Why Do You Think They Call It “Dope”? by
(97 Stories)

Prompted By Drugs and Alcohol

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I don’t smoke. Never have. My virgin lungs make weed problematic. The choking and coughing and the illegality of the thing always made toking up a non-starter. Long ago in college I had an odd, albeit not unpleasant, experience with orally administered wacky weed (Fast Times at FDU).  Having never had a pot experience that was either pleasant or memorable, I just stuck to tried, true and non-felonious ethanol.

Having never had a pot experience that was either pleasant or memorable, I just stuck to tried, true and non-felonious ethanol.

Then, many years and one pandemic later, I found myself living in a state with legal weed and weed products. Not just smokables, but edibles and drinkables, all available at your neighborhood dispensary with the clever name. My wife is using it for her back pain and general high anxiety. I have no back pain, but damn I have anxiety and its partner in crime, insomnia. Hell, the whole world seems on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

I figured it was worth a try.

We had a tin of 5 mg gummies. Wary of overdosing out of total ignorance, I started with half a gummy. No noticeable effect. The next try was a whole gummy. Nothing. I tried the same again the next night. Same anticlimax. MAYBE a bit of relaxation, but that might have been wishful thinking. I forged on.

1.5 gummies = 7.5 mg of nothing. I believe in careful experimentation, so I repeated it the following evening. More of the same.

My next attempt was 10 mg, or at least, it was supposed to be. We were out of gummies, but we also had a bottle of concentrated liquid devil’s weed tincture. It is intended to be diluted. I’ve spent my adult life in chemistry labs, so that was no problem.

Maybe it was the fact that liquids are absorbed differently than solids. Maybe I messed up the dilution and gave myself 50 or 100 mg. Maybe it was indeed a 10 mg dose, and I just have a very non-linear dose-response curve for THC. But it did not go well. At all.

The first sign of trouble came in about half an hour. Gina was reading in bed and I was watching TV in the living room. I was unsure if I was feeling anything, until I stood up and noticed that I seemed a bit too…tall. The floor appeared to be a little farther away than my 5′ 8″ could account for. When I told Gina that at least I was feeling something, we both laughed.

A while later, maybe another half hour, I got up from the couch again and was shocked to find that I was MUCH, MUCH taller. Thirty feet? Sixty feet? More? It was hard to guess, because it kept changing, which was quite disorienting. It was also quite nauseating. I heading in to inform Gina, but my great and constantly shifting height made navigating the long hallway difficult. I kept reeling into the brick wall.

Using the wall for support, I staggered to the bedroom, told Gina that things had taken an alarming turn, and then dropped to the floor as my height shot up to somewhere north of the stratosphere, leaving my poor stomach behind.

Luckily we have an en suite bathroom. Wanting desperately to make it to the toilet, I crawled through the doorway and assumed the classic position, waiting.

Nothing. I was extremely nauseous, but vomiting didn’t seem to be working. It was the strangest sort of nausea, like my brain was telling my stomach that it was sick, but my stomach knew that everything down there was fine, so it wasn’t going to do anything stupid like throw up for no reason. I can only liken it to being seasick (similar, but also different), but while I have frequently been seasick, it has never included extreme tallness.

Wanting this to progress to a finish, I stuck my fingers down my throat. That did the trick, and up came dinner. Back in my drinking to excess days, that always made me feel better.

It didn’t. I was still sick. I tried rising to a full kneeling position and immediately got way too tall. Back down I went…and then came the dry heaves. I had nothing left, but my dope addled brain thought I had ptomaine poisoning.

This went on for a while. An hour? Maybe longer. Try to stand…retch…repeat. I even tried the old finger trick again once or twice, but the problem was not in my stomach. Gina, in the next room, inquired every so often as to how I was making out. I guess she figured if I could answer in some fashion, it was not a dire emergency.

Finally the nausea receded a bit. I tried to stand…and back it roared. After a few of these, I said screw it, I am staying down here.

We have a dog bed for our greyhound at the foot of our bed. It was unoccupied, so I crawled out of the bathroom into the bedroom and curled up on the dog bed. One of the benefits of having a large dog. I told Gina that I planned to sleep it off down there, and would she please toss me down a blanket.

One of the oddest things about the whole episode was that, throughout the entire ordeal, I never once lost sight of the reason why I was so sick, which was, in fact, very reassuring. I always knew that the problem was the dope, dope isn’t lethal, and it would eventually wear off.

This was fortunate, because then the hallucinations started.

I cannot describe the hallucinations. Even the next day I could not remember them in any detail at all. I have the impression that water was involved, the sea. Maybe diving. And colors. Not colored objects, just…colors. Red made an appearance. I think I had a blue period as well. At some point our dog came in, saw that his bed was occupied, and returned to the one in the living room.

Quite disassociated from reality, I was.

Eventually I fell asleep. I awoke a couple of hours later. I looked around; all appeared normal. No colors hanging around. Standing up elicited no sickness. I was, it seemed, once again my normal mediocre height. I got into bed. Gina, less than half awake, murmured something and lifted the covers with one hand so I could join her. She slid over up against me, put her arm around me. I’m not sure she even woke up. I fell into a deep sleep.

The next morning I felt fine. A bit of research revealed that the effects that I experienced are fairly common in people who take marijuana in very large doses, especially new users. But I am good at dilutions, solutions and the like, so I cannot discount the possibility that my “pleasantly stoned” zone is just extremely narrow. What biomed types would call “a very narrow therapeutic margin.”

From here on I am sticking to craft beer and anejo tequila.




Profile photo of Dave Ventre Dave Ventre
A hyper-annuated wannabee scientist with a lovely wife and a mountain biking problem.

Tags: booze, pot, marijuana, weed, jazz cabbage, hallucinations, nausea
Characterizations: been there, right on!, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Wow, this was an Alice in Wonderland (or Jefferson Airplane) response. You describe it so vividly that I felt I was there with you (I almost felt sick, then too tall, then sick again). Glad you were able to sleep it off with no lasting side effects.My husband occasionally considers taking gummies to help him sleep. Maybe not.

  2. Wow Dave, some trip, glad you decided to stick to the tried-and-true stuff.

    I just recently had a bout of food poisoning and spent a night on the bathroom floor – comforting to know that large bowl was nearby, and the cool floor tiles sure felt good on my fevered brow!

  3. Suzy says:

    Fabulous description of a pretty wild trip! I’m amazed that you remember it so vividly. I think you could give edibles another try, and just avoid the liquid version. Seems to me like that was what did you in!

  4. Wow, it made me wonder if Lewis Carroll ever used to get high, because this was so similar to what happens to Alice after she obeys the invocation to “drink me” in her Adventures in Wonderland. Anyway the description you offered was both convincing and terrifying. I had to remind myself you came out of it ok; after all, here you were, posting on Retrospect.
    No need to show “Reefer Madness” anymore. Just pass around Dave Ventre’s famous story.

  5. Marian says:

    Crazy experience, Dave. I’ve never tried the tinctures, just ingesting chocolates. About half a square is all I need to relax (they say to start with a third), but I know people who can eat two and feel nothing. Our bodies and brains are unique to us, aren’t they?

  6. John Shutkin says:

    Amazing description of one weird-beyond-weird experience. And further evidence to me that the current stuff, even if legal, is way too compex in terms of dosage/reaction/side effects et al. to even consider.

    That said, the “too tall” aspect of your experience was hilarious — and, so far as I could tell, unique. Did you ever have dreams — or possibly repressed hopes — of being a basketball player? Just trying to figure out what Freud might ask about it.

  7. Khati Hendry says:

    Definitely not a good experience. It does sound like you had too much—for whatever reason (sounds like you made every effort to start low and go slow). There may be a happy medium, but I can understand why you might not want to try again. Your description was vivid, and as others have noted you either got the Alice special or the one pill that makes you taller.

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