What Is Dabbing?

Jun 06, 2016 0 comments

Marijuana concentrates come in many forms, from kief to water hash. Butane hash oil, or BHO, gets a lot of attention as an extract suitable for treating chronic pain, nausea and other medical conditions, as well as providing a powerful high. Its primary advantage for medical marijuana use comes from its quick effects, as it provides relief faster than smoking unconcentrated marijuana. The fast-acting nature of BHO comes from its 70 to 90 percent THC ratio.

BHO usage is also called dabbing due to its wax-like appearance. When you remove a portion of the oil, you also answer what is a dab, as you only use a small amount of the concentrate. You use a specialty bong or pipe called a dab rig and heat its surface with a blow torch. The dab goes on this rig and produces a strong vapor.

Dab Extraction Method

Manufacturers create dabs through an extraction method using pressurized butane on dried or fresh frozen marijuana. They remove the butane solvent by heat treating the extract in a vacuum. Some dabbing manufacturers use propane, hexane or gas mixtures instead of butane.

Concerns About Dabbing

One concern about dabbing comes from the chemicals used to extract THC and other beneficial compounds from the plant. Trace chemicals may remain in the BHO and contaminate the oil. Dabs may have additional contaminants if the manufacturer uses low-quality plants. The trace amounts of chemicals left behind in professionally manufactured dabs are as safe as drinking water, so you don't need to be concerned about this problem if your dabs come from a reputable source. This cannabis product is relatively new to the market, so regulation and research are limited.

Commercial dab manufacturers use tested and safe equipment for extract creation, but amateurs using homemade equipment face significant risk if they fail to take the proper safety precautions. Hash oil explosions receive a lot of media attention, and they result in property damage and burn injuries. These amateur extracts may also contain higher amounts of butane.

Go slowly when starting out with dabbing, as the higher THC concentration requires substantially less inhalation compared to the plant. You want to avoid unpleasant highs or potentially passing out due to miscalculating the proper intake. You also face the potential of developing cannabis tolerance depending on your typical usage and dosage.

Chemical-Free Cannabis Concentrates

Butane-based extraction is a common process for creating dabs, but chemical-free alternatives exist. One method uses carbon dioxide in place of the butane. The carbon dioxide gets compressed and extracts the beneficial compounds from marijuana without leaving any chemical solvents in the cannabis oil.

The second method uses cold water and ice to begin the chemical-free concentration process. The cannabis trichome heads are separated from the rest of the plant through multiple filters. The manufacturer removes the resulting hash and may leave it as is or further refine it through heat treatment.

For medical usage, dabbing provides many advantages over non-concentrated cannabis. You don't need to spend hours smoking marijuana to get relief, and you only use a little bit of the oil for each session. However, dabs may contain chemical contaminants and other impurities, which also get inhaled alongside the THC.

Homemade dabbing extraction processes carry greater contamination risk due to lower-grade equipment and higher safety issues. Chemical-free cannabis oils offer you alternatives if you prefer to completely avoid trace amounts of butane. Now that you answered what is dabbing, you can decide if it's right for you.

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