Skip to main content

Marijuana Products: A Victim's Recollection of Side Effects

Where once I was a marijuana advocate, I now wish for more regulation and science on the drug before recreational legalization.

Until further research is conducted, this should be the status quo.

Until further research is conducted, this should be the status quo.

Like a Kick to the Teeth

For over four years, since the age of sixteen, I both legally and illegally ingested marijuana and marijuana products. Putting in the research, biased research I should say, necessary to be able to advocate for the recreational use of marijuana was something I made into a bit of a pastime. With all the biased research that then biased me, and all the smoking and other forms of ingesting the drug in which I partook, I don't think there was any way I could've been prepared for the drug-induced psychosis that was going to permanently damage my brain.

It was a bright, beautiful, and sunny day in unfavorable Garden Grove (Garbage Grove), California. My girlfriend was inside interviewing a semi-famous raw-vegan celebrity chef for a college report she was tasked with and thus had sent me outside so she could do so uninterrupted. Before heading out on to my porch I grabbed my "dabs," so that I could have something to do as I so often did before. Three dabs into my day, maybe an hour and a half in to being awake, and I was feeling quite peachy. That was when my neighbor/dealer came out and sat on his porch adjacent to mine.

"Hey, I've got a new batch here. It is like, twenty times more potent than the one you're hitting right now," he said with an excited smile, reaching for the dab tool I was holding in my hand and taking it from me. "You want some?"

Reluctantly I said, "Not if I have to pay for it!" and he shook his head as he loaded the dab tool with a big scoop. Having noticed he was going to let me sample it for free I was excited but nervous and said, "I'm already pretty high, man."

"It's cool, but you gotta try it. You're gonna love it," was the last thing he said before heating up the coil for me and handing me the dab bong and tool.

I touched the loaded tool to the coil and took a big inhale, the smoke rushed into my lungs where I held it there for about seven seconds, and the wave of high washed over me just as I began to blow out. My body became heavy, my muscles relaxed, and a cloud of euphoria seemed to rain happiness and beauty down upon me. The bright and beautiful day became more vivid, the sky was bluer than I had ever seen her before, and the warmth from the sun caressed my face rather than beating down upon it. Summer sweetness was now apparent in the air and it was as if every breath took in the force of life itself and each exhale released me from all worry. For five minutes I knew heaven, and then hell struck like a kick to the teeth.

All of a sudden I began to fall into myself, not a mental feeling but a physical feeling as if a black hole appeared in my chest and I was falling into it through myself. A loud, deep, blaring sound echoed across the landscape of Garden Grove, like someone had just blasted a God-sized tuba at its lowest note causing everything around me to shake. "This is the beginning of the end," I thought to myself as the fear overflowed in my body, "God is going to kill everyone. What do I do? Who do I tell?"

I chose to remain in silence as a second blaring, shaking blast came. No one else around me was affected, but that didn't stop my mind from believing this was the true, Abrahamic end of the world despite having turned from such beliefs long before. Why didn't I just ask my neighbor who was next to me whether or not he heard any of this? I don't know but my attention was now drawn to a single cloud in the sky that was rapidly taking shapes.

First the cloud became an aircraft carrier that I was sure was sailing off the coast of Russia somewhere, and a plane made of cloud flew over it which I could promise was Russian and it bombed the carrier which began to sink aft end up. A third resounding and quaking blast came, everything around me vibrating as the carrier cloud now turned to an angel holding a long slender trumpet. Behind the angel was a translucent black triangle, the triangle had circles on all three corners, and at this point I was convinced I was about to witness some "fire and brimstone" and the fear had made me fully succumb to the idea we were all about to die. Now my girlfriend decided to come out because she was done with her interview, and I begged her, "Please take me inside, please, please let me come in."

That was the end of the bad trip, but the beginning of a long healing process that will never end.

It was like a trip into a nightmare, still is sometimes.

It was like a trip into a nightmare, still is sometimes.

Unending Waking Nightmares

After my girlfriend brought me inside during my psychosis I quickly went into our room and curled up under the blankets in a catatonic state. My body temperature dropped to a level unreadable by standard health thermometers and told me to go to the hospital immediately, but I wasn't going to get up from under the covers. I could hear air-raid sirens blasting, bombs exploding, and people screaming where there were none. With each explosion I could feel the vibrations running through the ground. The entire earth began to tremble and I was the only one who could experience all this.

It took me two weeks of being locked in a bedroom, not eating, and barely drinking to get through this initial stage of psychosis. My girlfriend would comment on how she could see my ribs, that I looked like I was dying; all I could do was lay in the room hearing the sounds of the apocalypse, occasionally looking outside and seeing what I described as "bombs falling from the sky" which were really just planes and their contrails or stringy clouds. My girlfriend would soon become weary of the behavior, and I would feel rightfully guilty and forced into leaving the house for a date with her.

At first I had stepped out without a jacket, but quickly ran back inside in a panic because I needed to cover my eyes with a hood. Looking directly, or indirectly, at the sky was not an option. I could see fireballs and bombs still falling from the sky where there were none and the crippling anxiety this caused me, plus the auditory hallucinations, often made it impossible to leave the house. For about three years I would struggle to overcome crippling paranoia and anxiety, but the hallucinations would never leave.

As I am now I still hear air-raid sirens, I still feel the concussive force of explosions that are not there, and I see the bombs and fireballs falling from the sky but I have learned that they are not real. Like a fool, I have smoked marijuana (not dabs, just marijuana) since my episode and it immediately makes all of these hallucinations real to my mind. In discussing with a doctor, getting my brain scanned and all that good nonsense, we discovered that I have permanent brain damage due to a drug induced psychosis. There will be no healing from it, only learning to live with it as I am now.

Due to the lack of any concrete research on the long-term effects of marijuana, and marijuana product usage I am stuck wandering in the dark. I'm unable to even warn others properly because without "evidence" no one cares to listen, especially not when it goes against their current views that are best described as ignorant.

Protect your brain!

Protect your brain!

Stay Smart, Get Wise

You're probably thinking I was going to get on my anti-drug high horse and tell you to abstain from drug use. Very predictable as most people would, but no I'm not going to tell you not to do drugs. Drugs are fun when used legally and with caution. Adults partake in drinking which I argue is more damaging than marijuana and even some of the harder, illegal stuff. Mind you, I don't condone drug use as a recreation for anyone it is not legal for and I cannot express that enough. I do, however, condone the safe practice of legal drug consumption.

Scroll to Continue

All I ask today is that you take into account my life story, and how dangerous a drug can be to you and your well-being. We have all heard people say, "Weed isn't a drug," and "It's all natural man not like that stuff at the pharmacy," but you must realize that any body/mind altering chemical can and will do damage to you no matter what form you are ingesting it in. Take the time out of your day to be knowledgeable on the consequences of drug use, and don't delude others into believing it is in any way safe. Encouraging drug use without encouraging education around drug use is as regressive as being anti-drug on ignorant principle.

Stay smart, and get wise; don't end up like me having to ignore the flaming balls of death every time you look into the sky and overcoming crippling paranoia and anxiety. Fun is not worth a life full of struggle, and everyone around you will thank you for your lack of ignorance in the long-term.


Kyler J Falk (author) from California on March 19, 2020:

Shauna, it is not the strain that caused the psychosis. We cannot blame the safe and responsible production and sales of the plant and plant products. We can blame the lack of research into the long-term effects of THC ingestion, especially concentrated doses. Had I known of the long-term damages as they concerned ingesting marijuana products I would have been more reluctant to try, and perhaps would have avoided smoking a THC concentrate.

Stay educated and don't spread disinformation!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on March 19, 2020:

Wow, you got that from a dispensary?! Sounds to me like that strain shouldn't be allowed on the market.

Scary. I can't imagine what you went thru and have to live with for the rest of your life. I think I'd go berserk!

Kyler J Falk (author) from California on March 19, 2020:

I was not smoking marijuana, I was smoking a marijuana product. A "dab" or "hash dab" as it is misnamed is a waxy concentrate produced from the female part of the marijuana plant. Essentially it is concentrated THC straight from the source.

If you look back on the previous comments others have assumed the same as you, so you are not alone in thinking this. However, this same product I smoked was sold and dispersed to and by the local dispensary so there is also no chance it was laced.

Make sure you keep informed, and slap down any disinformation you come across! Better we be proactive than reactive!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on March 19, 2020:

Kyler, I've never ever had an experience even close to what you describe in this post from smoking weed. And I'm a Boomer, so I have lots of years under my belt.

It sounds to me like that "special blend" was laced with something like PCP or even acid.

And what is a dab? I've never heard of that.

Kyler J Falk (author) from California on March 12, 2020:

The most common phrase used by "stoners" that I can give you as it concerns dabs is, 'It ruins weed for you' and thus by recreational and medical standards it is best to avoid them. Personally, I loved them as they shared much of the same qualities as depressants like Xanax and Ketamine, but had I known it would blow my brain out I never would've tried them to begin with. Thus, I advocate against dabs, and hope for more proactive research before recreational legalization and reactive science.

KonaGirl from New York on March 12, 2020:

Gotcha. I have only heard kids talk about dabs, but have never actually seen or used them.

Kyler J Falk (author) from California on March 12, 2020:

Thank you so much for the well-wishes. Mind you, again, this is not marijuana it is a marijuana product called "dabs". It is a waxy substance, the potency of which ranges from mild to extreme. You can often tell potency and purity by color. Lower potency is a brown-green wax with a yellow tint, while the highest potency wax "dabs" are a bright yellow (think yellow jolly ranchers).

Marijuana doesn't often produce psychoses unless ingested in mass quantities or eaten, in which case the psychoses supposedly come from 11-Hydroxy when your liver processes the THC into said chemical.

The science behind it is crazy, and the lack thereof as it concerns long-term damage even crazier. Advocate for research!!!!

KonaGirl from New York on March 12, 2020:

WOW! That's some heavy-duty concentration! I've heard that there are strains now that have been genetically altered for super strength but don't know 1st hand. And I promise I will not spread disinformation.

With that being said, a friend of mine had a really bad experience similar to yours. We had to call the EMT's and he was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. When what he had smoked was analyzed, it was found to have been laced with the same chemicals used in the "spice" smoke. A synthetic cannabinoid called JWH 018.

Anyway, again I hope you have a successful recovery

Kyler J Falk (author) from California on March 12, 2020:

The same batch of dabs, not weed, was sold to the local dispensary, it was not laced, just highly concentrated. Thanks for reading and the input! Please stop spreading disinformation if at all possible!

KonaGirl from New York on March 12, 2020:

I don't smoke pakalolo as it makes me feel paranoid, however, what you suffered was not from THC. Your weed was definitely laced with something stronger that caused these effects on your brain. As Linda stated, could have been laced with LSD, but it sounds more like a mixture of chemicals to cause such a stong effect. I think Allen has something there with getting help through PTSD thereapy. Good luck to you! I hope over time your body will heal itself.

Kyler J Falk (author) from California on March 07, 2020:

Thank you for the information, T, it is a good thing I regularly exercise and live an overall healthy lifestyle. I actually feel as if it would be beneficial for me to undergo one of these studies, so as to see which parts of my brain are actually overworking as I only underwent preliminary testing and scans to actually determine that there was something wrong to begin with. Last time I looked into it the only place where such things were being done was in Texas, and there was no way I was going or could go out there to undergo such testing.

Nonetheless, I hold onto the hope that one day all my effort to get better will pay off and I no longer have to deal with the effects of this drug induced psychosis. It is always reassuring to see science, as it concerns the brain, advancing at a swift pace.

The Logician from then to now on on March 07, 2020:

Kyler, it was once believed that the brain stops creating new brain cells when it is fully developed but recent research has proven that the brain can continue to produce neurons (neurogenesis) after adulthood. Research indicates the growth of new brain cells can be stimulated.

“As the brain ages, our ability to learn and remember gradually declines. It's thought that these changes in memory occur as a result of decreased neurogenesis – that stem cells in regions such as the dentate gyrus, in the hippocampus, lose their ability to produce new neurons. The hippocampus is known to shrink with age.

But it's not all bad news – these changes aren't necessarily permanent. "While you can get shrinkage in hippocampus, there is certainly evidence now that you could change that – reverse that shrinkage and reverse any loss of learning in memory by stimulating both the production of these new nerve cells, but also stimulating greater connectivity within the hippocampus," says Professor Perry Bartlett.

He and Dr Daniel Blackmore have found in mice that exercise is able to increase production of new brain cells and improve learning and memory in the ageing brain. They are now heading up a clinical trial monitoring 300 people aged 65 and older to identify the right amount, intensity and type of exercise that leads to cognitive improvement.

“Ultimately, we would hope to have clear public health guidelines as to how exercise can both prevent and reverse dementia," says Professor Bartlett.

Bottom line, don’t assume damage to your brain from pot use has to be permanent.

Actually this article explains how a study shows that adult brain cells do grow new neurons!

Kyler J Falk (author) from California on February 27, 2020:

Thank you, everyone, for the kind words. I did learn quite a lot from the experience. My neighbor/dealer was actually a supplier to the local dispensary and that batch was sold there and no one else suffered the same effects. Having this be legal for recreational use is something I have a big problem with, because as this all becomes legal for recreation they are also being forced into reactionary science.

Reactionary science is responding to traumas rather than being proactive and avoiding them to begin with. If you ever get the chance to vote for more funding towards marijuana research as it concerns long-term effects then please support the proactive approach. Medicinal marijuana is enough, as doctors abuse the system anyways and hand out prescriptions like candy, and recreation should come when it can be partaken in safely and with proper education.

Without the research, which is now reactionary and still in its infancy, I'm afraid my son will be easily swayed by peer pressure and the lies the current biased research is able to provide him. It is like when vapes were still allowed to get away with presenting themselves as a healthier alternative with little, to no research at all.

It is upon us all to ensure politicians vote in favor of proactive research, over damaging immediate-profit.

Suzie from Carson City on February 27, 2020:

Kyler.....My own heart was pounding as I read this. Knowing how hyper-sensitive I have always been to most medications, I'm afraid I would have had a massive heart attack or worse, had I ever made this serious error. I feel so badly for you that you now must deal with such disruptive after-effects. How irresponsible of your neighbor, to not have given you a full & accurate warning!

I worry so about the youth of today who so casually take substances that individuals are "cooking up" on their own. Education and reality checks are desperately necessary! I have no doubt you will be vigilant with your own precious son. Take care, Kyler. Paula

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on February 27, 2020:

Well, that was certainly one hell of a trip. Thank you for sharing what you went through and are still suffering Kyler. I am sure this will be helpful for others to may be at least think of possible side-effects before they partake.

Kathryn Collins from UK on February 26, 2020:

So sorry you went thru this and for the struggles you still endure.Yet I am amazed at your clear mind for acknowledging the psychosis. That is a major part of the battle.

Keep acknowledging the truth and dismissing the lies as quickly and as often as possible. Perhaps it will help somewhere along the line.

No doubt your article will encourage others to think twice before partaking in the same.

Kyler J Falk (author) from California on February 26, 2020:

Thank you, Brenda, and for clarity it was a marijuana product that caused this not marijuana itself, although now marijuana has the same effects on me unfortunately. What I had smoked was actually "dabs" or "hash dabs" though you can't equate dabs to hashish it sometimes goes by the same name.

Putting it concisely in layman's terms, dabs are the female part of the plant then taken and messed around with until it forms a highly potent wax. The main component in it still being THC, just much more concentrated than smoking the bud itself.

Unfortunately, the condition is permanent and I can only ever hope to control the severity of the symptoms. That is to say, unless they develop some radical brain surgery or therapy to remove the damaged neural pathways.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on February 26, 2020:

Wow! I have not heard of anything like this with marijuana.

I feel for you with this daily struggle.

I hope someone studies this.

To me it sounds like your marijuana was laced with a pretty potent dose of something back in my day LSD, acid or even hash.

So many reported to hallucinate.

Thanks for sharing your story. I hope one day it disappears.

Kyler J Falk (author) from California on February 26, 2020:

Thank you, Allen, and a very interesting article to go along with your words. I hate medication and doctors, and I very often repeat things in vivid detail so as to feel better and overcome the feelings they cause me. Very interesting to hear that this is a method being used legitimately in the practice of psychology and psychiatry.

If I took some of this propranolol while reliving things, which I often do involuntarily, it would probably help with the adrenaline surge and vast heart rate increases I suffer.

You have quite possibly opened a new door for me today.

Allen Edwards from Iowa on February 26, 2020:

Kyler..Let me first tell you that I think you are providing "self" healing therapy to Kyler, as you write those words describing your trama.

You are a brave soul indeed, to let those images resurface --and hopefully dampen their hold on you by the very act of you describing their horror through the procees of you writing about them...KEEP IT UP!

Related Articles