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Bill1939's avatar

What happened?

Asked by Bill1939 (5510 points ) December 10th, 2012

A couple whom I had not seen in a long time were in town and we invited them over for dinner. We had screwdrivers before eating, double shot of vodka over ice in an eight-ounce tumbler topped off with orange juice. We followed our chile supper with coffee and a couple of shots of Baileys Irish Cream. Afterwards he and I went out on the porch and had a smoke, he a cigarette and I my pipe tobacco; my wife does not permit smoking in the house. We came back and his wife produced a recently legalized herb and I had two tokes; it had been a long time since I had an opportunity to indulge myself with what was once my favorite activity.

After a few minutes I realized that my blood pressure was dropping and laid down so as not to fall down. I blacked out. They told me that all the color had drained from my face and that I was making gurgling sounds, like my breathing was impaired. They sat me up and administered honey in the belief that my blood sugar had fallen, and as I was regaining consciousness I am told that I was disoriented and frightened—he felt that if he were to approach me that I might attack him— though I have no memory of this part. They had called 911, but I felt that the worse had passed and stood up only to feel faint again and sat down in a chair. I realized that I was going to pass out again and I so laid back down. I was fully conscious and was carrying on a cogent conversation, expressing my embarrassment at ruining the evening, but saying that their calling an ambulance was unnecessary.

While waiting for them to arrive, my wife gave me a small glass of orange juice. However, that triggered nausea and my wife got a small trash can that I used. After a half-hour the paramedics arrived. They check my blood pressure while I was lying down and, since the reading was close to normal, help me to my feet. Feeling faint again, I sat down and they check the pressure again. While they were doing this, I could tell that I would pass out again if I did not get horizontal. It was decided that I be taken to the nearest ER, as the systolic reading while sitting was 42. During the rocky ride to the hospital I totally emptied the contents of my stomach and felt much better.

Other than a saline IV drip and something to help with the nausea, which I am certain was no longer necessary, no other treatment was administered. I was hooked up to monitors. My EEG was normal, but my blood pressure continued to be low, stabilizing with a systolic rate of 103. I usually have a lower that average blood pressure, but this was the lowest I have ever known. I was taken to x-ray and stood without difficulty while the tech took images back and side. It was more than an hour later before the x-rays were examined revealing normal heart and lungs and they finally let me go home. My friends and my wife all strongly believe that my condition was life threatening. However, given that I hadn’t needed any treatment, I doubt it. I would like to know what Fluther members think.

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18 Answers

deni's avatar

I don’t know what your tolerance for alcohol is. You had at least 6 shots though which, in an hour or two span, is a lot for most people. So you were definitely feeling the alcohol by this point, and then you combined tobacco with that. On top of that, you added weed which you hadn’t smoked in a long time. I don’t know what tobacco does to someone when they have been drinking too, but I’d assume it wasn’t that. Weed however can definitely put people in odd places especially if you rarely smoke, and if you combine it with alcohol. That has been my experience and many people I know have had the same experience. It can kind of put you over the edge. There have been nights where I’ve had too much to drink, and thought weed might help calm my stomach and mind down. Instead it can do the opposite. Especially if your tolerance is down. If it was good weed, sometimes one hit can knock ya out. But you took two, and had also been drinking. I would imagine it was nothing more than that. All I’m basing this off of is personal experience though. It’s interesting.

bkcunningham's avatar

Are the four shots something you’ve imbibed before without any problems, @Bill1939? I’m sure everyone was scared witless. Did the others smoke the weed too without incident? I’m thinking it was laced with something though. Alcohol usually increases your BP, right?

CWOTUS's avatar

It may be legal to smoke the weed where you are now, but it’s probably still not legal to grow it for sale or to sell it. (No matter how insane that is.) So I doubt if you know much about the product quality or possible adulteration. That’s one avenue to explore.

Other than that, if you normally have lower-than-usual blood pressure anyway, and you had two alcoholic drinks and a dinner, then it’s certain anyway, that your blood supply was diverted to digestion and your blood pressure was probably further reduced by the depressive effect of the alcohol.

You had also already smoked, which may have affected your heart rate, too.

I’d go easy on those combinations if I were you.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Remember too that the weed of today is two or three times stronger than the weed you could get 20 years ago. A notible difference if you are unused to it and combine it with other drugs like tobacco and alcohol.

Bill1939's avatar

@cwptos: If I ever get a chance to smoke weed again, I will not drink before or after. I’m too old to subject my body to that experience again. I am sure that it was home grown. No one else was adversely effected.

bkcunningham's avatar

I am reading about something called “greening out” from smoking pot. I have never heard of this.

bkcunningham's avatar

I think the greening out may be the answer since you had subjected your lungs and heart to the inhalation of the pipe tobacco just before smoking the weed. I hope you feel better and never go through that again, @Bill1939.

Bill1939's avatar

@bkcunningham: I looked at the link you provided. I am sure that the nausea was the product of what for me was too much alcohol and the acidity of the chili. Even if I were a neophyte, I doubt if two tokes could make me green out (a new term for me).

bkcunningham's avatar

Well, feel better anyway. I have no idea. I learned something new anyway. :~)

Bill1939's avatar

@bkcunningham: I was feeling fine by the time we got back from the hospital, and continue to do so. The combination of tobacco and weed may have caused me to green out, but in any case I do not intend to repeat the experience. Thanks for caring.

augustlan's avatar

I have a friend who hadn’t smoked pot for years, and then did one night. She felt the same way you’re describing your symptoms; feeling faint, disoriented and frightened, right down to nausea (she actually threw up repeatedly). I don’t know whether she’d been drinking or not (I wasn’t there, she just told me about it later). Those who were with her were so concerned they almost called an ambulance, even though they’d have been in legal trouble. She recovered just before they made the call.

She thought it was a one time fluke, but it happened again the next time she smoked, which was several months or maybe even a year later, and from a different batch. Her best guess is that either she’s allergic to weed now or that it’s just way too strong for her now. Either way, she’s never smoking pot again.

Coloma's avatar

I think it was the combined effect of both the alcohol and the weed. I do not combine those at all. IF you have already had a fair amount to drink and THEN imbibe in marijuana it is too much. You won’t die but…you will become EXTREMELY intoxicated.

Unbroken's avatar

Shortly before I quit I had to develop a policy never ever smoke after I drank. I would be miserable. I believe this combo was worse with beer then hard alcohol though. Though I can’t quite remember it was years ago. I would describe myself as a recreational or social user for both, I was not green.

On a side note I shortly found out that due to autoimmune condition my liver was not functioning properly. I can’t drink or smoke now. Maybe this is indictative of liver problem?

It might be worth checking out, sometimes it might seem to be better not to know, but trust me there are worse things.

Regardless take care of yourself. And best wishes.

Bill1939's avatar

@rosehips: Thanks for your response. There may be a possibility of a liver problem as it experienced lacerations some fifty years ago. The blood drawn while in the ambulance showed high white and low red blood counts. My next regular examination with my GP is in May. Do you suggest I visit him sooner?

Unbroken's avatar

@Bill1939 Hm. Well the sooner you know the better. The liver has an amazing ability to heal, but it is also essential to healthy life function and the longer you wait assuming you have liver damage the worse it will get.

I can’t remember what comes on a regular cbc but I think some of these tests are performed. A doctor may not have noticed or wrote it off because of alcohol function. Had he known about your previous history he might have taken a second look.

If you have a copy of your results you can take a look. Blood count could be an indicator but could also be contributed to a number of other factors.

There are a number of other symptoms associated, but there are a lot of them and you may or may not experience them.

There are a number of things you can do to “help” your liver heal as well.

But hopefully you don’t need them.

Bill1939's avatar

@rosehips: I met with my GP yesterday. Definitely the combination of alcohol and weed, which are both vasodilators, was the cause of my marked drop in blood pressure. He examined the blood work supplied by the ER and is not concerned. I will not mix the two again. Thanks of caring.

augustlan's avatar

@Bill1939 Glad you got it sorted out, and that you lived to tell the tale. I’ll mention your findings to my friend, too.

Unbroken's avatar

@Bill1939 I am glad it proved to be nothing. Sorry to worry you unnecessarily.

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