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Tripping off of Spice

Never say never...

For the uninitiated: "Spice" is a catch-all term referring to any sort of "legal herb" meant to be smoked as if it were real weed. It's usually advertised as something like potpourri or incense (it will also read "not for human consumption"), allowing the manufacturer to not only get away with selling a recreational drug legally, but also voids them of responsibility should someone get hurt and/or die from usage of their products. Although the objective of the product is to faithfully recreate the feeling of a weed high, the mere act of asking around for anecdotes and personal stories from people who have used it will unveil a mixed bag of reports. While many nonchalantly smoke it away as if it were the real herb, there have been plenty of stories going around ranging from bizarre, psychedelic effects to horror stories about kids ending up in the hospital with any number of misfortunes happening to them.

Introductory statement aside, I myself had always filed under one of those with a good experience with spice. Ever since I first smoked the Cloud 9 flavor of K2 back in my junior year of high school (I explicitly remember it was the day before my 17th birthday when I first tried it, long before K2 was made illegal), the legal shit was always cool in my book. What did I think of those stories of kids going blind or having heart attacks? I genuinely felt bad for them, but I smiled every time I took a hit of spice and said to myself "another hit, another day not being a statistic."

That was, until a few days ago...

Myself and my friend S were chilling in our friend M's garage, toking it up as usual on whatever green we could find in the area; usually corn, but sometimes we'd catch a break and score some dro or kush. Our friend M recently purchased several bags of spice - to name a few: Joker, Scooby Snax, Mind Trip, and OMG - and said he would smoke us out with it. Allow me to make it clear that a smoke out in M's garage generally entails getting baked off your fucking ass. M has just about any kind of papers, blunts, pipes, bubblers, bongs, and more that you can think of, and furthermore, smoking with M isn't just any old pothead ritual. Smoking with M is like going to a friend's house for lunch and getting Thanksgiving dinner instead; M will give you the full package and do his best to serve his guests...a genuine individual indeed.

Anyways, M was just done killing a G-bong bowl of some corn he had laying around when he pulled out a bag of OMG (no seriously, that's what it's called) and loaded a bowl consisting entirely of OMG. This wasn't a pansy bowl, either, nor was this some rinky-dink DIY bong crackheads make when they can't afford crackpipes. M made this G-bong out of a sizable bottle of wine by sand-blasting the bottom off and putting it in a bucket of water, the bowl made of (what I'm assuming to be) the bowl from some pipe he must have broken a while back. His G-bong was THE G-bong. M was about to take a G-bong rip entirely of fake stuff...and he did.

Next in line was my friend S, who was far more veteran of taking massive hits of spice than I was. He took a hit and, predictably, got pretty high. As soon as he sat down in his chair (M's garage has a table in the center with three or four chairs to boot), S began saying to M and I "I think I might be a little too high." This was coming from a guy who pretty much did NOTHING outside of smoking and/or pursuing mind-altering substances. The next thing I know, S is now saying to himself "I think I'm tripping." At this point, I had zero idea whether this should be perceived as either good or bad, as I myself was about to brave the gravity bong of death and destruction.

Because I was beginning to develop a distaste for the very artificial, ersatz taste of the smoke from spice, I was a bit reluctant at first to take this hit. What I did, however, was take a little shake from M's last weed bowl and sprinkle it over top the OMG that M put in the bowl. Not only would this get me higher, but it would also somewhat suppress that awful taste in my mouth that I was growing to dislike. I did this and told M to light 'er up. M did so, and before me awaited what could have very easily been at least a gallon of smoke. "Here goes", I thought to myself just before inhaling the entire thing in one hit, by some kind of magic or miracle beyond me. Even if I had just taken a monster gravity-bong hit much to the ovation of my peers, this was just the beginning of this little episode.

Remember how S said he was tripping from a G-bong rip of that spice? Well, combine that with my history of random psychedelic episodes almost any time I smoke weed, and you'll have an idea of what happens next.

Sitting down at the table, enjoying the air of smoke and general stoner antics, I began feeling hypersensitivity, especially in my mouth. The inside of my mouth is a key interest point here because I was chewing on a peppermint candy cane to help kill the taste of spice I still had a little of on my tongue. While it was here that I very quickly grasped the scope of exactly how high I was (I'll give you a hint: pretty fuckin' blitzed), it was also here where the problems began. It started with me feeling like I was floating with some sort of wave, as if my body were to slip like liquid into any posture or pose it deemed natural and comfortable...nothing amiss, this was typical of me when I was high. Push turned to shove, however, and the next thing you know, my tongue was doing the same.

What started out as the kinetic calligraphy of flowing naturally into place had suddenly turned into a schizophrenic ballet. I felt as though my tongue was being pushed up and down, left and right by random things that I knew weren't there, but perceived some sort of energy guiding my tongue muscle to strike the most unorthodox of poses. It didn't take long for me to figure out what was going on here: my tongue was undergoing muscle spasms. I could actually feel my tongue contorting about randomly, and something told me this could end bad. Quickly, I did what I could to restrain my tongue, which, for some reason, at first took the form of me pushing my hands into my neck (I don't know, I was high as fuck). Both M and S looked at me weird, and when I explained to them what was going on, M jokingly said "You know what that means: paranoid schizophrenia."

Fortunately, I was able to regain control of my neural faculties, and was quick to cease my tongue's odd behavior. While I still did feel the hypersensitivity long after finally controlling my tongue, overall, I was beginning to feel good. Right before my tongue would slide into having spasms, I could quickly regain control simply by pressing my tongue against the roof of my mouth. This was a happy ending to a potentially bad scenario: I was still ridiculously high, minus the part where I accidentally bite my tongue off, or choke to death, or somehow someway otherwise destroy my faculties. The rest of the day involved more smoke-action between myself, M, and S.

So what's the moral of this story? Never say never. While I never did doubt the possibility of one of those K2 horror stories happening to me, having an experience that almost pushes you over the cliff makes you realize how long and hard of a fall you were almost in for. I had assumed that because it had never happened to me before, it most likely wouldn't. Making that assumption was a mistake. My story wasn't serious, and any serious harm was easily averted on my part, but that doesn't mean it can't happen again to a much worse degree. Will I give up on spice altogether after this? I should say yes, but I'm honestly not sure about that. Regardless, take this as a cautionary tale that bad things can happen to anyone, and to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

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