First weed trip, worst experience of my life, just need to talk about it

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I hope this isn't too long. I'm going to try to cut back on unnecessary details but my mind is still a little muddled.

Here's a little bit about me. I'm in my mid 40s, have a wonderful wife and young kids. I grew up as one of Jehovah's Witnesses and remained one up until just a few years ago. If you don't know, the JW's are a high control cult and it's very difficult to get out of them, but it was all I had ever known. I finally decided to get my family out of them and have spent the last few years gradually adjusting to "normal" life without all of their rules.

Because I was a JW throughout my life, I never experienced anything that was "wrong." They have very strict rules and you can get kicked out for doing just about anything. Alcohol was the only vice that doesn't automatically result in congregation discipline. I never had premarital sex, I only ever dated one girl, and I married her after just a short time... mostly because I felt I needed sex.

Throughout my life, I was curious about all of the things that I hadn't experienced. Weed was one of those things. I had never even been around anyone who smoked, I had never been offered a try, nothing.

So in these few years since I got out of the cult, I have sort of had this private little checklist of experiences that I always wanted to have. Some were incredibly banal, like "donate blood", "go into a non-JW church", and "vote in an election." All of these things would have gotten me kicked out of the jw's, so now that I was free to do them, I did. I also had an affair on my wife right after I got out of the cult. The affair ended 3 years ago but earlier this year my wife discovered it and we have been in therapy for a few months.

As you can guess from my thread title, weed was also on my checklist. I'm a shy person and I don't really have many friends, but about a year ago I was around someone who smoked weed. It took me a long time to get up the courage to ask if I could have some to try, but I finally got some a few months ago. I've been hanging onto it waiting to give it a try.

Yesterday I was home from work by myself, so I thought it would be a great time to try it. I googled how to smoke it, ran out and bought a pipe and grinder, came home and started smoking it. I don't know how many hits I took... it wasn't having an effect and so I thought I wasn't getting enough. I want to say I took 8 hits and then suddenly BAM it hit me. At first I thought I was going to throw up. I went to the bathroom, then realized I had to lay down. I laid down on my bed and everything got crazy in a very, very bad way. I could barely focus my eyes, I wasn't in control of my thoughts, and I think I began having a panic attack. (I went through a phase of having panic attacks a few years ago.) I laid there trying to get control of myself and it just kept getting worse. My throat felt like it was closing up and I was terrified that I was going to stop being able to breathe. I had my phone in my hand and somehow I googled "bad first weed trip". I don't know what I clicked on, nothing was making sense. I found a guy's story and tried reading it but things weren't working right on my phone, I felt like I was scrolling down the page but I kept reading the same part of the story over and over again. I thought it was a trick, like a story that just loops over and over. I did manage to see something on the page that said weed has never killed anyone, you can't die from it, but I was in a full-blown panic. Breathing was becoming harder, and my tongue felt like it was blocking my airway. With the tiny bit of rationality I still had, I felt that I needed to call 9-1-1 because I was absolutely certain that I was going to die. After some trying I managed to dial it and... yeah... that's where my story goes from "bad trip" to "worst experience of my life."

I should point out here that I went through a debilitating phase of panic attacks about 13 years ago. I saw a therapist and took zoloft for a very short time but got off of it because it gave me suicidal thoughts. Zoloft was NOT a factor in this weed trip... I discontinued using it 13 years ago. But the panic attack, I think, was very much part of this situation.

The call with the 9-1-1 operator consisted of me telling her I was dying because I had smoked weed. I could barely talk, and as the call progressed I realized that I couldn't even move anymore. I did manage to tell the operator that my car has a garage door opener on the visor so that the medics didn't break down my door. The operator kept talking to me. At one point she asked me if I wanted to talk to the medics on the phone. I said no I just need them to help me, I'm dying, I can't breathe. Then I think I said yes, I'll talk to them. She patched me through to the medic in the ambulance and I don't remember what he said, but he was mocking me for being so stupid. (I don't think that part really happened but in my mind it did.)

Time was moving so slow. I heard a voice say "Hello" in my living room. I couldn't respond, and it felt like forever, but then there was a police officer standing at my bed asking me if I had weapons. It didn't make sense and I was terrified. I tried to say no, I'm not a bad person, but please help me I'm dying. Then the room seemed full of people. They asked me about what I smoked. I told them where it was. I do remember someone saying "It's not synthetic, it's real" and somewhere in my mind I was reassured by this, but my panic was getting worse nonetheless. I couldn't breathe, even though they told me I was breathing. They told me I would need to walk to the stretcher. My muscles wouldn't respond at all. I thought I was paralyzed. Finally someone pulled me upright and I was able to kick my legs into motion and stumble to the stretcher. I remember asking for oxygen but they didn't give me anything.

The ambulance ride felt like an eternity. We travelled for so long but when we got there he said it was only a 5 minute ride. I told him I was sure we had gone through several states. The entire time, I was dying. My throat was almost shut, I could barely breathe. I remember one EMT repeating: "Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth."

Inside the ER, I don't know what really happened and what was just my perception. I remember being told to take off my shirt and I told them I can't move. I was still in a panic because I thought I was about to die. I somehow managed to take off my shirt. At various points, I remember people coming into the room and saying incredibly strange things to me. One woman came in and asked me if I had high blood pressure, I said I think so but I don't take medication for it. She then got in my face and scolded me for that, asking over and over why I wouldn't want to take blood pressure meds. I didn't know what I was supposed to do. 

Then, the cop came in and everyone else left the room. I remember hearing him read me my rights but I didn't understand why he was doing that. He asked me where I got the weed. Something in my head clicked and I knew that I couldn't throw my source under the bus (this was one of the very few rational thoughts I had) so I just said I dunno. He asked again... come on, was it a friend, neighbor, uncle, cousin, workmate, friend of a friend? Again I said I don't know. He gave up. Then he asked me to unlock my phone so he could call my wife. I managed to do my unlock pattern after about 5 tries. He stepped out of the room and called her, then (an eternity later) he came back in and went drill seargent on me... he started yelling at me that she is done with me, she doesn't even want me back home, she wants me gone.

I started crying and was trying to tell him to stop saying those things but I don't know what came out of my mouth. 

The rest of the time in the ER was mostly me sitting in bed trying to keep breathing. Someone finally brought me some water and I drank it and that helped the swelling in my throat. It was sometime around this point when I started to realize I might not die.

So many weird things happened, and then my (very hurt, very angry) wife came in. She was livid. After about an hour, I was coherent and in control of myself enough to stand up and act rather normal. I checked out and she brought me home. But my high lasted for at least 12 hours. (I smoked at 10:30 a.m., and by 11 p.m., I was still having weird experiences... I was trying to play cards on my phone and my phone kept locking up and stopping working, but I don't really think this was happening.)

It's now been over 24 hours since I smoked. I'm still not 100% sure that I'm thinking correctly. I find that I keep forgetting what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to put together a simple project for work that should take me 5 minutes and it is confusing the hell out of me. My thoughts are out of order.

Why am I writing all of this? Well... I'm not asking for help getting over the weirdness. I know that it's just going to take more time to get completely out of my system. Nor am I asking for help in dealing with my wife, although any helpful comments would be appreciated. We've already both spoken to our marriage counselor about this and I'm going in to see her tomorrow morning. 

I guess I'm just writing this to ask... how common or uncommon is my experience? How many first time weed trips result in the person calling 9-1-1, getting brought to the ER, getting a ticket for simple possession and possession of paraphernalia, and wrecking their marriage? I don't know that my marriage is wrecked... we have been in therapy for a few months, and things had begun to seem better between us... but now I did this.

I guess I'm also writing just to put my experience on the internet so that anyone who is reading this and has made it to 45 without trying weed... I won't say DON'T do it, but I'll say DON'T do it alone. Have someone with you. If I had had someone who knew how to smoke with me, I'm sure they would have stopped me after maybe the second hit and not let me take 8 hits or however many. 

Also, I'm writing this just in case anyone finds my story while they're having a bad first high. I wish I had found a story while I was panicking... someone telling me DON'T CALL 9-1-1, YOU CAN'T DIE FROM WEED.

Thank you for reading this. I hope those who comment are understanding. If you laugh at me in private, please don't let me know. I'm feeling lower than I've ever felt in my life. 

I guess this stuff just happens sometimes. I won't be trying weed again. I've marked it off of my ex-cult checklist of things I feel I missed out on and need to try. I NEVER envisioned it turning out like this. I'd read lots of people say it's just a cool buzz, increased clarity, a happy feeling. If I had thought for one second that it would send me into a panic attack because I thought I was going to die, I would have skipped it.

By the way... and again, I'm sorry that this tidbit is disjointed, I usually write in a more orderly fashion, but... this morning I woke up again having another panic attack. This time it wasn't that I felt like I was dying, it was because this is all such a mess.

I've got an appointment to see our marriage counselor tomorrow morning by myself, then we have our regular weekly appointment next week.

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    Can I edit my post? I just want to take out a couple insignificant details. I don't see an edit button.
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  • Posted

    This happened because you took so much, it wasn't a trip, it's what people call a whitey. It completely spins you out but if this happens you should just sleep or eat.
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  • Posted


    I can offer you useful advice about smoking weed. I first tried it on spring break in my last year of highschool. I had a lot of fun with it so when I got home I started smoking. Now a year later Im jobless and fighting its long-term after effects which I can explain. Weed expands your mind. It eventually puts you into derealization/depersonalization. With a high comes a low, so all potsmokers are not only mildly psychotic, they are also depressed, and very much so. Also, one time I called 911 because I thought I was dying too. Terrible. Stay away from it or use it extremely rarely and make sure you keep your mind in check and recover from it. Its very scary when you lose yourself.

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    • Posted

      Robell, thank you very much for your comment. It's crazy for me to think that weed was something I had wanted to try so badly for so many years, and when I finally tried it, it was such a monumental disaster. Live and learn, I suppose. I just wish I had gotten these life lessons when I was in my 20s, before I had a wife and children who love me and rely on me. 
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    • Posted

      And... before I tried it, I had read so many different sources that talked about what to expect. I found that people described their first experience either positively or, at worst, it had no effect on them. So I was anticipating having mild reactions that might last an hour or two. I just never read how many puffs you should take, and that 8 is waaay too many. And I never read anyone who described an experience like mine, panicking and being sure that they were dying. 
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  • Posted

    Hi that's quite a saga from your first smoke.

    This is brief in comparison but my experience with weed is totally negative and I wish my reaction wasn't

    Almost every time I have smoked it I have become almost disabled by panic totally horrendous

    I have fairly chronic GAD and I thought it would chill me out but it just makes me worse 100%. I think Janov ( primal therapy) has it right in that it stops you holding down early terror and in effect releases the demons. I would love to be able to use it but have learned by experience it's not for me sadly benzodiazepines and alcohol are the only things that ease the 'fear'

    I really hope you can get things sorted with your life. My best wishes and thoughts are with you

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