You see a YouTube video of a naked man refusing to give up as he fights off police officers for several minutes. The title mentions a drug called "Love Boat", but with little of no detail of the ingredients in the drug. What is in this Love Boat that causes a fellow take off his clothes and risk his life to avoid the authorities?
Love Boat is a term used for a variety of illicit drugs since the 1960s. Let's take a look at the street drug's differing forms, use, possible chemical side reactions, and an account of someone taking a ride on the Love Boat.
The top image is by nihataksel on DeviantArt.
What is Love Boat?
Love Boat goes by several other names (including fry and purple rain) and pops up every few years as report on national news when a particularly crazy event involving its use occurs.
The name Love Boat is currently associated with three different street drugs - marijuana soaked with embalming fluid or formaldehyde, marijuana soaked the dissociative hallucinogen in PCP, or marijuana soaked in both formaldehyde and PCP.
Smoking tobacco cigarettes dipped in formaldehyde dates back to the late 1960s. Use provided a body numbing experience and cheap high along with a fiery burst in the lungs. Cigarettes and cigars are also used as a cheap and quick delivery method for liquid PCP, going by the street name sherm.
Embalming fluid as slang for PCP
One of the problems arising in determining what is actually within Love Boat comes from a confusion of street names.
"Embalming fluid" is a common street name for liquid PCP, a name so common that users and sellers eventually substituted embalming fluid for PCP in the production process.
Embalming fluid contains formaldehyde and methanol along with other solvents, with formaldehyde making up 20 to 40% of embalming fluid.
Formaldehyde is a small carcinogenic molecule that causes a sore throat and coughing in exposed individuals. Embalming fluid or formaldehyde soaked marijuana burns slower than a normal joint would. This increases the window of time available to the body to absorb THC, formaldehyde, or PCP - causing a longer and more intense high regardless of the combination.
A reaction between formaldehyde and THC?
Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the principle active chemical in marijuana, could react with the small molecule formaldehyde while dipping. This could cause a chemical reaction that modifies the structure of THC, akin to how synthetic cannabinoids are created by making small changes to THC.