SURVIVOR SERIES: THE DANGERS OF LACED MARIJUANA
Marijuana use has grown significantly in recent years. According to a 2015 study from the University of Michigan, approximately 6% of college students smoke marijuana daily. This percentage is the highest rate since 1980. To put things in perspective, this percentage is high enough to surpass the amount of college students that smoke cigarettes on a daily basis. This increase in use of marijuana indicates that the amount of purchasing and selling of marijuana has risen equally. Higher usage also indicates that the risks associated with smoking marijuana are more prevalent than ever.
Although rare, laced marijuana can pose a serious threat to consumers. Dealers may lace marijuana for a couple of reasons. It is useful for dealers to lace a weak batch of marijuana with stronger drugs to enhance its positive effects, thus masking the poor quality. Having a more positive experience will encourage users to come back to that seller in the future. Some really malicious dealers will lace their marijuana with an powerful addictive drug so that their users gradually become addicted. Ultimately, dealers can lace marijuana as a marketing ploy to retain their customers.
Marijuana can be laced with harmless substances like basil, or oregano. These natural herbs can be used as fillers to that dealers can spread their batches and make more money. However, in less fortunate scenarios, dealers will lace their batches with substances that can be extremely harmful to the body. These substances include diesel fuel, skunk spray, and perfumes filled with chemicals. These strong scents will give nostrils a “false kick” when smoked, and will convince the user they are having a stronger high.
Laced marijuana can have minor effects on the user’s body. These effects can include trouble falling asleep, decreased appetite, nausea, irritability, and dizziness. However more serious consequences that can occur from the more serious substances aforementioned include hallucinations, difficulty breathing, delirium, organ failure, and even death. If by chance, you or someone you know has an experience with laced marijuana, hope that it is the former and not the latter.
Although the growing, selling, purchasing, and/or smoking and consuming marijuana is illegal in New York state, it is still prominent, particularly on college campuses. If you or someone you know is to smoke marijuana, familiarize yourself with the signs of laced marijuana. Some of these are tell-tale signs that your marijuana could be laced:
- The person you purchase from refuses to let you inspect the marijuana before purchasing or completing the transaction.
- If your run a blank CD over the buds, and the Cd scratches, it is likely there is additives in the marijuana, including broken glass to enhance appearance (this is why the CD would scratch). If there are glass shards in marijuana, it is likely there are other substances as well.
- If marijuana begins to pop or spark when you light it up, stop smoking it.The pop or spark is due to added chemicals.
- Pay attention to the smell of the marijuana as you smoke. If it smells harshly of other chemicals, or you are aware the smell just is not right, stop smoking. That could be the presence of harmful substances
- Inspect thoroughly before using it. If the color is inconsistent throughout, it is possible harsh dyes could have been added to enhance appearance and color.
Essentially, even if something as minor as color is off about marijuana, it could be harmful, or even fatal to smoke it. If a dealer is trying to disguise something as simple as color, it is likely there is something larger at play. Do not trust a dealer that manipulates marijuana in any manner. Again, marijuana is illegal in any from in New York state, but usage rates continue to rise. There is no legal market for marijuana, and no laws and regulations in place for it. If you are smoking marijuana, keep yourself safe, and keep these things in mind.
Written and researched by Peer Educator, Colleen MacBride