Guest Author: Max Montrose from The Trichome Institute
One dab, two dab, three dab-four, take another dab, and you’ll need some more. Is dabbing the crack-cocaine of marijuana or is it the next revolution in smoking technology? There are so many questions and seemingly more confusing answers than most people can make sense of. Is dabbing addictive? Is it dangerous? What is the legal status? Where did it come from? How do you do it and is it safe? Can you test how safe it is and how does Colorado define safe residual solvents? Let’s start from the top and knock out the easy questions first.
What is a dab or dabbing?
To dab means to take a tiny amount of concentrated hash (upwards of 95% THC) on the end of a small thin rod called a dabber. People use a bong or bubbler contraption many people call an oilrig. Oil for what you’re smoking, and rig stands for whatever smoking set up you build into a bong to dab with. A user takes the hash concentrate hanging on the tip of the dab rod and presses the small sticky hash ball to a hot metal plate, called a puddle swing, or other hot surface.
I like glass and ceramic attachments over titanium. Something about heating metal till it glows red-hot and then pressing another metal tool to the heat seems like you may be smoking micro-doses of titanium. I imagine inhaling titanium off gasses due to the softness of the red hot metal in that violent state becoming evaporative. Quartz crystal, glass and ceramics seem to be safer, but more science needs to be done to confirm if this theory is true or not.
So is dabbing safe?
The extraction technologies are getting better and better each day. We are just now getting to a point where I believe BHO (butane hash oil) and other solvent extractions are becoming less harmful. But wax and dabbing back in the day was horrific and it’s still this way with the black market in and out of Colorado today. Yes dabbing can be safer today if you know how to do it right.
Yes, if you do it correctly and here is the method. The most key element to a safe dab is safe hash. There is an at home way to test if your dabs are safer than not: put 1 dab on the end of paper clip held over a paper towel, and simply light it on fire. If the dab has tons of residual gas in it, it will sparkle like the 4th of July.
If the wax is not flammable, and doesn’t spark what so ever and just melts onto the paper towel, it is cleaner than not. Currently some companies have moved away from Butane and onto CO2 gas extractions and it makes sense this is a cleaner method. I am also aware of companies out there who have secret technology for a water-based extraction and not a gas extraction whatsoever.
One thing I noticed from dabbing solvent-less wax is that it’s strong, but not painfully mind blowing like its gas extracted cousins. I believe this is true because you’re getting the effect purely from the THC and not the residual gas. Shatter is a more pure form of wax that is vacuumed and heat purged in scientific ovens and usually has a lot less residual parts per million (PPM)’s of gas in it. After you have assurance that the hash you’re smoking is safe, then you need to smoke it in a safe way. This is easy to do if your oil rig is 100% glass and not metal. Instead of a puddle swing use a quartz crystal nail. Quartz is the most tempered glass on earth, you can heat it red hot and drop it in freezing water and it won’t shatter! Your dabbing tool should also be glass, and there for I’d say it’s safe to say glass on glass with chemical free hash will not be a hazard to your health. That’s how I dab…
The truth about wax, shatter and dabbing is because you’re smoking a very potent amount of THC (even though its small) this will bring your tolerance up at light speed. So much so that most dab heads find it frustrating to smoke anything besides dabs; simply smoking weed doesn’t do the trick anymore. Marijuana is not addictive, but dabs have brought marijuana to a whole new level, and I do know people who you could consider addicted to taking dabs. Then again they might be addicted to the effect they get from the dab outside of the THC if they are smoking the dirty stuff. I’ve dabbed super dirty dabs myself, and the high is nothing similar to that of cannabis. 0.00 ppm concentrates do not produce the mind blowing effects that dirty hash does.
Either way, because I would like to preserve my cannabis tolerance as much as possible, I take a dab only when I need to. I wake up at 2 am every morning due to my Psychomotor Agitation and taking a sleeping pill or smoking bowl after bowl that late, doesn’t knock me back to sleep half as quickly as just taking a dab. I smoke dabs medically only, with clean wax, on a glass on glass rig. I recommend my method to anyone who cares about their tolerance or overall health.
In conclusion, I don’t mean to scare anyone. I just want to make people aware of the facts and the unknowns. Concentrates should not become illegal for three very good reasons:
First, some people who have MS, or who may be having an epileptic seizure don’t have time or a steady hand to smoke a bowl for 10 minutes in dire medical need. It’s incredible how much medicine can enter your system instantly by dabbing and some people truly need this medically.
The second reason is personal recreational preference. It would really suck if all alcohol was low ABV beer; and scotch, whisky and tequila where made illegal. Some people like to drink the heavier stuff the same way some people like to take dabs. Freedom is an important part of our culture; keep concentrates legal.
The third and most crucial reason is that dabbing has already hit the mainstream market and has reached critical mass. Make it illegal now and you will see a tremendous surge in the homemade crack-wax that is a hazard to health. People are blowing themselves and their homes up frequently as it is. Make the product illegal and the danger to society will surge. If you keep safe, regulated, and standard product available, people won’t have to result to bootlegging crack hash and exploding homes.
More About Max
Max Montrose is the cannabis industry’s authoritative voice and a key educational advisor to the government, business, and public sectors for cannabis-related projects. Max specializes in cannabis safety, education, and awareness. He works with lawyers, doctors, and scientists in the cannabis industry to understand, discover, and educate people about the truths and complexities of the cannabis plant. Max is the co-founder of a new cannabis education company, The Trichome Institute, which specializes in providing a certifiable cannabis curriculum for professionals and fun cannabis educational tools for recreational users. Max is also developing a line of products to help people understand the process of Interpening™ and he is helping with a scientific project to map the cannabis genome