Fentanyl Laced Weed
Growing up, you always kept yourself on the straight and narrow path. You had dreams and goals you knew you wanted to accomplish, and nothing was going to stop you from achieving them. Even when your friends started doing drugs behind the high school, you kept your nose in the books to get into a good university.
Unfortunately, you did not get into the university you wanted and decided to go to Hillsborough Community College for a year and try again. Little did you know this would change your life completely. After your first few months of classes and making new friends, they offer you an invitation to smoke weed with them. At this point, your life is not where you had hoped and you figure what can it hurt. You go to your friend’s dorm and all take turns passing around the weed. After a few hits, you feel dizzy and really tired. You look at one of your friends who seems to have passed out. All you can say is “Is this normal,” as you drift into unconsciousness.
In Southern Florida, the Drug Enforcement Administration has reported that synthetic marijuana has been found laced with illicit fentanyl. This is especially alarming as 7.7% of Hillsborough County youth reported using marijuana in 30 days in 2020. Clean Recovery Centers works within our Suncoast communities to educate on topics surrounding substance use. Our program goes beyond typical treatment offerings and has wellness components including brain mapping, therapeutic exercise, and nutritional counseling. Let’s take a look at fentanyl-laced weed further, and how to keep your loved ones safe.
What Does It Mean To Lace A Substance?
Lacing is a common term used to describe mixing one substance into another. This is similar to other terms used in the drug dealing world such as cutting or mixing. When referring to lacing specifically, usually this means that the substance being added is meant to enhance the overall effects. Fentanyl is one of the most common lacing agents in our society today, and has turned up in heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, and marijuana.
The Risks of Smoking Fentanyl-Laced Weed
Fentanyl is a powerful, synthetic opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin. It works by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain and central nervous system. Taking fentanyl causes a euphoric rush followed by drowsiness and relaxation. Weed can vary in effects, and can mimic a depressant, stimulant, or hallucinogen. Whether accidentally smoking fentanyl-laced weed, or ingesting fentanyl and weed at the same time, the risks are still hefty. Marijuana usually amplifies the mood that you are in. If you are feeling anxious or nervous, weed can make those feelings stronger. Even mixing with fentanyl may not help you relax, and can lead to an increased risk of hallucinations and psychosis. These are especially dangerous as you may engage in reckless behaviors you wouldn’t normally do. Driving erratically, unprotected sex with different partners, and increased substance use can all happen when using fentanyl-laced weed.
The Effects Of Smoking Fentanyl-Laced Weed
Fentanyl and weed produce different effects that can interact with each other. Common side effects of smoking fentanyl include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Chronic dry mouth
- Increased anxiety or depression
- Chronic lung infections
Marijuana has been seen to have medicinal uses, such as helping chemo patients increase their appetite. The main component that causes weed’s effects is THC, which is a naturally occurring compound. Although relatively unharmful, marijuana’s side effects can be unpleasant to some. These include:
- Amplifying mood
- Altered sense of time
- Difficulty focusing or making decisions
- Slowed or impaired movements
Smoking substances such as fentanyl-laced weed can increase the risk of developing lung conditions. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic respiratory infections, and susceptibility to pneumonia are common in those who smoke substances. These conditions can be harder to fight off as fentanyl-laced weed can cause a weakened immune system.
Is Fentanyl-Laced Weed Dangerous?
Illicit substances all pose a danger to the person using them, but some are more dangerous than others. As we discussed above, fentanyl-laced weed can cause reckless behaviors. Driving erratically can lead to serious injuries from accidents and cause harm to other people. Having unprotected sex increases the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease such as HIV/AIDS. If these scenarios take place during psychosis, the person may not even remember the events of what happened. This can cause mental health to decline and increase depression and anxiety.
The Risk Of Fentanyl Overdose
Fentanyl is very potent, and as little as a few grains of sand can become lethal. When fentanyl-laced weed is ingested, both substances begin to work within the central nervous system. Fentanyl will slow vital systems such as breathing and heart rate. Marijuana can contribute to feeling even more relaxed, and increase the drowsiness already brought on by the fentanyl. The person may enjoy this feeling and continue to use the fentanyl-laced weed. This causes a build-up of fentanyl in the body, and it cannot process it fast enough. Breathing can slow and stop, causing unconsciousness. If left untreated, oxygen cannot get to vital organs, and body systems begin to shut down. This can lead to permanent organ damage, coma, and death.
In the event of a fentanyl-laced weed overdose, call for help immediately. Stay with the person and try to keep them up and awake. If they pass out, lay them on their side to prevent choking from vomiting. If available, administer naloxone to counteract the effects of the fentanyl. When help arrives, disclose all substances taken, how much was taken, and when the last use was. This can help them treat the person properly and effectively.
What Can You Do To Protect Yourself Against Fentanyl-Laced Weed?
Marijuana is illegal in Florida for recreational use. This means that getting weed from the street increases the risks of it being laced with fentanyl. Dealers are only in the market to make money, and if they can sell you a stronger product that keeps you coming back, they can keep increasing their profits. They try to steer you to even stronger substances which puts you at risk of becoming dependent.
The only way to protect yourself from fentanyl-laced weed is to use fentanyl test strips. These strips have been decriminalized in the state of Florida and are a helpful tool to keep you safe. Simply take a small sample of the substance and place it in a clean container. Add water and put the strip in the sample for around 15 seconds. Take it out and let it sit for two minutes before reading the results. A red line on the left indicates a positive result. Two red lines indicate a negative result while a single red line on the right means the test is invalid. If the results are invalid, try using a new test strip. If you cannot get a clear reading, do not use the substance. If you still plan to use the substance, always have naloxone on hand in case of an emergency.
Seeking Treatment For Marijuana Addiction In Hillsborough County, FL
While marijuana may seem harmless now, the possibility of accidentally taking fentanyl-laced weed is increasing each day. Even if the person supplying you with it is someone you know and trust, there is no guarantee that fentanyl is not present. It may seem impossible to stop using marijuana now, but finding a treatment center that understands and supports you can make all the difference. Marijuana rehab can seem scary, but rediscovering your passions and learning healthy coping skills will help you get your life back on track. Your future is bright, don’t wait until it’s too late to let it shine.
If you or someone you love is managing marijuana addiction and are worried about fentanyl-laced weed, don’t hesitate to reach out. Clean Recovery Centers has helped hundreds to get clean, live clean, and stay clean. Our program uses a unique, three-phase approach that addresses all aspects of addiction – physical, mental, social, and spiritual. Our dedicated team can diagnose and treat any mental health condition no matter what phase of treatment you are in. Call us today at (888) 330-2532 to schedule an appointment.