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The Ins and Outs of Dabbing

The terminology surrounding cannabis use is vast and can be overwhelming. 

It seems like someone is always coming up with a new and innovative way to enjoy cannabis, and with that usually comes a whole new set of vocabulary. 

So what about dabbing? No, we aren’t talking about that annoying dance your younger brother won’t stop doing. Dabbing is actually a fast, intense way to enjoy cannabis.

In this article, we will explain the methods and components of dabbing. Plus we’ll tell you all about the benefits and risks associated with this craze. Finally, we’ll hit you with some tips to enjoy dabbing safely.

What Is Dabbing?

Dabbing is the inhalation of a concentrated THC product created through butane extraction. It typically involves:

  • Heating a device
  • Applying an extract to it which vaporizes; and
  • Inhaling the vapors in one large dose — also known as “doing a dab”

Generally, a dab refers to the amount of product associated with a single-use and dabbing is the act of ingesting the product.

Dabbing has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially among younger users.

But even though dabbing weed is seen as a relatively new trend, its origins can be traced back to the 1960s. 

It is believed that American soldiers in Vietnam would extract THC into a liquid concentrate using solvents like acetone or petrol. Then they would smear the product onto a rolling paper or use it to saturate tobacco.

what is dabbing

What Is a Dab Drug?

The extract used to dab is concentrated butane hash oil or BHO. It is made through a chemical process using butane oil, which extracts the oils from cannabis.

BHO is quite potent — it can have a THC concentration of up to 80%, compared to traditional cannabis, which is about 10-25%.

BHO extracts are also referred to as:

  • Dabs
  • Oil
  • Marijuana wax
  • Shatter
  • Honeycomb
  • Crumble
  • Budder 
  • Amber
  • Wax butter; or
  • Sap

Most of the terms on this list describe the product’s consistency.

Why Do People Dab?

Because BHO has such a high THC concentration, it delivers a faster and more intense impact to the user.

So people who want to get high more quickly and experience feelings of …

  • Euphoria
  • Increased insightfulness
  • Heightened sociability
  • Sexual pleasure; and
  • Relaxation

… that many users say they enjoy may choose to dab. They experience a powerful high all at once instead of having it build gradually over time.

Some people also believe dabbing is a safer method of THC ingestion because of its high potency. Their reasoning is that this reduces the number of times it needs to be taken to produce a high.

Potential Side Effects of Dabbing

Because butane hash oil is so concentrated, its potential for possible side effects can be higher than with other cannabis products.

Dabbing high-THC-concentration BHO may cause:

  • Changes to heart rate and blood pressure
  • Excitement and restlessness
  • Confusion and paranoia
  • Anxiety and panic
  • Reduced attention rate
  • Decreased reaction times
  • Detachment from reality

In addition to these side effects, heavy and regular use of THC may eventually cause:

  • Tolerance to the effects of cannabis
  • Dependence on cannabis
  • Reduced cognitive function

There is also a concern that dabbers could be ingesting BHO that is contaminated with pesticides and residual solvents that weren’t fully removed when it was made.

Is a Dabbing Overdose Possible?

As with any type of cannabis use, a fatal overdose is unlikely.

Because of the potency of BHO, its dangers mostly lie with:

  • Intense effects
  • Higher likelihood of dependency
  • More severe withdrawal symptoms

There can also be danger in the way BHO is created, which we will discuss more later.

Dab Withdrawal

The use of higher potency cannabis may cause an increase in the severity of withdrawal. Symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite and upset stomach
  • Sweating, chills, and tremors
  • Restless sleep and nightmares

Most of these withdrawal symptoms could last about a week, but sleep can be affected for even longer.

The Dangers of Producing Dabbing Ingredients

Amateur butane-based extraction, also called blasting, can put the safety of users at risk.

Dabs are made from blasting lighter fluid through the plant. Flammable gases plus poor ventilation equals high potential for fire and explosions. 

Some say the safety risks are comparable to those of manufacturing methamphetamines. 

As we said in our article about butane hash oil:

“…  it is essential that only licensed cultivators, processors, and those with the proper equipment are allowed to make such substances.

What Are the Benefits of Dabbing?

So now that you’re good and scared of making and ingesting BHO, you might be wondering if dabbing has any benefits. It does! 

Because butane hash oil is highly concentrated with THC and creates such intense reactions with one hit, it can help your body in the areas of:

  • Relaxation
  • Reduced nausea; and
  • Pain relief

So someone suffering from a chronic condition or intense pain may benefit tremendously from dabbing.

what is a dub pen

What Is a Dab Pen?

You are probably familiar with vape pens, which use liquid forms of THC. Since BHO is a waxy, sticky substance, it obviously can’t be used in the same type of pen.

To allow the wax to go inside, dab pens have a more bulky build that includes a heated coil. Contrast this with the slimmer appearance of vape pens, which use an atomizer.

How Is a Dab Pen Used?

The most challenging thing about using a dab pen is getting the oil or wax into the device since it can be a little messy. There are tools to help with this, or you can put the wax in the refrigerator to make it easier to manage.

Next, you just need to set your desired temperature (if your pen has an option for that) and fire it up.

Once the BHO has vaporized, you inhale it all at once.

Pros of Using Dab Pens

Dab pens have some benefits. For instance:

  • Like vape pens, they are highly portable and can be used discreetly.
  • Higher quality dab pens offer a wider range of temperatures so you can use a variety of oils and waxes.
  • With dab pens, the oils will not be diluted with additives as they can be with vape pens.
  • If you run out of oil, many of the devices can also vape flower.

Cons of Using Dab Pens

There are some difficulties with using dab pens, such as: 

  • Getting the sticky oil out of the original package and into the oven of the pen.
  • They can be harder to clean because of the waxy buildup.

Dabbing Responsibly

There are things you can do to make sure you dab responsibly and safely, such as:

  • Choose quality concentrates. As always, your friends at Hail Mary Jane are here to help you find the best of any type of cannabis product.
  • Start low and go slow. Since everyone reacts differently and cannabis concentrates are potent, there’s no need to take a large dose — especially at first.
  • Use a lower temperature. This creates less risk for inhaling toxins.
  • Use the latest technology. Dab pens make the process easier and safer than ever before.
what is a dab drug

What Does the Research Say About Overconsumption of Cannabis Concentrates?

Increasing tolerance of concentrated butane hash oil may lead to high levels of consumption. 

This can lead to the side effects and withdrawal symptoms we discussed previously, but there are also rare occurrences of more serious disorders.

CHS: Cannabinoid Hyperemesis

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome, or CHS, is thought to be induced by long-term cannabis use.

It is a condition that leads to severe and repeated bouts of vomiting.

Symptoms may include:

  • Ongoing nausea
  • Repeated episodes of vomiting
  • Belly pain
  • Decreased food intake and weight loss
  • Dehydration

CHS can be treated in many ways, but for people who develop it to fully recover, they  must stop using cannabis altogether.

CUD: Cannabis Use Disorder

Cannabis Use Disorder, or CUD, is another term for marijuana addiction. 

It describes when a person continues to use cannabis despite impairment in psychological, physical, or social functioning.

CUD is defined by pathological patterns classified under:

  • Impaired control
  • Social impairment
  • Risky behavior; or
  • Physiological adaptation.

Cannabis dependence develops in about 9% of users. 10-20% of people who use cannabis every day develop dependence.

The progression of cannabis dependency can be accelerated by:

  • Increasing the strength of the cannabis taken; and
  • Increasing use of more effective methods of delivery

It can also be caused by being prone to addiction, which can be genetic or environmental.

Again, both CHS and CUD are rare and come only with heavy daily use of cannabis. But since dabbing is a more intense form of cannabis use, it’s good to know the worst-case scenario before starting.

The Experts at Hail Mary Jane Can Help Guide You to the Best Products to Dab Safely

It is your responsibility to use cannabis products safely, and that includes dabbing. If you’d like to give it a try, we are here to help.

At Hail Mary Jane, our number one priority is to help you find the best cannabis products. We’ve been testing and reviewing products for over ten years — all so we can pass our knowledge on to you.

So whether you’re looking for pure and safely made butane hash oil or a dab pen to use it with, check out our recommendations and find the right product today.

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