2.5.6 Lean

Lean #

Common Nomenclature Lean
Street & Reference Names Lean; Sizzurp; Purple Drank; Texas Tea; Dirty Sprite
Active Ingredients Codeine; Promethazine
Reference Dosage LEAN: Start With 50mg codeine, 30mg promethazine. No more than 2 doses. [DrugsLab]
PROMETHAZINE: Common 25mg-75mg [TripSit]
CODEINE: Light 50mg+; Common 100mg+; Strong 150mg+ [TripSit]
Anticipated: Onset / Duration 30 Minutes / 6 Hours
Maximum Dose Experienced 100mg Codeine; 62.5mg Promethazine
From Fluid
RoA Oral
Source / Jurisdiction Associate / UK


Originating in Texas, lean is codeine and promethazine (in the form of cough syrup) added to soda (typically sprite) and then mixed with fruit-flavoured sweeties (typically jolly ranchers). With its active ingredients being widely available, it gained substantial popularity in the 1990s as a cultural accessory, particularly via association with rap and hip hop music.

It is prone to both overdose and addiction, and has claimed a number of high profile casualties. I should also stress that, in particular, it should not be mixed with other CNS depressants (e.g. alcohol), or indeed stimulants or dissociatives.

During research for this experiment I decided to make the exercise as authentic as possible in terms of content. I managed to source some genuine codeine & promethazine cough syrup (as used in the Southern States), some sprite, and even some jolly ranchers. All I am missing is the all-American styrofoam cup to drink from, which is a luxury I will have to forgo.

I admit that I am not really looking forward to this one. I anticipate a sort of sickly sweet sedation which goes nowhere. If I am calling it incorrectly it won’t be the first time.

Regarding dose, I found very little available in terms of guidance. I therefore decide to base my calculations upon the data for codeine and promethazine as individual drugs. For the common range, which is what I will punt for, these are broadly cited as 100-150mg for codeine and 25-75mg for promethazine.

My syrup contains 10mg of codeine and 6.25mg of promethazine per 5ml. The full 50ml bottle therefore contains 100mg of codeine and 62.5mg of promethazine. Is this too much? As the vendor himself suggested that as a first time user I should start with half-a bottle (25ml), perhaps it is. I will therefore dose initially with about 30ml (60mg of codeine and 38mg of promethazine) and take the rest a little later if all goes well.

T+0:00 I measure the mix and pour it into a glass, topping up with sprite. I pop in a couple of jolly ranchers and stir it around for a few minutes, before starting to sip. [2:05pm]

It tastes a little sweet but becomes more palatable as I dilute further with sprite. It is relatively easy to drink.

T+0:15 I am not sure how long users are supposed to take to savour this delight, but I have drunk it all in under 15 minutes. I feel a minor head inebriation emerging, with may be accompanied by a little sedation, but nothing beyond this so far.

T+0:35 I feel relaxed, a bit heady, and basically okay, in a mildly drifting sort of way. This is not unpleasant and it is not overbearing, which leads my thoughts to the remaining 20ml of syrup. Before jumping into this though, I will wait another 15 minutes to see if there are any further developments.

T+1:00 As there’s been no significant change I pour the final 20ml of syrup and top it up again with sprite. Rather like I was drinking a fine ale, I swig this down during the next 5 minutes or so.

T+1:30 I am calm and relaxed, if a little distant, and there are no ill effects so far. Subjectively at least, I feel physically and mentally unimpaired.

I wouldn’t really describe this as a high as such: there is a sense of comfort, anxieties have dissolved, and the mellow headiness is gentle and pleasing, rather than euphoric.

My face feels a little flushed and hands slightly cold, and maybe there is the tiniest hint of numbness.

T+2:00 The second dose seems to have increased the intensity. I am very aware that I am under the influence now, but that influence is akin to a mildly detached sort of sedation, or a benign form of serenity with a slight sense of uplift. No lethargy or tiredness has emerged, at least at this point.

T+2:30 The heady inebriation is not slacking. It is perhaps now dreamier in nature, creating a numbed distance from the world around me: a cloak of well-being. My face remains flushed and hands chilly. I have the impression that this would lend itself well to certain types of social setting.

T+ 3:30 The intensity has now passed, and I am left with residue in the form of a calm relaxed background aura. There is nothing negative about this, but as I close in on baseline I am becoming increasingly sleepy.

T+8:00 The tiredness became a more dominant feature as the evening progressed, and the dying embers have gradually faded to almost nothing as I retire to bed (10pm).

Without being mind-blown in any way, this was a nice enough ride. It lifted my mood, removed anxieties and provided a decent comfort bubble for a few hours. Whilst it was better than expected, a bonus was that it didn’t really carry any noticeable negative payload. Rather than an enormous high, it delivered more of a sustained elevation. As stated earlier, perhaps a different setting would provide for more return from it, or alternatively a higher (more dangerous) dose might add a degree of euphoria.

Finally, whilst touching this aspect, I would again stress that this is addictive and prone to overdose. Don’t let the relatively smooth ride that I experienced fool you. Be careful.