Updated on April 23, 2024
7 min read

The Dangers of Laced Weed

Laced weed is cannabis that’s mixed with other substances. These include other drugs and chemicals, such as fentanyl, crack, hallucinogens, heroin, and embalming fluid. 

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Laced Weed
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Lacing weed with illicit drugs or other substances makes it more potent. It can also lead to dangerous or fatal side effects and possibly trigger a need for addiction treatment. 

Key Takeaways

  • Lacing marijuana with other drugs increases the potency of its effects
  • Lacing marijuana is dangerous and can lead to serious side effects, addiction, and death
  • Smoking or possessing laced weed also has legal consequences
  • If you experience adverse reactions after using marijuana, seek emergency medical help
  • Be honest about your substance use so your healthcare provider can provide the best possible care 

Signs of Laced Weed

It's nearly impossible to determine if marijuana has been laced or not from the appearance, smell, or taste of the drug. A chemical testing lab in Colorado reported that contaminants in legal marijuana aren't obvious to the naked eye.7

However, a few telltale signs can help you recognize laced marijuana. The common signs of laced weed include changes from what you'd normally expect when you smoke marijuana, including:

  • Abnormally potent
  • A different or unusual smell 
  • Packaged differently than usual
  • Strange appearance

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What Drugs Can Weed Be Laced With?

You can commonly find the following recreational drug combined with marijuana:


Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid pain medication. It has a rapid onset and is only effective for a short time. 

Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Its legitimate uses include treating severe pain or managing pain after surgery.


Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that can have serious health effects. Its short-term effects include euphoria, increased alertness, and feelings of power and invincibility. Cocaine can also cause dangerous side effects like heart attack, stroke, and seizure.

Crack cocaine is a highly addictive form of smokeable cocaine. It produces a short, intense high followed by an extreme crash. The risk of crack addiction from laced marijuana is high, especially for regular users.


Heroin is a highly addictive illegal drug derived from morphine. It's typically sold as a white or brown powder or black sticky substance. 

You can inject, snort, or smoke heroin. It produces an intense rush of pleasure followed by drowsiness and slow breathing.


LSD is a potent, long-acting, psychedelic drug that triggers profound changes in consciousness over several hours. Although LSD isn't addictive, it can cause temporary paranoia and psychosis at high doses. This potentially triggers or worsens an existing mental health disorder.

Users typically take it orally but can inject or inhale it. LSD was originally a psychiatric medication. Sometimes a party drug, people use it alone or with other substances, including laced marijuana.


PCP is a potent hallucinogenic drug that people used in religious and shamanic rituals for centuries. Its street names include angel dust, trip, and acid.

PCP triggers intense hallucinations, delusions, and feelings of detachment from reality. It can cause dangerous behaviors, such as aggression and self-harm. PCP-laced marijuana is sometimes called “wet weed” or “dusted weed.”

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Symptoms of Laced Weed

Smoking laced marijuana also creates different effects. Most users report that laced marijuana has different effects, sensations, or symptoms after 15 to 20 minutes.

Each drug laced with marijuana can create different symptoms, including:


Marijuana laced with PCP causes a wide range of symptoms, including:9

  • Severe hallucinations
  • Impaired coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Aggression or irritation
  • Disorientation
  • Paranoia
  • Seizures

Smoking too much PCP-laced marijuana can also cause dangerous side effects. These include falling into a coma or dying.

Embalming Fluid

Some believe lacing weed with embalming fluid can increase their high; however, this can be very dangerous. Smoking weed with embalming fluid can damage the lungs, nasal passages, and brain.9

Symptoms of smoking marijuana laced with embalming fluid include:

  • Severe paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Violent or aggressive behavior


Fentanyl and marijuana can be a dangerous combination. This is because fentanyl, when smoked, enters the brain faster than taking it via a patch or lozenge.

If you notice symptoms of a fentanyl overdose after taking marijuana, go to the hospital immediately. This is particularly crucial if you experience symptoms of an opioid overdose, as immediate medical intervention is necessary to treat opioid overdose.

Symptoms of a fentanyl overdose include:2

  • Clammy skin
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Severe drowsiness
  • Stop heart and brain functions

Codeine-Laced Cough Syrup

Codeine-laced cough syrup, or fry, is an intentionally-laced type of marijuana. The resulting combination results in a very powerful high but can have dangerous side effects.8

Symptoms of codeine-laced cough syrup with marijuana include:

  • Violent behavior
  • Paranoia
  • Panic
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Strong hallucinations

Risks of Laced Weed

Smoking weed laced with other drugs can be dangerous and even life-threatening. In addition to smoking weed, you’ll also face risks from the other medication(s) it's laced with. 

You could have a bad reaction to the other drug. You also risk a drug addiction and need for addiction treatment if you smoke weed laced with an addictive drug for a long time. 

The Dangers of Fentanyl-Laced Marijuana

There are many dangers associated with consuming fentanyl-laced marijuana. First, fentanyl is an incredibly powerful synthetic opioid analgesic, up to 100 times more potent than morphine.

Just a tiny amount of fentanyl-laced marijuana can cause serious respiratory depression or even death. When mixed with marijuana, these risks increase significantly.

Additionally, you often find fentanyl-laced drugs on the black market. This means it’s impossible to know the drug’s exact potency, making dosing incredibly difficult. Users are also more likely to overdose when using fentanyl-laced weed accidentally.

Increased Potency and Legal Consequences of Fentanyl-Laced Weed

Another serious risk associated with fentanyl-laced weed is that it can be much more potent than regular marijuana. Substance abuse research shows that users experience these severe side effects when combining drugs:

  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Psychotic episodes

Fentanyl is a Schedule II controlled substance in the United States. Therefore, it's illegal to possess or use it. Anyone caught with fentanyl-laced weed could face serious legal consequences, even if smoking marijuana is legal where you live.

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How to Avoid Laced Weed

Most people don’t test a substance before using it. They assume smoking marijuana is relatively risk-free and that legal marijuana is especially safe.

Unfortunately, drug dealers lace marijuana for various reasons—from saving money to enhancing the odds of drug addiction. It’s impossible to know exactly what’s in laced weed.

This makes it dangerous and puts you at risk of all the side effects of the other drugs in the weed you purchase. Despite the risks, there are several things you can do to avoid laced marijuana: 

Know Your Source

If you purchase marijuana from someone you don't know, there's no way to be sure what's in it. Therefore, only purchase drugs from a trusted source.

Inspect Before Using 

If the drug looks wrong or smells unusual, it might be laced with something else.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

If you're in an environment where people use drugs, avoid accidentally coming into contact with potentially laced substances.

Use Caution When Trying New Sources or Types of Marijuana

If someone offers you a marijuana cigarette, ask what's in it before using it. You can never know if marijuana is laced without using it, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

What to Do if You Smoked Laced Weed

If you smoked laced weed, seek emergency medical help immediately. This is especially important if you experience any adverse effects, such as:

  • Slowed breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Slurred speech
  • Severe hallucinations
  • Intense sedative effects

If you have to smoke weed, get it from a trusted source. You should also check for signs of tampering before smoking it.

Talk to a Healthcare Provider

Be honest with your healthcare providers about what drugs you have used. Marijuana and other drugs can cause various symptoms and interact with many other medications. Sharing this information can help your medical team provide the best treatment possible.

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Updated on April 23, 2024
9 sources cited
Updated on April 23, 2024
  1. Know the Risks of Marijuana.Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2023. 

  2. Fentanyl Facts.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2023. 

  3. Cocaine.National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2021. 

  4. National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Heroin DrugFacts.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2022. 

  5.  “Lsd.” U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. 

  6. Substance Use - Phencyclidine (PCP).” MedlinePlus, 2022.

  7. American Chemical Society. "Legalizing marijuana and the new science of weed" Eurekalert, 2015.

  8. Roxburgh et al. "Trends and characteristics of accidental and intentional codeine overdose deaths in Australia." The Medical Journal of Australia, 2015.

  9. Gilbert et al. “Smoking wet: respiratory failure related to smoking tainted marijuana cigarettes.” Texas Heart Institute Journal, 2013.

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