Lead image by Sara Wass
When I was in college, I spent some time on the jam band circuit. I followed Phish around and went to pretty much any music festival I could find, such as All Good in West Virginia. I was stoked because Further, made up of the remaining members of the Grateful Dead, were playing the year I went. I was so stoked that on the first day… let’s just say that I enjoyed quite the bouquet of substances. So on Saturday, I decided to take it easy. A nice looking hippie couple walked by selling weed brownies, and I bought one. “I’ll just be responsible today and eat this,” I thought. That sweet treat made me more messed up than I have been in my entire life.
Shortly before attending this particular jam band fest, I had spent some time camping in Mexico. As a result, all the tents at All Good made me believe I was in another country. It dawned on me that time didn’t exist, but also that perhaps I was just out of my mind on THC and should therefore avoid any human contact. I zipped myself up inside my own tent and had a series of strange weed daydreams before experiencing a number of spontaneous orgasms — all while curled up in the fetal position.
In retrospect, who knows what was in that brownie or how much THC it contained. As an adult, when I enjoy edibles, I’ll start with 5 mg and move up to 10 mg at most. Campaigns advise such dosing in legal states in an effort to keep consumers safe, as newbies and tourists are infamous for walking into a dispensary, gobbling down an infused treat packed with 80-200 mg of THC (what up, Maureen Dowd), and having a horrible trip that turns them off of weed or even lands them in the ER.
Fellow stoners: we don’t want that. It’s not a good look, and a rock in the shoe of legalization. Accidental overdosing gives pot a bad name. While an ongoing critique of the edibles market is the high dosing, in legal states you have medical marijuana doctors and trained budtenders available to advise buyers on proper dosage. If a helpful budtender had sold me a pack of gummies and advised me to start small, I would have been able to enjoy the grooves of George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic at that festival in West Virginia, instead of hiding in my tent all day. I’m certainly not alone. MERRY JANE talked with a handful of other overeager pot enthusiasts and asked them to share their worst experience with edibles. From puking at Disneyland to trying to navigate the New York City subway (a hell in its own right while sober, too), this is what happened when these stoners ate too much damn weed.
Names have been changed to protect identity, thanks to the federal government. Interviews have been edited for length and clarity...
Ana's Disneyland Disaster
I wasn't used to any drinking or drugs yet; I was 18, but no party girl. I had just started smoking weed. My friend was making edibles, so I figured me and my then-high school boyfriend would buy one and see what it did. We happened to be going to Disneyland the next day, so we decided it would be a cool idea to eat it there (spoiler: it wasn't). We met our very straight-edge friends at the park and then ate the brownie. It was a whole new world (pun intended). First, Space Mountain. Holy crap, I had never seen anything so beautiful. White and pristine, it just looked magnificent. While waiting in line, my friend Brian said that I was acting weird. My boyfriend, Evan, was keeping it together a lot better than I was... Apparently, I had been talking about cashews and pistachios for 15 minutes straight.
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Next, we went into the Tiki Room, and this is where it got bad. At this point, I was starting to feel nauseous and even borderline hallucinatory. The Tiki Room did not make this better. Birds were appearing, then disappearing (some come down from the ceiling during their specific singing cues). To be real, it was fucking trippy that they were even singing in the first place. I started swaying on the bench to the music, partially because I was dizzy, partially because I didn’t know what the fuck was going on. We exited the Tiki Room, and I ran to a planter in Adventure Land, right at the Aladdin-themed area. Then I had a "protein spill," which is Disney's nice way of saying vomit. I sat down next to the entrance of the Aladdin gift shop and leant against the wall for the next two hours. My straight-edge friends were very confused, so I just said I was sick. I have not eaten edibles since!
Fletcher's Psychic Stoned Sex Experience
Once, I bought a pack of Green Hornet gummies, which are super strong. I split one pack four ways with two friends and a girl I was seeing at the time. A quarter is supposed to be one dose, but we all ended up having what felt like the equivalent to a shrooms trip in my apartment. My roommate immediately recoiled into his room and had a sleepless trip in his bed with hallucinations, and then gave us a presentation of said hallucinations the next morning (he was apparently still out of his mind). The three of us who stayed "alive” had no idea what to do.
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We decided that normal people would watch a movie, so we put on a Miyazaki film. Nausicaä saved us because we were all teetering on the brink of total loss of control. Multiple times I wondered if my heart was still beating. At some point, we decided we needed to drink to dull the high down, but going across the street to the natural foods store was the most terrifying idea ever. Eventually, we built the courage and got beers and cookies and other munchies. I kept trying not to faint because the lights were so bright. But after eating, we seemed to chill out. My then-girlfriend and I decided to try having sex, and it was by far the craziest sex I've ever had. It was mental… literally. The best way I can describe it is that it felt like we were both psychic. I don't smoke a lot of weed, so I'm not sure if stoned sex is always like that, but Green Hornet sex is on some supernatural shit.
Diane's Accidental Overdose
I moved to Los Angeles and immediately bought a 200 mg edible during my first week in town. I didn't really know what that meant, though. I ate like three-quarters of it in my new apartment and within a couple hours I was so high that I thought I was dying. My blood pressure dropped a few times, and I was freaking out, crying and sobbing on and off for no reason throughout the entire night. I called my best friend on the phone and continued sobbing, though she helped talk me through it. I went to work the next day, and the other intern asked why I seemed out of it. I told her I was still high. In other words, I was really fucking baked for over 15 hours. Never again.
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Joanie's Train Terror
I went to a birthday party at a Manhattan bar where they served a giant skull cake covered in chocolate icing. It wasn't just any cake. It was weed cake. I ate one piece, and when nothing had happened in 20 minutes, I threw back a second. Still, zero effect. 45 minutes and three pieces later, I headed home, disappointed that I wasn't sailing on a magic carpet of THC. Then, I got to the train station and waited on the platform, which suddenly seemed terrifyingly narrow. How had I never noticed how unsafe the proportions of the stations were? I clung to a bench, and when the train arrived, I sat down inside of it and felt certain that everyone in the train could feel my insanity. The train's air condition was on blast, and I could feel every cell in my body congealing. The 20-minute public transport trip felt as long as a night in jail. When I got home, I ran a bath, ate week-old take out, and fell asleep without turning off the water.
Max's Sickly, Shit-Filled Camping Trip
About ten years ago, I went camping with friends in Vermont. I was still a kid, and did the dumbass kid thing to do, which was eat an entire weed brownie. I had felt a cold coming on, but assumed it would pass and I could handle it. Unfortunately, as the edible took effect over the next few hours, it started raining — a torrential downpour. As a result, I got sicker than I have ever been in my life.
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It started with a killer headache and soon there was so much snot that I couldn't breathe. I had a fever, chills, and, looking back, all the symptoms of a hardcore flu. On top of all this, I had explosive diarrhea. Since we were camping, I had to shit (though it was more like pissing out of my asshole) in the woods, and used up our limited supply of toilet paper.
As this was happening, I began tripping balls from the brownie. It honestly may have helped with the stomach issues and the pain, but I got so stuck in my head that I became highly aware of my bodily functions. It dawned on me that I was just this sack of shit and snot. I could feel the virus in my body and realized I was this pointless bag of bones, wrapped in skin, and could barely survive a rainy weekend in the woods. I actually love edibles now, but yeah, know your dosage, and if you feel the flu coming on, especially when out camping in a storm, please do not eat so much weed that you become fixated on the sensation of poop forming in your sickly body before it squirts out your butthole.
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