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“I’m Tripping Balls” is an expression used to indicate that the speaker is under the heavy influence of a psychedelic drug. The phrase is also used in captioning images of people and animals with wide eyes and enlarged pupils.
Although the etymology of the phrase remains unclear, a poster in the psychedelic drug enthusiast BlueLight forum claims the use of phrase “tripping balls” dates as far back as 1985, referring to bouncy balls that served as talismans to help people connect with reality while under the effects of a hallucinogen. One of the earliest mentions online comes from the post script of a drug report on the online psychoactive plants and chemicals library Erowidsubmitted on June 13th, 2000. The phrase has been increasingly used in popular novels, films and TV shows, with the earliest notable mentions found in the 2004 comedy film Harold & Kumar Goes to White Castle and numerous episodes of South Park.
An Urban Dictionary definition (shown below) by user minghi submitted on May 6th, 2003.
In the mid-2000s, several YTMND site titles included the phrase, often using psychedelic-style animated GIFs. On February 15th, 2008, the phrase was used in a VGCats web comic titled “Make it Double” in which the protagonist of the Pokemon animated television series Ash proclaims that he is “tripping balls.”
On November 11th, the question “What does tripping balls mean?” was submitted to the question and answer site Yahoo Answers which received several responses indicating its association with illicit drugs. The “Tripping Ballz” Tumblr blog, which features psychedelic animated GIFs, was created on December 9th, 2010.
Images macros with the phrase “tripping balls” are often used in forums and image boards to indicate that someone is under the effects of a psychoactive drug, typically LSD or psilocybin.