What is Dabbing?

Dabbing is the inhalation of concentrated tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) product created through butane extraction. The use of butane hash oil (BHO) products and the modification of cannabis are not new phenomena, but dabbing has recently moved from relative obscurity to the news headlines, leaving many curious about its effects and making doctors concerned.

Marijuana extracts are concentrated oils from the marijuana plant, sometimes called “hash oil”. They are a lot stronger than dried marijuana which on average, has a THC content of 12–13 percent. The average marijuana extract contains more than 50 percent THC, with some samples exceeding 80 percent. These trends raise concerns that the consequences of marijuana use could be worse than in the past. The reason is that the THC and other chemicals are more concentrated in marijuana extracts than in regular marijuana making the side effects of dabbing more powerful than those from smoking weed. Since dabbing is a new phenomenon, there are not many studies available on it’s long term effects yet.

Side effects can include:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Blackouts
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations
  • Extreme paranoia

Dangers of Dabbing

Dab is sometimes considered the crack of cannabis. Because of the manner in which it is processed, there are many dangers associated with dabbing. At production time, pressing butane through glass pipes to extract the oil has been known to cause explosions. As mentioned previously, the lack of research regarding the physical effects of inhaling concentrated THC has presented plenty of concerns in the medical community. It is believed the effects may be more addictive than using regular marijuana. Dabbing can cause the build-up of higher tolerance to THC which consequently presents more severe symptoms of withdrawal when stopping the use.

Also, in a 2015 study, over 80 percent of marijuana extracts studied was contaminated with pesticides or poisonous solvents leftover from the extraction process.

The Unknown Factors About Dabbing

There are very few studies regarding concentrated THC oil. Even among supporters of marijuana use, there is controversy regarding the use of the more potent dabs. Marijuana affects brain chemistry significantly. At higher concentration over prolonged periods of use could present long-term effects which are completely unknown. Other body systems may also be affected since the chemical is filtered and processed, beginning in the respiratory system then traveling immediately to the bloodstream.

Is Dabbing Addictive?

So what makes a particular habit or substance addiction? No use of psychoactive substances is risk-free, and generally using drugs to deal with a chronic condition is more likely to lead to addiction problems. When marijuana users, using highly concentrated THC products attempt to quit, managing the withdrawal symptoms could be challenging without professional help. Seeking help from an addiction specialist and receiving treatment in formal rehabilitation is often the best course to begin a successful drug-free life.

** The information provided above is intended for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment.