When people hear the term “dabbing,” they might initially think of the dance move that is believed to have originated in the Atlanta rap scene and was later popularized by football star, Cam Newton, who made “the dab” his signature touchdown celebration. But the word dabbing also has a darker side.
In marijuana culture, dabbing refers to the dangerous process of consuming high concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana. And yet despite the dangers associated with the practice, it is growing in popularity, especially among teens.
What Are Dabs?
Dabs—also referred to as wax, shatter, amber, honeycomb, or budder—are concentrated versions of butane hash oil (BHO) which contains highly-concentrated levels of THC. This concentrated substance is produced through a chemical process using butane oil to extract the oils from the cannabis.
Research suggests that dabs or BHO can have a THC concentration of 80% in comparison to traditional cannabis, which has a concentration of about 10-15% THC. In fact, at a minimum dabs are as much as four times as strong as a joint. Plus, people who dab experience an intense high all at once rather than it gradually building over time.
Dabs are made by pouring butane over marijuana. This process allows the THC to leave the marijuana plant and dissolve into the butane leaving a gummy, somewhat solid product that contains high amounts of THC.
How Dabbing Works
Although marijuana is usually consumed by smoking joints and sometimes through vape pens, dabs are heated to an extremely high temperature and then inhaled. A specifically-designed glass bong commonly called an “oil rig” is used.
The dab is placed on an attached “nail” and a blow torch is used to heat the wax, which produces a vapor that can be inhaled. This type of ingestion means the effects of dabbing are felt immediately.
Many times people will dab by placing hash oil in vaping devices. Teens especially, use this method because it allows them to use hash oil with a very low chance that they will be caught because there is no smoke or distinct smell. Consequently, they often dab in public places, including at school.
Although the process of dabbing is not new, it is growing in popularity in the United States. Scientists attribute this growth to the commercial production of medical marijuana and the legalization of it in numerous states. Both of these factors have led to an increase in instructional videos online as well as a greater social media presence. Consequently, it is becoming more and more popular.The Different Forms of Marijuana
Why Dabbing Is Dangerous
Although some people believe that dabbing is a safer method of ingesting cannabis because it is so highly concentrated and the user only has to take one hit to get high, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Simply put, there is no safe level of drug use. Any drug—regardless of its purpose—carries some risk. And, dabs are no exception.
Dabbing rapidly increases weed tolerance
It is a well known fact that your tolerance to substances that inebriate you have a tendency to grow and drop depending on how often you consume the substance.
Seeing how dabbing is one of the ways to consume cannabis extracts that contain high amounts of cannabinoid contents, it is natural that smoking these will vastly increase your tolerance.
But, is that a good thing?
In my personal opinion, no — never, unless your goal is to impress people with how much weed you can smoke.
Smoking Too Much Cannabis? Here’s How to Overcome It
Sure, dabbing once in a while when you are in the occasion might not increase your tolerance much.
However, many stoners have a tendency to get higher and higher for some reason. Those often have their own rigs and smoke on the daily.
Daily dabbing is perhaps one of the worst things that can come out of this, as daily dabbing is known to rapidly increase tolerance.
Firstly, the increased tolerance will lead to further attempts at getting even higher and it becomes a never-ending loop of spending ridiculous amounts of cash on cannabis extracts.
Secondly, your tolerance will be so high at moments that getting high by simply smoking blunts and joints might become hardly achievable.
I had the unfortunate opportunity to have this experience.
After several weeks of non-stop dabbing and vaping on cannabis extracts, my friend from Cali and I couldn’t get high after smoking 3 blunts back-to-back on a regular day.
Sure, we got a bit buzzed…
But that was nowhere near how high we used to get before dabbing for a few weeks.
And there were no different factors that might influence our calls, we were still smoking the same weed as we used to smoke weeks ago…
After that experience, we decided to take it down a notch and ease up on the dabs.
Dabbing vs vaping: what’s the difference?
So, I mentioned that we both dabbed and vaped cannabis extracts.
These are two completely different ways of consuming cannabis, but they have rather similar effects.
Now, while both types of consumption rely on inhaling vaporized cannabis, the way users get there is a bit different.
Dabbing is done by heating up a nail with a blowtorch and placing a bit of cannabis extracts on the heated nail which evaporates the extracts.
The hot vapor is then inhaled through the rig and is usually extremely hot, which causes irritation in the lungs and throat.
The result of all this is an instant high, a terrible cough, chest pain and then numbness for the next 30 minutes or so.
Vaping, on the other hand, relies on technology a bit more, as it utilizes electricity in order to heat up the extracts or dried bud, which is then turned into low-temp vapor.
Vaporizers are usually much smaller in size as they usually come in pocket-size while dabbing rigs are basically modified bongs.
Vaporizers also utilize a lower temperature in order to vaporize the contents, while higher temperatures are needed for dabbing.
Vaporizers heat up cannabis material on a hot plate to release the vapor or smoke so that it can be inhaled.
Dab rigs utilize a hot nail that you manually heat up and it lets of heat over time, while vaporizers keep a constant temperature when activated.
Knowing these differences, let us get into how temperatures affect your high and see which temperature is best for which effect.