There are many ways to consume marijuana, but dabbing has notoriously increased in popularity lately. With new ways to obtain marijuana concentrates and paraphernalia to smoke them with, dabbing has become an option for both medicinal and recreational users for its potency and medical benefits. However, some people are starting to question the extent to which dabbing is safe medically and recreationally due to its components and effects on the body.
What Is Dabbing?
“Dabs” or “Dabbing” refers to cannabis concentrates that are heated and inhaled through various methods. Dabbing can be done using a dab pen, or a dab rig or “dab bong”. The most popular method of dabbing is a dab rig, a bong-like device that users inhale smoke from after heating the wax with a torch. Some names for cannabis concentrates or extracts include shatter, wax, oils, and honeycomb among others. Cannabis concentrates are a powerful way to maximize the delivery of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) the psychoactive substance of marijuana and CBD (Cannabinol) the substance that holds the most medicinal power to treat symptoms of anxiety, PTSD, chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis and many other conditions.
Marijuana concentrates are obtained through various methods of extraction and purification of THC and CBD. One of the most popular types of concentrates for dabbing, Butane hash oil (BHO), requires a certain method of production to ensure quality and avoid potentially poisonous substances in the concentrate (solvents such as chloroform, dichloromethane and olive oil among others). The concentrate is then refined and the final product is a thick, wax-like substance. The risk of inhaling any harmful substances is fairly low, however some question the safety of dabbing due to the possibility of inhaling traces of solvents and other artificial chemicals while dabbing. Also, some people believe that the lungs may build up a residual layer of inhaled wax that may cause respiratory problems.
What Are the Benefits?
Although the chemical process of dabbing may be intimidating, it is the process of extraction that can be more dangerous than the act of actually smoking it. When extracted correctly, dabbing is an ideal method of delivery of THC and CDB to the “dabber”. For medical patients, the potency of dabs may be the best option for immediate relief of pain and other symptoms like nausea. Because dabs are an excellent resource for medical patients, the process of extraction and consumption has changed to minimize the risk of contaminated concentrates and the need for more complicated “rigs” and more user-friendly vaporizers. Because dabbing requires less smoke entering the lungs, it may reduce the risk of lung damage associated with smoking any substance. Also, dabbing can be more discrete than the traditional method of smoking, since it emits less of an odor and requires less product to reach the desired effects as the typical dried “bud”.
Dabbing: A Double-Edged Sword
For medical and recreational purposes, dabbing should be done with caution due to the high concentration of THC and CBD that the body receives. It may be a double-edged sword since the body rapidly develops tolerance to both of these components and it may take more “dabs” to reach the desired effects after repeated use.
Marijuana poses no danger of overdose—however, like anything in life, dabbing shouldn’t be done in excess and must always be done with caution. Dabs are four times as strong as a joint and require an infinitesimal amount of concentrates to feel the effects. The potency of dabs can be ideal for some, however a dab can be too much to handle for a medical or recreational user that has had no previous experience with marijuana. To users that have never tried marijuana before, dabbing can be very intimidating due to the fact that some dab rigs seem to look like crack pipes, which leads to an immediate association of dabs to hard drugs.
Dabbing may be one of the cheapest ways to obtain the desired effects of marijuana. Although a gram of concentrates can be rather expensive, the amount used each time one dabs is minuscule, which can save costs in the long run. Because it takes a very small amount of concentrates to last a long time, it is a very convenient way to have marijuana “on-the-go” especially with dab-pens.
It is crucial to learn about dabbing before actually trying it due to the risk of contaminants and its potency. For both recreational and medicinal users dabs can be the go-to option to ensure potency and to reduce the amount that needs to be consumed to attain noticeable effects. As the marijuana industry continues to grow, dabbing may become a bigger, safer way of consuming marijuana.