Trends in Use

Dabbing and Vaping

Smoking remains the most common way to use marijuana, but dabbing and vaping are trending because they allow for concentrated levels of THC and often mask the tell-tale stench associated with smoking.

Dabbing is the term used for the process of vaporizing marijuana concentrate, known as Butane Hash Oil (BHO). BHO is an oil or wax- like substance that is extracted from the marijuana plant and generally contains 50-90 percent THC. The wax-like concentrate, also known as Shatter, Wax or Crumble, is placed on the tip of a nail (or something similar) that is attached to a specialized glass bong called a “rig”. A blow torch heats the wax producing a vapor that can be inhaled.

According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, because of its ingestion method the effects of dabbing can be felt immediately. Dabbing has other severe negative side effects including blackouts, rapid heartbeat, loss of consciousness, memory loss, feeling like something is crawling under your skin and psychotic symptoms, including paranoia and hallucinations. Contaminants found in hash oil, including butane and other neurotoxins, can lead to severe allergic reactions and in some cases poisonings.

One of the most dangerous aspects of dabbing is the actual production of BHO. BHO is made by running butane or another solvent through a tube filled with dried marijuana. The solvent strips the THC out of the plants, leaving behind an oily liquid that can be further solidified by heating the mixture to evaporate the butane. This has led to an increase in reports of houses and apartment buildings exploding as a result of the extraction process. Survivors of these explosions have reported needing skin grafts and reconstructive surgeries due to severe burns and have suffered broken bones among other injuries. In some cases the explosions were so severe they resulted in death.

Vaping is a practice closely related to dabbing which includes placing hash oil into vaping devices. These deceives look like e-cigarettes and do not emit any smoke. This decreases the chances of getting caught using hash oil and increases the opportunity for individuals to get high in public places, like at school or work, without getting noticed.

Dabbing and vaping have increased in popularity so rapidly because they are the fastest ways to get very intense highs. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, smoking a single small drop of BHO, or “hash oil,” is the equivalent of two or three typical-sized portions of marijuana hitting the system at one time.