Fentanyl-Laced Weed : An Overview

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What is Fentanyl-Laced Weed?

Fentanyl-laced weed is marijuana that has been mixed or ‘laced’ with fentanyl. 

Fentanyl and marijuana are a potent and even deadly combination, especially since many people who consume marijuana laced with fentanyl have never been exposed to fentanyl before, and so have not developed a tolerance to it.

Avenues Recovery, leading addiction rehabilitation specialists, have compiled an in-depth report with everything you should know about fentanyl-laced weed: learn why people lace weed with fentanyl, how you can distinguish it, and what it looks like.

Why Do People Lace Weed With Fentanyl?

People lace weed with fentanyl to heighten the short-term pleasures felt after ingesting marijuana. Another reason why people lace weed with fentanyl is to profit more from the amount of marijuana sold when it is sold by weight.

buying fentanyl on the street

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a potent opioid that is used medically to relieve pain in patients, particularly after surgery, and also to manage chronic pain. It is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, and therefore more deadly. Even two milligrams of fentanyl, equivalent to a grain of sand, obtained without a prescription can cause an overdose and death. Fentanyl is currently a leading cause of overdose deaths in the US.

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What Does Fentanyl Look Like?

Illegal fentanyl is usually made into three substances:

  • Synthetic powder
  • Regular looking pills
  • Eye droppers and nasal sprays 

What Is Weed?

Marijuana (or ‘weed’, as it is known on the street), is a greenish-gray mixture of dried flowers from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant. There are over 500 chemicals present in marijuana, but the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol chemical, otherwise known as THC, is what causes the addictive ‘high’ feeling. Marijuana is often brewed in teas, eaten with foods, smoked, and even vaped.

THC is the chemical responsible for causing psychotropic effects, distorting the brain of the consumer. This is because it stimulates the part of the brain that responds to pleasure by releasing dopamine, affecting a person’s coordination, happiness, thoughts, memory, and perception of time. As a result, marijuana is addictive and one can become dependent on it.


Innocent-looking weed may be fentanyl-laced weed. Avenues Recovery describes how to spot it

How to Tell if Weed Is Laced With Fentanyl?

The most accurate way to test for fentanyl in weed is by using a test strip. Here’s how:

  1. Dissolve the substance in water.
  2. Place the strip inside. 
  3. The results will show whether or not the substance has fentanyl within it.

Read our online resource to find out where to buy fentanyl test strips.

It’s important to know how to tell if the weed is laced with fentanyl. Some other ways to tell include smelling it or looking closely at it for the common signs of a laced joint:

What Does Laced Weed Smell Like?

Pure marijuana usually smells like grass or leaves, whereas pot laced with fentanyl may have a strong distinct smell of gas, paint, or nail polish.

What Does Fentanyl-Laced Weed Look Like?

Weed laced with fentanyl looks like blue or white crystals, against the brown crystal look of pure marijuana.

What Does Fentanyl-Laced Weed Taste Like?

Unfortunately, there is no proven research on the taste or smell of fentanyl, especially as the taste changes completely when it is mixed with different substances. The taste of laced weed is not distinguishable from pure weed.

drug deal

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It is difficult to know whether or not weed has been laced with other substances when it is purchased illicitly, as there are no legal guidelines. As cannabis is becoming more widely legalized for medicinal purposes, it will become more regulated and signs of weed being laced will become more apparent. It will be easier to know the quality of weed and if it has been laced with other drugs when purchased from a legitimate source.

Laced Weed Deaths

The problem with fentanyl-laced marijuana is that for people who have never been exposed, the lethal dose of fentanyl can be minuscule. Consumers usually don’t know when their weed is laced with fentanyl, causing catastrophic effects. Additionally, there is a higher risk of addiction to marijuana when it is laced with fentanyl, since the effects are potentially stronger and more pleasurable.

The first warning on the danger of fentanyl-laced weed came from Connecticut in 2021, when the Department of Public Health declared that fentanyl-laced weed caused 40 overdoses in the state in that year. Whereas this statement has yet to be confirmed, there has definitely been an uptick in illegally sold fentanyl-laced weed, causing a rise in overdose cases.

pills spilling from bottle

Signs of Fentanyl Overdose

Within 15 to 20 minutes after consuming weed, it is obvious whether or not it has been laced because the immediate side effects are different to those of pure weed.

Symptoms of a fentanyl overdose (and therefore the symptoms of laced weed) typically include:

  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Wet and clammy skin
  • Severe drowsiness

Eventually, one’s heartbeat can slow so much that it stops altogether. If it appears as though someone has overdosed on fentanyl, it is vital to get them to the nearest emergency room immediately.

Preventing Overdose on Fentanyl-Laced Weed

It is important to educate yourself on the dangers of laced marijuana and remain vigilant when obtaining it so that you can protect yourself from unknowingly consuming deadly fentanyl.

Here are a few safety strategies to implement if you have concerns about overdose:

  • Never use alone.
  • Find a legal way to obtain marijuana. Marijuana is legal in some states and traveling to obtain it legally is a good way to ensure its safety.
  • Replace cannabis use with a legal drug.

Have Narcan available whenever using. It's a medication used to treat opioid overdose and can be life-saving.

Avenues Recovery advises the use of Narcan to reverse the effects of a fentanyl-laced weed overdose

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Save Yourself From Fentanyl-Laced Weed

Many people believe that marijuana is a low-risk drug since there aren’t many reported overdose cases from marijuana alone. Although it’s true that marijuana alone probably won’t kill you, it’s important to remember two things: firstly, marijuana is highly addictive and can cause many harmful long-term side effects. Secondly, marijuana can be laced with fentanyl (or other substances) without you knowing, and fentanyl-laced weed can cause catastrophic and unexpected results.

If you or a loved one is addicted to marijuana, reach out for help. Leading drug rehabilitation experts such as Avenues Recovery will help you detox safely so that you can start your journey toward a drug-free life.

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