Smoking Dabs: Is it Bad for You?

Is Dabbing Bad?

Dabbing is one of the most controversial methods for administering marijuana to patients. Despite dabbing’s bad reputation, it has strong medicinal benefits. Dabs allow patients to quickly receive a strong dose of cannabinoids that is not possible with almost any other administration method.

High Strength Concentrates

The marijuana extracts, also known as concentrates, that are used in dabbing are known for their high levels of THC. However, they are also high in other beneficial components, such as other cannabinoids and terpenes.

All of the components of the plant are amplified in cannabis extracts and they work together in a synergistic manner. This is also known as the entourage effect. The high strength of all of the cannabis components provides a strong hit of medicine that gives patients quick and effective relief.

Significant Pain Relief

Many patient support groups have expressed that dabs have a place in medical cannabis for patients that have extreme pain. Since dabbing provides rapid relief, it can be particularly helpful for patients who experience quick onset pain that is particularly excruciating. Concentrates are on average four times stronger than smoking a joint. This means by dabbing a patient can receive a much stronger medicinal dose in one shot.

In particular, dabbing can be helpful for patients who have problem with pain induced insomnia. Concentrates are known for their psychoactive effects because of the high levels of THC, but the high levels of THC also help patients fall asleep quickly and many of the psychoactive effects will wear off before the patient wakes up.

Extraction Methods Matter

Patients should know that concentrates are concentrated forms of the plant. This means it is important to only select extracts created with organic ethanol, water, or CO2 that are grown without the use of pesticides and toxic chemicals. For this reason, the extraction methods of cannabis wax are a big source of controversy. It is important to choose cannabis extracts that are high in quality in order to not receive any adverse effects from dabbing, especially with those who may have compromised immunity.

Many extracts are made with butane, which can leave a dangerous residue in the cannabis extract. CO2 extraction has been prized as the cleanest way to create a cannabis extract, but some people argue that terpenes aren’t preserved in wax created from CO2 extraction. Organic ethanol extraction, however, has been seen to have less problematic residue than butane, but preserves the terpenes in cannabis.

Strong Pain Relief

The Addictive Behaviors Journal published a study from the State University of New York in Albany which was conducted with 357 patients who participated in dabbing. All of the patients had a history of cannabis use and the study determined that dabbing causes no more problems than with traditional cannabis.

The participants reported that dabs did, however, lead to higher tolerance levels and withdrawals. The consumers within the study, overall, did view it as a more dangerous form of cannabis administration than traditional smoking.

Dabbing is the strongest form of cannabis that a patient can administer, but it can be helpful for a particular series of medical conditions that require a very strong dose of pain reducing medication. Dabbing is also helpful for people that have severe pain that comes on quickly and acutely, or those with pain induced insomnia.

People considering trying concentrates for their medical conditions should be very careful when trying dabbing for the first time. Starting with a low dose is very important, as well as avoiding driving or doing other similar tasks for a significant period of time after dabbing due to its strong psychoactive effects.

People with conditions like anxiety and depression, in particular, should be wary of how the strong levels of psychoactivity could effect them because dabs have extremely high levels of THC.

Do you have questions about about cannabis? Ask a question on HelloMD’s new Answers. A doctor or member of our community will answer.

If you are new to cannabis and want to learn more, take a look at our Cannabis 101 post. HelloMD can help you get your medical marijuana recommendation; it’s 100% online, private and efficient.


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