If you’ve visited California or Colorado lately, then you either know about or have probably heard of “dabs” or “dabbing.” This method of concentrated marijuana consumption has been around for over a decade, but the arrival of more advanced extraction methods have led to an increase of marijuana concentrates that have catapulted dabbing’s popularity into High Times magazine issues and Cannabis Cups around the world.
A dab refers to a dose of marijuana concentrate (think of an earwax-like substance) that is heated on a hot surface, usually on a nail, and then inhaled as it burns. Dabs are usually referred to as butane hash oil (or BHO), wax, shatter, or budder.
Dabs are most commonly created by a technique in which high-quality marijuana is blasted with butane that is then extracted. Thus, leaving a substance that is a marijuana concentrate with THC levels boosted to as high as 60% – 90%; whereas, marijuana from dispensaries usually has THC levels around 12% – 25%.
One unsettling fact about dabbing is that because of the overwhelming potency, it is almost possible to overdose on marijuana. Although it is still not lethal, consuming more than your personal limit of dabs can lead to extremely long and uncomfortable highs, and often times, to passing out.
One positive side to dabs, or concentrates, is that they give a strong dose of medicine to those who truly need it. Patients dealing with severe discomfort can find quick and long-lasting relief from concentrates. For those patients who need very potent medicine, the amount of marijuana that they would have to smoke or vaporize to get the same effect as dabbing is just unattainable.
Luckily, the safety issues with marijuana concentrates can easily be controlled within a professional environment.
Dispensaries in certain states such as California, Colorado and Washington currently offer many types of concentrates. As of now, marijuana concentrates are illegal in Arizona and most other states.