This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.
First things first, I love weed, or at least the idea of it.
That said, even though it is much less dangerous than alcohol, every time a joint crosses my path I end up thinking I’m dying, the world is ending, or both.
I’ve tried hard to like it, pushing through mounting paranoia and dizzy spells, but have never had a great, chilled-out experience. Instead, the moment I always fall back to when remembering my brief weed career is sitting on my friends couch staring intently at a wall for a few hours, and getting increasingly sure that I was both understanding infinity, and going insane.
I know I’m not the only one either. There are others as unfortunate as me who only get more and more worried their heart is going to explode after a puff or bite of anything containing THC. So much so that the only logical next step is to do the opposite of what any casual drug user would suggest: Call the cops.
Here are the stories of people who narced on themselves for smoking pot.
I was in my first year of college, and I smoked a joint with some friends. It was, like, my fifth time ever smoking weed, and the first five times… I had just progressively hated it. And this time, I felt like my throat was closing up. I was basically having a panic attack, but from the very moment that I started to feel it, it felt bad. So we were walking back to the residence, and I told my friends “I can’t breathe,” and I told them to call 911 for me. They didn’t want to call 911, so they called the university taxi service, but they picked us up and told us they weren’t liable to do hospital delivery. So then we called 911, got into the ambulance, told them I was high, and they were like “Yeah, OK,” not really taking me seriously at all. But then, they took my heartbeat, and they were like “Oh… your heart’s beating really fast… Uhm, you’re young so you’ll be able to sustain this for a couple hours, but we’re just going to hook you up to a couple things.”
So they put me right on an IV, and they put the patches all over my body, and I just like waited in the hospital for I don’t know how many hours while they made sure my heart didn't explode. After that, I went back to the residence, the same as before, except now with these weird patches just all over my body.
This happened to me in about 2011 or 2012, so then about a month ago I decided to try smoking again because I was like “Oh, I’m at a different point in my life,” and I’ve always kind of felt left out if all my friends are smoking. I took just one puff, and I felt so horrible. I really, really hate the feeling so much. It’s a very physical sensation, and the fact that I can’t get rid of the physical sensation gives me anxiety. I don’t know why it’s so different for me.
So this was all my dad. He was making weed oil because it helps with back pain and stuff. So he made some oil, and apparently he just had some left over, out of the container. So instead of saving it, he decided to just... literally spread it on toast and eat it, not knowing that it would get him super high. He got really freaked out. He got way too high, his heart was beating so hard he said he thought it was going to explode. He called an ambulance as he was freaking out, and went to a hospital, and they had to keep him overnight.
He called me while it was going on, and I was just laughing so hard about it the whole time. Because I mean, I knew he was going to be fine, he just didn’t know that. I thought it was funny. I think he tried weed like once as a teenager, and he didn’t like it back then, but I smoke weed and stuff so… I knew.
I was 20 years old and it was my first ever pot brownie experience. Pretty much, my friend shoved a whole cookie into my mouth that was extremely potent. I didn't feel anything for 30 minutes, so I ate another quarter. I then entered hyperspace and laid down on the bed drifting with the stars and thought I was dying. At first, I couldn't move, I was scared yet at ease. Then I accepted I died. My girlfriend then came in the room and I woke up from my bake and I had a mental freak out and said I wasn't alright. I jumped out of bed and attempted to call 911 on my hand, not realizing my hand wasn't a phone. I tried this for around five minutes and then I realized I was an idiot, laid back down, and fell asleep.
So I’m about 15 years old, it’s the end of finals, I was in ninth or tenth grade, and my parents are leaving for the weekend. They tell me don’t throw a party, so I do the only thing that makes sense—throw a party.
More people show up than I planned for because everybody has Facebook and cell phones, but everything’s going fine. It gets a bit later in that night, I don’t even remember what was said, but somebody comes up to me and asks essentially if they can do something really dumb; I jokingly said: “Yeah, well if you want to do it, fight me about it.” So he immediately tries to fight me. I’m 15; I’m a small guy. I panic, and immediately some other people step in and I’m freaking out a little bit. So my buddy Justin decides “You need to smoke a joint with me to calm your shit down.”
We smoke the joint behind my house, and immediately, out of nowhere I become the most paranoid I’ve ever been. I start freaking out. I barrel back into my house, and right away start trying to shut down the party, thinking something horrible’s going to happen. Nobodies listening to me though because they’re all way older than me, so I do the only thing that makes sense in that state—I go into my room and I call the police. We go back out to the party, and start telling everybody “Holy shit the cops have been called!” I got so paranoid and freaked out I just, I absolutely destroyed my own party, essentially for no reason at all.
I’ve been a police dispatcher for over 20 years. We don’t get to many calls [about weed], but the most recent one was this elderly guy. He’d eaten a bunch of edibles, and it just went right to his head. He must have been in his 70s or 80s, and the whole family was just totally mortified and embarrassed. He was all of a sudden just dancing and yelling and screaming—his family couldn’t even contain him in his own yard. He wandered off down the street—they were trying to coax him back into the house. He went into a bank, into a McDonald’s, he just wandered everywhere, and put on a sort of show for everyone he saw.
I don’t even know how edibles would be presented to an old guy like that who would see them sitting on a table and eat them, but he did. His grandson at least knew what happened right away, but didn’t know how to deal with it. They were all really concerned, mostly about his behavior, so they wanted help with... containing him somehow. They ended up sending the police, and an ambulance as well. At that point, it was funnier than anything to me because of the behavior he was exhibiting. It was just so out of character for an old guy like that, and how the family’s main concern was about the embarrassment, and the spectacle he was causing above anything else.
When I went to college I joined this improv club. This was my first year actually part of the club, and they’re kind of notorious for being party animals. I really wanted to fit in, and they had this big “high day” thing coming up. Basically, the setup is they lay out a whole bunch of mattresses, put on cartoons, and you have a whole bunch of snacks. So someone made edibles for this, and I was like “Well, I don’t know much about weed, but I’m assuming edibles don’t affect you as much as smoking does.” Because, in my head I was like, “You’re eating a cookie, and for the most part it’s cookie, and none of it is weed.” Which is wrong, by the way. It was one of those big ones, where you’re supposed to have like an eighth of the cookie and then pass it along. I was hungry because I’d already smoked a bit of weed, so I ate the full cookie.
I was doing fine, but then within forty-five minutes, my whole body felt… hollow. I felt like a matryoshka doll, but with none of the little baby dolls inside of me. I stood up and walked to the bathroom, looked at my face in the mirror, and I was just sweating buckets, I was just sweating so much, and it looked to me like my face was melting.
And then, this is where it gets really weird, I developed a twitch. My right hand was uncontrollably twitching, and it kept on floating up and I kept on trying to push it down, and that’s when I thought, Oh my God, I’ve overdosed. So I pulled aside a close friend of mine. He was training to be a doctor, and I was like “My hand won’t stop twitching, I think I’m going to have a seizure.” He went back to our friends in the other room and yelled, “Sarah’s going to have a seizure!”
None of us really stopped to think, Hey, there’s a room full of people that stink of weed. Do you think maybe it’s not the best idea to call the authorities over?
But we did. And they came. By the time we figured out that we had called the authorities and it probably wasn’t the best idea, though, everyone was hiding. The police just walked in, and it was just an empty house with a whole bunch of mattresses on the floor. And I was just standing in the middle with my hands shaking, and it smelled so much like weed, so I’m just like… “I don’t know what happened!”
Me and my friend went in an ambulance, and I got put on a gurney. I was just thinking, Ok, this is where I die. I die in an ambulance having a seizure. Halfway through the ambulance ride, we hit a bump in the road, and I just looked at him, and I was like, “Welcome to pimped out ambulance! I’ve got all the fixin’s in my pimped out ambulance!” And he just looked at me… then he said, “I need to talk to you when we get to the hospital.”
So we got in, and they put me in this little room to the side. I’ve been in many hospitals and I’ve never seen this kind of room. I swear to God it’s specifically for people who are too stoned to function because it’s just a white room with a chair in it. I’m like “Why do you think we’re in this room? Why did you want to talk to me?”
And he’s like “Sarah… you’re just super stoned. And everyone knows it. The police know it, people in the ambulance know it. You’re just super stoned and they’re just going to make you wait here, until you’re less stoned.” And I was like… I was arguing with him, I’m like “No there’s no way, I’m having a seizure, my hand is shaking.” And he’s liked, “Remember how you just pretended you were on an episode of Pimp My Ambulance?”
And that is when I realized... I was just too high. And we sat in that stupid room for about two and a half hours, until my hands stopped shaking a bit, and then we just left.
Answers have been edited for length and clarity. Some names have been changed.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.
Follow Jackson Weaver on Twitter.