Bryan answers an email from a viewer who is interested in using cannabis to learn more about himself.
My name is Allyson. I’m 18, and I’ve been trying to find someone who can help me make sense of what happened on the night I first tried to smoke. I was out with my boyfriend, and we were going to go chill with some of his friends (I’d never smoked or done any sort of drug before this night). I was pretty far from home, and nervous before we even got to the place where his friends were. It was dark, slightly in the woods and cold. It was me and 5 other guys. They rolled one up and asked if I wanted a hit, I said no. Because I didn’t want to do it, I was wayyyy to nervous. But, my boyfriend wanted me to, so I tired it. I had about 3 hits?? I think, and a shotgun hit. And they were REALLY good hits.
I remember when it hit me, it just felt funny things looked a bit different, I started freaking out from that point forward and couldn’t get it to stop. It felt tingly all over my body, my boyfriend got mad that I was freaking out and told me I needed to stop. And for some weird reason in my head I thought he was going to try to hurt me (even though he really wasn’t) so I started freaking out even more. I calmed down a little and my boyfriend took me to his car and put me in the drivers seat and told me to just lay down and try to relax. And that he’d be back to check on me, immediately I started to freak out even more. I was scared, cold, and confused on what was happening and he was going to leave. But, I agreed and he shut the door and left. I sat in the car for awhile, and I constantly was thinking they were talking about me and making fun of me. Then I felt like I was having flash backs, of things I knew when I was little but forgot about now that I’m older, like how to write. I just kept thinking about how to write letters (not scary just weird) and then I started to feel my heart beat, I thought I was dying. I was convinced I was going to die. My boyfriend came back and asked how I was and I told him I was dying and needed to go to the hospital. I was shivering and felt cold. And my heart was pounding super fast. He got me a blanket and told me that I wasn’t dying and to try to sleep. He left and I sat in the car awhile longer going through the same stuff, but then I had a thought, that one of his friends there was going to rape me if we didn’t leave. He told me no one was going to and left again. That’s when I prayed to God that is be okay. I also at one point wanted to call the police, but ended up calling my mom and told her to remember me (because I thought I was going to die), my boyfriend took away my phone at that point.
We left there and on the way back to my friends house I was still tripping (started smoking at about 3 in the morning?? It’s probably 4-5ish at this point) I made him pull over on the side of the highway because I felt like I was going to puke (I didn’t) and then I wouldn’t let him drive because I thought we were going to get in a wreck. We left and went to another friend’s house, and when we got there I thought I shit my pants, I could feel it. I swear it was so weird, but I got to the bathroom and nothing was there. (I laughed obviously because it was hilarious) but went back out to the car with my boyfriend and friend and sat out there for awhile longer. I continued to shiver as if I was cold. I ended up falling asleep and waking up hazy but not bad anymore. The next few days after it felt really hazy too. Overall the paranoia lasted about 4-5 hours, do people even stay high that long?
I tried smoking again with my boyfriend a few months after this and tried only taking 2 hits. Still got the cold shivers and bad thoughts. But went away very quickly. Wasn’t too bad.
So I tried a few months later with two of my friends and everything was going good. I had a hit every few hours throughout the day. I went out in public went shopping went to a restaurant, all was good. But we went back to the house and my friend filled another bowl of a different type of weed then we had been smoking earlier and I had 4 hits off the bowl. And that’s when it hit me again, cold shivers paranoid thoughts. I handled it much better then the first time I’d had it. But it was as if I trust no one. It didn’t matter who it was I didn’t believe anything they’d tell me. I went to sleep and was hazy for a few days after that again.
My boyfriend and his friends and my friends as well, can’t tell me what happened. They say that no one they know has ever tripped out on weed only. But, I can’t be the only one to experience such a bad time with it. I haven’t smoked since and don’t want to, but some clarity would be so nice to have. If you could, please get back to me, I would appreciate it SOO much.
Wow! I get a lot of emails, but it’s rare to get one that’s well written and well expressed. And that’s important, because the nature of these experiences are often subtle and somewhat difficult to put into words. A few of the things you report are somewhat common, and, fortunately, easy to put into words. They come up again and again with people who have this type of reaction to cannabis:
– persistent negative thoughts
– unusual distrust of people
– feelings of pending doom, death
The coldness you report, I’ve felt before, but can’t really recall it being reported by anyone but perhaps one person that I worked with a couple years ago in Vancouver. Now in the third year of this enterprise, I’ve interviewed, heard from, corresponded with close to a thousand individuals on the subject of difficult reactions to cannabis. So, I can easily assure you that you’re not the only one who experiences these types of reactions. However, I can also assure you that you are in a minority group, likely defined by a particular genetic disposition. In my book, which I will attach here for you, is a chapter called “The Paranoia Gene,” which is a summary of very basic inquiry into the subject matter. There’s still a lot we don’t know.
I advise everyone, especially those who get these harsh reactions, to wait until at least the age of 19 to begin experimenting with cannabis, and only if you want to. I know there’s often a strong social pressure, but it’s easy to tell people: “I don’t get the same type of high that other people get.”
There’s also that magnetic curiosity that draws you to cannabis, the smell. I get it. Check out the chapter in my book called “What Extreme Paranoia Looks Like.”
In case you do decide to pursue cannabis as a social/recreational outlet, please have a look at the attached strain guide and antidote catalog. I know it may not be practical to only smoke these strains, especially when you’re being passed a random joint at a party, but it is possible to carry around some activated carbon pills (which you can order online) that will quickly absorb the THC if you start to have a bad reaction.
I really hope this helps. And every time I get a letter like yours, my heart goes out to you, because I know this is a really difficult experience, that very few understand or really appreciate.
Bryan answers an email from a viewer who is interested in using cannabis to learn more about himself.
Thanks to the design and production talents at SuccessfulStoners.Com for their part in creating this video:
Bryan answers an email from a paranoiac in Ohio who’s suffered a personal loss
What is an “Awakening”?
Within the context of the MPMC (Marijuana Paranoia Management Coaching) practice, “Awakening” refers to the activation of a new, powerful and occasionally darker/difficult/distressing dimension of consciousness that may in some individuals become illuminated through the use of cannabis. Many fail to appreciate the growth opportunity that can come from learning to manage and interpret this new dimension of psychological exposure and decide instead to essentially dismiss cannabis from their lives as it “makes them paranoid.”
Our society and media nurtures and promotes a sadly distorted and shallow reputation for cannabis. As children, we are told that this plant is in fact an illicit drug with no medical value or purpose. Like any other street drug, marijuana will make you feel good for a short period of time but will ultimately lead to addiction and destruction. This odd vantage point on cannabis helps to form the prevailing expectation of many adolescent and young-adult cannabis users— when they partake of cannabis they expect their experience to be one of furtive pleasure. Their expectations are realized in a light and dream-like state that they recognize as being “fun” and “impaired (fucked up)” rather than “altered yet purposeful.” Their vision is that of a forbidden psychedelic playground (kind of a weird and unnatural concept when you think about it, are we to feel guilty on face for exploring alternate forms of consciousness) free of all responsibility and worry, a vision of temporary escape into a magical world without consequence.
Cannabis is a temporal hallucinogen which slows down time and thus magnifies our perception of our own consciousness. While unconsciously committed to the illusion that mind alteration is automatically synonymous with escape and care-free pleasure, we are prone to experience years or even a lifetime of light-hearted, albeit shallow, experiences with cannabis.
Awakening is usually spurred by a trigger: an uncommon source of stress or trauma, a major life change, or even the profound and formative changes in the brain which occur naturally during adolescence. The trigger initiates a process which substantially changes the way we see the world. When our newly refined perception becomes magnified by cannabis, we are forced to confront certain realities that feel sudden, raw and uncomfortable, even horrifying. Such are the realities that we’d rather not look at in any great depth, but dismiss as illusion, some punitive consequence for our unsanctioned altering of consciousness. We become our own Gods and we judge and punish and abandon ourselves, thus fulfilling the state-sponsored prophecies we were inundated with as children. We had our hour of pleasure, and now it’s time to pay the price.
How MPMC (Marijuana Paranoia Management Coaching) helps:
When cannabis is used in the MPMC environment, the aesthetic is neither social (in a traditional sense) nor secluded. MPMC clients are given a space in which their anxieties and psycho-spiritual stressors can be shared with a dedicated, knowledgeable and empathic human support system at the ready. The client enjoys assurance of confidentiality and countenance for the ideas shared/discussed. MPMC assists clients in the development and confrontation of their unique Psychological Distress Narratives that follow from their “triggers” downward (see flow chart below). The MPMC coach then attempts to help the client intervene upon the paranoia/anxiety development chain by providing a dedicated space for the “Search for Meaning” (see flow chart), thus forestalling the development of unhealthy, erroneous belief systems, while promoting productive and balanced insights of intellectual, emotional, and spiritual significance.
From a 2008 study of paranoia in the general population. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18378984
A thorough explanation for the common adolescent-to-adulthood awakening progression can be found in Handbook for the High-Functioning Paranoiac under the Age sub-header in the Limits and Precautions section. If you’re interested in becoming an MPMC client, you may inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This vivid journal entry was shared by my friend, Eric Bergified, a professional travel writer from British Columbia. Eric and his dog, Holly, currently reside in the sparsely populated Gabrioloa Island just west of Vancouver across the Georgia Straight. More of Eric’s writing can be found on his blog.
Dec. 14th, 2013
Holly and I set out at 10 pm in December on the day after Friday the 13th to explore more of Gabriola Island, our new home as of the last three weeks. It’s nearly a full moon and the dirt road cutting through the forest glows silver. All we can hear over my boot steps and the ding of her collar is the occasional voice of the wind, the lights of the few houses tucked away in the trees now behind us. The forest rises up mightily around us: an ancient being, a living breathing entity, a whole unseparated from its parts. There is a sense of excitement, journeying deeper into the unknown with my dog in the dark, floating on a nice kush high.
There’s a concrete sign on the left, shaped like the peak of a house, with a bright light shining on the number 1113 and past the trees up on a ridge I lay eyes on this sprawling mansion. The living room lights are on behind a massive two-story window and I can see the giant chandelier from the road. I’m taken aback; it’s by far the biggest house I’ve seen on the island. I wonder who lives here. The house has to be worth at least three million. I wonder what field they work in, what secrets they carry, what esoteric knowledge they wield.
Another hundred yards across the road on the right we come to a wooden fence with NO TRESPASSING written on it and a “for sale – waterfront” sign to the side. The lane leads into the forest and hopefully to a view of the ocean awaiting my discovery. I remember my friend telling me about him and his girlfriend camping out on Salt Spring Island in an empty lot marked with a For Sale sign, and I think maybe nobody’s home. We easily sidestep the fence and carry down the gravel lane into a grass clearing. The moment I step into that moonlit space I feel a buzzing in my ears and I’m struck with the thought that we’ve tripped some sort of silent alarm. Some sort of motion sensor or the buried weight sensors like down on the Mexican border. I feel a prickling on the back of my neck and I can hear it crackling softly. That’s weird, I say and we continue down a fork to the left and wow, yes: the most spectacular vantage point I’ve seen here thus far.
My dog and I are standing at the edge of a hundred-foot cliff looking out across the ocean and the moon’s reflection and Nanaimo’s industrial area on the other side. Maybe five km directly across the strait the sawmill is working around the clock, big grey flumes of exhaust billowing above the lights, an empty freighter ship floating between us, awaiting a shipment of lumber for China, no doubt. I forget to breathe for a few moments, awestruck as I am at this unexpected vista.
Holly just stares out, too. After we take it all in I notice a lawn-chair off to the side just above the cliff; someone’s got the right idea. But does anyone even live here or do the signs at the gate indicate its vacancy? I turn around to leave and tell Holly we’ll come back and investigate further in the daytime and that’s when I bump into it: this dark flat boulder, about waist-high and eight-feet long by four-feet wide. It’s perched up here on high directly across from a tree-slaying factory and I immediately sense that it’s a sacrificial altar. Maybe ancient, left over from the Coast Salish witchdoctors or the secret societies of the Spanish conquistadors who invaded the island in the 1700s. Maybe it’s still in use.
I feel a subtle electricity charge up my forearm and a noticeable buzz in my palm. I’m hit with the impression of hooded figures in dark cloaks gathered around the stone, innocence and fear on the altar. Pentagrams and an ebony dagger.
I touch my palm to the surface of the smooth stone, little puddles from an earlier rain shining back moonlight. I feel a subtle electricity charge up my forearm and a noticeable buzz in my palm. I’m hit with the impression of hooded figures in dark cloaks gathered around the stone, innocence and fear on the altar. Pentagrams and an ebony dagger. Of course, lately I’ve been watching a lot of X-files and listening to a lot of Coast to Coast AM and also I’m a touch baked. So I’m either projecting these stories that I’ve heard onto this experience or I’ve opened up and tuned myself into this particular sort of frequency. Marijuana does make me more sensitive to energy. Either way, it feels raw. It seems real.
So Holly and I get the heck outta there, again with the buzzing and crackling when we cross the clearing, only it’s subtler this time. I’m imagining snipers in the woods seeing me through infrared, which I guess is the feeling of being watched – perhaps of being hunted. I remind myself to try and not get too paranoid. We sidestep the fence and hit the dirt road and head left back towards home. The mansion’s lights are now off, except for an upstairs window that I keep looking at as we walk past. I’m expecting something to appear, something that will really spook me good; and maybe it’s just that I brought it on myself, but I experience these intense chills running down my spine. The hair on my neck is standing on end as we stride past the darkened mansion, and Holly is tugging on the rope, eager to hurry up. I’m nervous but I try and walk calm and assertive to show Holly it’s OK, and to comfort myself and assuage that nagging feeling of being watched.
Twenty minutes later we step onto my long driveway and I’m instantly floored with this warm sense of comfort and safety. Like I’ve stepped into a blessed bubble where evil spirits cannot enter. Holly seems to feel it too, and she turns back to watch something on the road. Again I’m hit with an impression – and maybe it’s just my imagination – but I feel like we’ve been followed home by something invisible. It actually feels more like two or three things, for some reason. But whatever it is, Holly seems to watch it leave. And I’ve just stumbled upon a mystery to explore. Time to get my Fox Mulder on, baby.
My working theory is that there is a curse/blight on this land brought about by the gods of industry and in order to appease the spirit, blood sacrifices are demanded. Perhaps there really is truth to the incredible power of a sacrificial ritual, and is needed in order to balance the forces that are destroying much of the planet. Perhaps the Earth herself demands blood sacrifice of the humans who exploit her natural resources. Perhaps the sentient planet manifests its consciousness as gods, angels and demons, ghosts and fairies, UFOs. Perhaps that’s the concept of Luciferianism, as ultimately a manifestation of the earth’s energy and that interpretation of planetary life force is what’s been channeled and harnessed for millennia. And in exchange for sacrifice, she spares us further destruction – while sending out other more benevolent manifestations of Herself to positively influence the outcome of the future.
So some powerful occult elite live in that mansion and own the property across the way, where the sacrifices happen. It’s ancient land and the island is located on an energy vortex, on a powerful convergence of leylines, thus my ghost experience from the other summer and all the petroglyphs. Maybe there was just a ritual there last night, Friday the 13th, and maybe another one on the full moon. The property is either electronically monitored with surveillance equipment that feeds back to the house, on a bank of screens down in one of the basement levels – or — the land is protected by spirits – or – it’s not protected at all and due to all the constant wear on the veil it’s created a type of portal where spirits slip through into this dimension. Maybe something from another dimension had been lingering around the area and magnetized onto our energy and followed us home. Maybe it was innocence like a dog following us home, or maybe it was the shadow people I’d just heard about on the radio that night – explained as possible spirit helpers, although experienced as malevolent to others. The craziest theory is that this invisible entity was tracking us in conjunction with the occultists at the mansion, that they were somehow controlling it, sensing through it, like through a crystal ball. It was reporting back to some sort of overlord. Maybe I’m now on their radar. Maybe this is just the beginning.
It keeps coming up over and over again– 15,16, and 17-year-olds sending me emails after having rough experiences with pot. Above and beyond the normal “weed paranoia,” theirs is a vivid, overwhelming and often disturbing psychedelic reckoning, an experience more similar to that produced by psilocybin or LSD. These teens email me looking for help, but my advice is not always what they want to hear.
Scientists are investigating a genetically based component that may hold the answers as to why certain adolescents (and adults) are so dramatically affected by this nominally mild psychedelic. Meanwhile, due to an abundance of evidence pointing to the unique dangers of cannabis use during formative brain development, my organization, MPMC, does not work with individuals younger than 19 years of age. When teens ask me for help, I recommend two things:
1) Lay off the weed for a few years– at least until the age of 19. If the plant comes up at a party, just pass it up. If you feel like explaining, explain that you’ve got a genetically determined reaction to pot that often leads to experiences that are more distressing than pleasurable. At MPMC we call this vulnerability, COMT Polymorphism.
2) Do other stuff! Consider your aversion to the enigmatic herb to be a kind of call to action. Focus on developing and improving other areas of your life. For adult COMT polymorphs, marijuana is used to illuminate, accelerate and refine one’s greater life purpose, mission etc. If you’re still in high school, still living at home, still in your teens, take some sober time to zero in on the hopes and dreams you have for this life. Think of the COMT Polymorph as a uniquely dynamic personality type. Once you establish the necessary anchors needed to root that unruly psyche of yours, your capacity to enrich your universe will be beyond measure. Practice meditation, jiu jitsu, calligraphy, learn to play the mandalin, work out. Trust me, there will be plenty of time to experiment with cannabis.
Last year I gave this advice to a young man (17 at the time) who had found my channel on youtube. I followed up with him a few weeks ago, and he had this to say:
I’m doing alright now pushing myself to get out of school. I haven’t smoked in a while and it feels good. If there’s one thing I can tell you it’s that being productive helps a lot, because i feel like when your mind is occupied with your life and bettering your current situation all you can do is focus. I’m in the gym and by luck it turns out i have a unique body type that gains muscles fast i have maybe put up 13lbs of pure muscle in the past 3 months and that helps a lot. I’ve been finding beneficial traits in myself that I would’ve never found while siting on the couch all day. I’m faster smarter more healthier and most importantly more focused. I just want to say if i never found your youtube channel who knows how fucked i would’ve been, and the best part is i’m only 18 and i have the rest of my life ahead of me and i feel like this situation has me more prepared for life then anyone else my age. Also i don’t have a problem telling people that i just don’t get the same high everyone else does. Sorry for the long message but so much has changed since the last time we talked.
So if you’re a teen having a tough time with pot, please know that you’re not alone, nor are you weak. You just ended up with a different roll of the genetic dice. You just don’t get the same high everyone else does (as elegantly phrased by my correspondent above). Let your brain harden up a bit (seriously). If you’re still interested in cannabis when you’re 19, get a green card and give me a call.
Marijuana Paranoia Management Coach, Bryan Basamanowicz, recounts his latest intense ” weed trip” and reviews an interesting journal entry from another paranoid stoner.
3 Entries From Corey’s Diary:
5/30/13 I feel like this has all happened before. Today I woke up and spent most of the day researching psychedelics. Something I feel like I did before in the exact same way. Ended up going down for dinner and one of the few words my dad mentions is mushrooms. Then back to my room. Needed to drive Josh home talked about Texas life. He mentioned memory lane. I feel he was pointing at the déjà vu of the situation which I felt deeply. Earlier in the weekend I spent all day researching how to cook things and the first thing I see on the kitchen table is a picture of a chef. It’s like someone (dad) knows what my every move is, and there is meaning behind them knowing that I am supposed to accept or understand. I feel the fact that I am writing this will ruin any sort of chance I have of understanding all this. Something now will change their game plan to keep me in the dark. Did Shroomry forum research on philosophy/paranoia/schizophrenia/psychedelic exp. While listening to David Lynch’s Rabbits. I feel like I am being monitored by some supreme organization or being. That my family knows about and complies to or is obligated by law to have me monitored. The monitoring is to check my state of being and to make sure my family is providing adequate care. The goal is for them to keep up an image so they can receive compensations. Josh’s last words were, take care of the family. For me to behave and maintain their image would be me taking care of them. Where me showing misbehavior would not be taking care of the family. I’m guessing this experience leading to this realization was premeditated by my family. Josh was appointed to give me a clue that my family is not legally allowed to inform me of, for the benefit of my wellbeing either going against the family’s game plan or working with them to remind me to protect the family’s image. All this leads to me writing this which was already premeditated by the family. How can this impact things? All in all Calvin needed me to drive him home because he was too drunk to drive but the second Josh got in the car he drove off to another place. He just got home again an hour later and now is leaving once more. An urgent agenda with the supreme to clear things up for the car ride opportunity? To cover something up so I can maintain my existence? Gain profit off the extra monitoring? The sun is up showing how off schedule things are. Was this all planed for my good or not. Is this experience I’m having now their goal to cut me a break. It’s like a stock market, these words being projected on the big screen in real time at this very moment with many watching on the other side monitoring, betting, predicting, and altering my every thought for some reason I don’t know. Have trouble focusing now means I’m getting to close. I’m starting to feel sick to my stomach. I couldn’t have written this before. If I believe I have written this exact thing before is me losing my grasp on reality. I wish to be more capable of processing though all this.
5/30/13 Film, Cube, first ten minutes analysis: allegory- harm of the mind actualizing the brain/body. Dialogue (hint) – “holy (wholly) cats” instead of holy cow. Both three letters, starting with C, and animals. Look past labels/ surface differences, because all characters are different “parts” (hero, healer, thinker etc.) of the mind. The “whole” alone man at the beginning was the end result of the realization, showing that even when actualized and at “full” potential death awaits. Whole man gets cut into pieces showing one should never piece together to come to a greater whole. The act of piecing together kills the individual ideas (characters). The answer is for them not to talk? Not have the mind realize? Individual ideas cannot die but once the ideas realize they are a part of a greater living “whole” death is possible. Cats vs. cow, which one fits the idiom best? When following both work. But when aside from the idiom they are completely different and not seen as working/better/alive vs. not working/worse/dead, they just are. 7/25/13 • Is it sane for dreams that have or have not recently happened to arbitrarily appear in waking consciousness? Does that imply a release of more DMT in the system? Within this anomaly am I technically in-between both worlds, or bringing one into the other? Can I create a portal? (Think of a dream in a space, have someone walk into that space and see your dream world) • How does paranoia feel and does it tell you it’s not what it is or is stating? • Why do you mention that I’m seeming better than I was previously? If you suggest me moving away from relying on outside sources for my worth? Also if I’m supposed stop bringing up the past?
7/27/13 Avid reading over the course of a lifetime may reduce the rate of memory decline by 32%.-After reading this Facebook post I had a paranoia surge. I thought that Facebook was created for me to have a healthy dose of reading in my life. Because in my normal challenged (autistic/mentally retarded) state I would never pick up a book or read a newspaper, etc. My dream motif last night was reading a novel in a class ritual, and having Wheezy Waiter help me with my reading assignment for class during an adventure in a van. The book that was mentioned in my dream was mockingbird. I woke up and researched books with that title and came across To Kill a Mockingbird, and Mockingbird. I’m familiar with the first but the latter was about a young girl with Asperger’s, all in all which solidified this journal entry. So do paranoia surges correlate, and or are predetermined, by previous night’s dreams?