John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative sầu medicine. He is the medical director at Alcohol Recovery Medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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When people hear the term "dabbing," they might initially think of the dance move that is believed to lớn have sầu originated in the Atlanta rap scene và was later popularized by football star, Cam Newton, who made "the dab" his signature touchdown celebration. But the word dabbing also has a darker side.

In marijuana culture, dabbing refers to the dangerous process of consuming high concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana. And yet despite the dangers associated with the practice, it is growing in popularity, especially aước ao teens.

What Are Dabs?

Dabs—also referred khổng lồ as wax, shatter, amber, honeycomb, or budder—are concentrated versions of butane hash oil (BHO) which contains highly-concentrated levels of THC. This concentrated substance is produced through a chemical process using butane oil khổng lồ extract the oils from the cannabis.

Research suggests that dabs or BHO can have sầu a THC concentration of 80% in comparison to traditional cannabis, which has a concentration of about 10-15% THC. In fact, at a minimum dabs are as much as four times as svào as a joint. Plus, people who dab experience an intense high all at once rather than it gradually building over time.

Dabs are made by pouring butane over marijuamãng cầu. This process allows the THC to lớn leave the marijuamãng cầu plant & dissolve sầu inlớn the butane leaving a gummy, somewhat solid sản phẩm that contains high amounts of THC.

How Dabbing Works

Although marijuana is usually consumed by smoking joints & sometimes through vape pens, dabs are heated lớn an extremely high temperature and then inhaled. A specifically-designed glass bong commonly called an "oil rig" is used.

The dab is placed on an attached "nail" and a blow torch is used khổng lồ heat the wax, which produces a vapor that can be inhaled. This type of ingestion means the effects of dabbing are felt immediately.

Many times people will dab by placing hash oil in vaping devices. Teens especially, use this method because it allows them to lớn use hash oil with a very low chance that they will be caught because there is no smoke or distinct smell. Consequently, they often dab in public places, including at school.

Although the process of dabbing is not new, it is growing in popularity in the United States. Scientists attribute this growth khổng lồ the commercial production of medical marijuana and the legalization of it in numerous states. Both of these factors have sầu led to an increase in instructional videos online as well as a greater social truyền thông presence. Consequently, it is becoming more và more popular.

Why Dabbing Is Dangerous

Although some people believe sầu that dabbing is a safer method of ingesting cannabis because it is so highly concentrated và the user only has to take one hit lớn get high, that couldn"t be further from the truth. Simply put, there is no safe màn chơi of drug use. Any drug—regardless of its purpose—carries some risk. And, dabs are no exception.

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Dabbing Is Not the Same as Smoking

In fact, one study found that dabbing can lead khổng lồ higher tolerance & worse withdrawal symptoms. What"s more, it is dangerous for users khổng lồ assume that dabbing carries the same risks as smoking marijuamãng cầu. Instead, most researchers say that dabbing is to lớn marijuana what craông chồng is lớn cocaine. There is simply no comparison between dabbing & smoking joints.

Harmful Side Effects

Dabbing also includes a number of dangerous side effects like a rapid heartbeat, blackouts, crawling sensations on the skin, loss of consciousness, và psychotic symptoms such as paranoia and hallucinations.

Meanwhile, a study conducted by researchers at Portland State University, found that dabbing also may expose users khổng lồ elevated levels of toxins including carcinogenic compounds. What the scientists found is that the higher the temperature the substance is exposed lớn, the more carcinogens, toxins, and potential irritants that are produced.

This fact, in turn, puts users at a greater risk than other methods of getting high because there is a challenge in controlling the nail temperature. As a result, people who dab are being exposed lớn harmful chemicals including methacrolein và benzene. Likewise, another study found that more than 80% of marijuana extracts are contaminated with poisonous solvents & pesticides.

Dangers of Production

Another danger with dabbing is the fact that making hash oil is one of the riskiest aspects of dabbing. Keep in mind that dabs are made by blasting butane (or lighter fluid) through the marijuamãng cầu plant. It is highly flammable & unstable. So, adding heat lớn a substance lượt thích this is extremely dangerous.

What"s more, after the process has been completed, any remaining butane is now in the form of gas in the room. As a result, the smallest spark—even one produced by static electricity—can cause an explosion. The risks are similar to that of a meth lab.

Consequently, there have sầu been increasing reports of houses, apartment buildings, and other structures exploding during the extraction process. When this happens, the people involved are either killed or become burn victims with broken bones who need skin grafts & reconstructive surgery.

A Word From Verywell

The bottom line is that dabbing is a potentially dangerous process that comes with real risks khổng lồ a person"s health and overall well-being. It also is very appealing to teens and young adults.

For this reason, parents and educators need khổng lồ talk to young people about the risks associated with dabbing while stressing that just one hit can not only put them at risk for lifelong addiction but also can kill them if they take in too much.

Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, khổng lồ tư vấn the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to lớn learn more about how we fact-kiểm tra and keep our content accurate, reliable, và trustworthy.