No folks, dabbing doesn’t only refer to the popular dance move. It’s also not just for recreational cannabis users to get as high as they can as fast as possible. Dabbing is now becoming an important consumption method for those who rely on cannabis for medical and therapeutic reasons. Dabbing cannabis concentrates can impart faster relief for chronic pain associated with severe illness, such as cancer or lingering injuries, as well as for those suffering from the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Here’s everything you need to know about dabbing cannabis for health and wellness.
What Is Dabbing Marijuana?
Dabbing is when you inhale the vapours from a cannabis concentrate—shatter, oil or wax. Consumers take a cannabis concentrate, which is then vaporized and inhaled through a water pipe device or dab rig. Usually the concentrate is placed on a heated nail, producing the vapours that are then inhaled.
Because it uses concentrates, dabbing imparts significantly higher quantities of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other compounds. Dabbing also delivers more potent and quicker effects compared to smoking or vaping marijuana.
Most people dab marijuana to ingest a high concentration of THC, but some patients dab high concentrates of cannabidiol (CBD), too. Dabbing CBD won’t cause a head high, but is an option for those who don’t want psychoactive effects and haven’t found relief using high-potency CBD oils or flower.
Dabbing isn’t an entirely new method of cannabis consumption, but it continues to gain popularity among medical marijuana patients who need more concentrated quantities of cannabis for better pain relief and relaxation.
The Dangers of Dabbing Cannabis
Be aware that there’s a danger to dabs. Solvents such as butane and carbon dioxide are used to extract THC and other cannabinoids and terpenes from the marijuana to make the concentrates. Homemade dabs and dabs from unreliable sources may contain residual solvents like butane, pesticides and other harmful substances you don’t want to ingest. One research study showed that over 80% of 57 dab samples were contaminated with solvents or pesticides.
Dabs are safest when made with closed-loop extraction. This method seals and contains the process so that dangerous gas can’t escape. Open-loop extraction is a popular method for homemade dabs and part of what can make them very dangerous. In open-loop extractions, volatile gases could leak out and cause explosions.
Another thing to watch out for when dabbing is the temperature at which it’s done. Heating a dab rig too high means some of the compounds in the concentrate, like terpenes, can become carcinogenic. Dabbing at lower temperatures imparts all of the positive effects of dabbing, but without that added risk of inhaling things that are bad for you. To be on the safe side, you should set your e-nail to temperatures lower than 611 degrees F.
Dabs deliver high percentages of THC and CBD, sometimes with THC concentrates of up to 75%. There isn’t enough research to show that extremely high levels of THC and CBD are safe for consumption. Adverse effects of such high doses could include neurotoxicity, psychosis and cardiotoxicity.
If you’re going to dab, always start slow and stop immediately if you feel any undesirable side effects.
Why Do Some People Prefer to Dab Cannabis?
But despite the lack of research on ingesting high levels of cannabinoids, many medical marijuana patients report dabbing is the only consumption method that alleviates their pain and lets them relax. Those with chronic illnesses such as late-stage cancer as well as conditions such as chronic stress, PTSD and depression may benefit from the potency of cannabis dabs.
Some people opt for dabbing, because it means concentrated cannabis compounds are directly absorbed into the bloodstream. Dabs allow for higher concentrations of potent cannabinoids to be delivered in a minimal amount of time, providing near-instant pain relief, relaxation and euphoria. Folks report that dabs have a better taste and longer-lasting effects than that of more traditional cannabis consumption.
Cannabis dabs, whether high in THC or CBD are very potent and could lead to undesirable effects. Start off with just one small dab, and see how you feel before even considering taking another dab. If possible, speak to a medical professional to make sure you’re dabbing the right quantity and concentration of cannabis for your needs. And monitor the temperature at which you’re dabbing to ensure you’re consuming cannabis in the healthiest way possible.
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