There has been a recent rise in the number of young adults in Canada engaging in dabbing. It’s a novel method of consuming cannabis concentrate. This harmful new trend involves heating a small amount of concentrated butane hash oil (BHO), also known as wax or oil, among many others, to a high temperature and inhaling the resulting vapours through a dab device. While promoters of dabbing claim that it provides a more potent and effective relief than smoking flowers, the practice comes with significant risks that have been causing concern among health professionals and federal law enforcement agencies. Let’s delve deeper, understand dabbing, and explore why it’s a dangerous way to get high!
What is Butane hash oil?
The extraction process used to produce butane hash oil (BHO), a concentrated cannabis extract, utilizes butane, a combustible solvent.The process involves placing cannabis plant materials into a container and flooding it with liquid butane.
As the butane dissolves the psychoactive components, including THC, in the cannabis plant, it produces a concentrated marijuana extract that one can use for dabbing or other forms of consumption.
Butane oil has up to 90% THC concentrations, compared to traditional cannabis’ 10-20%.
Due to its potency and fast onset effects, butane hash oil has become one of the renowned cannabis concentrates. However, the production of BHO at home can be risky and may result in fires or explosions.
Cannabis use through dabbing or BHO may not be legal in all jurisdictions, and users should be aware of the laws in their area to avoid legal consequences.
For thousands of years, people have been extracting beneficial compounds from the cannabis plant for medicinal and recreational purposes. There are over a hundred distinct cannabinoids present in cannabis, including both THC and CBD, which produce myriad benefits for the body.
The primary psychoactive compound in cannabis plants is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).
Cannabis concentrates are often extracted from the cannabis plant using solvents such as butane, co2, or water. Traditional cannabis flowers are not as potent as the extracts, which can comprise higher amounts of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Making BHO at home
The home production of butane hash oil is hazardous and has been responsible for several explosions and severe burns. Despite the availability of closed-loop extraction systems for producing BHO in a safer method, many people attempt to create it at home, which can be highly dangerous. Home production of BHO often involves flammables, such as butane, which ignites easily. Individuals usually use an open-blast extraction method, consisting of a tube to filter butane through marijuana plant material. This process carries a high risk of explosion and should never be attempted in an uncontrolled environment. The extraction process can also leave behind residual chemicals, which can be harmful if ingested.
What is Dab?
Dabbing is a method of consuming cannabis concentrates, which are highly potent extracts from the cannabis plant. The term “dab” can also refer to the small amount of concentrate used in this process. Dabbing involves heating a small amount of substance on a hot surface, usually a nail, until it vaporizes. The vapour is then inhaled through a device called a dab rig, which is similar to a bong or water pipe. The rig usually consists of a glass piece with a bowl where the cannabis concentrate is placed and the heated nail where the concentrate is vaporized.
The dabbing method has become increasingly popular among cannabis users, especially young adults, due to its potency and fast effects.
Dabbing involves heating a small amount of the oil on a hot surface and inhaling the resulting vapour. Smoking flower is typically mild compared to dabbing, which is generally more intense and longer-lasting.
Dab became popular, too, because of the iconic dab dance move associated with Cam Newton and his success as an athlete.
Manufacturers design dab pens specifically for consuming cannabis concentrates, including wax, shatter, budder, rosin, and other types. Vape pens, on the other hand, only vaporize the cannabis flower and oil. Dab pens exceed vape pens in size.
How Dabbing Works
Dabbing involves heating a small amount of BHO on a hot nail or quartz insert with a blow torch or other heat source until it vaporizes. To inhale the resulting vapours, users employ a device designed for concentrates that resembles a water pipe. They then use a carb cap to regulate the airflow and ensure the inhalation of all the vapours.
Dabbing delivers a high THC concentration, which can produce intense and immediate effects. While this method of consumption may sound simple, there is a significant learning curve involved, and the process can be dangerous if not done correctly.
Dab Rig and Hot Nail
To smoke or dab concentrates, one would use a rig – a glass device with a bowl for holding the cannabis concentrate and a heated surface called a nail. A hot nail is a metal tool that is heated with a torch and used to vaporize marijuana.
To use a rig, one heats the nail until it’s red hot. Then, it allows it to cool down for a short period. Once it has cooled, the concentrate is placed onto the hot nail, which instantly vaporizes it. The resulting vapour is inhaled through the rig’s mouthpiece, providing an intense and flavourful experience.
Static electricity can cause BHO to cling to surfaces and dab tools, making it difficult to handle and consume. Use these tools with caution.
Effects of BHO
The butane hash oil’s effects can manifest in both physical and psychological aspects. Physical effects examples include increased heart rate, bloodshot eyes, and impaired coordination. One may feel euphoria, relaxation, and altered perceptions of time and space due to BHO’s psychological impacts.
BHO is often compared to bubble hash, but their extraction methods are different from each other.
While bubble hash is made using ice water and agitation, BHO uses butane or other solvents to extract the cannabinoids and terpenes.
The effects of BHO are fast, more potent and long-lasting than those of traditional marijuana.
This is because of the high THC concentration present in the concentrated state, which in some instances, can go up to 90%.
Additionally, the effects are felt almost instantly, like you smoke an entire joint, making it easy for users to take more than intended, thus, increasing the risk of drug abuse.
Dangers of Dabbing
Several serious health risks are linked with dabbing. Users expose themselves to higher levels of danger when they dab, both in the short and long term. The high temps in dabbing can cause severe burns if the nail or insert is not adequately heated.
The production of butane hash oil can also be dangerous. The extraction process utilizing flammables poses a significant explosion hazard, and the residual chemicals can harm one’s well-being.
This can create a dangerous situation as even the smallest spark, such as one produced by static electricity, can ignite the butane gas and cause an explosion. It can cause various health problems, including respiratory problems, skin irritation, and other health issues.
Furthermore, there is a risk of cannabis dependence, and withdrawal symptoms can occur if use is stopped abruptly.
With regular use, some individuals may develop an increased tolerance to the effects of dabbing BHO, which can lead to the need for higher doses to achieve the desired level of intoxication.
Long-term effects can also lead to cannabis dependence and withdrawal symptoms, including irritability, insomnia, and anxiety. Dabbing’s psychological effects are not fully understood. Remember to do your research to know the risks linked with this practice.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse Rehabilitation (NIDA) recognizes that dabbing, which involves inhaling cannabis extracts, can result in various adverse health effects.
Miller, BL and Stogner, John M.’s research paper “Assessing the Dangers of ‘Dabbing’: Mere Marijuana or Harmful New Trend?” will be a good read.
You may also check “Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation” journals to increase the learning curve.
It is known that high concentrations of THC can have adverse effects on mental health and cognitive function.
What’s the difference between concentrates, extracts, and dabs?
People often use concentrates, extracts, and dabs to describe marijuana concentrates. To produce concentrate, one must remove the plant matter from the cannabis flower and extract the resin. Cannabis concentrates are very potent and come in different forms, such as wax, shatter, and oil, to name a few.
While extracts refer to concentrates made using a chemical process such as butane extraction. The solvent is used to extract the resin from the marijuana plant.
These concentrates can contain very high levels of THC, which produces the “high” effect.
To extract cannabinoids and terpenes from cannabis, manufacturers use solvents like butane or CO2 to make a marijuana concentrate known as wax.
It is the dried and cured buds of cannabis. You can smoke it, vape it, or use it to make extracts and concentrates. With smoking weed flower, more THC enters the bloodstream with each inhalation. This makes the effects manifest faster and more intensely.
Is Dabbing Safer Than Smoking Marijuana?
There is no proof that dabbing is a safer method! While dabbing may be more potent than mere marijuana, it is not necessarily safer. Though it provides more effective relief, the high concentrations of THC in BHO can lead to a greater risk of adverse effects.
Also, the risks associated with producing butane oil and using a blow torch to heat the nail increase the risk of burns and other injuries. While supporters believe that dabbing is a safer method of marijuana use than smoking, there is currently insufficient research to support this claim. While dabbing may be a more efficient way to achieve the desired effects, it also carries risks such as those mentioned here.
Note that dabbing is a harmful new trend. There is a lack of further research regarding the potential adverse long-term effects of taking marijuana in this concentrated form.
As with any drug use, there is always the potential for physical and psychological effects and withdrawal symptoms when usage is stopped.
Dangers of Production
Because the production of butane hash oil is dangerous, it should only be attempted in a closed-loop system by trained experts.
The production of butane hash oil involves the use of flammable solvents such as butane. Solvents can easily ignite, heightening the risks of fire and explosion. This is especially true when BHO is made at home, without proper equipment or safety measures.
Numerous reports have been of people being seriously injured or even killed while attempting to make BHO at home. It is best not to try it as you may suffer severe burns requiring multiple skin grafting procedures and even spend months in the hospital like those reported.
In addition to the possibility of fire and explosion, the production of BHO can also result in the release of residual solvents into the final product. These solvents can be harmful if ingested. There’s little regulation of the solvents allowed in butane hash oil sold on the black market.
Can You Overdose on Dabs?
While consuming too much THC and experiencing uncomfortable or even dangerous side effects is possible, there is no known lethal dose of cannabis. However, dabbing can increase the risk of overconsumption, as concentrates have much higher THC concentrations than marijuana.
Due to the high potency of most concentrates, users can reach the desired effect with much smaller doses than they would need when smoking flowers. Nevertheless, this also means a potential risk of excessive drug intake, especially for people with little experience. Protect your well-being by taking caution.
Another risk linked with dabbing is the use of high temperatures. When dabbing, a blowtorch is often used to heat a nail or quartz insert to very high temps, which can create a severe risk of burns.
It can also trigger the emergence of toxic chemicals and other compounds from the concentrate. More research is needed to fully understand the effects of dabbing at max temperatures and the potential health risks linked with this practice.
Solvent extraction is separating compounds using a solvent from a mixture. Extracting oils from plants and organic materials frequently involves dissolving the desired component in a solvent and separating it from the resulting mixture.
What is oil?
When referring to dabbing, people use the term “oil” to describe cannabis concentrate extracts that offer a more potent high. To produce these extracts, one would use solvents like butane or CO2 to extract the essential oils and cannabinoids from the plant material.
Many different types of cannabis oils are available for dabbing in our shop, each with its unique flavour and potency level.
Unlike other concentrates, live resin retains much of the flavour and aroma of the original plant material.
Some of our most sought-after oils include shatter, wax, and budder. These oils can range in consistency from a hard, glass-like texture to a soft, buttery consistency.
It is one of the most popular forms of THC products. It is made by extracting THC and other cannabinoids. The oil can be consumed orally or applied topically for localized effects.
Extracting substances from a mixture without a solvent is called solventless extraction. Solventless extraction methods include pressing, steam distillation, and ice water extraction. Unlike solvent extraction, solventless extraction does not involve potentially toxic chemicals. This process can produce a purer product.
The effects of dabbing can be very intense and immediate, often producing a more potent high than consuming the traditional cannabis flower. However, dabbing can also be risky, as it involves handling highly flammable materials such as butane during extraction. Individuals must be well-informed about the risks and potential consequences of dabbing before trying it. Regular cannabis use through dabbing may lead to adverse effects. Users should consume responsibly and in moderation.