Dabs, sometimes referred to as BHO (butane hash oil), are highly concentrated extracts of cannabis. Made through a process of extracting THC and other cannabinoids using solvents like butane, propane, or carbon dioxide, a dab is a sticky and waxy substance free of plant matter. A dab can come in an oil form, a wax form, or amber-like hard form, which is also called “shatter.” In order to activate and consume the dabs, they must be vaporized and inhaled. Dabbing, or smoking dabs, is usually performed by using a water pipe, a mini-torch, a nail, a dome, and a dabber–a process that seems daunting, but is doable with the right tools and a helpful video tutorial.
Because of the potency of BHO, dabbing is known to get users extraordinarily high. Depending on the extraction process, dabs can have a purity of 50 to 90 percent THC, compared to the 15 to 20 percent found in most marijuana. This means a little goes a long way–but the sky-high purity comes at a price. One gram can cost between 50 and 100 dollars, depending on the region and level of purity. Luckily, one dab hit can deliver a longer and more intense high than multiple hits of a joint.
Users also enjoy dabs for the flavor, said to be unique and rich due to terpenes. Terpenes are pungent, fragrant oils that give various cannabis strains their distinctive aromas. Just like THC, terpenes are concentrated in dabs, giving the user a richer flavor experience.
When it comes down to it, dabbing can be the perfect way to consume marijuana or a total pain in the ass, depending on what users desire and expect out of their marijuana consumption experience.
If you want a potent and flavorful one or two hit smoke session with an intense all-day high, and you don’t mind setting up the dab rig, dabbing might be for you. In addition to its flavor and intense high, dabs are especially effective at providing fast relief to sufferers of chronic pain and nausea. Dabs are also cleaner than marijuana flowers, making it easier on the lungs when consumed. In addition, because dabs are concentrated, users get more bang for their buck in the long run.
If you hate being “too high,” don’t like a complicated rig set-up, or don’t like to invest a lot of cash in your marijuana habit, dabbing is probably not for you. There’s a reason it’s referred to as the “crack cocaine of marijuana”: the complicated, often dangerous method it takes to make dabs can sometimes leave excessive amounts of residual solvents (i.e. butane or propane) in the end product. In addition, the purity and concentration of THC in dabs can make it easy for users to go overboard and become uncomfortably high and paranoid.