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Laced Weed: What Can Marijuana Be Laced With and How to Recognize It?

Laced weed

In the whole history of humankind, no one has ever died from using marijuana.

Laced weed, however, is a completely different story.

Combining pot with other drugs and substances can be dangerous and can lead to serious health issues.

Fortunately, laced weed is rare in the developed world. However, it’s still out there on the streets, especially in places where marijuana is still illegal.

When the production and distribution of cannabis are regulated by law (for either medical or recreational purposes), there’s usually no risk of buying cannabis that’s been tampered with. That’s why, for example, Canada does not have as many problems with laced weed as some US states and the UK.

However, not all of us are so lucky to have safe access to cannabis.

What Is Laced Weed?

Laced weed is a cannabis flower that has been combined with other chemicals: drugs, inorganic substances, or additives.

You won’t believe what people are prepared to put in cannabis — hair sprays, pesticides, glass, and detergents are just some of the substances used for lacing cannabis.

Adulterated cannabis is usually an issue in countries where marijuana is still illegal and the best way to make sure you don’t end up with laced weed is to not buy cannabis in these countries (easier said than done).

If cannabis is legal in your area, you don’t have to worry about accidentally purchasing laced weed. Just stick to dispensaries and licensed producers and you’ll be fine.

If you are not that lucky and live in a place where weed is illegal, you need to be extra careful.

Why Do People Lace Weed?

At this point, you might be asking yourself why on earth anyone would mix cannabis with a harmful substance. Well, there are a few obvious reasons.

Shady dealers would do anything to sell you low-quality weed for much more than it’s really worth. That’s why they would want to make it appear as high-quality and heavy as possible.

Besides just masking the quality, lacing weed with other stronger drugs is a way for dealers to gradually build an addiction in customers to that other drug without them being aware of it, so they always come back for more.

Another reason for lacing weed is no reason at all other than just getting as high as possible.

Some people like to sprinkle their weed intentionally with other drugs to make it more potent or to produce effects that weed normally does not have.

Weed can be laced with all sorts of chemicals and drugs in order to look like a high-quality cannabis bud.

Substances Used for Lacing Weed

Cannabis can be laced with almost any drug you can think of.

Some dealers will intentionally lace weed with another drug to produce a different, more potent high. Sometimes they will be honest with you and tell you upfront that their weed is laced.

Pot laced with other drugs sometimes has a specific name. So, let’s go through the most common drugs used for adulterating marijuana, what the effect would be if you consumed it, and why dealers and users do it.


A packed bowl or a joint rolled with cocaine-laced weed is informally called Primo. People usually lace their weed with cocaine to induce the stimulant effect of cocaine and the sedative effect of weed at the same time.

Even in the underground, it’s unlikely that someone will buy pot laced with cocaine without knowing it since it’s a much more expensive drug. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened before.

Weed laced with cocaine can be dangerous, especially if you don’t know that it has been laced. This type of weed affects your lungs, heart, and brain at the same time.

If you have smoked a primo joint, you’ll probably have a sleepless night and a lack of focus, you’ll feel numbness through your whole body but have more energy than ever, and you’ll likely become paranoid.

However, tense muscles and an increased heart rate caused by the constricted blood vessels can, unfortunately, lead to fatal consequences: stroke, heart attack, or even cardiac arrest.


A joint laced with LSD is known as a rainbow joint. LSD or acid is a potent hallucinogenic drug that alters our awareness of surroundings, sensations, images, and feelings. Usually, it’s not addictive.

The method for lacing weed with this potent hallucinogenic stimulant is different than with other drugs. Rainbow joints are made by dabbing the end of a marijuana cigarette into LSD, so when you put the joint filter tip on your lips and mouth you absorb the substance.

And that’s when the powerful hallucinogenic effects start. Even in smaller doses, this type of weed produces effects that can last up to 12 hours.

If you are not aware you are smoking a joint laced with LSD, this could be a problem. Can you imagine having a weird and bad trip after smoking a joint, not understanding fully why?

That sounds like a complete nightmare.


Phencyclidine, better known as PCP or angel dust, is a strong hallucinogenic drug known for its mind-altering effects. Dealers usually add PCP to weed to induce a stronger psychoactive effect.

This kind of marijuana is sold under different names such as dusted weed, wet weed, fry, and superweed.

People that sell this type of laced weed usually don’t try to hide the fact that their weed is laced, although there have been a few cases of people using it without knowing.

Smoking just tiny amounts of this compound makes you feel detached from your surroundings. This can eventually lead to aggressive behavior with strong hallucinations, delusions and even seizures, with the possibility of developing neurological damage.

If you suspect you smoked a joint laced with PCP and you notice you talk indistinctly, blink a lot and look disoriented and paranoid, the best thing you can do is to seek medical help immediately.


As one of the most addictive drugs out there, heroin is among the most dangerous substances on this list. Unfortunately, heroin-laced weed is not uncommon nowadays.

Since the substance is so addictive, dealers are adding heroin to weed to hook users into becoming addicts without them even knowing it.

Heroin is a yellowish, brown powder that smells like rubber or vinegar. By smoking pot mixed with this substance, you’ll become extremely relaxed and euphoric, but not like when you use regular weed.

The high produced by weed laced with heroin produces a slow heart rate, slowed breathing, and confusion that is almost unbearable. That’s not what the pot experience looks like.


As ketamine became one of the favorite club drugs, it also found its way into rolled joints. It’s primarily used as an anesthetic in medicine, and it’s used recreationally because of its sedative effects.

There have been a few reports of ketamine laced weed, but it seems that people are doing it voluntarily and this type of weed is not in circulation. Of course, ketamine can be very dangerous — dehydration, overheating, confusion is just some of the symptoms.


Methamphetamine is a strong and powerful neuro-stimulant medical drug used for treating ADHD and obesity, but it’s also abused for recreational purposes. And because of all the public concern around it, medical experts don’t really like prescribing it in the first place.

However, there have been reports (although some reports were false) about people selling and buying meth laced weed, which can cause serious effects, including hallucinations, delusions, and even seizures.

Embalming Fluid/Formaldehyde

The thought of mixing embalming fluid with weed is sickening, to begin with, but the black market dealers are not bothered by the fact that this can potentially be extremely toxic. Embalming fluid is a mixture of solvents (including formaldehyde), which is used to preserve dead bodies.

Formaldehyde smells like pickles and has no color, and it’s usually added to synthetic weed. If you smoke weed laced with these substances you might experience pain in your chest, headaches and an increased heart rate, nausea and/or diarrhea, with severe hallucinations and paranoia.


Fentanyl is an opioid drug used as a painkiller and anesthetic. It’s relatively cheap and is 50 times stronger than heroin.

Fentanyl is a very dangerous opioid, and it would be more than stupid to mix it with any drug including marijuana.

Other Substances Marijuana Can Be Laced With

Laced weed detergent

Believe it or not, weed can be laced with other materials and substances. Untrustworthy dealers use them because they are much cheaper than some drugs and can easily make their weed appear more appealing to the eye.

Crushed Glass

Shattered, crushed glass has been used to replicate trichomes, the mushroom-like structures on top of the buds. Glass makes the buds look like they are packed with trichomes. Weed mixed with glass also weighs more.

Smoking glass-laced weed can seriously harm your health, especially if you use it to make an edible. In fact, it can cause digestive problems and internal bleeding.

Laundry Detergent

Some dealers mix weed with laundry detergent to make it heavier, more sparkly as well as to alter the smell.

If you smoke a joint containing laundry detergent, you’ll probably taste and smell the detergent almost immediately. If you keep on smoking it, however, it can lead to serious health consequences: a sore throat, nausea, and difficulty breathing are some of the most common side effects.

Food Coloring

Dyed pot is common in states and countries where weed is illegal. Dealers do it to make their weed look more appealing and of better quality. Usually, they’ll color the buds in green and purple, but this type of lacing is not that dangerous.

It’s easy to tell if the color is real or not. We’ll get to that in a bit.

Fuel Additives and Other Smell Adulterants

Several different perfumes and smell adulterants, even diesel fuel,  are added to weed to mask, enhance, or imitate the smell of famous strains like Sour Diesel. Some people will even store the weed along with pieces of lemon to make it appear as if it was rich with the terpene called limonene.

How to Tell If Weed Is Laced?

There are cases where you can’t tell if the weed has been laced or not, but most of the time the laced weed will look suspicious.

If you suspect your weed has been laced with glass, just rub the bud on the surface of a CD. If there’s glass in your cannabis it will scratch the CD. Regular cannabis will not leave any scratches.

It’s also really easy to check if your buds have been laced with laundry detergent. Just pour some water into a glass, put the weed in it and shake it a bit. If your weed is laced, you’ll see the traces of suds.

Trichomes are small sticky crystals that are attached to the flower and won’t fall off easily.

If you roll and squeeze a small piece of weed through your fingers, the actual trichomes will stick to your fingers and only a small number of them will fall off. But if there is something else on your weed (if it’s laced) you will notice a heap of dust falling off from your flower.

If you inspect your weed a little bit closer, you can tell if food coloring has been added. Take a bud and carefully divide it in half. If any artificial colors have been added, they will probably be absorbed only on the surface layers, and the color will not reach the inside of the bud. Take note if the color of the bud is uneven.

It’s easy to test your weed for smell adulterants and fuels, too. Just take a piece of bud that looks the moistest and hold it over a flame. Marijuana soaked in fuel will burst into flames immediately. Buds mixed with perfumes and other odor adulterants will change the color of the flames and can even make them pop or spark.

Also, the smell of laced weed is much harsher and smells synthetic.


The best way to be perfectly safe and enjoy your weed without having to think about all these substances is to buy from your local dispensary or a licensed producer.

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Here are some additional precautionary measures:

Get to know the person you are buying from. Don’t just go out and buy weed from the first suspicious-looking dealer on a dark corner of the street.

Don’t ever buy pre-ground weed from a dealer. It’s easier to manipulate (to add oregano, for example), so it looks like there’s more weed. When you get the whole buds, it’s easier to check if they were laced.

If the weed you bought looks suspicious in any way, just throw it out. You don’t want to mess with your health.

Let’s suppose you know what “normal buds” look like. If the weed is too powdery, smells weird, moldy or like chemicals, tastes bitter or harsh, don’t smoke that joint – just put it out.

First Aid: What to Do If You Smoked Laced Weed?

If you’ve accidentally smoked laced weed, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. Also, you should head to the emergency room in case you feel anything unexpected, like dizziness, extreme lethargy, or any other symptom we talked about above.

If you feel like you need to vomit, don’t hold it in. Your body knows what’s doing, so let the toxins out. If you start vomiting uncontrollably, have someone take you to the emergency room or call 911 as soon as you can.

To Conclude…

I honestly hope that you’ll never have to deal with laced weed. But until global legalization pushes the black market dealers away, laced weed will be a reality we will all have to live with.

Hope this article gave you an overall idea of the potential dangers of laced weed, and what to do in case you end up with suspicious-looking buds. And just remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

About the author
Helena Miles

Experienced journalist with a decade-long experience of researching cannabis. She has been featured in many prominent outlets, such as The Growth Op, National Post and The Province.

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