Citation: XCALIBR8. "Harnessing Panic into the Astral Realm: An Experience with Cannabis (exp85051)". Erowid.org. Jul 14, 2010. erowid.org/exp/85051
I consider myself to be a well experienced smoker of cannabis and generally have used good caution while doing so. I have always loved smoking weed and generally had good experiences. I always smoked it with trusted friends and loved how it would let me unwind. I've never had any ill effects other than mild anxiety and one panic attack. After my first panic attack I learned that I wasn't the first to experience this and decided it must be a one off. I learned a lot about anxiety and felt I could shake off any future occurrences of a panic attack.
I felt confused and baffled as to why I reacted this way. I decided then to do a test and smoke a few hits with my friend J for my two days off from work. I was deeply relaxed for the first two days and felt very relaxed and care free about life. I thought one more day would be perfect so I called out sick the next day.
I went to my buddy J's house again to have a nice relaxing day watching movies and smoking a bit. Ready to take on the sweet herb I had no worries and freed my mind anxiety. This was one of the first times smoking from a bong and I thought I'd go for a few really good hits.
Damn it! It was back... I felt oncoming panic and anxiety yet again. After we hung out for a bit and I took some deep breaths I could still feel my heart beating way too fast. I thought those two good hits were far too little to feel these feelings again. I politely excused myself from J's house and I took some deep breaths in the car and turned on The Doors - Waiting for the Sun. I was high as a kite and felt the familiar racing heart/mild anxiety but was able to shake it off somewhat. The music helped me get into a stoner state of mind and let my worries drift away.
At this time I thought it would be a good time to visit my old friend B. I started my journey breathing deep and taking the side streets. When I arrived I told B that I was really high and enjoying it as I was able to harness my anxiety/panic. At this point B gave me a nice little package of Pot cookies that I'd later consume that night. At this point I'd never eaten pot and thought I'd give it a try. I wanted to beat my panic attack and thought I'd go for a super session to train myself. I quickly ate 2 small cookies that night at about 8:00 PM to quickly feel the most euphoric I've ever felt on any substance. It only took about 30-60 minutes to kick in.
After eating the cookies I couldn't get to sleep and was starting to have racing thoughts, concepts and ideas racing through my head. Being a computer geek I decided to browse the web and listen to some of my favorite 60's psych/garage bands. As the night progressed I found I was reading whole articles very quickly. I was finding a lot of intrigue with HP Lovecraft's early life. I didn't know why it came to me, he just always intrigued me and thought I'd read up on him. This is where I came across his writing about the mirage plant, and how it has been considered to be the true origin of the meaning of 4:20. In my stoned state this blew my mind and I had to take a break. His words spoke right to me and I was thinking deeply at this point.
I got a little tired around 1 AM and thought I'd lay on the couch for a bit. This is where things were getting weird for me. The dream I experienced shortly after haunts me to this day. I remember being in front of group of men in full Freemasonic dress and they were initiating me to be a 33rd degree Freemason. It was dark and the men kept telling me I was chosen to follow out their task. At this point I awoke sweating with a fast beating heart. I got up and went outside to smoke a cigarette. I looked at the clock and it was just after 3:00 AM. The cigarette calmed me down a bit and I could think about my dream.
Normally it would've just been a dream but being high I managed to run my mind into an over analytical loop of what the dream was really trying to say. I've always been a little intrigued by secret societies. The night sky was so clear and the stars were bright. I got a strange dark feeling shortly after and felt I knew the answer to the universe. I felt like there was a reason I chose to smoke and eat weed. For what seemed like an eternity of being stoned I decided to go to bed shortly after 4:20 AM and decided I found what being high was all about. I listened to some Electric Wizard and the slow drone lulled me off to sleep.
The next day I awoke refreshed but didn't feel myself. I still felt high but I was thinking clear enough to go to work, or so I thought. What was I thinking. I was still high and was over analyzing everything. I went to work and totally freaked my co-workers out. I kept telling them that the computer system wasn't running right. In my strange state of mind was trying to explain how to fix it. I had to use the restroom multiple times due to all the water I was drinking to flush the THC out of my system. How could I still be high and why was I starting to feel panic yet again?
I've been in touch with my spirituality but never liked to label myself as any certain religion. On my first break I thought I'd meditate/pray that these feelings would pass. Strangely it kind of worked. But what happened next was any pot smokers worst nightmare. I was asked into my supervisor's office.
That did it... The panic really set in then. They could tell I was high on something and I wasn't in my right mind. My sup said I had to take a drug test and drove me to the clinic to run a test. At this time I really disliked my job and decided to stand up for myself I refused to take the drug test and they sent me home. My wife came to pick me up and she and I were really angry at the situation. At the time she didn't know I was partaking in smoking/eating pot the previous few days so she was confused and upset. I felt trapped by my anxiety and was beginning to get very nervous.
I was tempted to run out of the car but she kept me in. She decided to stop off at her work and she ordered me to stay in the car. At this point I started to lose touch with reality and can't explain why I thought this was a good idea. I ran into her office flipping everyone off and ran to the bathroom. Everyone was in shock and the cops were called.
They asked me why I was acting the way I did and I told them I smoked and ate weed and that I felt it should be legal. That was a great idea... After confirming with them that I wasn't going to hurt myself or anyone else they decided that I needed to go to the hospital. At this point I had no reason to hide what I did and let them search my bag which had nothing in it. As I was having a full blown panic attack they put me in the custody of my wife and I was in the back of an ambulance. I was in a dream state for the next 2 days and completely blacked out. I remember feeling as if I was dying and had let go of my soul and was in purgatory. I had a sense of astral projection a number of times and could see myself in the hospital bed and wondered why I couldn't get up. I later found that they pumped me full of benzos and sleeping aids.
I awoke the third day realizing I wasn't at the hospital anymore. Feeling back to base line I felt that I'd explore my new surroundings. I made my way to the main area of the building and asked the lady at the desk where I was. She informed me that I was at the state mental hospital... What in the hell.. At this point I was shocked and couldn't believe what happened. I barely could recognize myself in the mirror. I looked ghostly and tired. Apparently I didn't sleep for the first day at the hospital and wasn't making much sense when talking. In my altered state I also refused counseling which made them initially think I was crazy. I was put on psych analysis and they couldn't find anything wrong with me after all of the testing. The only thing that came out of it was that I was in psychosis and had anxiety/panic disorder.
I got out of the hospital after 72 hour hold and never had any legal issues due to this incident. I don't blame the weed but more my own stupidity for getting me into this situation. It was very hard to put this in words but this experience has definitely changed me for the better. Since then I've smoked a couple more times, but will never eat weed again. I didn't even get a tinge of anxiety when I smoked again but only took 1 hit each time. In a way I feel this has been a learning/spiritual experience. I found that before smoking I've always had a bit of underlying anxiety. I don't touch weed anymore just to be safe. I do still believe it should be legalized though. When used in a controlled environment it can be very beneficial. I feel that prohibition and fear of being caught put me into the situation more than the weed itself.
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