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I'm sorry to hear of your experience, but glad to hear someone else calling out this grim phenomenon.

Is it like an artificial smell of mown grass/fake cannabis smell? Kinda weak/not quite type of feeling - harsh taste, dark ash?

I remember a time when this was everywhere. On bushweed you would smell that perfume. On "skunk" you would smell that exact same perfume. Someone selling shake cheap - exact same artificial perfume smell. Definitely not a natural terpene.

I read rumours of an artificial spray containing synthetic cannibinoids and latex polymers designed to mimic trichomes and increase weights, but have never had anyone confirm exactly what it is IRL.

Has anyone else heard of or experienced this?

For what it's worth, I'd cook it into edibles. It's one thing to eat it, but you probably don't want to inhale it.