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    Clearing the Haze: Marijuana and Fentanyl

    You might have heard some worrying stories or rumors saying that marijuana may be laced with fentanyl, a powerful opioid linked to many overdose cases. But it’s important to look closely at these claims and figure out if they’re true.

    The short answer is that they are false — there is no solid evidence that marijuana is being laced with fentanyl. Here are some of the reasons why:

    Burning destroys fentanyl

    Fentanyl is destroyed when it is burned including when it is in a joint, blunt or other means of smoking marijuana. This means that even if it is mixed with marijuana flower it will have no effect on a person who is smoking it.

    Vape pen temperatures are too low

    What about vape pens? Most commonly available vape pens don’t reach temperatures over 450 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because higher temperatures will destroy the substances they are intended to be used with including marijuana. Vape pens would have to reach temperatures closer to 900 degrees Fahrenheit to vaporize fentanyl. Even if the marijuana is contaminated or mixed with fentanyl, the fentanyl would be destroyed before it’s absorbed.

    Liver breaks down edibles

    Could fentanyl impact a person if it’s baked into a brownie or put in some other kind of edible? The answer is that the risk is very low because fentanyl is broken down by the liver, with little chance of reaching the brain.

    No profits to be made

    According to Leafly[1], a site devoted to the sale of marijuana products, it doesn’t make sense to add fentanyl to marijuana from a cost standpoint. They offer this example: “…a weed dealer would have to spend $40 on a fentanyl patch, successfully extract the drug from the patch, and then “lace” a $30 gram of their best weed to live up to these fantasies. In a best-case economic scenario, the dealer is losing $10 on every sale.”

    Police and media mistakes

    Some police and media outlets have claimed fentanyl-laced marijuana, but lab tests show these claims were errors. Unfortunately, the corrections don’t make headlines like the initial claims.

    No DEA alerts

    The government has drug testing and monitoring systems in place to track the makeup of illegal substances. Any significant spike in cases involving this combination would likely be detected and reported immediately. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has recently issued alerts[2] about fentanyl-laced fake pills like Percocet and Vicodin for pain relief, Adderall to treat ADHD and Xanax to address anxiety. They have also warned about fentanyl laced with Xylazine which is used to sedate animals. They have not issued alerts about marijuana.

    Further, there are about 55 million[3] people in the U.S. who use marijuana. We would see overdose rates far higher than they are today if fentanyl was in the marijuana supply.

    It’s more important than ever to think about where we get our information. Sometimes, news stories want to grab our attention by making things sound scarier than they really are. When it comes to the idea of marijuana mixed with fentanyl, trust information from reliable sources, like scientists and health experts. By looking at the facts, we can make better decisions about our health and not get caught up in unnecessary worry.