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It's Just a Dream
Modafinil, Tobacco & Cannabis
Citation:   Alberto. "It's Just a Dream: An Experience with Modafinil, Tobacco & Cannabis (exp48846)". May 9, 2006.

T+ 0:00
100 mg oral Modafinil (pill / tablet)
  T+ 6:00 100 mg oral Modafinil (pill / tablet)
  T+ 12:00 1 shot oral Alcohol - Hard (liquid)
  T+ 12:20 5 hits smoked Tobacco (dried)
  T+ 12:25   oral Alcohol - Beer/Wine (liquid)
  T+ 12:30 5 hits smoked Cannabis (plant material)
Prior to this experience, I had, as a result of the acceptance of my brother and me into college and of the ridiculous amount of work my teachers tend to pile upon the students before break, slept only 5.5 hours over the two prior nights.

T-12:00 - Ingested 100 mg modafinil
T-6:00 - Ingested 100 mg modafinil

I spend most of my afternoon talking with people online. I realize that my memory formation is obviously impaired, and worry that at some point I may continue taking modafinil because I'd forget how recently I took the previous dose. I also realize that the modafinil is having a severely detrimental effect upon my appetite, although I do force myself to eat a TV dinner prior to going out.

I drive to my friend's house about 20 miles away with no problems whatsoever, as the modafinil seems to be extremely effective in restoring attention. Unfortunately, it has little to no effect as to the other effects of sleep deprivation. Astereognosis (the inability to recognize objects by touch) and a sleep deprivation-related headache are present, and short-term memory is noticeably impaired. I feel more like Iím on drugs than that Iím sleep-deprived, because the drowsiness is gone. I know that I'm in for a wild ride tonight.

T=0:00 - Ingested one shot of alcohol

And here beigns the beginning of the experience. The alcohol produces no noticeable effect, perhaps because the modafinil counteracts its depressant activity. At this point, we go outside to smoke hookah.

T+0:20 - Take approximately five hits of hookah

I start smiling uncontrollably, as if I were stoned, although I realize I'm only minorly intoxicated. In retrospect, it may have been at least partly a contact high.

T+0:25 Ė Ingested one can of beer

I feel more normal now than before I left home. My sleep deprivation headache is gone. I still feel wide awake.

T+0:30 - Take approximately five hits of cannabis

And this is the point at which reality begins to dissolve...

At first, I wonder if I've smoked enough. I forget that it often takes 10 minutes for me to feel the effects of marijuana, and that my friend's marijuana is of extremely high potency. After another ten minutes, it hits. Boom. My body feels unpleasant. I'm under the impression that I'm palpitating. I lie down on the couch, terrified that I'm going to pass out or have a stroke.

My vision is reconfiguring itself with each heartbeat. My visual field is made of large light and dark spots, almost polka dots. My hearing is blurred. At the peak of this part of the experience, which lasts luckily only a few seconds, I can really only see the center of my visual field. It feels similar to orthostatic hypotension (a severe drop in blood pressure from change in posture; what happens when one gets up too fast). I worry that my brain might not be getting enough blood and begin to freak out. Will I remember this later? I think of the way I ďtagĒ specific memories so that even when I have no other memory of an experience, Iíll remember that specific thought.

My friend says Iím pale, so I go look at myself in the mirror. Sheís right. I am pale. The color has nearly faded from normally rosy cheeks. My eyes are surprisingly somewhat normal. While bloodshot, theyíre not dilated. My previous experience with smoking cannabis with roughly the same concentration (or perhaps slightly more) of modafinil in my bloodstream apparently produced dilation, according to those who were with me at the time.

I walk down to the basement. I am euphoric. I am walking in circles with the biggest smile on my face. I feel like I've seen God, and my life is really just a big dream. Who cares how fucked up I am right now? It's just a dream...

Something pulls me back into my body. My heart is beating too fast; my I begin to try to count my heart rate. I fail miserably. If I was counting correctly, my heart rate was probably around 150 beats per minute, but it's likely that I wasn't. Sometimes, while counting, I was skipping numbers...1,2,3,5,7,9... People start yelling at me to get in a picture, but I'm too absorbed in this investigation. Finally, I give up counting, and get in the picture.

I walk back upstairs, and suddenly, I remember I just got into an extremely prestigious college, early admission, no less. But that was only a dream, wasnít it? No, it was real. I chuckle, surprised at my good fortune, then question its reality again. This thought pattern continues for a while, accompanied by some pacing around the kitchen. I think at some point I try to say someone to something, but I canít form a coherent sentence. Oops.

I start thinking about other things. Again, I remember them as if theyíre all from dreams, not from real life, except I know they happened in real life.

I begin to worry again. I remember a paper written by Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA, which suggested the function of dreaming was to erase unnecessary memories. What if by thinking of these memories, Iím erasing them? What if I wake up without a past?

Ironically, this thought spurs me to pull back more obscure memories: historical facts, random facts from neuroscience class, itís all there. The memories are all still there. Anything I can remember to remember, I remember.

Well then, what is it? Why does everything feel so unreal?

Itís as if my memories have all been cleared of context. I canít tell you what the subject of Thursdayís U.S. history lecture was, but if you asked me a question related to it, I could probably give you the answer. Itís as if the pages to the book are still there, but someone has torn out the index.

I decide to go to sleep, because I donít want to destroy any more memories.

In the middle of the night, some kid wakes me up by drawing on my face. I guess he thought I was passed out drunk, but really, I was just exhausted. The first time, I donít really care. Iím too tired. I punch him and go back to sleep. The second time, I go wash myself off and get him to say he wonít do it again. The third time, I become violent and threatening. Iím not usually a violent person, but in my impaired state, I was hopeless at restraining myself. Finally, the kid stops.

Itís now 12 hours since the experience begun, and I must admit that there are still some residual effects on my memory. As a bit of a hypochondriac, I wondered for a little while if Iíd had a stroke, but after looking at the symptoms, that seems unlikely. It wouldnít surprise me if the last two days end up as a blur in my mind.

This experience was terrifying, and while there were a few moments of transcendent glory buried within it. It was, for the most part, terrifying. Iím extremely happy that there doesnít appear to be any lasting irreversible damage.

Exp Year: 2005ExpID: 48846
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: Not Given
Published: May 9, 2006Views: 93,566
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Sleep Deprivation (140), Tobacco (47), Cannabis (1), Modafinil (217) : Small Group (2-9) (17), Difficult Experiences (5)

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