Most of us are very familiar with traditional marijuana use, rolling a joint, smoking through a bong or pipe – even consuming edibles. In an ever growing industry that continues to explore new possibilities of extraction and refinement, so too do we explore new ways of enjoying our favorite, feel-good, medicinal plant. Amongst these latest methods, ‘vaping’ and ‘dabbing’ seem to top the list (especially amongst younger users), raising safety concerns that should be explored with an open mind. Essentially the same thing, with origins that can be traced back to early Hashish use in Central Asia, both vaping and dabbing consist of inhaling heated marijuana oils, with important differences.
When dabbing, you heat a highly concentrated form of cannabis on a ‘nail’ and inhale the vapors through a ‘water rig’ or a bong achieving an elevated high. The concentrates used for dabbing are typically extracted using butane, which evaporates after the essential oils are collected. With THC levels typically ranging within 70-90%, one can achieve an intense high without inhaling the smoke associated with traditional use. This entire process should be approached with care, research and selection to avoid injury and unknown longterm implications. Steer clear of poor quality rigs and those which have been poorly maintained. As an example, a metal bong could be rusty and have solder on it, which would end up in your butane hash oil & incognizantly inhaled into your lungs. Opt for premium grade dab nails made of high grade titanium, ceramic and quartz. Read labels and avoid cheap dabbing products that can expose one to residual chemicals. Explore live resins with rich terpene profiles and maximum medical properties. Needless to say, it is a major risk to attempt home extraction and even when it does go well, the resulting product can be heavily contaminated, which could present health concerns. So purchase your products from reputable sources.
Similarly, vaping consists of inhaling smokeless Marijuana oils through a vape pen however the natural concentrates (as used for dabbing) must undergo a process using carrier oils to convert them into vapable ‘e-liquids’. With no federal safety regulations in place for either concentrates or vaping devices, the responsibility falls on the consumer to make wise decisions and read product labels on oils, concentrates, and vape pens amongst other devices. Look for chemical ingredients & unwanted additives and purchase only commercially produced devices with usage guidelines and descriptions. Any reputable company should be able to tell you exactly what is in their vape oils, how it’s produced and what material is used in their heating elements. Proper usage is also important, one should be careful not hold the button on a vape pen down for too long, as this can expose your lungs to not just the vapor but the heated concentrate itself.
Smoking marijuana is not a proven risk factor for lung disease, even so the above methods are good options for those who want to avoid smoke all together. Whether out of discretion, concern or convenience it is our individual responsibility to take our time with our products and invest properly in the devices and concentrates that offer ultimate protection. This way we can stay safe and enjoy all the health benefits and joy of cannabis concentrates.