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6 Health Risks Of Doing Dabs

Other than the traditional act of smoking marijuana, these days, users can vape, bake edibles, and use topicals or tonics to get high in states where THC consumption is legal. Body lotion and chapstick with cannabidiol (CBD) exist, too, to deliver purported relaxing effects without the high. But not all methods of getting stoned are as good as others. In fact, there are some that might be outright dangerous. Ever heard of dabbing?

Dabs are highly concentrated doses of cannabis, and they’re often made at home by by placing marijuana trimmings into a glass or metal pipe and blasting them with butane to extract THC from the plant. The result is a thick, sticky substance that resembles hardened candle wax. This substance, also called butane hash oil (BHO), is then smoked using a bong or pipe, giving an extremely potent high. Because of this high and the possible danger of extracting it, experts urge caution when creating and using dabs.

“The number one reason amongst users of dabs of why they prefer to regular marijuana inhalation is because it gives them a faster more intense euphoria or ‘high,'” Dr. Niket Sonpal, an internist, gastroenterologist, and adjunct assistant professor of clinical medicine at Touro College, tells Bustle. “It carries the same risks as smoking, only more pronounced, and the effects can happen quicker.”

Basically, dabbing carries a lot of health risks that potential users should know about before considering it.

1. You Could Severely Burn Yourself During The Extraction Process

The extraction process requires everyday folks to use butane, which is a highly volatile, unpredictable, and dangerous gas. A 2015 study about the health risks of dabbing published in the journal Pediatrics, found that it’s all too easy to obtain severe burns and injuries in the creation process. Butane can heat up the metal or glass used to extract THC so high that any body parts that come into contact with the materials can be burned in the blink of an eye.

“This can lead to other concerns besides the increased THC exposure, namely intense burns and even fires,” Dr. Sonpal says.

2. It Could Harm Other People As Well

Not only is the primary user subject to getting injured by using butane to turn marijuana into dabs, but they also run the risk of starting a fire. In November 2013, a man caused an explosion in his apartment building while using butane to extract dabs, and was ultimately sentenced to nine years in prison.

3. The High Is Extremely Powerful

To give you a sense of how strong dabs are, two nicknames for dabs are “shatter” and “pot on steroids.” Dr. Dustin Sulak, a licensed osteopathic physician in Maine who legally dispenses marijuana, told Healthline, “A single inhalation of concentrate delivers the THC and other cannabinoids equivalent to three to 10 inhalations of herbal cannabis, depending on the potency.” The danger lies in the fact that doing dabs slams your system with this concentrated high in one fell swoop.

4. It May Increase Your Tolerance To Marijuana

Dr. Sulak actually thinks that the potency of dabs is more of a concern than potentially blowing up your house during the extraction process. Dabs have such a strong dose of THC, administered so suddenly, that your body becomes accustomed to high levels of THC and your tolerance increases rapidly.

“This is because the cannabinoid receptors are saturated by the increased concentrations and thus your next intake will be more difficult to achieve the same high,” Dr. Sonpal says. “In other words, patients will need large amounts to feel any high at all and, even worse, they may fail to get high from herbal cannabis at all after your body gets used to dabs.”

5. You Might Experience Side Effects

You might also experience more of the potential side effects that come with THC and frequently getting high.

“Paranoia, psychosis, anxiety, and hallucinations are well-known side effects of inhaling weed,” Dr. Sonpal says. “Symptoms of vomiting can also occur and I have seen patients with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS). It can occur with chronic marijuana use, and more specifically, after someone has quit. However, with dabs I have had patients who develop the withdrawal-like symptoms of CHS only after a short exposure.”

6. You May Be Unknowingly Ingesting Other Hazardous Chemicals

The equipment used for the extraction process may contain nasty ingredients that will eventually make their way into your system. For example, the metal in the rig utilized to make dabs could have rust and solder in it, which will inevitably end up in your BHO and into your body. Smoking these unknown chemical contaminants could cause health hazards, such as respiratory issues, in the future.

At the end of the day, dabbing can be risky. “The only true way to mitigate these effects is the avoidance of dabs,” Dr. Sonpal says, adding that more research needs to be done to full understand the effects of THC and other cannabinoids on the body. “When it comes to dabs, it is just simply too hard to moderate as the concentrations are very very high.” Moderation and safety is key, Dr. Sonpal says, which is sound advice no matter the activity.

Readers should note that the regulations and data surrounding marijuana, CBD, and other related products are still developing. As such, the information contained in this post should not be construed as medical or legal advice. Always consult with your doctor before trying any substance or supplement.

This post was originally published on August 3, 2016. It was updated on June 11, 2019.

This article was originally published on Aug. 3, 2016

Other than the traditional act of smoking marijuana, these days, users can vape, bake edibles, and use topicals or tonics to get high in states where THC consumption is legal. Body lotion and chapstick with cannabidiol (CBD) exist, too, to deliver…

What Are Dabs? Here’s What You Need To Know About Dab Weed

You will probably be surprised to know that dabs are not a new invention. However, this form of weed is gaining a lot of popularity in recent years. With more U.S. states legalizing marijuana, numerous cannabis products like marijuana edibles, CBD oil, THC candy, and more, have become available in the market, including dab weed.

So, what exactly are dabs? Dabs, also known as dab weed, shatter, pull ‘n’ snap, honeycomb, resin, and CO2 wax, are a form of weed that comes in the form of a concentrate. A dab high is usually felt ten minutes after using and could last for about two hours. The high experienced from dabs is much more intense than smoking weed.

What are dabs made out of?

Dabs are usually made from the stems, leftover shake, and other leftover materials from the cannabis plant. A concentrate is extracted from the marijuana dry herb and over the years, the process of extraction has become more sophisticated.

Dab weed is usually extracted by using butane, which then produces what is known as butane hash oil or BHO. Butane is a very flammable chemical. If you’re wondering if it is the same gas found in butane gas cylinders usually used in camping trips, then you’re right.

During the extraction process, the butane is used to extract the terpenes, cannabinoids, and other essential elements. The butane is then removed through evaporation, which leaves a resinous, sticky oil that is usually amber in color. There are, however, different types of extracts depending on the method of extraction and the process used.

The most common dab varieties are the following:

Honey Oil – This has a thick liquid consistency with a dark golden or amber color. It is also known as honeycomb, oil, and 710.

Shatter – This dab variety comes as a semi-transparent thin sheet of concentrate, almost resembling an amber glass. This type of dab can easily break below room temperature.

Butter – This type of dab has a doughy consistency. It is malleable and resembles peanut butter.

Wax – This variety of dab weed often resembles brown sugar as it is coarse and crumbly. It can sometimes resemble earwax in terms of consistency and color.

Live Resin – Unlike other dab varieties extracted from dry herbs, this dab variety is not made from dry herbs. Instead, it is made from fresh plants that did not undergo the normal drying process. It is one of the hard-to-find dabs

What are dab pens? Are they better than dab rigs?

Dabs can either be smoked or vaporized. The traditional way to dab is by using a dab rig. A dab rig setup consists of a water pipe and a metal piece called a nail. When dabbing, you will also need a blow torch to heat up the nail and another metal tool to get the dab and put it into the nail.

For someone who is not familiar with the process, it can be quite complicated and even risky to master the process of dabbing. This is the reason why an increasing number of dab users prefer to buy a dab pen.

A dab pen is a vaporizer that is quite similar to vape pens and e-cigarettes. The device has been modified so the user can take a single hit of the dab concentrate (usually oil, wax or shatter). Just like a vape pen, there is a heating element that heats up the dab weed to reach the correct temperature.

Many first-time users prefer to use dab pens because they are much easier to use and less complicated. They are also more discreet and portable because you don’t really need to carry around suspicious dab paraphernalia with you. You can put a dab pen in your pocket just like any other vape pen.

What are the side effects of dabbing? Dangers associated with dabs

When you vaporize dabs using a vaporizer, it is said to be theoretically safer for the lungs compared to smoking weed as there is no combustion. This argument is often an excuse used by people who use dabs over smoking weed. But are there negative side effects associated with dab weed?

Explosions in the extraction process

One of the dangers associated with dab weed takes place during the extraction process. Because butane is often used, people who attempt home extraction of dabs must be aware that the process can cause dangerous explosions. This is especially true for people without much experience in the process.

Consuming an excess amount of THC can result in hospitalization

Dabs can have up to 80-90% of THC, which is the hallucinogenic compound of cannabis. To put it in perspective, some of the strongest varieties of weed that people smoke often contain only up to 25% of THC. The high that is experienced when dabbing is much stronger and quicker than smoking weed.

Because dabs are extremely potent, it is easy to consume an excess amount without the user realizing it. Many people are unable to proceed with their daily activities after dabbing because of how potent the concentrate is. There have also been documented reports of inexperienced dab users who were hospitalized due to the extreme hallucinogenic effects.

Paranoia, Psychosis, and Anxiety

These are side effects usually experienced by people who are heavy weed users. With dabs, even if you only take a small hit, these side effects are possible due to the extremely high amount of THC.

Increased tolerance

The high amount of THC could build your tolerance to THC and marijuana quite quickly. If you are a regular user, developing tolerance will often result in higher doses over time. The possibility of transitioning to other more dangerous narcotics is present especially if you are not getting the same high.

Exposure to hazardous chemicals

Another risk faced by dab users is exposure to hazardous chemicals. This happens when they get their dabs from sellers who are not reputable. Many sellers try to mix other hazardous chemicals with dabs to make more money. This practice is common, especially in counterfeit prefilled dab pens or cartridges.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, help is available.

What are Dabs? Did you know that the high experienced from dabs is much more intense than smoking weed, learn more about Dab Weed.