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Marijuana and Formaldehyde: Hoax or not?


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#1
crellis0290

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So I’m sure many of you, like myself, have heard of some tokers who choose to dip their marijuana spliffs and joints in “sherm”. I’ve heard mixed reports on what “sherm” really is. I always understood it to mean pot laced with PCP, and that the embalming fluid/formaldehyde confusion came out of some silly slang term for that drug (probably because it makes you walk like a zombie or because its used in the manufacture of PCP). Its really sparked a lot of curiosity in myself, especially after hearing a coworkers jeer that “someone must have been smoking formaldehyde” after another coworker said something stupid. Every forum post comes to my same conclusion, but I have found a few articles that are either complete crap (albeit from semi-reputable sources) or the authors might know something I don’t.

I have very little chemistry experience in the classroom, but just looking at the formaldehyde molecule, does not indicate that it should cause any effects. It lacks that typical benzene ring that all psychoactive substances (aside from ethanol, ether vapors, and maybe a handful of others) contain. But I can’t seem to find a single page that actually proves it one way or the other! Erowid has some accounts, but most are vague and the fact that PCP was or wasn’t contained in a subject’s urine doesn’t tell me whether or not formaldehyde actually produces effects when its smoked with marijuana. Let it be known I have no interest in attempting this. Formaldehyde is carcinogenic and I couldn’t imagine inhaling it. I want to know if those few very determined (or very stupid) individuals that did smoke formaldehyde (embalming fluid also contains methanol, which would theoretically evaporate, as would formaldehyde for that matter because it is a gas at room temp) did so in vein or are have they really discovered an alternative to huffing paint (or drinking denatured alcohol).

I found one article, Neuropsychological effects of formaldehyde use | Journal of Psychoactive Drugs | Find Articles at BNET which suggests that Formaldehyde does produce some effects in the brain, even without PCP (although most “embalming fluid” sold on the streets does contain it) and that a lot of people dip their pot in embalming fluid purchased legally and claim it increases the effects.

Another article, posted on another forum, talks about the serious problem formaldehyde-laced marijuana cigarettes are causing in New Jersey. In it, a police chief describes many people he has seen who go berserk after smoking embalming fluid. He swears up and down that the practice causes people to become agitated and violent. I’d be curious to know if any of these insane individuals were actually tested. I suppose if one came up negative for PCP, there would be some foundation for believing that formaldehyde is causing the behavior. But this separation is never really mentioned.

Either both sources are entirely delusional (which I’m beginning to think they are) or there’s a bigger picture. I suppose I should state one more time that I’m not asking whether or not it should be attempted, as I think any wise person would agree that it shouldn’t. Is this just a drug propaganda rumor that has gone way, way too far? What do you guys think?

#2
Iluvatar

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As far as I know, the whole formaldehyde thing is just propaganda spread by the police and anti-drug groups. Its possible to come across a bag of weed laced with phencyclidin(PCP), but as far as I know there is no basis to the argument that "sherming" has anything to do with formaldehyde.
Who knows though, there is proabably some asshole out there with a bunch of formaldehyde passing it off as pcp

#3
Whole lotta pot

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I believe that people used the term "formaldehyde" or "embalming fluid" as a slang term for PCP. So someone, somewhere heard somebody say "I just dipped this J in some formaldehyde!" and someone who didn't know it was slang for PCP, started saying you can get high off formaldehyde. This is all in theory of course.

#4
DiPT Sounds

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Formaldehyde isn't required in any way for PCP synthesis, and that slang term is terrible, I'm sure its led to either a painful lung bleeding death by a few, or overexposure to combusted carcinogens.

I'm pretty sure formaldehyde is a carcinogen, I'll check real quick
edit: its a potent carcinogen

#5
turbotoke

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I've heard of it being covered in embalming fluid. My best guess is that people not privy to such slang heard it and said "wtf formaldehyde on the bud"?

#6
DiPT Sounds

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I'm pretty sure I heard that the term refers to the catatonic state many people fall into on high doses of PCP. It's like they are dead so its embalming fluid. RC'sftw

#7
Whole lotta pot

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Formaldehyde isn't required in any way for PCP synthesis, and that slang term is terrible, I'm sure its led to either a painful lung bleeding death by a few, or overexposure to combusted carcinogens.

I'm pretty sure formaldehyde is a carcinogen, I'll check real quick
edit: its a potent carcinogen

Yea bro its a retarded slang name. But I've heard worse. Ever here of "candy"??
That shits definitley not "candy".....

#8
DiPT Sounds

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Not anymore its not

edit: at least not as much as it used to be. Other than the chemical part of it

#9
Whole lotta pot

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Not anymore its not

edit: at least not as much as it used to be. Other than the chemical part of it

Word. I feel like I should start a thread on stupid slang names now:laughing:

#10
crellis0290

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My thinking is inline with all of yours. I stated in the OP that it was a carcinogen, and therefore it shouldn't be attempted. I guess I just find it interesting the lack of care that is put into fact checking by those that give us the news. Apparently, all of these sherm heads are truly convinced they are smoking formaldehyde, or they really are. The first article seems to think that some users really do go out of their way to buy embalming fluid, whether or not they intend to spike it with PCP. Why would they do that, do you suppose?

Edit: Once the ritualistic drying of the joint was finished, wouldn't most or all of the formaldehyde have evaporated away, given that it is a gas at STP?

Edited by crellis0290, 30 December 2010 - 11:51 PM.


#11
DiPT Sounds

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Probably ties in to what Iluvavatar said, just an attempt to get drug users to kill themselves off. Same reason tobacco and alcohol are the only available drugs (other than pharmies lol). Same reason the CIA imports cocaine too, probably

#12
Whole lotta pot

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Because they are stupid. Or trying to look cool to other stupid people.
EDIT: Or because they actually have a dead person on their hands and they need to embalm them.

Edited by Whole lotta pot, 30 December 2010 - 11:58 PM.


#13
dirtydingusus

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Why would they do that, do you suppose?




easy.....



people(in general)=stupid

#14
crellis0290

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Probably ties in to what Iluvavatar said, just an attempt to get drug users to kill themselves off.


Just the stupid ones.:rolleyes:

#15
kitty tummies

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yeah i remember hearing about people smoking weed laced with embalming fluid. fuck that.

#16
slarzon

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i have had a blunt diped in promenthazine and codine that was pritty good




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