Monday, May 29, 2023

Cookie Monster

I was as happy as anyone when recreational marijuana legalization passed in a referendum last November. Not that I’ve really been a user, I just think it’s best for it not to be criminalized any longer. Too many people have suffered too much over such a minor matter.

In my own history, I can count on my fingers the number of times I ever puffed on a joint, and still have a few digits left over. And almost all of those times, I’d already been so drunk, so I never noticed much of an effect. (Almost all of these times were in my teens and 20s.)

It’s not that I ever had anything against it, it’s just that I hate smoking… anything. Never having been a cigarette smoker, any recreational benefit I might have gotten from a toke was immediately surpassed by 15 minutes of coughing my lungs out. Plus, there’s the morning-after feeling in your mouth like it just hosted a poker party for Snoop Dogg, Bob Marley, Cheech, and Chong. It just didn’t seem like a good trade-off for me.

Now I just tell people, if you want me to get high with you, toss me an “edible.” That’s something I’ve been wanting to try ever since the referendum passed. (We still have until July until it goes into effect.) That way I would get the nice, buzzy “benefit” without hacking my face off.

So, cut to Saturday night. We’re pet-sitting Sweetpea’s out-of-town friend’s dog (who is “girlfriend” to our own dog), while the friend goes out to eat with family. After the event, she was staying the night with us.

Sweetpea was already in bed when the friend came home. I was staying up watching the new Sarah Silverman HBO special. As the friend came to sit for a while on the couch, she said, “I’d offer you a cookie but it’s got marijuana in it.” (She has a prescription.)

I said, “And?

She said, “Oh, I didn’t know you liked it,” or something, and then gave me a baggie with two cookies in it. I was so excited to try my first edible so I snarfed one down quickly. It was like a peanut butter cookie with chocolate bits in it. Wasn’t bad, it just had a kind of metallic aftertaste.

Now, I didn’t have much in the way of expectations. I’ve tried that CBD/THC oil before and was kind of underwhelmed. And my brief attempts at hitting a joint left me unimpressed. So with this cookie, I was on high alert, looking for changes in my headspace. What I found was a brief feeling like I had just had another vodka tonic, just kind of lightly buzzy.

Sarah wrapped up her show and I went to bed around 11:30. No harm, no foul.

Then about 12:30 AM, I briefly roused and tried to roll over.

MAYDAY! MAYDAY! How come nothing on me works?

Suddenly the Cookie Monster was kicking my ass.

First of all, I noticed strange things going on behind my eyelids. All I wanted to do was sleep, but there was this paisley pattern going on in front of my (closed) eyes like you see in those videos currently going around Facebook showing people knocking over playing cards they set up like dominoes. All these brilliant, colorful patterns were exploding in my face, to the point of my not being able to tell if I was awake or still sleeping.

I wanted to roll over but it was like I had forgotten how and I was afraid I couldn’t do it without falling out of bed. So I tried to stay still and just ride it out, maybe go back to sleep. But my brain was telling me my shoulder hurt, the one I was lying on. It was telling me this by showing me a “heat map” effect where rings were radiating out from my shoulder. I tried to “wake up” and evaluate, but when I did, my shoulder felt fine. So I lay there trying to reconcile my conflicting shoulder evaluations.

The next thing I knew, it was 1:30 or so and I had briefly fallen asleep. And now, I was even more desperate to roll over, so I rolled onto my back. Whenever I moved my head, I’d get really dizzy, and my hands and limbs were shaking.

Then the dizziness started making me nauseous like I was going to hurl. I tried to breathe it back like I used to do when I drank too much as a younger man. But no, it was coming.

In desperation, I rolled to sit up on the edge of the bed, and I felt like a newborn foal taking his first steps. I was shaking so hard it would have been visible from across the room. I quickly determined that there was no way I trusted myself to make it out of our room and into the bathroom next door, so I grabbed the trash can beside the bed and tried to let it all out.

I’m sure Sweetpea was quite alarmed by this point, although she still didn’t know why I was in such a state.

After a great deal of loud (mostly dry) heaves, I realized I needed a tissue or something. But the box was on the shelf behind the bed, about three feet from my outstretched hand. I just sat there straining for it, because I didn’t dare leave my spot. I’d forgotten how to move around, I was sure. But then as if by magic, Sweetpea pressed a tissue into my hand, saying, “Is this what you want?

When I could finally lie down again, she asked what was wrong. I said, “Your friend gave me a cookie.”

She was like, “What?  Ohhhhh.”

All I could add was that I was “Trippin’ balls.” It’s the technical term.

I got maybe another hour’s sleep before the whole thing repeated. I tried to move again, got dizzy, sat up, and hurled into the trash basket.

I do not throw up often. Hardly ever. The last time was when I had kidney stones for the first time. That was bad. But this was scaring the hell out of me because I was afraid I was going to choke. I may love Bon Scott but I have no plans to die like he did.

I desperately wanted a drink of water and I had a glass right by my bed. But I couldn’t quite work out how to skooch my butt down and get into position to grab it. And my hands were shaking so badly, I looked like I was making a martini on Bar Rescue. I was sure I was just going to dump it all over myself. But I eventually eased close enough to get two hands on it and pour a little bit into my mouth, which felt like we added Seth Rogen to Snoop’s poker party being held there.

Somehow, I managed to get back in bed and get some sort of sleep. Throughout the night, I’d wake up and cough, but not be able to stop. It felt like I really WAS smoking it up, for all the coughing.

I felt Sweetpea get out of bed around 7:00. She checked back in with me about 9:00, to see if I wanted breakfast. I said yes, I thought it would make me feel better.

But then again, when I sat up and pulled my legs around, the dizziness came back and when I looked forward, everything was flipping up and up, like an old TV with a “vertical hold” problem. I’m sure my fellow “old people” remember that reference.

So I decided to lay back down again and try to clear my head. When Sweetpea stuck her head in again, I told her to cancel breakfast for me.

When I finally surfaced around noon, my vertical hold problem was fixed, but I was still getting dizzy when I moved my head. But I had to get up sometime, so I ambled into the kitchen and began my daily crossword puzzles from the newspaper. I ate the bacon she had already made, and a stray blueberry Pop Tart, which settled my stomach a bit.

The rest of Sunday was just vegging out. I went back to bed for a nap around 3:00 and got up again near 5:00, by which time dinner was on. Gradually the headache and dizziness faded as I couch potatoed for the rest of the night. According to my Fitbit for the day, I took only 392 steps and slept for 15 hours, 37 minutes.

Today, I’m more or less back to normal. Oh, and we gave the second cookie back. I don’t know how her friend can stand a dose like that. She must have a much higher tolerance because just that one cookie put me on my ass for an entire day.

So believe me, when the legalized marijuana edibles start circulating in earnest here in Maryland, I’m not saying I’ll never have any again, but I WILL be looking at the dosage and starting with small amounts. I’m sure there’s a happy medium in there, somewhere between Judge Judy-like sobriety and trippin’ balls.


Infidel753 said...

Wow, I'm sorry to hear that happened. That was a really bad reaction. The cookie must have had either a ridiculously high dose, or something else in it besides marijuana, or a strain that your system has some kind of aversion to (different strains have different effects). When marijuana was first legalized in Oregon, I gave it a try, but it never affected me like that -- in fact, I quit using it because it just wasn't doing much for me, and of course it's expensive. One way or another, marijuana's not for everybody.

bluzdude said...

Yeah, I have to circle back with our friend to find out what the hell was in that cookie. It was obviously homemade so she should be able to provide some detail.

It sounds like your experience was what I was expecting. I'd never had a strong reaction to pot before so I certainly didn't expect this cookie to put me on my ass like that.

Green Eagle said...

I can't say that I could count on my fingers the number of times I smoked a joint- I lived in San Francisco during the seventies, and probably would need the fingers of half the population of California to count the number of times I smoked marijuana. I never experienced anything like that, nor did anyone of the vast number of people I knew experience that either. Whatever happened to you, it was the result of something else than weed.

bluzdude said...

I'm pretty sure these were homemade cookies, so I'll have to ask Sweetpea's friend what the hell was in them. And how much?