Citation: OpenedEyes. "My Experiences With Medical Cannabis: An Experience with Cannabis (exp73627)". Erowid.org. Jan 2, 2013. erowid.org/exp/73627
'There is no progress in art, any more than there is progress in making love. There are simply different ways of doing it.' -Man Ray
I realize that there are a ton of cannabis experience reports, but I have not found adequate representation of my experiences. So here goes.
I’m a 32 year old male weighing 80 kg. I have extensive experience with Salvia divinorum
and I have had some mind-blowingly wonderful morning glory experiences. I recently sought a recommendation for medical cannabis. I felt it would be helpful for my depression, anxiety, and insomnia. I have had traditional psycho-therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, which helped greatly. I also used Wellbutrin (bupropion) for a year and stopped using it under the direction of a physician. Wellbutrin was extremely helpful, but it had unpleasant side effects: it left me feeling wired and jittery and made it difficult to sleep. I always felt over stimulated.
Because I am able to obtain cannabis in a quasi-legal manner, I have a great deal of choice and control. I am able to obtain a very high quality, high potency product that has not been adulterated and is free of fungus, chemicals, or other bad things. I have only used the cannabis by itself, and have not combined it with other drugs. I do not smoke tobacco and I almost never drink (removing alcohol from my life made working on my depression so much easier). The only substances I have combined cannabis with are kava tea and coca tea. I do not find that kava tea or coca tea interact with the cannabis in any substantial way, but all three substances are extremely soothing. I particularly enjoy the clean, soothing quality of the coca tea.
The cannabis I obtain is just the bud, it has lots of little hairs (trichomes), and some strains have crystals. They have very strong aromas and they have changed my mental associations with skunky odors!
I used cannabis a dozen times or so in graduate school. My experiences back then were very different: very mild and gently intoxicating. I would describe the cannabis that I’m using now more as a hallucinogen. I’ll get more into that later.
I have used cannabis 2-4 times per week for four months (probably close to 50 times). I used it together with my partner. Most of these experiences are in the evening, with some during the afternoon on weekends. I have noticed no change in my dosing requirements (i.e. I do not seem to have developed any tolerance yet). Maybe it is too early for that or maybe the breaks between usages have kept that from happening. I have tried many different types: 2 sativas, 6 indicas, 2 sativa/indica hybrids, and 2 types of hashish (one was crumbly and light colored, the other was dark and sticky like putty).
I find the effects of the hash to be broadly similar (but stronger and longer lasting) compared to the bud, although about half as much by volume is required. I’m not sure how much the particular strain really affects the nature of the experience. I find that the nature of the experience depends as much on set/setting (and perhaps the part of the bud consumed) as the particular strain. That being said, some strains do seem more consistent, and I have a preference for the easy-going qualities of the indicas. I still have a lot to learn.
I am using a “one hit” pipe. While it is tiny, it provides just the perfect amount: pack in a good pinch from a bud for a strong experience or a smaller pinch for something gentler. With hash, I use a screen pushed into the end and fill it maybe 2/3 full.
I find that the experience takes off in about 2-15 minutes. Some strains begin in a gentle manner (which I prefer), while others begin more abruptly. I experienced dizziness the first few times at this stage; but that has mostly gone away. The experience has a broad plateau of a peak from about 30 minutes out to about 3 hours. I find I am mostly normal in about 5 hours. Hash lasts maybe another hour.
I expected medical cannabis to help my depression mostly in terms of symptom management (i.e., using it when I feel particularly sad). While it does work in this way, I have found two other ways in which it helps: 1) the metacognition induced by the cannabis has helped improve my “mindfulness” skills that I learned in cognitive behavior therapy and 2) it provides an elevated, brightened mood 24-48 hours after usage, long after the “high” has gone away. The effect is similar to that of Wellbutrin but without the unpleasant stimulation (with relaxation, in fact). These “next day” effects were strongest at the beginning and have become weaker but have diffused more thoroughly into life over the last four months.
OK, now for the more interesting part. I want to describe how cannabis makes me feel.
The first things that capture my attention are the visual disturbances. Sometimes I hear a “gong” noise in my head when they begin. They are like flutter and shimmer, like reflections from a pool at night. There is often a light strobing effect like having an overhead ceiling fan. My strongest experiences (3 times) have had opened-eye visuals, in particular, eyeballs, faces, and heavy black lines (lines like salvia lines). In most experiences I have had some degree of closed-eyed visuals. I have colors, short colored lines, squiggles, and the “Charlie’s Angles effect” (expanding colored jagged halos around people). I have some repeating patterns/motifs, but I find the strong bold simple shapes to be more compelling. For example, a rectangle with the corner missing that I find myself repeatedly “mapping” into. I also experience difficult-to-describe foreground/background illusions where objects seem to pop into and out of there backgrounds. I find this effect, in particular, makes things seem less “real”. When I close my eyes, I can get completely lost in my own mind. The feeling is much more of being taken somewhere, rather than directing it myself.
I find, both during and to a much lesser extent after the experience, the familiar “psychedelic vision” that I also get with salvia and morning glory: color contrast is enhanced, colors are brighter, details are sharper, things almost have black outlines around them, and my sense visual proportion is altered.
While I’m not sure if you can call what I experience a “hallucination”, it is accurate to say that cannabis gives me an extremely
active imagination. Sometimes I refer to this as the “Hieronymus Bosch effect”. His 'Garden of Earthly Delights' perfectly sums-up the nature of what is going on (and was one experience I had). Another way I would describe it is to imaging diving into the music of Ravi Shankar playing the sitar to such a depth that you actually become the music (when this happened it was both ecstasy and terror).
I find that cannabis gives me very strong auditory hallucinations (as a note: both salvia and morning glory also give me strong auditory hallucinations). Some of these hallucinations are “real hallucinations” in the sense that I cannot distinguish whether they are real (especially for repetitive noises like mechanical noises and bird noises, but also twice with music that was not really playing). I always have a strong “soundtrack effect” where I know that the music and/or noises are in my head but they are very strong and almost “real”, much more than having a song in your head in daily life. It is like brain stereo.
My mind riffs on odd words (especially words with r, s, k, and t), such as “skort” and “rat scrotum”. The words have colors, jagged lines, and feelings that come with them.
One of the most enjoyable aspects is the body sensation. Unfortunately, I find the occurrence of body effects to be very unpredictable (the same strain may or may not produce them at a particular time). The best I can say is that sitting still helps to bring them on. The body effects include: out-of-body sensations (floating above my body), no body sensations (I am only aware of my soul, a short column roughly the length from my heart to my nose), stretched body (like taffy, or the very beginning of a salvia trip), and my favorite: strong vibrations penetrating through my body (it feels like a message).
The cannabis changes how I think and perceive things in interesting and useful ways. I often feel “smudged” between the real world (consensus reality) and some other world. I get some mild “infinite looping” of time (like morning glory), some déjà vu, and time repeating. It tends to emphasize a fatalistic viewpoint, blurs the meaning of life and death, and sometimes I feel as though I have achieved “nirvana”. Occasionally (especially with hash) I experience “brain scramble” with a delirious confusion. I do not like that. There have been a few odd moments of anxiety and paranoia, but they pass quickly and leave me feeling more in control (for having the strength to calmly ride it out). Cannabis makes me think about my life stages. I often feel accompanied by “entities” that take the form of other people’s souls (family, friends from childhood, even coworkers), words (especially swear words for some reason), colors (especially short colored lines that may be curved), and feelings (pure emotion). The “entities” can even be life stages themselves, taking on a quality that is both of me but also outside of (and distinct from) myself and my own life. There is something about these entities that is shared in common with salvia, but it is extremely difficult for me to describe this. One key is that the entities assume some small number between 3 and 8 – often 5. I think these entities may be the eigenvectors of my soul. I don’t know.
I find the cannabis is using the “vocabulary” from my salvia and morning glory experiences. While there are some definite similarities, cannabis has a very different and very unique feeling or quality. The best way to explain that would be an analogy to the different taste sensations: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami. Cannabis would be “sour” while salvia (I suppose) would be “bitter”. Morning glory would definitely be umami.
Certainly I have altered perception of television (moments seem longer and are put in a different context), music (which seems to sweep me up), and food (everything tastes so good!). I experience some increase in sexual mood, and this is becoming stronger as I gain more experience with the cannabis. I usually have uncontrollable smiling, and the feeling that everything is going to be OK. Sometimes the experiences are more “meditational” and sometimes they are more “stupid”. Sometimes I feel more withdrawn, and sometimes more gregarious. I find that the cannabis feels healthy and has a very soothing quality. If I had to boil this all down to one word, I would probably choose “soothing”. There is also something slightly subversive and delicious about it. I find that it generally improves the quality of my sleep (I sleep like a log) and it usually has an interesting affect on the “logic” of my dreams.
My use of entheogens (cannabis as I have described here, but also Salvia divinorum
and morning glory seeds), in addition to therapy and journaling, has been transformative in helping me to deal with the depression that occurred as I transitioned from my childhood cycles into my adult cycles.
So, to finish this report, I would like to include “one-liner” realizations I have jotted down in my journal that I have learned from cannabis over the past four months:
- Life is constant creation and destruction on a variety of scales.
- I tend to over-identify with my responsibilities to other people and to things. While these are important, I need my own identity independent of my responsibilities.
- I can get the crap out of my head by talking about it.
- In the end, life really is what we make of it every moment. Each moment is all there really is. Appealing something outside/beyond one's life is probably a cop-out to disguise laziness (in seizing the moment) or fear (of death, or even one’s own self).
- Actually seeing me for me is terrifying and makes me feel inadequate, but it doesn't need to be that way.
- All experiences seem to strike at same basic thing.
- Imagination is the realm where things aren't real.
- We do everything for feelings. The most ephemeral, least respected thing is the most important.
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