BENGALURU: Marijuana laced with other substances has been around for years, and dealers in the city say that because of the low cost and accessibility, this adulterated weed is the most commonly sold maal in Bengaluru.
Dealers say that weed here is spiked with compounds, such as shoe polish and eucalyptus oil, to mask its smell while smuggling it across state borders and to make it heavier, for higher profits.
While some parts of the country are famous for the quality of marijuana one can get there – Himachal, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu – the availability of ‘good pot’ is scarce in other parts, and even if it is, it is not pocket friendly.This has lead to an increase in consumption of laced or ‘spiked’ marijuana, as it is cheaper and gives you a strong high.
Suresh (name change), a dealer in the city, sells 30gms of spiked pot for `1,000, while the ‘quality maal’ is sold for the same price but for 20gms. He says, “I usually get calls from college kids and young professionals, who most times, want the cheaper quality stuff since it in more in quantity and gives a stronger high. I always tell my customers that this isn't good quality stuff. The better quality maal I sometimes get from Assam, Shillong or from the hills.” He adds that most of the maal available here is spiked.
Sahil (name changed), who has been smoking marijuana for about ten years, and has even experimented with growing his own plants, says that most often, dealers spike the marijuana with a liquid, like battery acid or even jaggery water, which increases its weight. Since it is usually sold by weight, this makes it profitable for sellers, and harmful to smokers. "Farmers grow it on the side to make a quick buck. It is the female plant that has the right buds, but when farmers don't curb the growth of male plants, pollination happens and leads to a lot of seeds. Rats come for these seeds, and the farmers spray pesticides on the plants, thus contaminating it. Buds with many seeds is another way of knowing that the stuff is spiked."
Neha*, another marijuana consumer says, "The price for pot has definitely increased in the last five years. Now, 50gms of pot can cost anywhere between `2,000-5,000, and there is no assurance of whether it is top quality stuff or not. The main reason being that when it is shipped from other states, things like shoe polish and even eucalyptus oil are added to mask the smell. Some of the ways to tell if you're smoking bad quality stuff is if it leaves a black-ish residue on your fingers when crushed, the kind of high it gives – usually makes you very lethargic, gives you a heachache and is very harsh on the throat. Unfortunately, unless you have a trusted dealer who tells you what is good and bad, the majority of what people buy in the city is spiked."
S K Sinha, NCB (Narcotics Control Board) zonal director, says that while they normally only handle seizures of large quantities of marjiuana, which is usually never adulterated, the stuff that is available at the retail level, is where one finds most spiked maal. "Like any business, wholesalers/growers are fewer in number than small-case sellers," he says.Sinha adds that most of the city's marijuana comes in from the Andhra Pradesh-Odisha border, Vishakapatnam and Vijaywada, is usually cultivated by tribals, and then smuggled into the city.
How to say if marijuana is spiked
Black residue on fingers when crushed
Damp, moldy smell
Brown-ish coloured leaves can be a sign that it has been stored for a long time before consumption
Harsh, burning sensation in the throat when smoked
Lethargic high that makes you feel heavy
Foul, strong aftertaste
Spiked weed bad for eyes too
“Adulterated weed is nothing but marijuana mixed with substances like glass powder, cocaine, laundry detergent, LSD, etc. It results in systematic complications such as increased heart rate, impaired motor skills, hallucinations, paranoia, memory loss and lung damage. It can even have an effect on the eyes, including redness, pupil constriction, delayed visual response and blurred vision," says Dr Ravi D, head, medical services, Dr Agarwal's Eye Hospital.
Recent busts in city
On September 30, 5kg of marijuana worth `1 lakh was seized from three dealers at a tin factory in KR Puram. On the same day, reports of 3.2kgs of marijuana being seized from two engineering graduates from Andhra Pradesh and a Rwanda national. Recently, police also found 300 grams of marijuana in the vehicle Vishnu, grandson of liquor baron DK Adikesavulu Naidu.
Symptoms of smoking spiked marijuana
Marijuana can be spiked with a number of substances, from synthetic drugs such as cocaine, to talcum powder and painkillers - the latter of which are more commonly contaminators, says Sinha. Some ways in which spiked marijuana can affect health in the long run are:Trouble falling asleep, Decreased appetite, Nausea, Irritability, Dizziness, Change in heart rate, Throat inections, Difficulty breathing, Feeling light headed, Hallucinations, Delerium, Vomiting