Citation: Anatoli Smorin. "Mostly Uncomfortable, Minimally Enjoyable: An Experience with Buprenorphine / Naloxone (Suboxone) (exp113060)". Erowid.org. Apr 16, 2019. erowid.org/exp/113060
In regards to substance use, I consider myself to be a seasoned warrior. I estimate over a decade of on and off experimentation with a multitude of chemicals leveraging various routes of administration. My experience includes the tryptamine, phenethylamine, benzodiazepine, stimulant, dissociative, opiate, and opioid arenas. Many of these experiences include less common research chemicals, sometimes in unusual combinations with other substances. I take 5000 IU of vitamin D3 daily along with 2400 mg Asacol HD for a lifelong stomach condition. I do not consider either of these to be a contributor factor in this experience.
In the writing of this report, I have used a combination of notes written during the actual experience, as well as voice recordings from the experience. I am confident that the timestamps provided are accurate to within + / Ė 60 seconds.
My intention for this substance during the experience described below was purely recreational. I do not currently have any tolerance to opioids or opiates.
The Suboxone strips were sourced from a legitimate pharmacy. In order to prepare my dosage I measured one of the orange strips: 21 mm long and 12 mm wide. I used a ruler and razorblade to score and cut 8 smaller pieces that measured 2.625 mm by 12 mm. Each of these smaller strips contained 1 mg buprenorphine and .25 mg naloxone. The ondansetron used during the experience was also sourced from a legitimate pharmacy. The round white pill is stamped with an uppercase ďMĒ on one side and ď734Ē on the other side.
I have tried Suboxone two times prior to this experience. The first time was an allergy test and the second a cautious attempt at a threshold dosage. Both of these attempts went as planned and led me to my third trial. During my second experience I found 1 mg (buprenorphine) and .25 mg (naloxone) to be mild and pleasant but slightly bland. During that experience I was friendly, generous, and had a touch of euphoria most noticeable in my arms. This was a far cry from the level of effects intensity I would get from 10 mg of oxycodone. A desire to explore this substance further led me to the experience described below.
I wake up at just after seven in the morning with a hangover from alcohol consumption the night before. Iím not nauseated but I do have a bit of a headache. My brain feels fuzzy and slow rather than sharp and quick. I have a light breakfast of toast and peanut butter along with several glasses of water. I shower and decide today, a Saturday without commitments, feels like the right time to explore a higher dosage of Suboxone. I particularly like the idea of having a rest day tomorrow given the substanceís reputation for extended duration and the worst-case scenario of getting the infamous opioid/opiate nausea.
T + 00:00 [10:24 AM]
I place one of my pre-cut slice slices under the left side of my tongue in the back corner of my mouth. The taste is sweet but not particularly pleasant.
T + 00:03 [10:27 AM]
The film is completely dissolved. I continue to retain the saliva that has been building up in my mouth. After two more minutes I swallow and do not detect much remaining taste.
T + 00:14 [10:38 AM]
A sweeping sense of calmness settles over my mental space. I believe this is placebo but will wait to see if this Ī develops into something more definitive. Either way, my mood is lighter and more peaceful than it was a few minutes ago.
T + 00:19 [10:43 AM]
The initial sensation of relaxation has faded away into nothing. Iím doing some semi-technical computer work that involves critical thinking and reading. Despite the remainder of a headache from my hangover and the mindless comedy show playing on Netflix in the background, I donít have any issue with concentration or comprehension.
T + 00:25 [10:49 AM]
A light ringing tinnitus sound has begun, a slightly annoying sign that the substance is kicking in. Light sedation creeps into my arms and escalates to a momentary pulse of euphoria. This physical euphoria is accompanied by a mental looseness I associate with opioids. Worries drift naturally away from my active thoughts while comfortable warmth and happiness seeps into my attitude. As suddenly as they arrived, the pleasant feelings fade: disappearing completely in just a few seconds.
T + 00:36 [11:00 AM]
I am beginning to feel slightly nauseated. The discomfort is fleeting but notable. Vomiting crosses my mind but I donít act on the thought. I am hoping the feeling is from the hangover rather than the ingested substance and I decide some food might help my situation.
I do not want to drive anywhere and delivery options are extremely limited where I live. The house has limited food options but I scrape together some light snacks: a few tangerines, some cured meat, a bit of cheese, and a hunk of bread. None of this is particularly appetizing to me at this moment.
T + 01:23 [11:47 AM]
I have been pecking at the food I put together. My headache has dulled some but it still lingers in the background. I donít note any affect from the Suboxone on my appetite. The effects in general are limited. There is no strong euphoria, not much mental relaxation
The effects in general are limited. There is no strong euphoria, not much mental relaxation
, and the slight nausea that is coming and going is not particularly enjoyable. I attribute this to the Suboxone rather than my hangover (simply from knowing myself and the amount I drank last night).
My physical brain feels off kilter and stretched out. It feels as if my head is full of molasses or silly putty that is being gently kneaded like baking dough. I donít find this very pleasant but it is not much of a nuisance either. Slightly more attractive to me is the heavy eyelids that are manifesting. Iím debating a nap, which is something I almost never do when sober.
T + 01:33 [11:57 AM]
I take my resting heart rate and it is spot on 60 BPM. Normal for me is around 65 so I donít find this concerning at all.
Emotions seem to be running closer to the surface than normal. I find my eyes watery, without instigation. A deep sense of awareness surrounding the ideas of being human and the fragility of life washes through me. Iím not sad per se and certainly no specific thoughts or memories triggered the small tears in my eyes. I simply feel raw and open.
T + 01:47 [12:11 PM]
My stomach seems to have settled slightly and given my position (nearly two hours into the experience) I decide now is a good time to step things up slightly and explore a higher dosage. I take an additional 1/8th strip and measure 6mm into it. After cutting the strip (in half) I administer the orange sliver using the same method as before: underneath the rear left corner of my tongue. As it did the first time, the film tastes mildly sweet, in a synthetic processed food sort of manner.
T + 01:52 [12:16 PM]
I swallow the saliva I have been holding in my mouth. The tail end of my hangover just wonít quit. While I had hoped for the Suboxone to abolish it from existence, the opposite seems to be happening, with the substance accentuating and prolonging the headache and the general sense of physical shakiness / weakness that I am experiencing. Iím slightly irritated about these symptoms but I think that is my natural reaction, not significantly influenced by the substance.
T + 02:28 [12:52 PM]
A minor increase in effects is underway. A mental tranquility is ramping up to the point of becoming obvious in the + range of intensity. Iím carefree and not bothered by the impending workweek just around the corner.
I am thinking I should have re-dosed heavier . . . I debate taking more. My pre-experience research and my limited personal experience, both include notes of lengthy onset times. Iíd prefer to underdo it than overdo it any day of the week, including today; I decide to not take any more.
My energy level feels unaffected by the Suboxone. Iím not feeling sedated or energized in any significant way. The largest physical effect occurring at this point is occurring in my eyes. As I gaze around the room, my eyes feel slow as they move side to side. Iíve felt similar sensations on various dissociatives but never before on an opioid/opiate that I can recall. The other substances generally slice up my vision or cause brief blurriness as I change focal points. This movement however, is not choppy; nor is there a delay as focusing occurs. My vision stays continually sharp but takes about three times longer than it would for my gaze to move when sober.
T + 02:54 [1:18 PM]
I fancy a little whiskey for several reasons. The first is that my hangover is finally starting to go away and usually a little Ďhair of the dogí will serve nicely as the final nail in the coffin. Secondly, Iím thinking the alcohol might synergize with and intensify the effects of the Suboxone. Lastly, I generally find whiskey agreeable. I measure out .75 fluid ounces of whiskey [40% ABV] and pour it over ice.
As I sip my drink I take full stock of my condition. The physical sensations happening in my head are not easy for me to put onto paper in my notebook. A light glow of tingling euphoria emanates from the top of my head and seems to spool its tendrils of pleasure around my eyes. As I squeeze my eyes tightly shut, the feelings intensify and I let out a large breath feeling very content indeed.
Upon opening my eyes, the glow recedes and Iím left with a feeling that my brain, the actual physical object between my ears, is expanding and contracting. Stretching itself, trying to get comfortable. The stretching is a series of feathery pulsing head rushes. Pressure is applied and then removed from my headís interior. This cycle of pressure is relatively fast paced, coming on for about a second before taking a second of absence and then repeating.
Completing my self-scan I donít report back with much more. The majority of my body is feeling relatively standard. I do note that physical soreness from skiing the past few days is still present and noticeable.
T + 03:12 [1:36 PM]
WOAH Ė I am suddenly extremely uncomfortable. Diaphoresis begins out of nowhere. Iím physically shaking and can feel my body temperature rising. I try to write a note about this rapid change in condition but find paper and pen too much to handle. Nausea grips me as I stand up and remove my shirt that has abruptly become far too warm.
I make my way towards the door, stumbling slightly. I feel dizzier than dizzy, as if my spins have their own spins.
I feel dizzier than dizzy, as if my spins have their own spins.
I can see relatively clearly, but my internal equilibrium is all sorts of wonky. Iím physically discombobulated and uncomfortable to the maximum. It is 9-Fahrenheit degrees outside today and I am standing barefoot and bare-chested on the deck in ankle deep snow. Iím desperate to cool down. The shock of cold seems to break the surge of internal temperature and I decide to come inside to try and hydrate myself. My logistical thoughts are functioning but are going a little haywire with irrational concerns slipping their way in. I stand in the bathroom and splash cold water on my face. There is zero regard or concern for the mess I am making. I simply want to deliver as much of the cold water to my face and head as possible. The irrational worries turn into panic and I wonder if Iím overdosing. I tell myself that should not be possible considering the dosage I took, but I donít like the word my mind chose; should
With a glass of water sloppily consumed, I do a quick search on some harm reduction websites to validate my dosage. With the re-assurance of the internet that I am not in serious physical danger I sit on the floor and concentrate on my breathing.
T + 03:16 [1:40 PM]
The worst of things is over. I can feel the instant that the ďfeverĒ breaks and Iím off that wild ride of horrendousness. Iím reeling from the sheer intensity of what I just felt. I felt intoxicated and ill to an absolute degree. My mental landscape is decimated, littered with the skeletons of terrible thoughts about what was happening to me. Iím soaked in sweat, but can feel my body regulating itself finally. The past four minutes have been far less than ideal.
T + 03:36 [2:00 PM]
Iím still uncomfortable and a far cry from enjoying myself. Blinking is unpleasant. Each blink triggers a woozy sort of vertigo that reminds me off the infamous ďspinsĒ one can get from too much alcohol. The dizzy pseudo rotations I am experiencing now however are much slower and less gripping. As I sit on the floor, my stomach turns and churns. I want this to be over.
I relocate to the couch; the short journey is unpleasant and nauseating. Movement of any kind seems to set about a fresh ripple of discomfort in my stomach.
T + 04:07 [2:31 PM]
I endure cycles of feeling slightly better that are quickly chased by a fresh wave of shaking hands and feet, temperature irregularity, and sweating.
T + 04:44 [3:08 PM]
Finally there is no more denying it. I walk into the bathroom and throw up. While never especially enjoyable, this instance of vomiting is not the worst Iíve endured. Everything passes quickly and I instantaneously begin to feel better. As I brush my teeth I can only hope this is a ďone and doneĒ and not the first of many.
T + 04:57 [3:21 PM]
While lying on the couch I go through sporadic patches of feel relatively pleasant: physically sedated with eyelids so heavy they feel like they are made of stone. A blanket of comfort surrounds my body during these times. Iím not feeling much internal buzz or glow, but I am melting into the couch and truly enjoying the sensation. These positive bouts are offset by a less enjoyable set of effects: cold sweats and a lingering nausea that keeps me tense and unnerved.
T + 04:59 [3:23 PM]
I feel as though I am starting to win the battle with my stomach and decide to take 8 mg of ondansetron ODT (1 pill) to assist in fighting off the nausea. The chalky taste is only slightly off-putting as the tablet dissolves under my tongue.
T + 05:21 [3:45 PM]
I believe I can detect the ondansetron beginning to work. The nausea is subsiding! With the major discomfort of the day seemingly pushed to the side at long last, I release my body tension with a large deep stretch. I then curl up into a relaxed fetal position on the couch. Mild yet gratifying electrical tingles buzz steadily inside my upper body. Iím tired and struggling to keep my eyes open. I wouldnít say Iím close to ďnodding outĒ, but I am certainly flirting with falling asleep. It feels more like Iím physically exhausted at the end of a long day in the sun than it does the chemically induced euphoria that drags me into the beautiful dreamy state that other opioids and opiates have.
Iím fighting the lure of sleep slightly. I am feeling better, but the knowledge regarding the risks of vomiting while asleep without a caretaker is in the forefront of my mind.
The house is 66-Fahrenheit degrees but I still feel flush with no shirt and shorts on. Besides running hot, Iím feeling better and better physically. Iíd place myself between a + and a ++ on the Shulgin Rating Scale. Effects are still going strong but more importantly they are finally becoming enjoyable.
Iím doing some re-positioning on the couch: adding pillows and removing them, changing my position, and attempting to include a light blanket. Every position I shift to is ultra comfortable. My forearms retain some of the buzzing euphoria but I can feel the intensity is leveling and perhaps tapering off. My state of mind is blissful and at ease. Despite the potential downturn of euphoric effects, the abolishment of my worries about taking too much and the lack of churning in my stomach make this the most pleasant part of the experience yet.
T + 05:38 [4:02 PM]
Iím certain now that the intensity is dropping ever so slightly. I find some classical piano on my laptop and press play. I am unmotivated to select something specific, so I do a quick search and just toss on the first thing that comes up. The musical track is delicate and intricate; it is perfect for my condition and mood. I continue to lie on the couch with my eyes closed, absorbing the beautiful sound. Iím content and comfortable.
T + 05:52 [4:16 PM]
I catch myself holding my breath, startled by my body's cry for air. I sit up and take a deep breath. I have no clue why Iíve been holding it. I check my pulse and take stock of my respiratory systemís functionality. Everything seems fine, but Iím a little unnerved. This bizarre event breaks the pleasant trance the music had put me in and I notice the slightest twinge of nausea forming in my stomach.
T + 06:14 [4:38 PM]
Iím trying my hardest to enjoy the sedation and light buzz from the Suboxone but itís hard lying to myself. Iím over the experience and the negatives have outweighed the positives today. Iím aware that at this point Iím riding out the effects.
Iím aware that at this point Iím riding out the effects.
I wish I could stomach some alcohol or even a benzodiazepine, just to make this more enjoyable. Iím nervous about alcohol bringing back the nausea. The benzos seems like a potentially unsafe idea given the fact that I have thrown up today, and the last thing I want is to pass out heavily without supervision and choke on my own vomit. Begrudgingly, I take no additional substances and put on some Netflix: a repeat of a show Iíve seen before. I call my trusty dog Gee onto the couch to snuggle up with me; I could use the company as well as the warmth Ė my chills have returned. I am sure that if I get physically sick to my stomach, I will wake up. I donít feel like any ďnodĒ or sleep I achieve at this point would be unrousable. With this attitude, I let my eyes rest and relax both mind and body.
T + 07:13 [5:37 PM]
Gee stands up to adjust her position on the couch and in doing so wakes me up. Itís not a startled awakening; I slowly open my eyes and take a deep breath. Iím very comfortable, like waking up on a Sunday morning when sunshine is gently glancing through the windows and there is nothing to do for the day. That perfect: ďIíll just turn over and get a little more sleepĒ, type of waking up.
I do indeed turn over but donít fall back into any sort of sleep. Iím content stroking my hand across Geeís soft hair with Netflix still playing in the background because Iím too lazy to reach over and turn it off. There are very few thoughts going through my mind Ė Iím calm, comfortable, and feeling very in tune with Gee.
T + 07:37 [6:01 PM]
Finally I decide to turn off the show that has been playing in the background and get myself a glass of water that Iím sure my body could use. Standing up is done slowly, but it still brings about a touch of dizziness. My motor skills seem fine as I walk into the kitchen and pour a glass of water. I sip it slowly, even though I want to chug it. I can tell Iím a bit dehydrated and my bodyís temp has changed its mind once again, leaving me hot.
T + 09:03 [7:27 PM]
Sudden queasiness strikes hard and fierce. ďWhat the fuck!Ē I think to myself. ďI thought I was past these awful feelings!Ē I trudge to the bathroom. By the time I arrive and stare at the toilet, the urge to purge has left me. Iím relieved, but also not very excited about the prospect of being affected by the substance so long after having ingested it, and what that might mean for my evening.
Thinking about time makes me recognize that I have not nourished my body with food for almost the entire day. The latter half of yesterday didnít involve much food either. I can feel hunger and make the decision that food will either significantly help, or significantly hurt my condition.
The sleepiness and light euphoric feelings are tapering away. I am feeling more normal mentally in that I am naturally thinking about other topics beyond ďwhen will I be feeling betterĒ or ďam I going to be sick againĒ. I even use my phone to check in with a few friends at this point.
T + 09:07 [7:31 PM]
Iím trying some toast and peanut butter along with more water. I try to eat in small bites but my body is far hungrier than Iíd imagined. Before I know it the two slices of bread are gone and Iím back in the kitchen looking for additional snacks.
I return to the couch with one of my favorite guilty pleasure snacks: Goldfish crackers. I stick with water, although I did eye a beer in the refrigerator while hunting for food.
T + 09:38 [8:02 PM]
The munching of crackers has stopped now, and my stomach feels settled. Iím perking up a bit, now able to do some editing and formalizing of my notes from today. Iím below a + at this point. Any effects that still remain are minimal and difficult to distinguish between the sensations of everyday life.
T + 10:51 [9:15 PM]
The last hour has been uneventful. Note organization, Goldfish crackers, water, change the music, and repeat. Both physically and mentally Iím back to baseline. My body temperature feels more normal now. I have added socks and a shirt to my attire as well as turned the houseís heat back up to 70-Fahrenheit degrees. I open a light beer [4.2% ABV] and decide to call this experience officially over.
The rest of my evening (after the last timestamp in the report body) was relatively insipid. I had a few beers (five including the one mentioned in the report body), but not enough to feel much effect from them. I spent most of my evening working on some writing projects and listening to music. I felt physically drained and eventually took 10 mg of zolpidem at 11:39 PM [T + 13:15] to assist me in falling asleep. My last time check was during a bathroom trip at 11:58 PM after which I fell soundly asleep. I did not notice any synergizing of effects between the Suboxone, alcohol, and zolpidem. As expected the zolpidem made me sleepy but I did not experience any of the visual effects that this substance has been known to produce.
The next morning I felt pretty gosh darn normal. I could not detect any lingering trace effects of the Suboxone. I slept soundly through the night without any recalled dreams or unusual sleep patterns. The following day I was completely sober, so I have no day-after synergistic commentary to provide.
I do believe the ondansetron helped with my symptoms of nausea but it was certainly not a cure-all. It seemed to relieve the severity of my desire to throw up, but it did not completely succeed. Only the passage of time, and eventually the consumption of food, managed to do that. I am unsure if doubling or tripling the dosage (16-24 mg) would have helped more or not. I have never tried higher than 8 mg within a four-hour timeframe and did not think today was the day to play around with the dosage.
I have done some reading as well as self-reflection to try and logically explain the four minutes of bizarre physical reaction that occurred during this experience. I was in a reasonable dosage range; besides alcohol I had not consumed any other substances that might have reacted with either the buprenorphine or the naloxone. I doubt that the small amount of whiskey I consumed prior is the culprit. I do not believe it was an allergic reaction or anything along those lines. I have not come up with any plausible reason for my body to react so drastically and suddenly, only to return to a relative normal in such a short period of time. I chalk it up as a one-off scenario that supports the old adage: ďyour mileage may varyĒ.
I hesitate to pass judgment on any substance that I have only experienced a handful of times. I like (as a general rule) to give a substance more chances than that; to see the potential faces and flavors it has to offer. Iím not sure Iíll be doing that with buprenorphine and naloxone (as the Suboxone combination) however. The difference in dosages (for me) between an experience where I was bored and one where I was physically sick was far too small. Even if I really dialed in the dosage, I donít believe the middle ground would be worth the effort. There were certainly pleasant feelings to be had during the experience but they paled in comparison to other similar substances. The intensity of the enjoyable physical sensations was comparable at its peak to 3-6 mg of morphine (oral), 6-9 mg of hydrocodone (oral), and 4-6 mg of oxycodone. The quality of these sensations I found wanting. Suboxoneís effects seemed like counterfeits: copies of far more enjoyable substances. Many similar words could be used to describe the Suboxone experience, but the authenticity and depth of the pleasurable effects, both mental and physical, were not up to par. I did find some of the sedation (heavy eyelids mostly) to be a bit stronger than the compared dosages above, but it was not the pleasant nod I have enjoyed in the past on other substances. In the end, I am glad to have tried the substance and even more glad that I titrated up my dosage starting low. If I had jumped in at a higher dosage off the bat I think I would have had a nightmare puke-fest.
I feel I should note that I am speaking from a purely recreational standpoint as I voice my opinion on this substance. I do recognize the therapeutic/medical potential it has as a tool for people with opioid/opiate addictions that are attempting to break their habit.
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