Dabs – A new spin on old oil

marijuana-dabBy David Christensen, Youth Services Family Therapist

Hash oil is not new but the current way that the oil is being extracted and consumed is. About four years ago Dabs came onto the marijuana scene and is becoming increasingly popular with legal marijuana sales in Colorado and Washington State. The oil is extracted by soaking marijuana buds in butane gas. The mixture is placed under intense pressure and heated to remove the residual chemicals, which results in a glassy, very pure, THC substance (the active ingredient in marijuana) called “Shatter” or “Wax”. Dab refers to the process of smoking the “Shatter” or “Wax”. Where modern marijuana contains about 15 to 18 percent THC, some estimates place Dab in the 70 to 90 percent concentration range. The process of making the hash oil is dangerous and has resulted in many explosions in clandestine drug labs across the country.

Dab is smoked with a special bong called an “oil-rig”. In the place of a standard slide and bowl is a titanium nail that protrudes from the egg-shaped dome of the bong. The nail is heated with a blow torch until it turns bright red.  Next, the oil concentrate (“Shatter” or “Wax”) is touched to the nail and as it bubbles and melts the smoke is gradually inhaled resulting in an intense high. One hit of Dab is described as smoking an entire joint.

The process of extracting and smoking Dab appears to be quite dangerous and similar to the process of making and smoking harder drugs, not to mention the fact that the marijuana is being soaked in butane gas prior to extraction. Washington State has outlawed Dab production, sales and use even though marijuana use has been legalized. With Dab’s high THC content it raises concerns about toxicity, addiction and links to other drug use.

If you’d like more information on current substance abuse trends or Youth Services counseling programs please call 385-468-4500 or visit www.youth.slco.org.

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