What is “Dabbing” and Why Parents Need to Worry

Part 1 of 2 (Part 2: Extreme Marijuana–Dabbing and Vaping)

“Dabbing” is a way to get the quickest, long-lasting high with a single inhale.  In fact, a single puff from a pipe or vaping pen can give the effect of smoking many joints.  Unfortunately for parents, the new vaping pens make it extremely difficult to see, smell or detect.

“Dabbing is to marijuana, as crack is to cocaine,” is a way it’s been explained.   No one should ever try it, because the psychosis can be immediate, and, as a habit, it is nearly impossible to get unhooked.

Why, should parents worry?  Because the pens go undetected and, secondly, because children are getting into pot at younger ages. Wheat Ridge, Colorado,  is the site of Three Kings Dab Supply, a club where users bring their own dabs and party.  According to a mom in Wheat Ridge,  “Since legalization, marijuana has become a problem in the middle schools and has shown up in the elementary schools twice.”

Marijuana users suggest that kids use dabs, precisely because it can go undetected.  Dabbing is actually more popular with the young users than with middle-aged adults, who often find it too strong.

How Dabs are Made

Dabbers take a tiny bit of butane hash oil, BHO  — hardened or buttery, and quickly light it up in a small compartment.  BHO is to marijuana, as crack is to cocaine.

Users have extracted the THC (the component in the marijuana plant that causes a high) from the plant to get maximum strength, usually using butane gas in some type of glass tube.    When it first comes out it is an oil, but the oil becomes waxy or buttery before hardening into the bits.  Hardened, it can be broken into tiny bits and give a high that last all day.

Butane has oil, a highly potent distillation of marijuana, is so potent that a single hit can last more than a day. (Photo: ABC News)
Butane has oil, a highly potent distillation of marijuana, is so potent that a single hit can last more than a day. (Photo: ABC News)  Photo above: Humboldt Sentinel

There are many nicknames for butane hash oil: “Wax,” “Honey oil,” “earwax,” “dabs” “shatter” and more.   It could be smoked, vaped or infused into the edibles.   Vaping is a concern, since the vape pens,  meant for tobacco, are adapted to be used with concentrates or dabs of marijuana.  It is  a way that teens may be using marijuana without detection.

Dabbing is Growing in Popularity Especially Among Teens

In short, hash oil offers a quick and lasting high for users.   A single hit can last more than a day.   By making it, it costs a user about 50% less than it would by buying it from a licensed dispensary or maker.

One may think that experienced, middle-aged users would be most likely to dab.  On the contrary, it is often the teens who go for the quick high, as well as the ease of use.

Dabbing packs such a wallop, it has been known to cause blackouts. Even  insiders warn that injury and death are possible.

Police in California would like to see marijuana concentrates banned.

See part 2 of this article, Extreme Marijuana-Dangers of Dabbing and Vaping.


66 thoughts on “What is “Dabbing” and Why Parents Need to Worry”

  1. This is stupid. I had been using wax for over a year and had been smoking for God knows how long and I quit cold turkey 3 months ago when I found out I was four weeks pregnant. I didn’t have any kind of withdrawals or anything. I’m perfectly healthy and fine as well as my unborn baby.

  2. This is the stupidest article I have read in a long time. Yes, hash oil or “dabbing” will get you really high. It is still simply THC and THC does not lead to instant psychosis or have any physically addictive properties. I am not saying this is something anyone should be doing, but you should get your facts straight. “Even insiders warn that injury or death is possible,” is an absolute false statement. Its bullshit, nobody has ever died from THC. People would be much more likely to heed your warning if you didn’t make shit up.

  3. I can not keep out of this I am 50 years old and started smoking marijauna when I was 15. I smoked for over 20 years and quit. I have a BSN in nursing and work in a level 2 trauma center in the ER. I started smoking marijuana again about 4 years ago for pain and stress. I can tell you that my mind is very clear and I do my job very well. I don’t feel that I am addicted to nor have I ever been. And as for my mind I still learn shit everyday. Believe me when I say I have to be very well educated and train to keep up on my skills. Marijuana helps me relax and get sleep after a stressful day in a very busy ER that deals with major traumas

  4. I’m a 17 year old daily dab smoker and I’m actually doing just fine. This article is misleading because a tolerance to dab smoke is quickly built. Your highs from 1 dab session will be reduced to 2 hours at most once you acquire a tolerance which takes about 2 weeks to build after dabbing once a day. I’ve been dabbing for 3 years and experienced no health problems. I just got accepted to 8 different colleges, I have a 3.5 gpa in all honors and AP classes, I got a 30 on my ACTstandardized test. I’ve been socially active with both my family and friends all of high school . I’ve maintained a job since I turned 16 and have been able to save $ 7,000 for college . I understand you had issues with your sons relating to dabs but the issue might be there own mental health because I know tons of people who dab and have no negative repercussions, including myself. I dab because it’s a relaxing pleasurable activity to do with a group of friends. None of us feel any bad side affects while high on dabs , we just laugh, joke around with each other, play video games , eat food, and talk. However , I can acknowledge that you become sleepy and a little slow, you may act silly, or you might say something that didn’t make sense while you were high, but who the hell cares . I urge all the concerned mothers out there to further your research because it’s painful to read your ignorant messages. I wish my mom would do the same but my dad just tells me women are crazy. And oh by the way I wrote this high on dabs. Proof that you can function.

    1. We also include fathers, too. You sound so typical of the higher functioning addicts who have an arrogant disregard for others. Built up tolerance = addiction. Since you were blessed to be born with a high IQ, you and others who consider themselves able to get away with it send a terrible message to our average students who get pushed further behind. Some day your lifestyle will catch up to you and it will continue to be sustainable. You may suffer huge consequences, or you may be one of the few very lucky people who do not.

      1. I am sorry but your total ignorance is laughable. One: how do you possess such knowledge and the effects if you have never tried it. Internet everything is true!
        When was the last time you heard that somebody that was “high” killed another on the highway when in comparison to Alcohol which has killed 10’s of thousands over the yrs from drunk drivers. Answer: 0
        What if a person does not like to drink and enjoys smoking? There are so many variables it is hard to just blanket categorize the effects of marijuana as opposed to alcohol. Of course you are biased because of your ignorance towards marijuana and therefore should not say anything because you are not and expert or a doctor that specializes in this field. Merely stating your opinion on a subject that you believe is detrimental to the existence of man and woman kind alike. When marijuana has been on this planet since the dawn of time. Opinions are like a**holes, everyone has one and they all smell like s**t. Mine included, Good day and God Bless. P.S. Jesus tried it, read your Bible “Thumper”.

      2. I’d just like to say that while any substance is harmful in excess, you have to consider the alternatives when looking at this case. Would you rather have a serious spike in heroin sales to teens like there has been in the past 5 years. Or would you prefer having a stoner for a son who can still come to family dinner 10 years down the road. As far as dabbing goes it’s like a different form of the same shit just like chewing tobacco, hookah tobacco, pipe tobacco, and cigars. Or how about whiskey, vodka, tequila. All different forms of other legal substances but we don’t attack individual pieces of them. Nah, they’ve been legal for years so let’s keep the shit we already know is bad for you instead of trying to integrate something that isn’t even near as bad for the human mind and body. And if you want to talk about people becoming addicted and going to rehab I know countless people who have been or are in rehab. While all of them smoke weed and dab they went to rehab for things like Xanax, Oxycotin, Heroin, Coke, and Alcobol. Those people would use weed as a way of leveling themselves out because it was safe and it cleared them of negative side effects- like medicine. So please take a little time to considers everything before you blatantly oppose a recreational activity.

    2. We believe you are exaggerating, as is often the case with heavy pot users. They aren’t necessarily aware that they are lying, because self-deception is a large part of the brain changes going on with heavy pot use.

    3. It’s obvious you wrote this while high. Such a smart young man as yourself would know better than to generalize your experience, and that yes, dabs does induce psychosis – and that’s been shown time and again. One doesn’t have to work in the mental/chemical health field to know the extent of the damage that can be caused, but I do and I can relate to everything in this article. That being said, good luck with your education. I hope you use that mind for something positive and stops abusing it with chemicals.

    4. I used substances for many years before they took control of my life. It took 20 years..but it happened. You are young, you have your whole life ahead of you. Why do you need “DAB” ? We become addicted to substances when we use the substance as a coping mechanism. I would just challenge you..go without for 30 days and log the positives and negatives of using. You ultimately make the decision

      1. That is the true test… Going without. There is where you find that you are indeed addicted and this controls your life. Unless you have a true medical condition ( yes it helps so much with pain) you owe it to yourself to stop it from burning up your resources

  5. Dabs aren’t making your children unable to function, go to school, keep a job, or what have you. It’s their own fault, nothing more. Cannabis has been proven to be extremely NONADDICTIVE. It is about as addictive as caffeine. In adddition, if your kid is having psychotic episodes and seizures, take him to a doctor! Most likely he is suffering from a severe mental illness. His use of dabs are likely to help with that illness, not a cause of it. It really is astounding that people can be so blind and blame a relatively harmless chemical for things that have no relation to the chemical whatsoever.

    1. My friend, recent research shows that THC is much more ADDICTIVE than has been realized and the amount of THC in regular pot has increased substantially over the past 30 years. One recent study I read said that it is addictive for 30% of adults and teens have a greater addiction risk than adults. If not physically addictive, there is no question THC is “lifestyle” addictive as my son says who became extremely addicted to dabbing. He could not function and had to go to rehab for three months and then to a supportive living environment for a year to be able to function again. Do we want a nation of young people who can or cannot function? As a parent of one who has gone through the journey of addiction to THC with our son, I am obviously VERY annoyed by the FALSE assertion that THC is not addictive. That is quite simply wrong information.

      1. THC is mentally NOT physically addictive. I smoked daily before quitting after 17 years of daily use and never so much as had a sleepless night, and I didn’t smoke schwag, I smoked dank, OR dabs daily. You’re article asserts that THC is terrible, but I suppose under “medical supervision” you approve of medications the doctor prescribes? I find the writer of this article terribly condescending and almost high and mighty in his response to people who challenge his/her assertions and am rather disgusted by the generalizations and lack of factual information. It’s an “opinion” piece AT BEST. Not an accurate depiction of what’s really taking place but a very generalized NEGATIVE take on a drug which is becoming legal and accepted by medicine in more and more places across the country. Instead of READING rather than experiencing life, which you have clearly done… Stop writing. Your ignorant take on this topic is nauseating in its typical stance of someone who has “only read about it.” Oh, and I quit smoking because I got a job IN THE MEDICAL FIELD so I’m not an idiot trying to make a point. I suppose you’re also Republican!! It shows by your lack of fact checking and judgement. ?

    2. It is addictive.it is a different type of addiction . When that is your go to coping skill , and you have to use every day or you are a moody jerk, hello …that is addiction.

  6. This drug has ruined my son, I don’t even know if we will ever get him back, he is only 23. It has ruined our lives and caused more stress and tears than you can imagine. He started doing this poison around age 16 and no matter how hard I tried, I had no control over it or him….he suffers from psychogenic seizures, has psychotic episodes, his life is so sad….

    1. How devastating. We are so sad for you. We believe this story is taking place around the country, and the problem is widespread.

  7. Its sad that in this day and age we still have the incredibly incorrect moral majority trying to force their beliefs on others, marijuana is not dangerous nor is it addicting stop spreading lies and stay out of other peoples lives……maybe you should try getting one

    1. When you have seen your loved one stop functioning, unable to work or go to school, you will understand. No moral judgement. Just sadness that the next generation is being sold a complete lie that there are no ill effects of weed or dabbing. We paid a large part of our retirement money to a recovery program to help our son when he was addicted.

  8. Never in my life have I ever read anything more ignorant the only reason marijuana is illegal is because of the paper and ciggarette company’s the paper company would loose all money to hemp farms because you can make paper cheaper better and higher quality from hemp and cigarette company’s would loose ass amounts of sales because marijuana is by far a healthier alternative to ciggaretts no one has ever died or overdoesed on marijuana ever but thousands upon thousands of people die every year from the chemicals in cigarettes and as for dabbling being relatate to crack that is just ignorant the only reason that ,that is beacause of the way you extract the tux this site shows an improper way of doing things a way that doesn’t even make sence the way it’s explained on here is you start with the product your making do your research before opening your ignorant mouths

    1. The words you meant to write are the following I think:

      lose not loose (twice in your statement)
      cigarette not ciggarette
      overdosed not overdoesd
      dabbing not dabbling
      relative not relatate
      sense not sense

      Plus there are multiple run on sentences in your post. This might be a reason it is difficult for a person high on dabbing to find a job!

  9. This post is completely ignorant and unresearched. Even one of the teens involved in “dabbing” would be smart enough to realize that this post has zero validity because it is pure bigotry. There is no proof, no support, in an English course this post would recieve a failing grade. Why would THC, a non-addicting chemical compound, suddenly become addictive because it is concentrated? It makes no sense and there is no evidence for it. While the process of creating BHO can be dangerous, not everyone involved in “dabbing” is creating the concentrates. The accidents involved in the extraction of hash oil are due to inexperienced people trying to cook this up in their kitchen. Instead of spreading propaganda throughout an already concerned community, next time please do research and post a valid argument.

    1. Well said not to mention the kid “dabbling” in the picture is utterly ridiculous he’s not useing a torch he didn’t even have a rig it’s just an Xbox controller with a machinery nut on it what a bunch of tards

  10. Unsure why someone other than a concerned PARENT or healthcare worker would be commenting on these type of posts, and for that matter even interested in this website!

    Extremely disheartening to read some of the responses to this article being the site is titled “PARENTS Opposed to Pot”…Clearly Jim and Travis are not PARENTS and due to their lack of common sense, judgement and empathy for others, I hope and pray they never are!!


    Mother of 22 Year Old Dabbing Addict

    1. I hope you son enjoys a nice day watching tv and eating food that fucking low life. And maybe you should go fill up your Xanax prescription so you don’t have to worry about your drug addict son

      1. Wow, that is some anger……….no Xanax sorry. In fact, we have an article which works against Xanax.

      2. Another sign of withdrawal is extreme anger. I have witnessed it first hand in our son who became erratic and completely non functioning dabbing. I am a mother of a recovering dabbing addict. How sad that someone is controlling YOU by selling you the lie that this stuff is not addictive and has no ill effects.

    2. im a father to 3 great children and this page is bullshit! my kids smoke and they are still the best

      1. So your kids smoke. BUT DO THEY DAB? What is next when the high from smoking is not enough and they need a higher high? Would you tell a person under 21 that drinking a fifth of vodka a day is the same as a glass of wine? That is what you are doing if you support dabbing!

      2. One other thought. Be sure to save your money now. Recovery programs plus after care cost about $90,000. You have three kids? Do the math. You just are not there yet.

        As a society, we need to do better in teaching our kids healthy, sustainable ways to deal with stress and emotions than to turn to drugs. Otherwise we are headed for an unproductive and bankrupt society!!!

        1. you my friend are ignorant and blinded this is pure propaganda get real facts make a convincing post,is your attempts to persuade people into believing your made up info? if so maybe try to make it more believeable. this is complete trash and lies. your kids are also pathetic if they loose their lives to a non-addictive substance. 9/10 of you mom’s use alcohol which is a drug widely known for death, addiction and ruining lives. get some real facts. and if your kids are going to ruin there lives at least tell em to use a drug more addictive then pot. also I don’t care about my miss spelling or run on sentences.

    3. Well, I am a parent , and I think this article, and this whole site for that matter, is ridiculous.

      Mother of a 17 year old son.

  11. Alright. Look here.

    If Wax, Shatter, or BHO is SO bad, why do dispensaries in Colorado and Washington sell it?

    Done and done. This website is useless.

    1. Haha! Your logic is completely flawed! They are selling the product, because they MAKE MONEY! Not because they care about your brain or health. DO NOT BE FOOLED. DABBING IS ADDICTIVE AND RUINS LIVES! Our son completely stopped functioning while doing it so we have first hand experience.

  12. This is a horrible article. You have every right to be against weed but use facts rather then false scare tactics. If anything your letting every teen who reads this know why dabbing would be best for them.

    Don’t believe everything you read on Facebook. Do your own research make up your mind on your own.

  13. This is just an informative piece on what dabbing is.
    You gave no facts, events, or examples of why it should be considered “dangerous.”
    This article is dumb as hell

    1. Part 2 explains why it is dangerous. We do not want our children trying this practice. It is 10 x stronger than smoking a joint, and you need to announce that to anyone you are advocating to try this, or you are morally corrupt.

      1. *Matt was probably high when he commented and didn’t know there was a second page*
        I’m a youth counselor and I have seen this drug ruin so many young lives. It is a very dangerous drug and even more so in this “dabbing” way. Good article and thanks for sharing.

        1. When it comes down to it we are the ones ruining their lives based on the penalties and scolding we enforce. Otherwise, they would be feeling great about themselves. Either if they continued use or stopped and moved on as a non …user.

          As a youth counselor I see humans ruining human lives. Scolding and not raising. Teaching, yes. But morally so, no — only preaching.

          There’s a bigger picture. Age is not a factor in seeing this. So tap in to it and then preach. Look at life and then teach.
          And after all, we are great listeners. We can listen with intention of listening. We can stay focused on what is at hand and not what we think will be or should be.

        2. The only thing ruining lives is society dabing when done safely with quality lad tested waxes has no ill health effects at least that is personal experience because every problem I’ve seen caused was because “Marajuna is Bad” not because it’s causing health issues, not because it’s causing lung cancer, simply because it’s illegal. The precedent set by cigaretts, alcohol, cigars, lol chewing tobacco, whip itz those are all legal and far worse for your heath then simple pot. Mary Jane is more analogous to coffee then anything do you send you child that has a starbucks every day to rehab? How much coffee you drink?

          1. How much research has been done on the long term effects of dabbing? Little or none! As a parent of a son who stopped functioning while dabbing and had to go to rehab for it, I would strongly disagree with your statement that there are “no ill health effects.” If a person cannot function to work or go to school, that is most definitely an ill effect. As his parents, we wanted to help him if he wanted to stop. Now three months clean, he is still slow in his thinking and we are not sure if he may have done long term damage. The recovery program explained that he may recover, but they are unsure. You only get ONE brain in life. Why the hell would you compromise it or take the chance of inflicting long term damage to it. Not to mention, the devastating financial consequences to your family who pays for the recovery program. DO NOT BELIEVE THE HYPE that you are hearing about “no ill health effects.” People need functioning brains to live life to the fullest. Can one live a life dependent on others to provide food and shelter? Do you want to?

      2. 10x stronger than smoking a joint? Really? On the second page it mentions cannabis being around 18% in THC content, while the concentrate is 80%, sounds more like a little over 4x stronger at most. Keep in mind, this is usually “medical” cannabis, something that most of the United States doesn’t have access to. In parts of the country, I’d be surprised if anything easily accessible was around 10%. Furthermore, here in the North East of the U.S. I have very, very rarely seen concentrates (once in over 4 years). Also, not all cannabis concentrates are made with butane, which is what I feel like this article is trying to say. You don’t even need butane to make concentrates, so the danger of exploding your home is gone right there.

        As far as people passing out and injuring themselves, what about the people who get so inebriated from alcohol (especially liquors and spirits) that manage to get themselves injured? I understand that comparison can be considered childish, but I personally feel like not much thought or effort went into this article to actually mention dangers since what was mentioned is easily avoidable for most people. Most of what I’m getting from this is click-bait. Come up with a catchy title, and then only provide one view of what the title describes.

        1. I am watching first hand the damage being done to my daughters brain. She used to smoke regular grass marijuana and now is dabbing for 3 years and it is ruining her life. I don’t care how you spin it this stuff is bad for your health.

        2. It is no different.. Isn’t that the point? These people would feel the same if their children were getting drunk every day. Legal vs. illegal is not the issue here. The issue is abuse of a substance. Overuse of anything is bad for a person.

          1. Overuse is one thing, but the strength of dabs is another. We object to alcohol use by teens but believe that marijuana does even
            greater damage to the teen brain.

      3. You say it 10x stronger than a joint, But really who cares about that statistic? im not going to smoke 10 joints and go kill someone so why would i do a bad and go kill someone? Actually after i take a dab im probably going to sleep.

      4. Yes, its 10X stronger than smoking a joint. But, please tell me where the “danger” is. This is probably one of the dumbest articles I’ve read in my life.

        1. It’s obvious every parent on this page has little to no experience with weed. If dabbing were as harmful as you guys make it seem, there is no way it would be legal anywhere. I find most things stated in the article are just absurd. Ok I do feel bad your kid had to go to rehab but are you sure all they were “abusing were dabs. All dabs are is concentrated thc. You guys seem to be ok with weed and fyi 10 joints do not equal a dab. I’d love to see where you found your research about that.

      5. marijuana isnt for everyone if you dont want to try it dont, but dont go around spreading lies. sure dabs are stronger but theyre not addictive and no one has died from it, and anyone who says that theyre “addicted” was either paid or brainwashed by people like you. i enjoy smoking after im done with work and all of my responsibilities have been dealt with, ive never been in trouble with the law, and its never affected my life in anyway negative. ive never stolen money or lied to anyone to get any, if i want some but cant afford it or cant find it so what ill just play video games and hang out sober its just a nice way to relax and unwind stop trying to force your ways on others. stop trying to trick the weak minded people into believing your bs its sad to say the least.

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