Dabbing 101: A Guide to Better-Understanding Dabs

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Dab is a form of highly concentrated cannabis that makes users feel high for an extended period of time. Dab only became popular recently. This likely happened because marijuana use is more popular and more accepted in the United States due to the mass legalization of marijuana in many states. Five or ten years ago, there was a stigma attached to smoking marijuana. It was once known as a “gateway drug,” paving the way for harder, more addictive drugs. Now Americans are more open to marijuana use and see the medical benefits of it. With a rise in marijuana acceptance, the market has been flooded with new boutique forms of the substance, such as dabs. So, what are they? 

What is Dabbing?

Dabbing is ingesting a substance known as dab, a highly potent cannabis concentrate.

Shatter is one of the most popular forms of dab. It got its name from the fact that it can easily be shattered into smaller pieces for easy consumption. Shatter looks like a slab of toffee, peanut brittle, or solid stick of maple syrup – but looks can be deceiving. This substance is actually very potent. It contains between 50% and 90% THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the component of cannabis that gets you high – and, just to compare it with normal marijuana buds, the average joint only contains about 5% to 25% THC. 

In some ways, dabbing is similar to crack in its relation to cocaine. Crack is a more potent, faster hitting form of the drug, just as dabbing is. It’s also become incredibly popular with young people. 

What are the Forms of Cannabis Concentrate?

There are quite a few forms of cannabis concentrate on the market today. The names are derived from the type of concentrate found in the substance. The preferred method for ingesting these substances is by smoking them through a vape pen or dab pen/dab rig. 

  • Shatter – the most popular and heavily branded form of dab; also the cleanest, purest, and most potent
  • Dab/Dab Wax/Wax – a sticky substance derived from concentrated cannabis 
  • Cannabis oil – an oil derived from cannabis 
  • Hash oil – a heavily concentrated oil made from hashish 
  • Resin – a more flavorful and “terpy” concentrate; also known as Live Resin 
  • Crumble – concentrate with a “crumbly” texture 
  • Budder – a medium cannabis wax with the smoothest and creamiest consistency 

Dabbing: What are the Side Effects?

The side effects from dabbing are just like the side effects of smoking weed – except more potent, due to the elevated levels of THC found in dabs. 

Side Effects of Dabbing 

  • Hallucinations (auditory or visual) 
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Decreased coordination
  • Decreased balance 
  • Vomiting/Nausea 
  • Fainting
  • Changes in sensory perception
  • Issues with Memory 
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis 
  • Addiction 
  • Relapse 
  • Chronic health conditions 

What are the Perceived Benefits of Dabbing?

Those who smoke weed or hold medical marijuana cards say there are some advantages to dabbing. For starters, dabbing is an efficient way to smoke marijuana and feel the effects powerfully and almost immediately. For those who use marijuana to help with chronic pain, the immediate results you get from dab are its key selling point. Dab is also said to be cleaner, more pure, and easier on the lungs than traditional marijuana buds. That said, doctors won’t usually recommend it. It’s not seen as “healthy” within medical circles. That’s why many medical professionals say that any of the benefits of dab are perceived rather than actual.  

What are the Dangers of Dabbing?

Dabbing takes “smoking” to the next level. That’s true even for regular weed smokers who’ve been lighting up for years. Even if you have a reasonable to high tolerance. Concentrates are an entirely new game. Listed below are some of the drawbacks of dabbing

Your tolerance will go up 

When you use a more potent version of something, your tolerance for that drug will skyrocket. If you start dabbing you’ll never be able to go back to the days of hitting a bong full of marijuana buds. The THC count in dab is simply too high. 

It’s hard to control your dose

Just like your tolerance going up, it’s going to be very difficult for you to control the amount of dab you take – and you’re not even going to realize this is happening. Overdoing concentrating is an entirely unpleasant thing. 

Too much is too much 

When it comes to dabbing, the worst part is when you’ve taken too much there are side effects. You may feel nauseous or paranoid, you may even experience a psychological condition known as psychosis, which is essentially a break with reality. Too much dab is a pretty common occurrence – especially for first time users who have no idea what they’re getting into. If you’re a casual smoker who’s not accustomed to a powerful, all-consuming high, put the dab down! 

Dabbing: What are the Withdrawal Symptoms? 

Just like with any other substance, withdrawal symptoms depend on how long and how much you’ve been dabbing. The withdrawal symptoms of shatter are similar to the withdrawal symptoms of other forms of dab, though shatter is more potent and therefore, the symptoms of shatter withdrawal may be more pronounced and last longer. 

Symptoms of Withdrawal

  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • Cognitive issues 
  • Trouble concentrating 
  • Sleep issues 
  • Insomnia 
  • Confusion
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis 
  • Tension
  • Outbursts of anger 
  • Irritability

What is the Treatment for Dabbing Addiction? 

If you believe that yourself or a loved one is at risk of being addicted to dabbing, help is possible. With regular counseling and psychological services, your loved one can go on to live a normal, happy, healthy, and productive life.

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