Butane hash oil (“dabs”), an intense cannabis concentrate processed into a viscous oil, is no more dangerous than other forms of marijuana, according to a recent study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors. The finding runs contrary to the alarmism that has pervaded most of the media coverage around butane hash oil.
Plenty of media outlets looking for a good headline have found that dabs make for a “scary thing the kids are doing these days” story. That story is made easier to sell since every now and then a DIY home hash oil attempt will explode in flames. But while its production might be risky, actually inhaling butane hash oil is no more or less dangerous than smoking a lot of weed—which is not particularly dangerous. In fact, since the oil is vaporized, not smoked, it’s likely less potentially harmful to the lungs.
“Analyses revealed that using ‘dabs’ created no more problems or accidents than using flower cannabis,” the study concludes. It also notes that “participants did report that ‘dabs’ led to higher tolerance and withdrawal,” which makes sense, given the higher dose generally involved with hash oil. These results will be a relief (but probably not a surprise) to anyone who owns a vape-pen—a popular new smoking tool which amounts to a hash oil-filled e-cigarette.
Dabs can be super-potent, boasting THC concentrates of up to 80 percent, so it’s understandable that people would be cautious with the honey-like substance. The method of ingestion often involves heating up a nail with a blow torch, so that the oil vaporizes on touching it, then pulling the smoke through a water pipe. This gives the oil the look of a harder drug, and some cannabis activists have fretted that the whole thing gives the plant a bad name. Adding to the issue is that occasionally, production of dabs can cause explosions in the makeshift facilities people set up in their homes.
– Read the entire article at AlterNet.