Man Combines Formaldehyde from Stolen Human Brain with Marijuana To Get High

By McCarton Ackerman 07/20/16

Spraying formaldehyde on pot may sound strange but it is a quietly common phenomenon known as "smoking wet." 

Man Combines Formaldehyde from Stolen Human Brain with Marijuana To Get High

In what may go down as the most bizarre way to lace marijuana, a Pennsylvania man was arrested after stealing a human brain and then soaking marijuana with embalming fluid before smoking it.

Joshua Lee Long, 26, was charged by state police in the town of Carlisle with abuse of a corpse and conspiracy. Local news outlet WPMT 43 reported that the human brain, which he nicknamed “Freddy,” was discovered by his aunt in a Walmart bag. Long admitted to his aunt during a phone call from the Cumberland County Jail that he soaked pot in the embalming fluid coating the brain, and then smoked it. He was already behind bars on a separate burglary charge.

Coroners who examined the brain said it was most likely a stolen medical specimen. A Carlisle police spokesman also confirmed that “the defendant related that he knew it was illegal to have the brain.” But the most unintentionally hilarious moment of the story came from state trooper Bob Hicks, who told WPMT that, “We’re hoping that if anyone feels like they’re missing a human specimen brain, bring it to our attention and maybe we could return it to its rightful owner.”

Long currently does not have an attorney. The charges of abuse of a corpse and conspiracy carry a maximum sentence of two years in jail.

Embalming fluid is typically composed of a mixture of formaldehyde, methanol and ethanol. 

Perhaps surprisingly, the Drug Enforcement Administration reported that soaking pot in formaldehyde is not a new phenomenon. Apparently it makes the substances burn more slowly, resulting in a longer high. However, the side effects from this exposure are significant and can include bronchitis, brain damage, lung damage and body tissue destruction. Users can also experience hallucinations and become paranoid.

In 2000, the sometimes-violent side effects of formaldehyde-soaked pot and cigarettes resulted in a teenage boy from Pennsylvania stabbing a neighbor more than 70 times. Kareem Watts, 14, said he smoked the mixture to silence the voices inside his head. He pleaded guilty and was detained in a juvenile facility, where he received anger management and mental health treatment, until being released at age 21.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.

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