Lacing (drugs)

Lacing (drugs)

Lacing is the act of secretly adding one or more substances to another. Some street drugs are commonly laced with other chemicals for various reasons, but is most commonly done so to bulk up the original product or to sell other, cheaper drugs in the place of something more expensive.

Types of Lacings

Non-psychoactive chemicals that are readily available and usually inert are often mixed with many street drugs such as cocaine and heroin. They are mixed in to bulk up the original product to make it appear as if there is more than there actually is, so they can generate more profit. The chemicals that are picked to be mixed in usually have some characteristics of the original product. Examples of this includes cutting procaine into cocaine, both chemicals are local anesthetics, but the former is cheap, legal, and doesn't produce a "high". Methods like this can also cause a person to gain a false sense that they are getting something good.

Cheaper and/or readily available psychoactive chemicals are sometimes mixed with other drugs that are either more expensive or in much higher demand. This most notably includes ecstasy pills. The only active ingredient in a pill being sold as ecstasy should be MDMA, but many other psychoactive chemicals are combined with it or sold as it. These chemicals range from being very closely related to MDMA such as MDA, chemicals that are very different than MDMA such as ketamine, to chemicals that are potentially deadly such as PMA.

Lacing Marijuana is rare and almost always added after it is purchased from a dealer by the purchaser. Because of the very high cost of other illegal substances and the cost of marijuana on the streets it is sensible you are not going to be receiving laced marijuana.

Commonly Laced Drugs


Cocaine is sometimes mixed with methylamphetamine, methylphenidate, caffeine, and ephedrine, but is usually mixed with non psychoactive chemicals such as mannitol, inositol, pectin, glucose, lactose, saccharin, white rice flour, and maltodextrin. Other local anesthetics such as procaine and lidocaine are very commonly used.


Marijuana is rarely laced with other substances. Cannabis is sprayed with cheap chemicals, which will only effect the consumers lungs, in order to increase weight and therefore profit; lacing has become so widespread that there are even commercial products on the market (such as brix+) for this very purpose. Cannabis adulterants are applied by spraying the complete plant 7 to 10 days prior to harvest date. The health effects of this adulterated cannabis is not yet known.

One of the most regularly told urban myths regarding cannabis talks about various other recreational substances such as PCP or cocaine being used to adulterate cannabis. This is very rare without the end user paying more for the cannabis, as it is not financially viable for illicit drug dealers to contaminate a substance with a substance that costs more than the original substance (i.e its not financially viable to cut a bag of cannabis that is sold for £20 for 3.5 grams with something that costs £40 for one gram).


Ecstasy pills are frequently mixed with other drugs along with MDMA or don't even contain MDMA at all. MDA, MDEA, amphetamine, methylamphetamine, caffeine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and dextromethorphan (DXM) are all commonly found in pills being sold as ecstasy. More uncommon drugs in ecstasy include diphenhydramine, BZP, TFMPP, acetaminophen, 5-MeO-DiPT, 2C-B, procaine, and PCP. Pharmaceutical pill are sometimes sold as ecstasy, as well as pills that contain no psychoactive chemicals at all. PMA is sometimes sold as ecstasy but is extremely rare.


The terms double stack, triple stack, and quad stack are commonly applied to ecstasy pill that have had extra excipient chemicals added to them to make them physically larger. This is done to make the buyer think that there is more active ingredients in the pill than a normal pill and thus they are willing to pay more per pill.


LSD is virtually never laced with other chemicals, but other lysergamides such as ALD-52 are sometimes sold as LSD-25. DOB, DOI, and other closely related drugs are sometimes sold as LSD. Several other highly potent psychedelics such as Bromo-DragonFLY are sold in the form of blotters, which can lead to confusion.


Heroin is commonly cut with quinine, caffeine, dimethocaine, procaine, lactose, inositol, dextrose, mannitol, and starch. Other opioids are sometimes sold as heroin or cut with heroin, most notably the extremely potent opioid analgesic fentanyl.


PCP is frequently heavily cut with inert chemicals, and sometimes the product being sold as PCP doesn't even contain PCP or any psychoactive chemicals. One of the, if not the most, common chemical cut with PCP or sold as PCP is formaldehyde, which is an embalming fluid. PCP is also commonly referred to by the slang term "embalming fluid", which might explain as to why formaldehyde is commonly cut with or sold as PCP.

Psilocybin Mushrooms

Psilocybin mushrooms are virtually never laced with other chemicals. However, non psychoactive mushrooms are sometimes sold as psilocybin mushrooms, especially to first time users. The sale of poisonous mushrooms is extremely rare, but does happen, luckily though, it's usually only on a small scale and quickly stopped. They can also be laced with LSD if the price of mushrooms rises above the price of LSD.

Psychoactive Medication

Psychoactive medications aren't necessarily laced with other chemicals, but it is a fairly common practice for a dealer to sell medication that is something other than what it's claimed to be, or to say it's a higher dosage than it really is.


There are also many substances that are commonly assumed to be used as dilutants (cutting agents) of street drugs, such as strychnine in LSD or rat poison in ecstasy pill, both of which are false. There are some myths that do hold some truth to them though, but most are heavily altered from the original truth. Such as PCP being mixed with cannabis. A dealer would not sell cannabis with PCP in it for obvious reasons, most notably economic ones. It is possible though for someone to add PCP to cannabis and proceed to smoke it with a group of people whilst neglecting to tell the group what he or she has done.


Personal Test Kits

There are several test kits that are available online and also sold at some head shops. These kits can identify some of the things commonly cut with ecstasy pills and are usually regarded as very accurate and helpful, with some people never using without first testing the pill. However, there has been a study done that found that the test kits are frequently inaccurate and don't offer much protection. One problem with the test kits is that they can not tell the difference between closely related chemicals such as MDMA from PMA.

There is also a test kit available online that can test the purity of cocaine and tell if certain chemicals have been cut with it.

Professional Lab Tests

There are services available that test the contents of an ecstasy pill that can tell the user what's in it and at what ratio. The results are then posted on their website along with every other pill that they have tested. The tests are considered to be highly accurate. Their services were at one time free, but when they ran out of funding they had to charge a fee for every pill tested.

Self Test

Self test is a commonly performed way of testing the quality of certain drugs right before purchase. An example of this type of test would be rubbing a small amount of cocaine on the gums, if a local anesthetic effect is noticed, than it is regarded that the cocaine is of high quality. Tests like this are extremely inaccurate. It could have been nothing more than procaine, which is an extremely common chemical added to cocaine. Cannabis can be tested by holding a bud with your middle finger and thumb, above a table and then taping it with your pointing finger. If anything falls off the bud except for bits of leaf e.g. powder of dust, then it is sprayed.

See also

* Date rape drug
* Mickey Finn (drugs)
* Cutting agent

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