Fentanyl Laced Weed: How to Tell If Weed is Laced (and How to Avoid It)

laced weed
By Anthony Pellegrino Updated April 23rd

Fact-checked by Alexandra Arnett, MS

In recent years, there have been reports of cannabis on the legacy market being laced or cut with fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid responsible for an increasing amount of overdose deaths. However, according to Snopes, these reports are largely based on faulty reporting. There is little evidence to suggest that fentanyl-laced cannabis is a widespread or significant problem.

Despite this, many cannabis consumers remain concerned about the potential risks of laced weed and wonder how to identify and avoid it.

In this article, we’ll clarify what is laced cannabis, identify basic ways you can tell if your cannabis has been tampered with, and detail steps you can take to get medical help if you suspect you have been exposed to laced cannabis.

Get Your Medical Card Online Get approved today in minutes with the nation's #1 trusted medical card provider.
No appointment needed. Only billed if approved.

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid used medically to relieve severe pain, such as that experienced by cancer patients or after surgery. Fentanyl can be administered in various ways, including transdermal patches, injections, and lozenges.

However, fentanyl is also a drug of abuse that has contributed to the opioid epidemic in the United States. It is up to 100 times more potent than morphine, making it a powerful painkiller that must be used with extreme caution, due to the severe risk of overdose and addiction. 

Because fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, it’s produced in a lab. This means that it can also be produced in underground labs illegally for sale on the illicit market. It is sometimes mixed with other drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine, to increase their potency and profitability.

While fentanyl is a potent painkiller, it is also extremely dangerous, especially when abused. Fentanyl is not intended for recreational use, and its misuse can lead to serious health consequences, including extreme sedation, respiratory depression, addiction, coma, and death. Fentanyl has an extremely high probability of dependence, which can lead to severe and prolonged withdrawal symptoms.

In recent years, there have been reports of fentanyl-laced cannabis in some areas. While it is theoretically possible to lace cannabis with fentanyl, little evidence suggests this is a common occurrence. Many reports about fentanyl-laced cannabis are based on shoddy reporting and have been debunked.

However, given fentanyl’s potency, the concern about fentanyl-laced cannabis is understandable, particularly for recreational and medical patients who are not shopping at state-licensed dispensaries where products are tested for purity and potency. Someone, in theory, could adulterate legacy market cannabis and other drugs with a range of dangerous substances, including fentanyl, which can pose a risk to consumers.

The surest way to protect yourself from cannabis that has been tampered with is to purchase from state-licensed dispensaries and be cautious of anything suspicious or unusual. 

What is Laced Marijuana?

what is laced weed

Laced cannabis, also known as “spiked” or “adulterated” weed, is cannabis that has been mixed or tampered with other substances (such as cocaine, PCP, or synthetic cannabinoids) without the user’s knowledge or consent. 

While lacing cannabis with other drugs or additives is possible, it is not a common occurrence. It’s important to note that laced cannabis is an overblown issue often fueled by sensationalist media coverage and misinformation. And almost all reports of fentanyl in cannabis have been debunked due to flawed reporting. 

Some people may attempt to lace cannabis for various reasons, like to increase its potency or add weight to increase their profits. However, this is not a common practice and is typically associated with disreputable sellers in the legacy market, rather than state-licensed dispensaries. As such, the risk of consuming laced cannabis is relatively low, especially if purchased from reputable sources.

The surest way to know you are consuming pure cannabis products is to purchase from state-licensed dispensaries, which may require a medical cannabis card depending on your state’s laws. In these dispensaries, products must undergo rigorous testing for contaminants, potency, and purity to ensure consumers are getting the highest quality products.

Therefore, if you’re buying your product from one of these dispensaries, it’s virtually certain that you’ll never receive fentanyl-laced weed.

Is Fentanyl Laced Weed a Myth?

laced marijuana

While there have been reports of fentanyl-laced cannabis, fact-checking websites like Snopes have debunked many of these reports.

While the risk of laced cannabis is considered low, that risk increases when purchasing products on the unlicensed legacy market. For instance, placing cannabis in a bag that had previously stored another substance could cause claims that the cannabis was laced with those drugs.

In some areas, public health officials have issued warnings about fentanyl and other synthetic opioids appearing in illegal substances, including cannabis. The Connecticut Department of Public Health issued a warning in 2021 about fentanyl-laced cannabis being sold in the area. Police even claimed that testing revealed that the cannabis at the scene tested positive for fentanyl. However, the Department of Public Health later said this test was an isolated incident and was likely due to accidental contamination rather than actual fentanyl-laced cannabis, as no other cannabis samples contained fentanyl.

By shopping at licensed dispensaries, consumers can be assured that they are getting safe, high-quality cannabis products free from contaminants and other harmful substances. While the risk of fentanyl-laced cannabis may be low, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and make sure you are buying from a reputable source.

What are the Risks and Effects of Fentanyl Laced Weed?

Fentanyl-laced cannabis appears to be a myth. However, if fentanyl were to be mixed with cannabis, there could be severe health risks and side effects, including:

  • Respiratory depression and difficulty breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Coma
  • Death

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that can be deadly, even in small amounts. Mixing fentanyl with cannabis, or any other drug, can significantly increase the risk of overdose and other adverse effects.

It’s essential to remember that these risks are hypothetical, and there is little evidence to suggest that fentanyl-laced cannabis is a widespread problem.

However, it’s always a good idea to exercise caution and make sure you are purchasing cannabis products from reputable sources.

If you are a medical cannabis patient, be sure to obtain a medical card and purchase your products from state-licensed dispensaries. These dispensaries are required to test their products for purity and potency, which can help ensure that you are getting safe, high-quality cannabis.

What Does Laced Weed Look Like? How to Tell if Weed is Laced

laced weed signs

Laced cannabis is rare, and cannabis products purchased from licensed locations have undergone extensive testing. 

If you are concerned about the purity of your cannabis, here are some tips for spotting laced weed:

  • Check the color: Laced cannabis may have a different color than pure cannabis. For example, if the buds are unnaturally bright or have an unusual hue, this could be a sign that they have been treated with additives.
  • Look for unusual textures: Laced cannabis may have a sticky or oily texture that differs from the natural stickiness you’d find in fresh cannabis or the dry, crumbly texture of older cannabis.
  • Look for abnormal crystals or powdery material: Cannabis that has been laced with a foreign material may have residue in the form of abnormal crystals or powder.
  • Be wary of unusually low prices: If the price of a cannabis product seems too good to be true, it may be because it has been cut with other substances to increase the volume.

Some sites advise smelling cannabis as a more synthetic smell could be a sign that the flower has been laced. However, we don't advise the smell test as it could present an exposure risk for some substances.

If you are still concerned about the purity of your cannabis, you can purchase test strips to detect certain substances, such as fentanyl or other opioids. However, it’s important to note that these tests are not foolproof.

The best way to ensure your cannabis is pure and safe is to purchase it from licensed dispensaries. They can provide you with information about the potency and purity of the cannabis you are purchasing and can provide a certificate of analysis or authenticity (COA).

How to Use a Fentanyl Test Strip

cannabis drug test

Fentanyl-laced cannabis is rare. However, if you are concerned about the purity of your cannabis, you can purchase fentanyl test strips to detect fentanyl or other opioids. These strips are affordable and easy to use.

To use a fentanyl test strip, you will need to:

  1. Collect a small sample of your cannabis.
  2. Add a few drops of water to the sample to create a solution.
  3. Dip the test strip into the solution and wait a few minutes.
  4. Check the test strip for an indication of fentanyl or other opioids.

Fentanyl test strips are available for purchase at many drugstores and online retailers. Prices can vary depending on the brand and quantity of strips you purchase, but they are generally affordable.

It’s essential to note that while fentanyl test strips can help detect fentanyl or other opioids in your cannabis, they are not always reliable and may not detect all types of contaminants. And using these strips may not be necessary if you purchase your cannabis from a licensed dispensary.

Get Your Medical Card Online Get approved today in minutes with the nation's #1 trusted medical card provider.
No appointment needed. Only billed if approved.

Fentanyl Laced Weed FAQ

Is laced weed legal?

No, lacing cannabis with illicit drugs is not legal. Most legal states have provisions that prevent the adulteration of cannabis products. However, it is worth noting that some cannabis products are sprayed with alternative cannabinoids, and this isn't necessarily disallowed.

What should I do if I get laced marijuana?

If you suspect your cannabis has been laced with any substance, stop using it immediately. We’d recommend turning over any remaining cannabis for testing. It’s also important to seek medical attention right away if you experience any negative side effects.

What should I do if I knowingly or unknowingly ingest laced weed?

If you suspect you may have ingested laced cannabis and are experiencing negative side effects, seek medical attention immediately. Common symptoms of a fentanyl overdose include slow breathing, severe confusion, and unconsciousness. If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms after ingesting cannabis, call 911 or your local emergency number right away.

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

You might also like: