What is dabbing?
Popularity with inhaling hash oil is increasing because it is the fastest way to get an intense high. Smoking a tic-tac sized drop of BHO, or “hash oil,” is equivalent to two or three typical sized portions of marijuana hitting the system all at once.
A practice related to dabbing includes placing hash oil in vaping devices, which look like e-cigarettes and don’t emit any smoke. This decreases opportunities to get caught using hash oil, and gives middle and high school aged youth the opportunity to get high in increasingly public places, even at school.
Tiffany John, LMSW
In some states you can buy hash oil at medical marijuana dispensaries. Other states have black market services that deliver the hash oil right to your door. When all else fails, people can make it themselves using flammable solvents such as alcohol or butane, which can lead to explosions and serious injuries. Step-by-step instructions with pictures and videos are available online and only require a quick Google search. The ability of teens to easily access the supplies and information needed for dabbing is a cause of great concern.
There have been increasing news reports of houses and apartment buildings exploding as a result of the extraction process, leaving individuals in need of skin grafts and reconstructive surgery for severe burns, broken bones or can even lead to death. The increase in explosions was severe enough for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to issue a special warning about the dangers of manufacturing hash oil. As of November 2014, the Los Angeles Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) confirmed 49 explosions nationwide related to marijuana extraction. In addition, contaminants in the hash oil, including butane and other neurotoxins, can lead to serious allergic reactions and even poisonings.
As this trend grows, more YouTube videos are being uploaded by teens chronicling their dabbing experiences. These videos showcase teens dabbing for the first time or experimenting with higher and higher doses trying to outdo their peers on the Internet. Many of these videos feature the individuals falling out of chairs, unable to move on their own and pleading with their friends to call for medical assistance.
We do know that marijuana can be addictive, especially for those who begin experimenting at younger ages. A preliminary study found that people who report daily use of marijuana and occasional dabbing have a harder time cutting back or quitting, need to use more of the substance to get the same effect and find it difficult to switch back to smoking marijuana with lower THC concentrations.
Most research on marijuana has been conducted with much lower concentrations of THC than what is found in BHO. Research already shows that smoking marijuana is harmful for teens. While a typical marijuana joint has 15 percent THC, reports suggest that hash oils can have THC concentration levels as high as 60-90 percent.
Have you heard of dabbing? Dubbed the "crack of pot,” dabbing is a form of consuming highly concentrated marijuana in a vaporized form and has been described as freebasing marijuana in popular media outlets. Once an underground practice, this dangerous trend has gained popularity in recent months and could change the culture of marijuana use.
If you’re stopping cannabis use after regular intake, face licking and wet-dog shakes are not likely to figure among the symptoms you will experience. The severity of CWS among humans “is dependent on the amount of cannabis used pre-cessation, gender, and heritable and several environmental factors,” the German researchers noted. Women, they wrote, tended to report stronger symptoms of CWS, and their experience included more physical discomfort, nausea, and stomach pain.
These mood and behavioral symptoms are usually “of light to moderate intensity,” the researchers wrote.
Of course, the same sort of tapering could be done with the cannabis itself. But there are also psychological factors at play. It may be easier to taper off when the cannabinoid delivery vehicle (Sativex is usually taken as an oral spray) differs from the cannabis routine to which a patient has grown accustomed. Just as it’s easier to quit tobacco by using a transdermal patch, rather than tapering off cigarettes, it may be easier to ease out of a cannabis routine by using a different form of intake.
Once a person has discontinued cannabis use for 20 days, withdrawal symptoms will begin to decline.
Any combination of those symptoms occur in 35% to 75% of patients who quit cannabis after longtime regular use. (It’s a wide percentage range because different percentages were found in several separate studies.)
“Ultimately, it’s not a psychological process,” he says. “It’s a physiological change in the brain as the body becomes adapted to marijuana no longer being there.”
The time span and severity of symptoms will differ from person to person, Roffman adds.
The symptoms and mild severity of cannabis withdrawal symptoms resemble the experience of patients going through caffeine withdrawal, a condition described in the DSM-5 as including headache, fatigue, drowsiness, dysphoric mood, irritability, depression, nausea, muscle aches and impairment of cognitive or behavioral performance.
Not surprisingly, “high fixed doses of Sativex were well tolerated and significantly reduced cannabis withdrawal during abstinence,” the researchers found.
If you’re a heavy cannabis user and stop smoking, you may experience marijuana withdrawal symptoms like insomnia and other issues. Here's how to combat them.