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Aug 9, 2016 9:00 AM

To Dab or Not to Dab: What You Should Know About Dabbing Cannabis Concentrates

Many people think that cannabis concentrates will soon become so popular that they will surpass the sales of common cannabis flowers. The effects and features of concentrates are still not studied deeply enough, and that causes many superstitions and misconceptions. Some even call them “the crack of marijuana.” So, is it really so dangerous to dab cannabis concentrates?

Dabbing Cannabis Concentrates

Is if safe to dab?

What we call dabbing is a way of consuming cannabis by melting a cannabis concentrate and inhaling the vapor that effervesces from the concentrate.

The most dangerous part of this process is, actually, not the inhaling itself but creating the concentrate. Unlike growing marijuana, there is a big difference between performing the process at home and professionally. Manufacturing concentrates illegally is accompanied with numerous accidents, sometimes even lethal ones.

To get cannabis extract, you need to operate with butane or propane (as a heating source) in closed-loop systems. These hydrocarbons require extreme safety measures, and even the slightest departure from the instructions can lead to dramatic consequences. This is especially essential to those who try to manufacture concentrates at home with the help of open-source techniques. Those methods are the most dangerous.

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Though the temptation of creating cannabis concentrates at home may be big, it should never be performed in other conditions than professionally, with special instruments, and strictly following the instructions and all of the safety measures.

Apart from manufacturing the cannabis extract, dabbing itself can be associated with a certain danger. The problem is in the blow torches that are sometimes used for heating the mixture. However, the torches are not the only way to heat a dab, there are plenty of other gadgets that exclude open fire and are safe for using.

But even if you use torch nails that are usually believed to be dangerous, it is only how you are using them that matters. Using a gas stove can also be dangerous if you use it in an inappropriate way. And if you can cook your dinner without burning down the kitchen and getting burns on your skin, you will be able to manage the dab torch as well.

Are cannabis concentrates dangerous?

To say it shortly, some of them can indeed be dangerous, but only those that were made by amateur extractors, usually in a cheap, inappropriate way.

To be precise, what we usually call “dabs” are not always the same thing. It can be cannabis concentrates that have been mechanically separated or some cannabis extracts that were manufactured with the help of a chemical solvent. They have different structures, different properties, different THC/CBD levels, and of course, due to their way of manufacturing, they may contain different additional compounds that are not always healthy.

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All dabs in legal vendor are obligated to pass the laboratory test. Apart from cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that are the natural compounds of cannabis, concentrates may also contain a certain amount of residual hydrocarbons. If a concentrate is manufactured mechanically, it will probably have very little to zero residual hydrocarbons. However, even if it was manufactured with the help of a chemical solvent, it should contain no more than 500 PPM of residual hydrocarbons. If the lab test shows a bigger concentration, the product is rejected for sale.

Therefore, if you buy dabs not on the black market but in legal dispensaries, and the product has all the needed certificates or documents that prove it was made in a safe way, you can be absolutely sure that it brings no danger to your health.

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Can I overdose?

For sure, you can. Just like you can overdose on usual marijuana, alcohol, or even sugar, you can consume too much of concentrates and experience side-effects that will not make you happy. However, dabbing overconsumption is not as dangerous as, for instance, alcohol overconsumption. You may expect heavy lethargy, mild nausea, and in some cases, anxiety or paranoia.

For beginners, it is not always easy to understand how much concentrate they need to get the desirable effect. The THC level in concentrates is significantly higher than in average cannabis flowers, so you should always keep in mind that being moderate with doses is essential.

If you are not sure whether you can measure the right dose, it is better to consult with a budtender in a local dispensary or with a friend you trust who is an experienced dabber.

What you should know before you start dabbing

If you are new to dabbing and worry whether you will be able to get the best from this process avoiding the side-effects, you had better take note of these tips:

  • Before using dab for the first time, read all the information you can find carefully, including the recommendations and experience of other consumers.
  • Choose the concentrate carefully; whether you need a product high in THC or CBD, it must belong to a well-trusted label and have laboratory test results.
  • Do not buy dabs on the black market.
  • Do not try to manufacture concentrate at home. If there is no way you can get any concentrate in your area, you can try to make a safe product, such as home-made rosin.
  • Be moderate with the doses. It is better to start with less and increase the dose gradually if needed.
  • Enjoy dabbing. This is the easiest-to-do tip, but it is probably the most important thing you should remember.
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