Well, 'tis the season to be jolly, and damn I was jolly. Far too jolly actually. In the celebratory spirit of the season, I thought I'd join in the consumption of some baked goods with a bit of a magical kick to them. Actually, there's nothing magical about it. It's a matter of certain "special" ingredients in the cookies hitting my brain and having some interesting effects.
Now, one thing to keep in mind here is that I am not a regular participant in such endeavours. I could count on one hand the number of times I've smoked it, and on one finger (as of this past Sunday), the number of times I've eaten it. Of the few times I've tried it in the past, I haven't really found I got any real enjoyment out of it.
Why then, you may ask, do I try it now? Well, there are a few factors really, but the main one is the fact that the only times I've tried it in the past have been on occasions where I already happen to be very very drunk. I was still curious to see what it was like when my brain was otherwise acting normally. Add to that the festiveness of the season and the social nature of it, and it was almost inevitable.
So I tried it. I figured, "what the hell, let's see what it's really like", and chowed down on that cookie. Didn't notice a thing of course. I spent the next hour or two conversing while updating a PC.
It was toward the end of the conversation that I started to notice an effect. It was subtle at first, to the point that I didn't recognize what it was. I simply realized that for some reason, I was having a really hard time following the conversation.
It was when sitting in the car after departing that I started to think I might be feeling the cookie at work. No, don't worry, I wasn't behind the wheel, and the driver was stone cold sober. I had a wild ride sitting in the passenger seat though. I went through the full battery symptoms you typically hear about. After the first effect, being unable to follow the conversation, I noticed the second effect - the inabillity to concentrate on a particular subject. There was an interesting twist to this, in that although it seemed like my mind was wandering, it felt to me as though I was concentrating very deeply on a subject, but couldn't control what that subject was.
The next thing that happened was a brief spell of motion sickness. Thankfully, that passed quite quickly, at which point I started to get the classic giggles. Those of course turned into heavy laughter, which quickly became uncontrollable. It didn't help at this point that the person driving the car has a very good sense of humour, and as we all know, laughter is contagious. That started a vicious cycle and it took several minutes for me to control my laughter.
Controlling my thoughts on the other hand, took a bit longer. In order to avoid hysterically laughing again, I made a point of thinking grumpy thoughts. That actually helped. Despite how incredibly funny everything seemed to me at the time, there was a strong line of thought bouncing around my head in which I realized I wasn't really enjoying it deep down. I don't like loosing control of my mind, and that is what was happening.
Around the same time, I started to notice hallucinations. I understand that this is not a common effect with this particular herb, but bear in mind, I haven't had it in years, and then only very sparsely. So yes, hallucinations. There were two that I recall. One was that my limbs and digits felt weird. A very odd feeling I can't quite capture in words. It was like having heavy rubbery body parts that dragged behind when I moved them. It's difficult to describe, partially because I don't clearly recall it, and partially due to the sheer weirdness of it. The other effect I do remeber well, as it lasted quite a while. My depth perception was messed up. It seemed like everything I saw was the same distance away from me, like a picture on the inside of a sphere. Walking around felt like I was walking on the inside of a ball.
I have to mention that I spent a couple of minutes alone in the car, when the person behind the wheel had to make a brief stop. As it happens, the song on the radio at the time was Pink Floyd's "Brain Damage", which is of course the perfect music when you're stoned.
I'll also mention here that I had to try at least one experiment, so I tried solving a Rubik's cube. For those of you who don't know me, I'm damn good with those. I can solve a regular 3x3 cube in about two minutes. In this case, I was working on the more challenging 5x5 cube, which usually takes me about ten minutes. This time, it was at least half an hour. Probably closer to 45 minutes.
It was when sitting in that car that I felt another one of the commonly mentioned effects, paranoia. A lady walked by to enter her van in the adjacent spot, and I was terrified that I would look stoned and she would call the police. I also noticed this effect when we were driving down the road, at what I knew to be a casual pace. I was finding myself getting very anxious and worried that we'd be in an accident - despite the excellent skill of the person behind the wheel.
Another way it affected me was in artistic output. Upon getting home I laid down on the couch and started drawing. I think the need for artistic output was due to the fact that I couldn't concentrate, but still felt that I wanted to do something productive. The images you see strewn about through this blog are the ones I drew.
I have a theory forming in my head, that being stoned is very similar to being in a dream. The mind drifts from thought to thought, without any control over where it's going. The reason for this seems to be that two key skills in the human brain are affected.
First, concentration is gone. It's right out. The mind quite happily wanders around, stumbling into things and tripping over its own feet. To actually ponder a matter with any seriousness is out of the question. Second, short term memory is out the door. My memory of it at its worst is quite hazy, and while it was happening, I was very much aware of this effect. At one point, someone would start a sentence, and I'd comprehend every piece of it, but forget the first half after hearing the second. In both of these behaviors, it is very much like the state of one's mind when dreaming.
As entertaining as this may be, I can say quite conclusively that I do not like it, and will never partake in it again. I value my mind too much. Even now, three days later, I still have a hard time concentrating. Not nearly as much as in the previous days, but it's still there. I expect I'll no longer notice this effect tomorrow or perhaps in a couple of days, but I don't know how long it will take to be actually out of my system and not affecting me. Even today I noticed myself taking longer than usual in solving the aforementioned Rubik's cube - making mistakes that I normaly wouldn't.