1) Noun. A term used to describe an unspecified dose of concentrate. Dab can be used to refer to a form of concentrate such as budder, crumble, sauce, shatter, or wax.
2) Verb. The act of inhaling vaporized cannabis concentrates through a temperature-specific heating method such as a dab rig, e-rig, or vaporizer.
“Dabbing concentrates is tastier than smoking flower from a bong.”
What Are Dabs?
Dabs are portions of cannabis concentrates that you vaporize using a dab rig, through a process known as dabbing. This concentrated form of cannabis is usually much more potent than marijuana flower.
Additionally, because these blobs are typically made up of highly concentrated cannabinoids and terpenes, dabs are sometimes known to be very flavorful. And because you’re supposed to vaporize dabs instead of combust them, dabbing also delivers a very clean taste, if done properly. Popular examples of THC concentrations that can be dabbed include budder, badder, sauce, crystalline, live resin, rosin, and butane hash oil (BHO), or honey oil.
More About Dabbing
Dabbing has quickly become one of the most popular consumption methods among cannabis users, offering a potent high and flavor-packed experience. Consumption is usually done with a dab rig — a glass chamber similar to a bong.
Rigs typically require a titanium, ceramic, quartz or glass nail, also known as a banger. Think of them as the bowl, but made for a rig. Consumers use a butane torch or e-nail to bring the banger to a temperature that almost instantly vaporizes the concentrates.
Dabbing typically offers a more potent high and more immediate effects than smoking flower. It will typically produce a strong flavor and terpene-rich aroma. If you’re concerned about odor, you might be wondering, do dabs smell?
To some extent, yes, but the scent of marijuana concentrates do not linger for very long at all. Moreover, dabbing arguably offers even more discretion when handheld vaporizers and portable e-rigs are used.
The overt disadvantages to this consumption method are the necessity for tools and accessories, and the learning curve involved in achieving the perfect vaporization temperature. The temperature of the nail at the moment that you take the dab will affect the flavor, ability to clean your nail, and according to recent studies, it could alter the desired effects of the concentrate.
High-temperature dabs — 340-700 degrees Fahrenheit, or 170-370 degrees Celsius — will scorch your concentrates, giving off an astringent and harsh flavor. Those temperatures also tend to leave behind residue that is very hard to clean. At low temperatures — below 340 degrees Fahrenheit, or 170 degrees Celsius — also known as “low-temp dabs,” the concentrate is not fully vaporized, leaving behind a small amount of oil that can be easily removed with a cotton swab.
A study from Portland State University published in September 2017 has also found that vaporizing terpenes at the high temperatures required for dabbing may produce the toxicants methacrolein and benzene. In other words, if you dab weed concentrates at high temperatures, it may turn terpenes toxic.
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.
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 Is Not the Same as Smoking
In fact, one study found that dabbing can lead to higher tolerance and worse withdrawal symptoms. What’s more, it is dangerous for users to assume that dabbing carries the same risks as smoking marijuana. Instead, most researchers say that dabbing is to marijuana what crack is to cocaine. There is simply no comparison between dabbing and smoking joints.
Harmful Side Effects
Dabbing also includes a number of dangerous side effects like a rapid heartbeat, blackouts, crawling sensations on the skin, loss of consciousness, and psychotic symptoms such as paranoia and hallucinations.
Meanwhile, a study conducted by researchers at Portland State University, found that dabbing also may expose users to elevated levels of toxins including carcinogenic compounds. What the scientists found is that the higher the temperature the substance is exposed to, the more carcinogens, toxins, and potential irritants that are produced.
This fact, in turn, puts users at a greater risk than other methods of getting high because there is a challenge in controlling the nail temperature. As a result, people who dab are being exposed to harmful chemicals including methacrolein and benzene. Likewise, another study found that more than 80% of marijuana extracts are contaminated with poisonous solvents and pesticides.
Dangers of Production
Another danger with dabbing is the fact that making hash oil is one of the riskiest aspects of dabbing. Keep in mind that dabs are made by blasting butane (or lighter fluid) through the marijuana plant. It is highly flammable and unstable. So, adding heat to a substance like this is extremely dangerous.
What’s more, after the process has been completed, any remaining butane is now in the form of gas in the room. As a result, the smallest spark—even one produced by static electricity—can cause an explosion. The risks are similar to that of a meth lab.
Consequently, there have been increasing reports of houses, apartment buildings, and other structures exploding during the extraction process. When this happens, the people involved are either killed or become burn victims with broken bones who need skin grafts and reconstructive surgery.