What's not to like about edibles? Whether infused in raw vegan cookies or cream puffs, cannabis makes terrible vegan food taste good and actual good food taste better. When done right, nothing beats the sheer convenience and deliciousness of being able to consume the devil's lettuce in the form of fancy patisserie.
Unfortunately, there is also a lot to dislike about edibles. A brief rundown of this can be found on Reddit threads where people talk about what happened when they ate more than they could handle, ranging from the mildly distressing ("my mind kept thinking that everything in my mouth was wriggling like worms") to the harrowing ("I am in my own personal hell") and to Johny-Cash-turned-up-to-11 levels of morbid ("darkness is enveloping the outer rings of my vision").
The only mistake that these Redditors made, however, was typically to pop a sneaky extra gummy in their overeager mouths, or maybe eat maybe a quarter more of a brownie slice than they'd planned to.
To which I say: You weaklings.
This is the story of how I missed the decimal point in an edibles recipe, cooked with ten times the recommended dose of weed, ate it all—and survived.
Who says women can't have it all?
I flunked my first math test at the age of 11, so let me first state that numbers was never my strong suit. Still, there's a lot that you can do in life with a second-class arts degree and a lifelong allergy to mental arithmetic—like becoming a pothead.
It was 2014, the year when Breaking Bad was still a thing and people were dressing up as Walter White for Halloween and girls—myself included—had crushes on Jesse Pinkman, even though he looked like an angry Mr. Potato in a beanie hat. But hey, hindsight is always 20/20. This also holds true for my own Breaking Bad inspired culinary experience.
"I remember you called it Baking Bad," my friend Hannah* told me this week. (Like most non-fatal but highly unpleasant edibles-induced overdoses, I have several gaps in my memory over what happened on the night and had to piece things together with the help of those there.) "I was like, 'Let's just do it at mine.' Those brownies went from fine… to completely insane."
Hannah texted a recipe for pot brownies from a university pal named Katie, who was the kind of pothead who once made a cannabis-infused aubergine parmigiana. In other words, her cooking was legit. I looked at the message, which seemed to call for a ludicrously large amount of weed. But who was I to judge? After all, Nigella Lawson frequently includes insane things in her recipes, like double cream in spaghetti bolognaise, and she's an award winning TV chef.
While Americans have artisanal strains and weed delivery services run by hot models, my dealer in the UK was a dour South Asian dude who only sold horrible skunk. But Green Tony lived around the corner, which was convenient, and he never asked any questions. In fact, I only realized the full depth of Green Tony's professionalism when my boyfriend Jack and I asked to buy £80 (around $125) of weed in a single go—he didn't even blink. Have you ever seen 14 grams of weed? If you're used to buying it in eighths, let me tell you: It is a lot of weed. Green Tony had to hand it to us in a sandwich bag.
I would like to say that our problem was our ambition: that one Saturday evening we aimed to get as high as the stars and were let down by the frailty of the human condition and our bad metabolism, that we—brave cosmo-kush-nauts, wanted to cook with ten times the recommended dose of weed—just to see if we could. The sad truth is that the last time my friends and I had registered the full importance of a decimal point was sometime in 2006, the year of our last ever high school math finals. Did the rogue decimal point bother us? Did I register even a flutter of concern as I attempted to cram a sandwich bag of weed into a saucepan of oil? Nope. Nada. So much for foreshadowing.
There was so much weed that we had more than enough of the oil required for Betty Crocker fudge brownie mix. So we mixed it into humus. And then we smoked a joint, waiting for the brownies to bake. It was around this time that I started to feel pretty fucking weird. We were sitting around Hannah's laptop on the dinner table of her apartment, and everyone was watching an old British TV show called Keeping Up Appearances, which follows a character called Hyacinth Bucket (which she pronounces "Bouquet"—don't ask, just accept that British class anxiety manifests itself in strange ways) as she attempts to claw her way up the social ladder of her local town.
It was harrowing.
My head had already started to fizz, like my brain endings had been dunked in a glass of Alka-Seltzer; I kept hearing Keeping Up Appearances as Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and imagining Kris Jenner in a Hyacinth-style nylon floral tea dress and teeny little lace gloves.
Jack says that it started to go downhill after that. "It was just awful," he said of Keeping Up Appearances. "It was harrowing."
Our impulse control already blunted by the joint and the hummus appetizer, we laid into the brownies with a little more enthusiasm than we should have. And then, for reasons I can no longer remember, we started watching a DVD of Spice World. Have you ever watched the Spice Girls movie while so high that it feels like the edifice of your face has slipped off the front of your skull and is sliding off your jaw and into your chest? I don't recommend it.
By this point, we had somehow dragged our bodies to the living room and were sat awkwardly in front of Hannah's tiny TV set. The body high had gone past the point of a mellow sluggishness and into terrifying paralysis—at least, I would be terrified if I could stay awake long enough. I kept entering and exiting a deep tunnel of bleak unconsciousness, jolting awake at key moments of Spice World, such as when the Spice Girls' tour bus jumped over a totally unconvincing diorama model of Tower Bridge or when Mel B shouts, "Feminism. You know what I mean?"
Needless to say, I have no plans to ever watch Spice World again.
I have no recollection of the next six hours.
At about 6AM, I was finally able to call an Uber home. We had been high for about ten hours. Hannah had attempted to pass out in her bedroom, but she ended up sleeping on a yoga mat in the living room because she was too terrified to be on her own.
"My boyfriend and I woke up in the afternoon around 3 PM or something, and I was like, 'I feel so high,'" Hannah said. "That's when I looked at my phone and Katie had sent a message saying, 'Oh hey, is everything OK? I'm so sorry, I've realized I've missed out a decimal point. You've bought… ten times the amount…'"
I was high for 48 hours. At one point, I was like, 'I don't know if I'll ever be normal again.'
Hannah's boyfriend was used to needing a joint to fall asleep, but he told me that the night changed him. "It was like someone had sucked all the life out of me, and I don't just mean the fact I was glued to the sofa watching godawful movies," he said. "On the night, I was so paranoid that everyone was having a bad time and for a day and a half after I felt I would never be happy again. I've not touched weed since."
The great thing about edibles is that injesting too much weed won't kill you—the bad news is that you will have to live through extreme mental anguish and terror to get to the other side. I passed out at my place and the only memory I retain is a distinct sensation of feeling like the Nazi in Indiana Jones whose face gets blasted off by the Ark of the Covenant—like that, but in slow motion. I could feel the tendons dripping off my face.
I stopped feeling high and vaguely alright sometime around midnight on Sunday. We'd done edibles just under 24 hours ago. For Hannah, a tiny human being probably around half my size, it was much worse.
"I only started feeling okay probably on Monday. I was high for 48 hours," she said. "At one point, I was like, 'I don't know if I'll ever be normal again. What if this is just me now? What if I'm stoned forever?'"
The worst thing was this happened on International Women's Day. So every year, when people start celebrating International Women's Day, all I can think of is Spice World and the poisoning. And every year, on March 8, Hannah texts me a single message: "Happy anniversary of the Poisoning. Let's never do that again."
* Names have been changed