What is Dabbing?
Dabbing, a recent trend in the marijuana-using world, is a way to get high off of a concentrated cannabis substance. A dose of this substance is called a dab. The substance is often referred to as wax, shatter, crumble, budder, or, more simply, butane hash oil. The oil is made by extracting THC and other chemicals from cannabis using a solvent like butane or carbon dioxide. Once it is finished, the sticky oil will be between fifty and ninety per cent THC.
The dab is vaporized, not smoked like a joint. It can be used in bongs, water pipes and e-cigarettes. It can also be flash vaporized in a much more flamboyant process: to consume the dab, people may put the oil on a very hot nail and inhale the resulting vapour through a dab rig, which is often a glass, bong-like device. Dabbers can also apply the oil to a glass surface that has been heated with a miniature blow torch. They will then inhale the large amount of smoke that results. Dabbing produces a more intense and euphoric high that smoking or eating marijuana. The high lasts only a few minutes, much less time than if the marijuana had been ingested another way (such as by smoking or eating).
Proponents of dabbing argue that the concentrated nature of dabs means that dabbers can consume the same amount of medicinal ingredients with far less smoke (and, therefore, lung damage,) than if joints had been the preferred method of administration. Cannabis concentrates can be consumed orally instead of vaporized, if desired.
Meanwhile, many health professionals are concerned about the effects of dabbing. Some say that the higher concentration of THC could lead to higher addiction risks, increased tolerance, or even permanent paranoia and anxiety. Dr. Michael Miller, medical director for Herrington Recovery Center at Rogers Memorial Hospital in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, told LA Weekly that he has even seen cases of permanent brain damage resulting from dabbing. The cases were extremely rare, but still concerning considering the popular belief that it is not possible to overdose on marijuana.
Dabbing also raises concerns because of how it is produced: by passing butane gas over marijuana trimmings. Butane is volatile, and can easily catch fire in the hands of a novice. Amateur dab production has been the cause of many fires and severe burns. Making dabs at home has been called blasting (although this can be a source of confusion because inhaling a dab might also be called blasting). Dabs that are not made properly may also include dangerous chemicals in the final product.
Many marijuana activists are concerned that dabbing’s negative reputation could harm the legalization movement. The concern is that doing concentrated drugs with methods that involve blow torches and glass contraptions is much more alarming to the general public than smoking a naturally occurring plant such as marijuana. Whether or not the comparison is fair, dabs have been called the ‘crack cocaine of marijuana.’Back To FAQ