There has always been a stigma attached to dabbing. It once was a desperation move to find something left in a bowl or bong, sort of scrapping the bottom of the barrel.
On the other hand, the power and quality of the THC high has been moving dabbing to the front burner of user experience and may influence the canna-economy if broadly legalized as recreational use. Still, Newsweek says, “Although dabbing allows a user to get high much quicker than smoking, it may also come with serious health risks.”
The problem is that dabbing refers to so many different forms and techniques, you need a complete guide to dabbing cannabis concentrates.
In a dab, you touch a cannabis concentrate to a hot surface or vice versa. Then, you inhale the fumes.
A cannabis concentrate is what is left over after all the cannabis plant material has been removed from the marijuana.
Alcohol, Butane, Carbon Dioxide, and Ethanol act are common solvents used to break down the cannabis plant. But, to avoid toxic residues, people are increasingly opting for solventless extracts achieved through processes involving, rosin, water, ice, or shaking.
Extract forms sell as budder, crumble, honeycomb, kief, oil, shatter, solvent hash, and wax, often named for their appearance.
710 is the cultural tag for dabbing because 710 is OIL upside down.
You need some equipment to dab properly:
- Rigs are glass pipes or bong-like devices made for using hash oil. The rig has a ceramic, glass, quartz, or titanium nail that you torch to a temperature that vaporizes the hash.
- Nailsare heated with a blow torch, and some are now automated.
- Dabs are small quantities of concentrate dropped on the nail.
- Vapors rise in clouds from the heated dab for your inhaling pleasure.
Rigs come in a wide variety of structures, some more user-friendly than others and some less risky than others. After all, you are using fire and gases here.
Dabbing releases the cannabis terpenes, the rich oils secreted by cannabis glands. Terpenes are common to fruits, herbs, spices, and vegetables. Common terpenes have been used throughout history as remedies for assorted medical problems.
- Alpha Bisabolol reminds you of chamomile and, like chamomile, has treated inflammation and sleeplessness.
- Alpha Pinene and Beta Pinene smell like pine trees and fight inflammation.
- Borneol suggests camphor, and as such, serves as an analgesic, anti-insomnia, anti-septic, and asthma bronchodilator.
- Caryophyllene treats anxiety and depression with its hoppy flavor and aroma.
- Cineole’s herbal foundation is also anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and antiviral.
- Delta 3 Carene vapors smell of pine and earth, used to dry up tears and runny noses.
- Eucalyptol smells like its name and works at treating coughs.
- Limonene gives lemons, limes, and other citrus their aromas, and it has been used to treat bronchitis, cancer, and skin conditions.
- Linalool has hints of cinnamon, flowers, and mint and may treat liver cancer.
- Myrcene flavors musky fruits and offers anti-inflammatory relief.
- Terpineol releases pine and clove scents, both antioxidants.
But, the big prize is the THC potent hit.
Dabbing emits THC-intensive vapors. That’s good and bad. A .05 gram of 70% THC concentrate yields 30 milligrams of THC. That is the equivalent of several rapidly smoked joints or several edibles consumed at the same time. So, while it may provide the high you are looking for, dabbers often have trouble with moderation.
- Easier than rolling a joint
- Potent and different high
- Fuller taste and aroma
- Fewer hits achieve a much bigger high
Using also promises quicker pain relief for dabbers with medical conditions. However, there is a downside:
- Risk of overdosing. If you can dab and walk away, that’s okay. But, dabbing repeatedly over a short span of time puts you at risk of overdosing. That can produce confusion, panic, paranoia, and passing out.
- Marijuana-induced psychosis. There have been a few cases reported of psychosis developed after heavy dabbing, a condition that required psychiatric care and hospitalization.
- DIY Extraction. Where concentrates remain illegal, many users make their own. The process is not super difficult, but with butane, alcohol, and other flammables in use, accidental explosions offer some risk.
- Withdrawal symptoms. Because of the potency, some repeating users have experienced withdrawal symptoms like depression, headaches, and night sweats.
- Toxic traces. Extracts created with solvents may retain some toxic chemicals. Where extracts are legal, they are subject to quality control. When a dab sizzles, it may have excess content.
Dabbing is not for new users. Novices do not know enough about the strains or the differences among the concentrates. Under the best conditions and with enough support and guidance, it can provide a unique experience for those who build up to it.
What you can expect
The New York Times warns, The Federal law enforcement officials say the drug, also known as shatter, budder, and honey, is now on their radar.” And, it’s stereotypical image of a stoner brewing something mean in the basement doesn’t help.
Part of its problem is where it fits into the prospective cannabis marketing of the future. While it can produce immediate health benefits, the dabbing image does not quite fit the medical marijuana marketing profile.