Laced Weed

Weed, a common term for marijuana, can be laced with other drugs and nonpsychoactive substances. It’s usually hard to tell if marijuana is laced just by looking at it. The effects of laced weed can be minor or serious.
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Laced weed refers to marijuana that’s secretly mixed or contaminated with another substance. Some dealers intentionally lace weed to rip off customers. Others contaminate marijuana in attempts to make it seem more potent.

Weed can be laced with several substances, including:

  • Embalming fluid
  • Glass
  • Laundry detergent
  • Methamphetamine
  • Heroin
  • PCP
  • Fentanyl
  • LSD
  • Ketamine

The effects of laced weed vary depending on what the drug is mixed with, how the drug is consumed and several personal factors. Few people know what’s in marijuana bought on the street. Many dealers don’t know exactly what they’re selling.

Signs of Laced Weed

It can be nearly impossible to determine if marijuana is laced with another drug or substance. Different strains of marijuana have different colors. They also have different smells and tastes.

An obviously suspicious color or pungent smell may be a warning sign for laced weed. Other simple tests may reveal impurities. People who use recreational marijuana claim that rubbing marijuana against a CD shouldn’t cause scratches. If the weed scratches the CD, it may contain glass.

But many impurities are undetectable by do-it-yourself tests.

Chemical testing labs in Colorado have reported contaminants in legal marijuana that weren’t obvious to the naked eye, according to a 2015 press release from the American Chemical Society. The tests revealed fungi, butane and other contaminants in marijuana that appeared normal.

Why Weed Is Mixed with Other Substances

Most dealers don’t lace marijuana with hard drugs, such as meth or heroin, and sell it to unsuspecting buyers. They’d be losing money by selling extra drugs for less cost.

Some people worry that dealers will lace marijuana with an addictive drug, such as cocaine, to get a person hooked on a more expensive drug. That’s possible but uncommon.

Dealers are more likely to lace weed with cheap substances to rip off customers. They may mix it with laundry detergent, perfumes or tiny shards of glass to enhance the smell, increase the weight or make the drug seem more potent.

Rare cases of dealers selling marijuana laced with hard drugs have been reported. However, reports of marijuana laced with the deadly opioid fentanyl in 2017 were not credible, according to the fact-checking agency Snopes.

Most of the time, people using marijuana are more likely than dealers to lace it, according to the Center for Substance Abuse Research. They may mix it with PCP or LSD to enhance the drug’s hallucinatory effects. Marijuana cigarettes have also been soaked in embalming fluid for the same purpose.

How to Tell if You Smoked Laced Weed

Different forms of marijuana have different appearances, tastes and smells. They also cause different effects. Normal symptoms of marijuana use include happiness, relaxation and forgetfulness.

Different strains may cause more relaxation and less euphoria. Or a strain may make someone feel more foggy or clumsy than others do.

Laced weed can cause a variety of side effects that are different from what a person normally feels. Stimulants, such as meth or cocaine, can make you feel energetic, intensely focused and incredibly happy. Downers, such as heroin, may make you feel lethargic, nauseous or too relaxed. PCP or LSD may make you hallucinate.

Other contaminants, such as glass, laundry detergent or fungi, may cause uncontrollable coughing, vomiting or pain. Most people who smoke weed know how marijuana affects the lungs. Sharp pain in the lungs may mean the marijuana is laced with another drug.

What to Do if You Smoke Laced Weed

In general, if you feel symptoms that make you worried or uncomfortable, you should seek medical help. You can’t die from a marijuana overdose, but you can overdose on other drugs commonly mixed with marijuana.

If you’re with someone sober, ask the person to take you to the hospital. If you don’t have a safe ride, call a marijuana hotline or a poison help line for assistance. These services provide help for people experiencing unpleasant side effects or marijuana addiction.

Call 911 if you feel symptoms of a drug overdose, such as rapid heartrate, slowed breathing, extreme confusion, paranoia, slurred speech or drastic changes to body temperature.

It’s impossible for most people to determine what’s in the drugs that they buy on the street. Even legal marijuana can contain unsafe contaminants. Laced weed isn’t common, but it does exist. Anyone who buys weed on the street is at risk for getting a bad batch.

Medical Disclaimer: aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

Chris Elkins, MA
Senior Content Writer,
Chris Elkins worked as a journalist for three years and was published by multiple newspapers and online publications. Since 2015, he’s written about health-related topics, interviewed addiction experts and authored stories of recovery. Chris has a master’s degree in strategic communication and a graduate certificate in health communication.

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