Obviously, cannabis is sometimes intentionally cut at the behest of the consumer. For example, someone may want their cannabis to be combined with other drugs such as cocaine or heroin. This can give cannabis a totally different effect. However, for this article, the focus is exclusively on covertly cut cannabis, when the dealer is bulking out/contaminating the product and passing it off as pure.
Why dealers cut cannabis
The main reason a dealer cuts their cannabis is to make an inferior quality product appear more potent than it actually is, and so to increase profit margins ( contaminants are, gram for gram, considerably cheaper than cannabis ).
When the now “watered down” already inferior cannabis is not so potent, dealers will “add back” the illusion of potency by lacing it with chemicals that give the user the illusion of being high. The effects may not last very long, but they are somewhat similar to the sensation of being so, and thus the less-experienced customer can be fooled.
Other contaminants are used to make the cannabis appear more aesthetically pleasing, but don't necessarily change the experience itself ( like spraying buds with hairspray to simulate the appearance of lots of sticky trichomes ). Other additives are used to increase the potency of its smell. The bottom line is that such unscrupulous dealers want to pass off cheap, poor quality product and fool the consumer into thinking they are getting something that they are not.
What is cannabis commonly cut with
Cannabis can be mixed with many different things. Sometimes chemicals are sprayed on it, to make it look stronger than it is using, for example, such substances as embalming fluid or PCP .
Sometimes cannabis is sprinkled with crushed shards of glass. This gives the buyer the illusion that the buds are covered in sticky trichomes. The aforementioned hairspray as well as nail lacquer is also used to create this effect.
Some dealers will try to change the smell of their cannabis by spraying it with diesel fuel, in a lame attempt to create that very diesel smell that is characteristic of some strains, such as Sour Diesel or NYC Diesel. Experienced consumers who know these strains well will know the real stuff from the fake, but new or inexperienced consumers will often not.
6 signs that cannabis has been contaminated
It is enough to have to concern oneself with thinking about which chemicals (like toxic pesticides) may have been used in the growing process, but those added after the harvesting, drying and curing process are even more serious. First-time or new smokers can find it very difficult to tell the difference between clean and cut cannabis.
1. It feels “different”
Of course, strains all differ. But there is something that connects them all. There is something that, despite their differences, makes it cannabis. When muted, the effect is usually a little off or different from what a consumer is used to, although it may be difficult to articulate exactly what that is.
2. Dizziness and nausea
Cut cannabis can cause feelings of dizziness and/or nausea. Pure cannabis generally has the opposite effect, unless too much is smoked too quickly. If, after a few tokes, a feeling of nausea and dizziness ensues, then it is likely that the cannabis is cut.
3. Increased sweating
For most people, cannabis induces a very natural feeling in the body, however, when cut, the body recognises it as a toxic substance, and can instantly attempt to detox by increasing sweating.
4. Heart Rate Increases Significantly
It is normal for the heart rate to increase a bit after smoking cannabis. But this stage is often short-lived and not dramatic. When cannabis is cut, one may feel the sensation of a significant increase in heart rate, as if it is jumping out of the chest. Also, this will happen quickly and not subside.
5. Difficulty breathing
The often used addition of grass clippings can have the common effect of making the user struggle to take sufficient breaths and feel unable to breathe deeply.
6. The “high” is short-lived
All of the things listed above can happen to a lesser degree with regular cannabis, which is why it can be difficult to tell for new consumers whether they have just smoked cut cannabis or not. The best way to know is that the sensations will all but disappear with the high, within about a paltry 30 minutes of experiencing the high in the first place.
What to know before buying
It can be very difficult to tell if cannabis is cut before smoking it. But it is possible to tell that there are adulterants in cannabis if looking carefully at it.
Here are a few things to watch out for.
1. Look for the glass
Some dealers will coat the buds with shards of crushed glass to make them look like they are covered in trichomes. Try scratching a CD or reflective plastic with the bud. Trichomes won't leave a mark, but glass will
2. Look for detergents
If buds have been smeared with detergent, then a simple toss of one into a small bottle of water, then shaking it, will cause foam to appear and confirm detergent contamination.
3. Look for gasoline
Yes. Some dealers spray the buds with gasoline to make them smell like diesel. Putting a lighter next to the suspected bud will cause it ignite much faster if covered in gasoline
4. Burn and sniff
Simply put, if burning the bud causes it to smell of chemicals, then it has almost certainly been cut.
What to do if cut cannabis has been smoked
The first thing is not to panic, and wait it out until the effect wears off. As mentioned above, it probably won't last very long. Obviously, if feelings exceed the manageable i.e.: severe breathlessness, palpitations etc. then seeking medical attention may be advisable. Fortunately, this is relatively rare. Waiting it out, disposing of any remaining product and not buying from that dealer again is the best course of action.