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You might have heard the term “smoking wet.” Or fry or amp. Or plenty of other words. But in this case, it refers to smoking a cigarette (or joint) laced with another drug. But let’s dive deeper into the question, “What are Sherm sticks?”

What Are Sherm Sticks?

When getting at what are Sherm sticks, you start with the dip.

When people talk about “wet” drugs or Sherm sticks, they’re usually something dipped in liquid PCP or embalming fluid. Yes, you heard that correctly. Embalming fluid—the same stuff you use to preserve a dead body.

Why Embalming Fluid for Sherm Sticks?

There is a seemingly common misunderstanding about embalming fluid. They call it an additive. Basically an upgrade on the drug effects. The reality is that it is the formaldehyde that makes the user feel dizzy when they inhale it. Inhaling formaldehyde is unsafe, but we will get to that in a minute.

Again, why embalming fluid? Like many things in the illicit drug scene, accessibility reigns. If you can get it, it will likely be used—despite the health risks. It’s easier to get ahold of embalming fluid than PCP.

Where Did Sherm Sticks Come From?

The term probably came from Nat Shermans. A brand of cigarettes people initially used to “smoke wet.” But it doesn’t have to be that specific brand. People may lace marijuana joints in this manner as well.

The term “Sherm” is believed to have originated from “Sherman,” a brand of cigarettes that people initially used for this purpose. This practice gained popularity in certain subcultures and regions, particularly urban areas. Over time, the name stuck (pun intended), and now it refers to any cigarette dipped in this dangerous concoction.

Which Drugs Are Used

PCP (Phencyclidine) Combinations

  1. Wet or Sherm
    • Combination: Cigarettes or joints dipped in liquid PCP.
  1. Love Boat
    • Combination: Marijuana cigarettes (joints) dipped in liquid PCP.
  1. Fry
    • Combination: Cigarettes or joints dipped in liquid PCP or a mixture of PCP and other chemicals.

Embalming Fluid Combinations

  1. Wet
    • Combination: Cigarettes or joints dipped in embalming fluid (which may sometimes contain PCP or other chemicals).
  1. Amp
    • Combination: Cigarettes or joints dipped in embalming fluid, often with added PCP.

Mixed Substance Combinations

  1. Dust Blunts
    • Combination: Marijuana blunts (cigars) dipped in a mixture of PCP and embalming fluid.
  1. Clickums
    • Combination: Cigarettes or joints dipped in a mixture of PCP, embalming fluid, and sometimes other solvents or chemicals.

The most common drug is PCP. But as you can see, people will try just about anything. And when you are getting ingredients for this kind of operation, you never know what exactly is in it. Typically, all kinds of chemicals are added. However, if a person is willing to inhale embalming fluid, they aren’t exactly in the right mindset to be picky about other toxins.

A row of embalming fluid which is commonly used to make Sherm sticks

Side Effects and Dangers of Smoking Sherm Sticks

Guess what? Smoking Sherm sticks is such a terrible idea. Surprised?

First and foremost, inhaling embalming fluid and PCP can wreak havoc on your body. Crucially, when smoked together, you could have a lethal situation on your hands. Both substances can severely depress the central nervous system. When this happens, your breathing almost disappears. Or it can disappear.

Embalming Fluid: Not Just for Corpses

Embalming fluid contains formaldehyde. It is a dangerous carcinogen. When inhaled, it can cause immediate issues in your lungs. You will likely feel shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain, and burning.

But wait, there’s more. Embalming fluid often contains other toxic substances like methanol and ethanol. In the short term, it will bring about dizziness and headaches. But in high doses, you will get liver and kidney damage. Methanol can cause metabolic acidosis. It’s a condition where the blood becomes too acidic, leading to organ failure.

PCP: A Ticket to Nowhere Good

Short-term effects of PCP can cause severe nausea, vomiting, and loss of coordination. High doses can lead to seizures, coma, and even death. If you are using PCP over a longer term, your depression will get worse (or it will start), your anxiety will heighten, and you will get persistent psychosis. You may even get chronic hallucinations and delusions.

Respiratory Failure: The Real Danger

One of the most severe risks of smoking wet is respiratory failure. Both PCP and the toxic chemicals in embalming fluid can depress the central nervous system.

  1. Central Nervous System Depression: When inhaled, these substances enter the bloodstream and reach the brain quickly. PCP acts as a depressant. This inhibition disrupts normal brain function, leading to sedation and muscle relaxation.
  2. Respiratory Depression: Formaldehyde and other chemicals in embalming fluid irritate the respiratory tract and lungs, leading to inflammation and fluid buildup. This exacerbates the CNS depressant effects, further slowing down breathing.
  3. Failure of the Respiratory Muscles: With the CNS depressed, the muscles that control breathing, including the diaphragm, become weakened. This can cause breathing to become shallow and irregular.
  4. Hypoxia: As breathing slows, the body receives less oxygen (hypoxia). This can damage cells and tissues, particularly in vital organs like the brain and heart.
  5. Sudden Respiratory Arrest: Without adequate oxygen, the body can quickly enter respiratory arrest, where breathing stops entirely. This can happen suddenly and without warning, turning a high into a life-threatening emergency.

Spotting the Signs of Sherm Stick Use

If you suspect someone is using Sherm sticks, look for cigarette packs or joints that have been tampered with or seem unusually moist. You might also find small vials or containers with strange liquids.

Getting Help With Habitual Drug Use

Beyond the obvious dangers, the nature of smoking wet causes concern. It uncovers an everyday and consistent need for the effects of drugs. It’s a practice that likely points to some heavy interactions with drugs and experimenting.

If someone you love is dabbling with Sherm sticks, there is a good chance they are using other drugs. And dependency is highly likely. If you want to talk about what treatment for drug addiction looks like, call Covenant Hills Treatment today.

Our team is ready to answer your questions about illicit drug use and what the steps to recovery could look like. We have seen just about everything and are here to offer a sense of hope. Call us today: 800-662-2873.