If you’re worried about your kids experimenting with marijuana, dabbing probably won’t be their first exposure to it. The word dabbing refers to a complicated way of inhaling marijuana. To be sure, a simple joint is far more likely to make it into your teen’s hands than all of the equipment needed to do a dab. Still, it’s wise to be aware of the current trends so that you can talk to your teen about it with ease.
What Is Dabbing?
Dabbing, or “doing a dab,” is a way to smoke marijuana in a highly concentrated form. The marijuana concentrate usually looks like a honey-colored wax, thus the nicknames “honeycomb,” “ear wax” or “budder.” To do a dab, you’d need special equipment, including a hand held blow torch and a pipe not unlike a bong. A metal piece inside the pipe is heated with the blow torch, and then the wax is added to this metal piece, known as a “nail.” When the wax comes into contact with the hot surface, it bubbles and smokes. This smoke is inhaled through the top of the pipe. In short, dabbing is a process that is more likely to be done by people who already smoke marijuana on a regular basis and who want a more concentrated high. Your teen might come into contact with dabbing through a friend or friend of a friend. You’re less likely to stumble upon your teen taking a hit of dab in the basement of your own home. Still, as a parent you should be comfortable talking to your children about drugs of all kinds. “Dabbing” doesn’t look like it has anything to do with marijuana at first glance, which might make your teen wary. But if your teen learns it’s “just marijuana,” he or she might think it’s safe enough to give it a try. Unfortunately, dabbing comes with plenty of risks due to its high concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It’s a good idea to educate your child about dabbing and warn against it, just as you would warn against any drug use.
Risks of Dabbing
Marijuana is considered one of the “safer” drugs on the streets, but the main psychoactive chemical found in marijuana (THC) becomes highly concentrated in certain forms, including dabs. THC in such high concentrations increases the risk of marijuana dependency and other dangerous side effects like psychosis. In low concentrations, the delayed reaction time a smoker might experience could be seen as “relaxing,” but when THC is consumed in high concentrations, this delayed reaction becomes more pronounced. Getting behind the wheel of a car after smoking marijuana concentrates is especially risky. There is also an increased risk of complications related to the cardiovascular system. Marijuana causes the heart to beat faster, and there is an elevated risk of heart attack within the first hour of smoking marijuana. This risk is even more elevated when doing a dab or otherwise taking a stronger hit of THC. Smoking marijuana can also damage the lungs, causing side effects such as coughing and wheezing or even precancerous changes in the tissues of the lungs. These risks are not exclusive to dabbing, but are associated with the inhalation of concentrated amounts of THC, no matter what method is used. The creation of concentrated THC is dangerous as well. Just like someone with a meth lab, someone with a “butane hash oil lab” is at risk of basically blowing themselves up. To extract the hash oil from marijuana leaves, the leaves are packed tightly into a pipe, and butane gas is forced through the pipe. At best, the hash oil is successfully extracted and it contains a high concentration of THC, perfect for selling to daily users who need more powerful hits. At worst, the maker could die from serious burn injuries. So despite marijuana’s seemingly harmless image, it’s still something you do not want your child to become tangled up in. If you suspect your teen may be using dabs, consider talking to him or her about it as well as treatment options for marijuana abuse.