What are the dangers of dabbing?

Published Mar 15, 2019 09:00 a.m. ET
Is dabbing safer than smoking?

Dabbing's been available for the last decade, but only recently has it grown in popularity. This is largely due to the legalization of marijuana. Not much information is circulating around dabbing or more colloquially called, ‘dabs.' It makes use of honey oil, butane hash oil (BHO), shatter, budder or wax. But what is it? After reading this article, you'll be able to answer these two questions: is dabbing safer than smoking and is dabbing bad for you?

How is dabbing carried out?

As a marijuana concentrate, dabs are a minimum of four times more potent than smoking a joint. This delivers the end user an instantaneous and stronger high than the slower high of smoking, but is dabbing bad for you? You may also be thinking, "are dabs bad for your lungs?" Users report much less irritation than smoking. Dabs are also green or brown and look gummy and thick much like hot wax. Users ordinarily smoke dabs with a modified bong for that immediate and intense high. It's no surprise that its potency reigns supreme given the fact that the thing you're smoking is made out of a product that sometimes more than 95% THC concentrate.

Dabs are produced from extracting THC and other cannabinoids out of marijuana. This is usually done with carbon dioxide or butane. The outcome is a viscous, wax-like consistency that gets heated up and then smoked. THC is undoubtedly the chief reason for the subsequent power of the high. Some more compounds such as terpenes, CBD or aromatic oils can be extracted as well.

Dabs vs herb: Considerations

The largest health risks linked with marijuana come up when smoking a joint. This is because combustion can heat up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant starts combustion at roughly 392 degrees, but because combustion generates smoke, risks can be similar to smoking tobacco (without the excess amount of carcinogens).

Carcinogens and chemicals


People often ask, "Is dabbing safer than smoking?" To answer that, you need to know what happens when you inhale them. When you dab by vaporizing, nearly 95% of the gases will contain cannabinoids. Combusted smoke gases are made up of only 12% cannabinoids. Combustion of marijuana also imparts a couple known tars and carcinogens. These lead to chronic bronchitis over time because of how they irritate your lungs. You can judge for yourself from these facts whether are dabs bad for your lungs or not.

Fire hazards


Perhaps the central reason dabs are thought of as dangerous is due to what the process is to make them. It's an enormous fire hazard especially if performed by amateurs. Deadly accidents, unfortunately, occur quite frequently. Making dabs involves using butane gas to take the THC out of marijuana. The compound is subsequently heated up in order to evaporate the butane. This will just leave the concentrate intended to be smoked. That's the part in the production that is the most dangerous. Gas often stays in the room meaning one small flame can create an explosion. Some explosions are big, and some are small, but it's a fire hazard either way due to how easily one small spark could create an explosion and/or house fire.

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