Does Fentanyl-Laced Weed Smell Like Popcorn?


Several claims about how to detect drug fentanyl-laced weed appeared devoid of citation on Facebook and it seems to be primarily based on one particular single, years-old anecdote.

On April four, 2019, the following warning appeared, containing the claim that cannabis smokers can detect fentanyl contamination by smell:

Yesterday, this post popped up in our private facebook group:

Fentanyl Laced Marijuana Second Post

With each other, each posts have extra than 60,000 shares, that is why it is time to clear up irrespective of whether this is accurate or not.

An assertion in the comments matched what we encountered hunting for any documented situations of fentanyl-contaminated marijuana. If you verify Google, you will not be capable to uncover a lot of info about instances exactly where cannabis has been laced with fentanyl.

We not too long ago reported the following incident:

Fentanyl Laced Weed Sullivan County

Sullivan County Sheriff Michael Schiff warned the public that cannabis laced with fentanyl has produced its way to Sullivan County. We consider this could quite nicely be some sort of scare tactic by the police to maintain individuals from consuming cannabis. Anyway, let’s get back to the Popcorn smell rumor.

In March 2018, BuzzFeed reported:

[The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)]’s press workplace, in turn, referred to “anecdotal reports” of fentanyl in weed from police departments, particularly a 2015 Vancouver police report claiming “fentanyl-laced marijuana” was killing drug customers. The following year, having said that, Vancouver police officers told neighborhood newscasters that they hadn’t in fact observed this.

… The mistaken police reports may have come from weed that tested good for fentanyl on ultrasensitive test strips that can detect the drug at concentrations as low as one particular-billionth of a gram. Weed handled by dealers and individuals who may use all sorts of drugs will probably have trace amounts of fentanyl, equivalent to the way that research have identified US currency extensively contaminated by cocaine. “The good samples are from levels of contamination that are not clinically meaningful,” Ciccarone mentioned. “They are not felt by the individual.”

The other proof of cross contamination comes from toxicology tests on individuals who died of an overdose. That is not a sign of drug dealers purposefully adding fentanyl to marijuana, but rather that lots of drug customers take all sorts of drugs.

“The smoking gun,” [epidemiologist Dan] Ciccarone mentioned, would be a good test of a marijuana sample that contained micrograms to milligrams of fentanyl. (As tiny as two milligrams can be a lethal dose of fentanyl, according to the DEA.) No such record seems in the scientific literature.

A search of NIDA’s archives did not return any results for incidents of fentanyl-laced weed. Broader searches for incidents in which marijuana was tainted with fentanyl led back to reiterations that no such contamination had ever been verified, along with reports that explicitly described reported incidents as “rumored.” In one particular instance, Narcan was administered to a student solely mainly because of a rumor about fentanyl-laced marijuana:

The incident is nonetheless below investigation. It is unclear what, if something else was in the oil-primarily based THC and it has been sent to a laboratory for testing[.]

Information and facts about the purported olfactory properties of fentanyl largely claimed it has no discernible odor or taste, or, alternatively, that it has a faint “powdery” scent. The latter claim was anecdotal, as was a description in a February 2017 short article mentioning “popcorn” — the doable supply of this distinct rumor:

Waterloo Regional Police Chief Bryan Larkin says fentanyl is a “tidal wave” hitting Ontario and the opioid is a “game changer” mainly because it is extra deadly than crack cocaine, meth or OxyContin.

In 2015, neighborhood police had 12 seizures of fentanyl. In 2016, it climbed to 69, with an added 15 drug seizures sent to the Centre for Forensic Sciences in Toronto to ascertain the substances was, or contained, deadly fentanyl.

Most of the seizures had been in powder kind, says Det. Ian Young. On the street, it is recognized as china white or popcorn heroin mainly because when fentanyl is smoked it smells like burnt popcorn, says Young, who not too long ago spoke at a conference on opioids.

That short article was about fentanyl alone, not marijuana-laced fentanyl, and it was primarily based on an anecdote from one particular police detective in Canada who mentioned that fentanyl itself, not laced marijuana, smelled like popcorn when smoked. But the bigger share of info about fentanyl indicated that it is mostly odorless and tasteless.

Despite the fact that cross-contamination of fentanyl has been reported in cocaine, the manner in which it occurred did not logically carry more than to provide chains of illegal marijuana (which is not powder primarily based):

“Nobody desires to kill off their consumer. Nobody’s attempting to place fentanyl in their shit to get their coke consumers [to switch] more than to heroin when their company is coke,” [Tino Fuentes, a harm reduction and overdose reversal specialist] says, particularly because there’s a likelihood that mixture could kill them. The extra probably culprit, he continues, is accidental cross-contamination.

It goes like this: Dealers rush the cleanup, sloppily wiping down the region with a rag, which implies traces of fentanyl stay. Then they start to reduce and package yet another item — in this case, cocaine — on the exact same table, with the exact same tools.

Many 2018 news articles reported that no one particular had unearthed a single case of fentanyl-laced marijuana, and we had been unable to uncover any subsequent incidents of mentioned contamination.

So if fentanyl-laced pot is not in fact a issue, exactly where did these rumors origin from? Effectively, when it comes to the “misinformation” that continues to be spread by the White Property – working with the information collected by NIDA — all of it is primarily based on anecdotal proof from neighborhood police departments. But all of these reports were ultimately verified to be false. Even the truth-checking web site Snopes found no evidence to recommend that this drug mixture is not a genuine concern.

On top of that, almost all info about fentanyl’s scent indicated it was odorless or faintly powder-scented, not that it smells “like popcorn.” The inherent threat in such info becoming spread as “better secure than sorry” was lulling recreational drug customers into a dangerously false sense of safety with respect to detecting contamination from drugs such as fentanyl.

Lengthy story brief, this is clearly a rumor.


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