff that you experienced minus the puking with a prescr for prednisone once, it hit me somehow like i don't think anybody else has ever been affected by it.I think the dosage was accidently written 10 times more that i should have had and i was floating and naked because i was so hot and couldn't cool off; i floated up and down and around the fan.
But, you worry me Snow when you then go and take something to sleep...geeze man, that sort of thing could kill you straight up cuz who knows how that combo is going to affect you? Please be careful or better don't do that when you're already out of wack on a homemade recipe.
Never would have thought you were a shy man, i am painfully shy myself but anti depressants didn't fix it.I've always observed that shyness is described dif for dif folks. For example i'd say not being able to speak in front of an audience is shy yet those who do speak often say they're shy and i don't get that.
I like your paint by number pic and yes i have such a picture and it's of a sailing ship and it comforts me. I think it's true what you said re we're just all like a gob of snot. It reminded me of the time i served on a jury and the murdered woman was a low life type, just like the people who killed her. But the judge said something i've never forgotten "her life was every bit as valuable as yours or mine or the Queen of Englands" so same thing,either all snot or we're all as good as royalty i guess.
And finally i like the pic of you conquering the mountain, that's a really nice pic, have you been able to go hiking recently?

Marion said...

Glad you survived the night. I'm amazed at the strength of that mj. These high, floating stories are killing me. I may have to move to Oregon soon. :-) xo

Kay Dennison said...

I really appreciate your sharing your experiences with medical marijuana here. I do not need it -- yet -- but won't hesitate to use it if the need arises.

I tried it in my misspent youth but never really found it of value. Your experiences are truly valuable and I thank you.

Snowbrush said...

Lorraina, what an experience you had on the prednisone!

"i am painfully shy myself but anti depressants didn't fix it."

I've been on four or five anti-depressants, but only Zoloft worked in such a way. I later learned that social anxiety (which is what I mean by shyness) is one of the things it's prescribed for.

"have you been able to go hiking recently?"

YES! Bad knees preclude long hikes, but I can go a few miles if it's not too steep--and if Peggy carries the pack.

Marions said: " I may have to move to Oregon soon. :-) xo"

Sounds like a plan, Marion!

Kay said: "Your experiences are truly valuable and I thank you."

Oh, thank you, Kay.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

"what else is there for us but to sit at the feet of the universe as reverently as that dog sat before its Mom and Dad, and to see what it is that we might lay up as knowledge that will carry us to—and through—the moment that we die?"

so true!

Myrna R. said...

I hope you find the right recipes to really help with your pain. I hate to throw up and I'm sorry you had to go through such a bad night.

I wish you could find what works without any side effects, bad trips or otherwise negative effects.

Take care.

patsy said...

Oh, God! i am sure the dope cops are knocking on your door.

Ranch Chimp said...

Hey SB ... just wanted to come by and check out your site ... you have medical marijuana? I dont know what Ganja butter is actually. On the issue of drug's, including pot ... first of all I smoked pot daily (all day, even on the job) for many year's, and sold alot of pot too, illegally of course, I mean, in the old dayz ... we literally had hundred's of pound's of that shit stacked almost to the celing in place's at time's, had an addiction to cocaine and short while with opium, done quite a few experience's on acid/ lsd ... I'm old now and dont do shit, and rarely even drink for that matter. BTW Guy ... what an awesome photo you have up at the top with the mountain's!

Later Guy ....

Cloudia said...

thoughtful....wishing your comfort and success in your medical mj journey.



Aloha from Waikiki;


Comfort Spiral
> < } } ( ° >

julie said...

I almost feel guilty because I laughed quite hard as I was reading this post. I knew where it was going and you took me there so well...I have a friend who suffers suicidal cluster headaches...(I'm sorry for Peggy..truly)...and ganja helps him a lot. Not too very long ago his oven was on the blink so came over and borrowed mine to bake some cookies...well, he and I talk..a lot...when we get together...and we were talking and the recipe wasn't coming out right and we kept correcting, adding more this and that...more butter...sampling batter and cookies as we talked. My experience was not nearly what yours was, I laid for a couple of hours totally unable to move my arms or legs...yikes! Eating ganja is dicey business...not only depends on the pot and how much you eat, but when and what your last meal was, and how much you move around after eating a cookie...just can't be sure how it might manifest.
And I have to add here that in the end your post made me cry...Life...what a journey...and I'm so glad you have love on yours...xo

Catz said...

I also appreciate you sharing your experiences on mj. I am thinking of using the stuff to help with the side effects of the cancer drugs I am on.

All Consuming said...

When I was 20 I had a very similar reaction to a solid grass joint. I had really bad stomach pain and my new boyfriend assured me the strongest grass was the way to go. I felt so bad, like you with the sweats and incapacity etc that I was begging him to call an ambulance, I thought I'd had a bad reaction and was dying!! I have HUGE empathy for you therefore and I'm glad it's over. As for Peggy, she's a shining light of love isn't she? I'm so glad she was with you when it happened. A teachable moment leading to such a positive outcome. xx

ellen abbott said...

The very first time I smoked pot it made me puke. Just once though. You'd think that that would have warned me off but it didn't and it never made me feel sick again. When I smoke too much it just makes me go to sleep.

As for the meaning of our lives, we are no more or less than any other thing in the universe. That knowledge has never made me feel insignificant though and I wonder why it does others.

Just_because_today said...

that last paragraph made your post beautiful. Damn, what a nice thing to say!
I hate to get drunk. Hate it with passion. I love my wine, but if I ever have to much I hate it! I can't imagine feeling that way...I mean, I have been that drunk once, but I'll do anything to never go back there.

studio lolo said...

Wow, I have no idea how you survived that bad trip. It just goes to show you how strong you really are. I'm glad you wore it down, and thank goodness for peggy. You're so right, that act of love said it all.

The last time I smoked was Oct 1972 from a water pipe filled with wine. It hit me nearly as hard as your ganja butter and I never touched the stuff again. meanwhile I had many years of speed and qualudes and more than my share of acid.
Today it's white wine, admittedly too much sometimes but I never get drunk. To me, compared to how I was in my youth, my wine habit is recovery!

I know I don't comment often. I try to keep up but fall behind. I appreciate it when you stop by!

Where's the paint by number painting??

Take care of yourself snowbrush~

Putz said...

from a mormon's perpective, Snow, all of our teachable moments even those bad ones that just give us experience with something bad which will work for our good are all saved up and used at a later time to someone's advantage<><>so like a dog i do sit up reverently and lay up knowledge and not lose all this learning but add to it and use it to build me a world following adam's example who is now laying up stores in heaven to bless whole universes{adam \ god} plan{see rhymsee for details><<>made a comment about it when i talked about what manna was made of}

Sairs said...

The very first time I had marijuana I had the worst trip ever. I halucinated, I was dizzy, paranoid and was pretty psychotic. It was so scary and it was something I didn't know could happen but I was only 18 and very naive. I actually came onto your blog and I looked at the length of you post and I thought, geez, I can't read all that and before I knew it, I was at the end. I think you are an awesome writer. I really was captivated by what you were discribing. I could picture it all in my head and it was like I was seeing it rather than reading it. I do see in pictures though, so I am not surprised. Anyway, I am glad you are feeling better now. There is nothing worse that throwing up continually. I am alergic to opiods and codeine and if I have them, this is what happens to me, uncontrollable vomitting. So I do sympathise. Sorry this has grown into an all over the place essay. I look forward to visiting your blog again :)
~Sarah~

Zuzana said...

I missed many blogs when I was trying to live a sought after reality off line, and yours was on top of that list.;)
I love your easy flowing narrative and the refreshing dose of reality that you always offer, not sugar coating anything at all but presenting it raw and real. I relish in such reads.
I am not used to be smoking or taking any drugs, so your accounts are to me novel experiences. I have smoked pot once in my life and I felt like I was flying and behaved very much like being drunk (became every daring and crazy). But sans the hangover next day.;) So overall that was a very good experience for me.;)
I believe everything we do, or whatever we go through, has a purpose and even the worst encounters are a lesson learned.

On another note, thank you for your great and kind comment on my "come back" post.
Have a great weekend,
xoxo

Joe Todd said...

Food poisoning a couple weeks ago sent me on a trip I'm still getting over. I thought I was near death as I held the puke bucket Linda hadbrought me. B.P. peaked out at 167/110. Have since increased B.P. medicine. All I can say is Getting old isn't for sissys. LOL.. Have a great weekend Snow

Mim said...

Many a bad trip later (from MANY years ago) I can say that the best thing about time is that it keeps ticking and most poisons like this can mostly be out of your system by 8 hours later. I remember counting 8 hours by the minute - oh it was awful...but time did keep ticking.

RNSANE said...

Oh, Snowbrush, I cannot even imagine how bad this experience was. First of all, though I was definitely a child of the sixties, I never really played around with drugs ( other than alcohol which I still like very much - even then, I can't say that I overindulged often except a few times in nursing school ).

I hate throwing up and, as a nurse, I didn't do well with patients who threw up. I hated those puny little emesis basins they had in hospitals and, if I had a patient who was seriously vomiting, I grabbed a wash basin. It was all I could do not to join in and vomit, too. Believe me, I was very fast to give anti-emetic medication when it was needed!

But even scarier, couldn't your concoction have really hurt you? I am so not up to date on marijuana or other drugs like this.

It still blows my mind, after being an RN now for over 45 years, that we have not been able to come up with a way to control pain and to relieve suffering.

Snowbrush said...

I'm so far behind that I'm mostly just going to answer questions. I always feel guilty when I do that, but you know how it is. There are just so many hours in the day, whereas there are a lot of blogs to visit and posts to write.

Catz said: I am thinking of using the stuff to help with the side effects of the cancer drugs I am on.

I would. It's supposed to be really, really good for that. Many people say that nothing else is even nearly as good for the nausea caused by chemotherapy as pot.

Ranch Chimp asked: I dont know what Ganja butter is...

It's just another name for marijuana butter.

Studio Lolo asked: Where's the paint by number painting??

At the top of this post.

RNSANE asked: couldn't your concoction have really hurt you?

The word I've gotten is that there's no help for a bad marijuana trip but to ride it out, that is unless you have a heart problem. Now, I really did risk death last week with a Fentanyl patch that was way too strong for me, yet I never, even in the worst of it, thought that I would die of that pot overdose. This made the Fentanyl many times scarier. In fact, I was so scared that I cut the patch in half, only to later learn that doing so might have killed me faster than anything else I might have done.

RNSANE said...

Well, Snow, I won't ever count on a reply to my comments. Please take care. I'd miss you, you know!

Snowbrush said...

RNSANE said: I won't ever count on a reply to my comments.

I did reply to your comment, but, by golly, I'll copy and paste it here: "The word I've gotten is that there's no help for a bad marijuana trip but to ride it out, that is unless you have a heart problem. Now, I really did risk death last week with a Fentanyl patch that was way too strong for me, yet I never, even in the worst of it, thought that I would die of that pot overdose. This made the Fentanyl many times scarier. In fact, I was so scared that I cut the patch in half, only to later learn that doing so might have killed me faster than anything else I might have done."

RNSANE said...

I saw your reply, Snow, I just meant that you take some pretty dangerous risks and one doesn't know what the outcome might be!! You don't even know, when you are seeking relief from your pain, whether these sources of pain relief might, inadvertently, cause your demise!

Sonia ;) said...

Snow Im glad you made it through if anything you were enlightened in others ways because of it.

Love you