The “Dabbing” trend.

Most recently I came across the term “dabbing” in reference to drug usage online,  I made the assumption that dabbing referred to dipping your finger into drugs and rubbing it into your gums.

However I began to notice that “dabbing” was not in reference to powered drugs but to to “Butane hash oil”  and this term was used to various ways of smoking cannabis oils.

“Dabbing” cannabis oil on a glass bong

According to research and often touted by online-purveyors of cannabis oils (a growing trend in the USA), these compounds often contain over 50% -80% concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Where as regular plant cannabis is around 12%-15% .  THC can only be found in these levels through processing cannabis plants vigorously.

THC is the main cannabiniod found cannabis plants, it is a psychoactive chemical that makes users feel high . It is also the cannabiniod that is concerned with creating anxiety, paranoia and psychotic episodes – such as auditory hallucinations, visual hallucinations and  emergence delirium.

I spoke to someone recently who has experienced dabbing and he told me “It’s like smoking 7 spliffs in a two seconds”.  He said that it was the most intense way of smoking weed that’s humanly possible.  Given the concentrations of the THC that’s probably pretty accurate.

I’ve been doing some research and there is already a growing culture of dabbing, various people like to pose in front of their kits which often are incredibly intricate.  Blow-torches, dentistry probes, pipes, glass-wear and even titanium plates are featured laid out on desktops like someone is about to perform an alchemy process. Rather than just smoking plants through a rolled up paper joint, users spread an amber-like wax across the top of a metal gauze or sometimes a crystal-like shard of amber hue.

It seems to be Americans who are embracing the culture of dabbing, this is due to the fact that most states have removed illegal status of cannabis and don’t make any distinction between a plant and processed drug.  In the UK – despite the popular myth that cannabis oil is a class A drug –   Cannabis Oil is a schedule 1 class B drug, meaning that despite being touted as having “medical benefits”, the UK government does not share this viewpoint and possession and supply can be met with punitive laws.

Is Dabbing dangerous?

Probably for some people.  Like all drugs and alcohol, there will be some people who are more effected by it than others. However, given the concentration of THC and the considering the adverse negative effects THC can have on some people, I can only imagine these effects may be heightened.

One of the concerns I have is that there are certain traits to addiction that involve high levels of consumption of either drugs or alcohol.

For example, if you regularly drink high concentrations of alcohol such as vodka, your tolerance quickly increases to the alcohol and your chances of forming some form of dependency are going to be much more statistically likely.  Same goes for drugs, if you take several grams of a substance, the amount to  get that desire effect needs to increase. The drugs or alcohol lose their efficacy.   Also the likelyhood of your drug use impacting on your life is going to be greater, socially, financially, physically and mentally.

The severity of a person’s addiction can often be measured in terms of the amount they use on a regular basis,  if a person can smoke “seven spliffs two seconds”  I can only imagine that this is akin to drinking a liter of spirits in one go.   Whenever drugs are made more intense or the amount is significantly increased, we usually see the onset of more problems. I can’t imagine that “dabbing” will be any different, despite what pro-cannabis supporters claim.


-Written by Dylan Kerr.


-Please note-

Writing about the ill-effects of cannabis on the internet can invite a very large debate on the matter, I’m not concerned if you enjoy cannabis without any ill-effects.  I work in drug treatment, the only people I ever meet have either an addiction issue or some form of substance use disorder. 

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