What is Dabbing Weed?

Dabbing weed can be harmful, so read on to learn about what dabs are, how they’re made, and the dangers of dabbing.

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What Are Dabs?

Dabs are an increasingly popular way of consuming marijuana. If you’re unfamiliar with what they are, dabs are a concentrated form of cannabis that comes in different forms, including wax, shatter, and oil. Dabbing has become popular because it produces a powerful high that takes effect quickly.

Although marijuana use has been an ongoing health concern in the United States, it can be challenging to stay up to date with the various routes of administration. Dabbing weed is a relatively new term, which can create questions like what are dabs? What does dabbing weed even mean? Dab wax, dab marijuana, and dab wax are commonly used terms for concentrated butane hash oil.

dabbing weed

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How Dabbing Works

People that are smoking dabs are inhaling highly concentrated THC oils. The main active ingredient in a concentrated dabs drug is cannabis. People use bongs or oil rigs designed explicitly for butane hash oil (BHO) to heat up and smoke the oil. 1

Is Dabbing Addictive?

Similarly to any other addictive substance, dabbing weed can result in tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Research indicates that the higher potency found in dab marijuana can also lead to a greater risk of addiction.

What Are Marijuana Dabs?

Dab marijuana, also known as marijuana dab concentrate, is a vaporized cannabis made exclusively with BHO. The dabs drug can appear as a gooey liquid like wax, a hard, amber-colored solid substance, or in a soft textured form.   

The dabs drug is made from trichomes, or hair-like compounds found on cannabis plants. Marijuana flower buds contain cannabinoids or cannabis concentrates with high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels. To make dab wax, people use flammable solvents like butane to create butane hash oil. 2

How Are Dabs Related to Marijuana?

If a person is smoking dabs, they are ingesting highly concentrated marijuana with substantial amounts of THC. In all forms of marijuana, THC is the psychotropic ingredient that can result in anxiety, paranoia, agitation, and psychosis.

Types of Dabs

This substance is used in many different forms, from shatter wax dabs to live resin and dispensary dabs. The following sections will explore the most common ways people are dabbing THC oil.

Dab Oil

Oil dabbing occurs when a person ingests butane hash oil, also known as BHO.


Shatter wax dabs, also known as shatter concentrate dabs or honeycomb, is a type of dab that is shattered or cracked into pieces. Shatter concentrate dabs are said to be one of the more potent types of dabs.


Butter, or budder, is another term used to reference dabbing a soft waxy THC oil that looks like honey. 3

Dab Wax

Dab wax, sometimes called ear wax, usually looks like a gooey wax substance. Sometimes users choose this type of dab because it’s easy to ingest with a dab pen.

Live Resin

Instead of making dabs using dried cannabis, live resin is created using fresh cannabis flowers. When someone is used to feeling a dab pen high, there is a significant risk for addiction and dab overdose symptoms.

Types of Dabbing Devices

Vaporizers and oil rigs are the most common dabbing devices used to produce a dab high. Synthetic dabs or butane hash oil work in oil rigs and vaporizers in different ways, including: 4

Oil Rigs: To get a dab high, a person uses an instrument called an oil rig to heat, vaporize, and inhale vapors. An oil rig is a type of water pipe with a hollow ‘nail’ or ‘swing’ instead of a bowl. Users heat the nail using a blowtorch and then place the dab on it to vaporize it.

Vaporizers: When dabbing weed, some users prefer vaporizers, sometimes called e-cigarettes and dab pens. Vaporizers are easy to hide, smokeless, and odorless while producing immediate dabbing effects on the brain.

What Are The Dangers of Dabbing?

The dangers and side effects of smoking dabs are severe and can present serious risks to a person’s physical and mental health. Some of these side effects can include:

Changes In Sensory Perception

Possible changes in sensory perception are one of the significant dangers of dabbing. For instance, a person’s reaction times and responses to stimuli can be altered due to dabbing effects on the brain. Changes in vision, smell, hearing, and taste can also be negative side effects of dabs.

Poor Memory

Dabbing’s effects on the brain can harm an individual’s short and long-term memory, along with their attention span.

High Blood Pressure

Consuming butane hash oil can potentially cause dangerous spikes in blood pressure.

Elevated Heart Rate

Dabbing’s effects on the heart include changes in overall heart rate and an increased risk of heart attack and heart disease. 5

Increased Symptoms of Mental Health Disorders

Although there is limited research surrounding the psychiatric consequences of ingesting concentrated butane hash oil, emerging studies have noted increased symptoms of mental health disorders among individuals using dabs. 6

Panic Attacks

Restlessness, paranoia, panic, anxiety, confusion, psychosis, and detachment from reality are all symptoms of mental health disorders that are also known as side effects of smoking dabs.

Can You Overdose on Dabs?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if a person only uses marijuana, they are unlikely to experience a fatal overdose. However, when using highly concentrated butane hash oil, it’s critical to be cautious of dab overdose. Some common symptoms associated with a dabbing overdose include: 7
dabs drug


Anxiety is a common side effect among those who dab weed.


Hallucinations and delusions can be possible dab overdose symptoms, depending on how much the individual took and other medical factors.


Rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, and cardiac episodes are also associated with using dabs.

Nausea and Vomiting

If you or someone you care about is struggling with marijuana abuse, severe vomiting and nausea are dab overdose symptoms to be aware of.

Panic Attacks

Extreme confusion and panic attacks can be indicators of a dab overdose, which can happen quickly after the individual took the dabs.


Lastly, paranoia and psychosis are possible side effects of smoking dabs. Seek professional help immediately if you or someone you know is experiencing negative side effects from using dabs.

Overcome Marijuana Addiction With Treatment at Profound Treatment

Substance use and addiction present a great deal of risk to a person’s physical and mental health. Thankfully, addiction is treatable. Profound Treatment, in Woodland Hills, California, helps people from all walks of life struggling to overcome marijuana addiction. With various levels of care, including detoxification and residential addiction treatment, their caring staff of licensed clinicians helps men and women on their path to recovery.

Profound Treatment’s clinicians come alongside their clients using various treatment modalities, including cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy. Embark on your journey to healing your mind, body, and soul today with Profound Treatment.

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