By Valerie Vande Panne
A new method of smoking marijuana is taking the country by storm—and blowing up garages in the process. Get to know ‘dabs.’
Recently, at a pot-centered radio program, someone offered me a “dab” of butane honey oil (BHO)—a concentrated form of cannabis.
“This stuff is soooooo clean!” he mused. “You have to try it.”
Never mind that what I was being offered was thick, black, and gooey, like the dude had just dipped a spoon into bike grease. “I made it myself,” he continued, proudly pushing the baggie of black gooeyness into my face. “You’ll love it!”
I declined (I hope politely). And since this wasn’t the first time—and won’t be the last—bad dabs are declared clean, I went to High Times resident dabs expert Bobby Black to discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of the explosive new way to consume cannabis.
“If it’s black, that means plant material got into it,” says Black, senior editor at High Times magazine. “They don’t know what they’re doing. If it’s made right, it should be creamy or clear.” Think rich honey, or earwax.
Not knowing what you’re doing when it comes to BHO dabs (also known as “wax” or “shatter”) is a problem. It’s the reason for all those exploding hash lab stories such as the recent case in Brooklyn where two teens suffered from severe burns.
Dabs have been “embraced by this generation of stoners,” continues Black. “If you think of pot as classic rock, than dabs is the heavy metal. It’s a cultural-generational thing. Youth is going to be attracted to something rebellious, new, and different from what their parents are smoking.”
In addition, “dabs are an incredibly effective medicine for patients,” says Black. “You can regulate your dosage very easily, and have instantaneous pain relief. And, if you’re getting it from a reputable source, you’re only smoking the oil. It’s highly effective.”
“People are going to be doing it—there’s no turning back,” he continued. The question then becomes “how can we make sure they do it safely? Let’s do harm reduction, and make it safe.”