The Problem of “Laced” Weed

By Pam Zuber, guest columnist

In November, a Connecticut laboratory reported of marijuana laced with fentanyl and called it “a new public safety threat.”  In early February, a 16-year-old student overdosed on fentanyl-laced marijuana at Broomfield High School. He went to the hospital and required multiple doses of Narcan to be revived.

While the problem of laced weed is nothing new, the lacing with fentanyl appears to be the latest rage. In fact, the Connecticut Department of Public Health reported of 39 cases of naloxone revival last year for patients claiming to have smoked marijuana.

The problem of laced weed is one more reason to encourage kids never to use drugs, including weed. It is not an excuse to legalize marijuana, a drug that also cannot be ruled as safe – even for adult consumption.

What Is Laced Weed?

Laced weed is marijuana that has been mixed with another substance. People who sell marijuana sometimes lace the drug to enhance the quality of the product they’re selling.

Other times, the people using marijuana are the ones who lace it because they want it to cause certain effects. In addition, some people might alter marijuana to harm another person or produce other effects.

Editor’s Note: People often mistake today’s high potency pot for “laced” weed. Your marijuana doesn’t have to be laced with anything to be quite dangerous. Consumers don’t realize that pot can produce hallucinations and psychosis.


Drugs Used to Produce Laced Weed

People mix a variety of items with marijuana. People commonly lace weed with cocaine. This mix is often referred to as primo. Users hope that the cocaine in the mixture will provide a stimulant effect that counteracts with the sedative effect of the marijuana and create a unique experience.

Another substance used to lace marijuana is LSD. This drug is a hallucinogen, which means it produces hallucinations and other effects for people who don’t know that they’re ingesting it. Dipping a marijuana joint into some LSD can send a person into hallucinations. A trip from this type of laced weed can affect a person for hours.

Yet another hallucinogen sometimes mixed with marijuana is PCP. The combination of PCP and marijuana is stronger than LSD/marijuana mixtures and sometimes goes by names such as wet, dusted, fry, and superweed.

Heroin is an extremely addictive substance. If drug dealers add heroin and other substances to marijuana, it could hook customers faster. Unsuspecting people might have no idea that they’re using heroin or other dangerous drugs until they find themselves going back to their dealers for more.

Methamphetamine (meth), formaldehyde (embalming fluid), and the opioid fentanyl are three other items that some people mix with marijuana. Fentanyl is a strong painkiller that is several times stronger than heroin. Many people have overdosed and died due to combinations of fentanyl and other drugs.

Dangers of Laced Weed

Although marijuana is dangerous on its own, using laced weed can cause many dangerous symptoms, including dehydration, confusion, heart attacks, hallucinations, seizures, and death. Another frightening side effect of using laced weed is that it can alter the brain permanently.

If a person unknowingly buys a joint that is laced with PCP, they could undergo hallucinatory experiences that could produce long-lasting effects. Laced substances can take people on drug trips that never seem to end.

Signs of Using Laced Weed

Are you wondering if you’ve used laced weed? One possible symptom is a rapid heartbeat that doesn’t seem to improve in a reasonable amount of time. A headache, nausea, or sweating are other signs that you may have ingested something that you’ve never used.

Additionally, you might experience chest or eye pain, nose bleeds, hallucinations, or strange visions. It’s a good idea to find help if you notice any of these symptoms or if you find that you’re having problems with drugs or alcohol.

Why is this such a concern?

Student anti-drug education should include informing youth that it’s not uncommon for marijuana users to be given laced weed. 

As recreational and medicinal marijuana is becoming legal in more places, marijuana misuse is a problem.

According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, about 55 million people in the United States have used marijuana in the previous year. That number is more than the current number of tobacco smokers.

Drug abuse can cause or worsen a wealth of symptoms, such as irritability and depression as well as problems with relationships, work, and school. Consuming marijuana mixed with other ingredients – a substance known as laced weed – can cause additional problems.

Like other drugs, laced weed can negatively affect your life. Learning more about it can help you know what to do if you’ve consumed it and keep it from harming your life.

Pamela Zuber, writer and editor at Sunshine Behavioral Health, earned a degree in English and Communication from the University of Michigan. She’s been working for Sunshine since 2016. Sunshine provides rehabilitation and treatment in California, Colorado and Texas.

Through her work, she aims to eliminate stigmas about addiction and mental health conditions.

Sources – Marijuana Addiction Statistics – Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Huntington Beach, California – DrugFacts – Heroin DrugFacts – Embalming Fluid and Laced Weed