Dabs – the crack and crystal meth version of weed?
Using high purity pot, butane, and blowtorches that produce a waxy concentrate has some middle-class observers questioning the image of this new weed product. Yet others speculate that dabs are the future of cannabis, both for recreational and medicinal purposes.
Okay, so this one isn’t all that dangerous to users however, it can be quite dangerous to manufacture. ‘Dabs’ is a new-ish type of weed product: a “dab” of butane hash oil (BHO)—a concentrated form of cannabis. Also known as “wax” or “shatter,” this solidified hash oil also known as “concentrates,” BHO first started to appear out west about five years ago, but has recently gained popularity. Traditional hash oil has been around since at least the early 1970s.
How It’s Made
In a nutshell, high quality pot is blasted with butane producing concentrates that approach 70%-to-90% THC, as opposed to the “killer” strains of bud that hover around 25%.
The most widely used solvent is butane, which you and I know as lighter fluid. You should know that butane extraction is against the law. There are actually people serving prison time for using butane as an organic solvent.
Besides that, butane is highly flammable meaning that it is a fire and explosion risk. Many people have been severely injured using butane to make dabs. And “butane” isn’t pure butane; it contains contaminants.
Dangerous New Drug: Dabs
Marijuana is relatively safe in that no one has ever overdosed and died while smoking or eating it. However, dabbing isn’t not for you if smoking weed tends to cause you to be anxious and paranoid. If regular pot has that effect on you, then you most certainly don’t want anything to do with the highly-concentrated BHO; ‘overdoses’ of THC are not fatal but cause extreme discomfort to the point of freaking out for long periods of time.
There have been some reports of people getting sick and passing out from the sudden exposure to such a massive amount of THC.
And then there’s the case of a young woman who suffered a near-fatal allergic reaction and was hospitalized as a result – her throat closed up after smoking dabs.
And there are other health risks to consider.
About 20% of the explosive fuel that’s known as butane lighter fluid is actually a combination of other chemical compounds, including benzene, ethyl mercaptan, heptane, hexane, and others, which are all considered to be toxic. Imagine lighting and inhaling a product that has been saturated in these impurities.
Another problem is the nail that is used in the process of making dabs. When heated with a torch to burn or vaporize the dab, the nail gradually disintegrates and flakes off. This further pollutes the product.
Dangerous New Drug: Dabs
There have been incidents related to dab-making in which untrained “cooks” have blown themselves up (not literally) when using butane in their improvised (read: unsafe) home labs.
Consider the case of Anthony Gambale, 19, and his girlfriend, Gabriella Katanov, 17, who are facing counts of reckless endangerment, criminal possession of marijuana and criminal use of drug paraphernalia after they attempted to manufacture dabs, which resulted in an explosion in which they nearly killed themselves. They had set up their own makeshift lab in Gambale’s garage and filled a bathtub with weed and butane.
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