Thursday, September 10, 2015

Is That Real: Smoke, Shoot & SnoRt

Thinking about the logistics of our upcoming film, Stopover City, an important question is how will we show the marijuana. Although in Ithaca smoking weed seems to be a very common occurrence among students and locals alike, it still is illegal. So I took to the internet to find out how they fake actors using drugs.

Of course alcohol has a very easy solution; you can just make non-alcoholic drinks for your actors to slug down. But in thinking about how many films or television shows show their actors smoking weed, snorting lines of cocaine or even shooting up heroine, there are a variety of solutions.


                                                             Marijuana Alternatives:

If at first you don't succeed, try to replicate illegal drugs again. Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld, the creators of High Maintenance, first tried using herbal cigarettes. They would slice the props open and pack it into bowls. The fake cigarettes they use are notorious for being very unpleasant, so they switched to an alternative. Once they tried using legal smokable herb blends, it became their choice alternative. For the baggies the dealer doles out they actually used cotton balls soaked in glue and covered with dried parsley, cilantro and rosemary.

Trying to get a catepillar high in Pineapple Express. 

Jenji Kohan's hit show Weeds, has an entire art department to create fake marijuana. The huge quantities of weed needed in that show called for a very realistic looking substitute. They custom made their supply using moss and other plants. Then they spray-painted and bound them together while also painting individual tiny hairs. As for the grow houses, they actually just use fake plastic plants.

Basically a (very good) movie about a bunch of drugs. 

I'm sure our solution will be more low-budget like the first. In reading a few different articles about substituting drugs for film, here's a quick bullet list of alternatives.


  • Cocaine: powdered lactose for snorting, a mix of cornstarch and baby powder as a prop

(Sometimes they will even coat the inside of the straw with vaseline so most of the powder doesn't go up the actor's nose.)

  • Heroin: milk and vitamin powder blend, when it needs to be heated they use sugar and baking soda


  • Ecstasy Pills: sugar placebos


  • Magic Mushrooms: freeze dried fungus


  • Crack Rocks: "created by dropping globs of krazy glue into a pile of baking soda


Enough about drugs, have a fun weekend kids.

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