New research suggests that an increasingly popular method of cannabis consumption may pose more health risks than other methods from a chemical level.
A study published this month in the American Chemical Society’s ACS Omega found that a method of using cannabis known as dabbing may expose users to elevated toxin levels as compared to other methods. In a study of how the chemicals in concentrated cannabis break down under heat, Portland State University researchers Jiries Meehan-Atrash, Wentai Luo, and Robert M. Strongin discovered that concentrates exposed to the high heat common to dab setups produced elevated levels of carcinogenic and toxic compounds.
Dabbing, a process in which is heat is applied to certain cannabis concentrates to create an inhale-able vapor, has ballooned in popularity over the past several years, in large part because of its capacity to produce an extra-powerful high.
As the study noted, the principal product used in dabbing is butane hash oil (BHO), which is extracted from cannabis by adding and removing butane, and can resultingly have an active THC content of up to 90%–easily several times the amount you might find in regular dispensary-quality cannabis flower, a.k.a bud.
The team also explained, “Different nuances in its processing can lead to slightly different consistencies, which take on terms such as shatter, budder, crumble, pull-and-snap, wax, and so on.”
Users typically collect a globule or crumb of concentrate on a slim metal tool known as a ‘nail’ and use a water pipe or ‘dab rig’ to inhale the vapor produced. In order to release the vapor and active chemicals therein, users commonly use either a self-heating electronic nail or, in the case of simple metal nails, apply heat with a handheld blowtorch…