Dear Mother,

How do I know if the pot I confiscated from my kid's room is safe to smoke? Like, can I tell if it is spiked with the angel dust?

— Eve from Maximum Middle Age

Hello Eve,

This is a great question. And one, I think, that some other people might have. Sure, not everyone is raiding their kid's stash, but perhaps they found some random weed in a baggy on a bench in the park, or a joint somehow slipped into their takeout order from the BEST CHINESE PLACE EVER.

So, how do you know if the cannabis you've found (and have no idea where it came from) is safe to smoke?

First, I should note that the majority of weed (yes, even pot purchased on the street) isn't laced. It's very rare because it can cut down on profit and customers when people find out they did not get what they paid for. However, some people do lace their own weed sometimes if they enjoy the effect of tainted herb (WHY, PEOPLE, WHY?!), so it is a possibility.

The obvious (but perhaps not safest bet) is to just smoke it and see what happens. But, if you're not the daring type that's up for a night you might not remember that ends with you pantsless, wearing someone else's shirt in a stranger's empty backyard pool you might want to pause for a second. In fact, if your weed is laced with an unknown substance, the effects could be potentially very dangerous. The most common substances that pot can be laced with is PCP (aka Angel Dust), meth, heroin, cocaine, MDMA, and glass. Yes, glass.

Side effects could range from restlessness and hallucination to organ failure, difficulty breathing and even death.

Yeah, you're going to want to figure it out before you test it out yourself.

First: Make sure to thoroughly examine it. If you give it a shake and things are falling off it (i.e. white or blue crystals or any sort of powder), you're probably going to want to avoid smoking it. (Or not, depening on what you're into). However, make sure not to confuse trichomes — i.e. the tiny crystal like hairs on pot that hold all the good stuff. They're usually brown to clear in color — with unwanted foreign substances.

You can also use a special 420 scope to ge a super close look at the cannabis to make sure nothing funny is going on there. Or just borrow a microscope from your kid's room. You've already yanked his weed, so what's borrowing one more thing from his room?

Second: Give it a good sniff. Plain old cannabis should smell earthy and pungent. If it smells more like chemicals (or a gas station bathroom after a thorough cleaning) you're going to want to get rid of it. Also, if your nose hairs start tingling and burning that's not a good sign.

One last option you have is to use a drug test on it. A residue detection kit will help tell you if the cannabis has been laced with anything that you failed to notice with both the visual and the sniff tests.

But, of course, if you've done all of this, and still feel wary, trust your gut. Like with spoiled food, the same advice applies here: When in doubt, throw it out!

Also, do people still really spike their pot with angel dust these days? That feels very 1978. But who knows, there is always the possibility that your kid is into the vintage trend.

— Mother