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Updated on December 9, 2022
5 min read

Sherm Drug (Smoking PCP or Embalming Fluid)

What is Sherm?

Sherm refers to tobacco or marijuana cigarettes dipped into either: 

  • PCP
  • Embalming fluid
  • A combination of both

Embalming fluid contains many dangerous chemicals and is meant for preserving bodies.1 However, it’s commonly used to get high.

PCP is a synthetic drug with various dangerous properties. People place marijuana or tobacco cigarettes into the fluid to increase the effects.

Smoking sherm in any form and for any reason is dangerous. Sherm is highly addictive. Once the body has become used to the drug, a painful, risky withdrawal process is necessary for treatment.

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Health Risks of Sherm

 Embalming fluid also causes aggressive behavior and contributes to health risks, including: 

  • Seizures
  • Brain damage
  • Cancer

Embalming fluid is usually associated with funeral homes and morgues. However, people also buy it directly from chemical companies. 

Dealers often purchase embalming fluid from people who work in an industry where it’s used, like: 

  • Hospitals
  • Funeral homes
  • Government morgues

If you habitually smoke sherm, you must seek professional medical care as soon as possible.

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Why Do People Smoke Embalming Fluid?

There are two main reasons why people smoke sherm: to take PCP or enhance the effects of cigarettes.

PCP is a synthetic drug known for its hallucinogenic effects. It can’t be dissolved in water. Because of this, many people use embalming fluid to dissolve the drug in a readily-available liquid.

Wet Drugs

Once PCP has been dissolved in the embalming fluid, users can dip a cigarette into the solution and smoke it to experience the desired effects. These dipped cigarettes are often known as ‘wet drugs.’

Wet drugs are known on the streets as:

  • Fry
  • Dip
  • Water
  • Superweed

Some people dip cigarettes into an embalming fluid that doesn’t contain a dissolved substance. The chemicals in the liquid enhance the effects of marijuana or tobacco.

How wet drugs affect each person varies widely. It depends on how much of the drug was used and the chemical makeup of the substance.

As PCP is manufactured illegally, there’s no consistency to its makeup. There may be chemicals that aren’t removed during the manufacturing process.

These chemicals usually have more of an effect on the risks rather than the high. However, because of the inconsistency, it’s difficult to say.

The Effects of Wet Drugs

The effects that users seek in wet drugs include:4

  • ​​Euphoric feelings
  • Adrenaline rush
  • Hallucinations
  • Detachment from reality
  • Self-delusions, like superhuman strength

It’s reported that the delusions and sensations of wet drugs, those placed in PCP, and/or embalming fluid can make people feel like superman. The extra strength that some users have felt has even enabled them to break a pair of handcuffs.

Hallucinations

Wet drugs are typically used for the same reasons as other hallucinogens – because people want to escape reality. While many people dip marijuana joints into PCP or embalming fluid, the effects of the liquid overpower the effects of the weed.

When someone smokes embalming fluid, they typically experience an improved mood. They’ll have a sudden rush of adrenaline and a sense of detachment from the issues in their life.

Hallucinations and delusions are also common. However, they can have deadly consequences. 

Users can endanger themselves and others by acting out their delusions. In some cases, people have leapt off buildings believing that they could fly.

Mobility and Coordination

Like alcohol, embalming fluid causes poor mobility and coordination, making it extremely dangerous for anyone operating a motor vehicle. It can also affect a person’s memory and cause total blackouts.  

Dangers of Inhaling Embalming Fluid

​​Embalming fluid creates a high that’s similar to that of PCP.

Wet drugs are extremely dangerous and come with serious risks that can be life-threatening. Even people who use them occasionally are at risk of long-term health consequences.

While some of the risks of wet drugs are known, they can be challenging to predict. 

With PCP, many of the toxins of the manufacturing procedure don’t get removed, so the effects and risks are unpredictable.

Dangerous Side Effects of Wet Drugs

Some of the common dangerous side effects of wet drugs are:

  • Violent or aggressive behavior
  • Reduced ability to feel pain
  • Blackouts or memory loss
  • Impaired coordination
  • Accidental suicide or self-injury due to delusional thinking
  • Respiratory depression or failure
  • Schizophrenic-like symptoms, like paranoia and delusions

Violence

Some news reports detail some horrific crimes committed by people under the influence of wet drugs. 

PCP users often report that they can’t remember becoming violent due to the memory gaps they had from the drug. The risks are even more significant when embalming fluid is used.

The Toxicity of Embalming Fluid

There aren’t many reasons why people choose embalming fluid over PCP, except that it’s legal and more accessible.

The high occurrence from embalming fluid is like that from PCP, but the drug is more toxic.

The risks of using embalming fluid include:

  • Seizures
  • Lung damage
  • Brain damage
  • Cancer
  • Destruction of body tissue
  • Immediate coma
  • Death

Sherm can also dangerously interact with other medications that you take, both prescription and over-the-counter. Various serious side effects can occur, including kidney damage, liver, damage, respiratory depression, heart attack, and even death.

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Addiction Potential and Treatment

​​​​​​Embalming fluid, especially when used alongside other drugs, can be highly addictive. People may crave additional highs, and the body can develop a dependence on the substance for its daily functioning.

These addictive qualities make the substance particularly dangerous. Because of its addictive qualities, embalming fluid is challenging for users to quit independently. Cravings may seem irresistible, and physical side effects can also prove dangerous.

Seeking Treatment

To stop using sherm safely it’s best to seek professional treatment. Suddenly stopping consumption can have serious medical consequences when the body has become accustomed to sherm.

Withdrawal from embalming fluid is rarely deadly. However, it brings a host of painful and uncomfortable side effects. 

Many people experience depression and anxiety alongside intense cravings when quitting the drug.

The strength of these unpleasant symptoms typically drives people to relapse and resume their substance use. Detox is the best way to manage uncomfortable symptoms and avoid relapse.

Doctors at a treatment center can help people through this challenging first step to recovery. Once the worst withdrawal effects disappear, individuals can start developing coping mechanisms to beat the addiction.

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Updated on December 9, 2022
6 sources cited
Updated on December 9, 2022
  1. Brenner, Erich. “Human body preservation - old and new techniques.” Journal of anatomy vol. 224,3, 2014
  2. Peters, Ronald J Jr et al. “The use of fry (embalming fluid and PCP-laced cigarettes or marijuana sticks) among crack cocaine smokers.” Journal of drug education vol. 38,3, 2008 
  3. Gilbert, Christopher R et al. “"Smoking wet": respiratory failure related to smoking tainted marijuana cigarettes.” Texas Heart Institute journal vol. 40,1, 2013
  4. Peters, Ronald J Jr et al. “Beliefs and social norms about cigarettes or marijuana sticks laced with embalming fluid and phencyclidine (PCP): why youth use "fry".” Substance use & misuse vol. 40,4, 2005
  5. Fairman, Brian J. “Cannabis problem experiences among users of the tobacco-cannabis combination known as blunts.” Drug and alcohol dependence vol. 150, 2015
  6. Balta, Joy Y et al. “A comparison of embalming fluids on the structures and properties of tissue in human cadavers.” Anatomia, histologia, embryologia vol. 48,1, 2019

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