What Are Dabs?

 Posted by at 6:36 AM on January 8, 2014  Marijuana Tips and Tricks
Jan 082014
 January 8, 2014

high times bay area cannabis cup entries 2013 dabs dabThe dab phenomenon has taken over the Western United States and is moving eastward at a rapid pace. If you live on the West Coast or Colorado, chances are you have taken dab hits with friends in recent years. If you haven’t, you really need to get out more. Whenever I talk about dabs on social media or with my family that live off the West Coast, people often ask me, ‘what are dabs?’

I don’t know that there is an ‘official’ definition yet. I’m waiting for it to turn up on one of those ‘new words of the year’ lists and then maybe an ‘official’ definition will finally be out there. I look at the definition of dabs like the the former Supreme Court Justice Stewart looks at the definition of obscenity – I don’t have an official definition, but I know it when I see it.

To oversimplify things, dabs are various forms of high grade hash, usually made with a process involving butane. Urban Dictionary defines it as “bho (butane hash oil), a medicinal marijuana product extracted from the plant and concentrated into a smokable oil. also an adjective to describe the mind state of those who smoke bho or ‘dabs'”. I don’t really like the Urban Dictionary definition because it doesn’t necessarily have to be for medicinal purposes. I personally smoke dabs to get as recreationally high as I possible can! Realize, we are not talking about the hash that your dad used to smoke in the 1970’s, as seen in the picture below:

old school hash

The butane hash oil (BHO), or dabs, that is made these days is far stronger and purer than the hash pictured above. Below is a picture of what I’m talking about:

dabs

I posted the question ‘what is the best answer to the question what are dabs’ on my Facebook, and below are some of the responses. If you have a solid definition for dabs, please place it in the comments section so that others can benefit from your knowledge:

“dabs are concentrated cannabis extracts that get you really high really fast.”

“essential concentrated extracted particles from the cannabis buds and leaf’s”

“pandora’s box”

About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
  • youdontevenknow

    you think drugs is all good and cool until someone you love has their lives ruined by them. You all need to feel that kind of loss

    • Agagdasdg

      It is impossible to die of weed. Except you jump off a bridge or so, but if you’re high you usually just chill and have fun. Doing stupid stuff is for coke, alc, or speed or shit. But nothin can happen with weed. Except that you use your lungs, so they get kinda fucked but nothin else.

      • Steve D’Agostino

        Even the lung argument has recently been debunked. So there’s not even that anymore. Basically pot is harmless to an adult who uses it responsibly.

        • Guest

          Well, as a heavy smoker. I can say that this is one of the largest misconceptions about pot. Anything that burns, releases hydrocarbons. And hydrocarbons (most anyway) are confidently known to cause cancer in lab animals and people. Hell, you can raise your risk for cancer just by eating a char-broiled steak :-P
          See I use a 3 stage bong, so my smoke is as filtered as possible but I’m still at risk, because no matter how you want to look at it, you’re inhaling smoke, smoke contains hydrocarbons.
          Only way to avoid any any and all health risks, is to use a Vape. That way the plant material never burns, you just ‘realease’ the thc from its grip and breathe it in :-)

          • Guest

            The other Debunked myth is that pot isn’t addictive. I just want to meet the person that started that and kick them in the balls. lol
            Because when people say that, they don’t clue in. Its not the compound thats addictive, its how you feel on it thats addictive.
            So if you only smoke now and then, then absolutely pot is a no worry. But if you smoke everyday to manage pain, anxiety, depression, or for me to help keep in check an offensively high metabolism, then you will most likely become addicted to what it does rather than the drug itself.
            I experience withdrawal and anxiety symptoms for a couple hours when I run out (sure its short but it still sucks)

            So to sum up, I’m not sure where you got your information about the lungs, but if you could start spreading the truth instead, that would be awesome :-)

          • Steve D’Agostino

            I got it from here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25521349%20
            So, there you go. I’m spreading the truth. And being awesome.

          • Steve D’Agostino

            Here’s one source: http://blog.mpp.org/research/study-shows-long-term-marijuana-does-not-cause-serious-lung-damage/01212015/
            The medical study itself is awaiting moderation for some reason.

          • Steve D’Agostino

            I’ve spread the awesome with a couple of links that debunk the lung danger myth. The links are awaiting moderation apparently. I guess it’s an anti-spam measure. When the comments go live, you can see for yourself. The medical study was done by Emory U and published by NIH.

          • Guest

            I’m not going to read any of that. If it doesn’t mention the infallible truth about hydrocarbons then it isn’t a legitimate study in the first place.

          • Steve D’Agostino

            Of course you’re not going to read it. A twenty-year study done by the National Institute of Health in collaboration with Emory University isn’t nearly as legitimate as a rant that begins with “as a heavy smoker, I can say…”
            Yes, your “infallible truths” are much more reliable, I’m sure.

          • Guest

            The effects of hydrocarbons and human health are already well established. If their results show differently then they were either wrong, or their subjects just fluked out and the results showed what they were trying to prove so no one is second guessing them. I don’t care if it was a 100 year trial, hydrocarbons cause cancer in those susceptible to it and I’m not discussing this any further with you.

          • Steve D’Agostino

            The discussion wasn’t about hydrocarbons; it was about the effects of marijuana smoke specifically. You don’t like to be proven wrong, so you discount a long-term study by PEOPLE WHOSE ENTIRE LIVING IS BASED ON CONDUCTING SUCH STUDIES (and are very highly regarded as experts in the field). I have a feeling they know how to do it right. The entire sample population they used for the researched fluked out? Yes, this discussion is pointless. Please do try and keep up with the latest findings instead of sticking to tired theories when they are proven incorrect. You do realize that theory and reality don’t always match up when the rubber meets the road, don’t you?
            EDIT: If more information comes out down the road that refutes this (which is the same as other studies have found, such as through UCSF), then I will gladly change my view. Until then, I’ll rely on what the latest findings show. We call that “growth”.

          • Guest

            fuck you are so arrogant. I’m done. Say whatever snide comment you want them just be on your way.

          • Steve D’Agostino

            Ha, like you can talk. You can’t even get over your pride long enough to CONSIDER something beyond what you’ve already made up your mind about – just because you might be wrong. And I’m the arrogant one. Got it.

          • Guest

            And you’re a man child who needs to have the last word as well, I knew I was right about you in the beginning.

          • Guest

            As an impartial observer, I’d say you are more than a little dysfunctional, dude. You remind me of a narcissist I know who can’t take criticism.

          • Guest

            Impartial observer my ass, I already checked and you and Steve are followers.
            He just came to you and asked you to say the last word for him. FFS people…..

          • Guest

            No he didn’t. I just like messing with arrogant *holes. The woods – and weeds- are full of them. : )

          • Aaron W

            Wow, glad you two have a buddy system. Being insane must be a heavy burden, Im glad you two have eachother,. Pathetic assholes…

          • Aaron W

            Its fucking infuriating when guys like this cant see that THEY ARE BEING ASSHOLES TOO.
            Hydrocarbons cause cancer, smoke contains hydrocarbons, therefore, SMOKE WILL NEVER BE HEALTHY. This is 200 year old sciece that I will discuss with you two retards no further.
            Because you will NOT see reason,

          • Heidi Porter

            Pot has cured cancer so whatever do your research

          • Aaron W

            You, my lady, are an ignorant effing cow. I never once said that marijuana didn’t have useful properties did I?
            All I wanted that ass-hat to admit was that well established rule of matter that burns and releases smoke, releases hydrocarbons, which are known to cause cancer.
            What else Heidi? :-)

          • Steve D’Agostino

            Why would I need to ask someone to finish my arguments for me? You had already fallen apart on your own. Gimlet just likes to stir the puddin’.

          • Guest

            I’m trouble, mister. : )

          • Steve D’Agostino

            That’s what I like about you. Plus you recognize the difference between a well-supported argument and a juvenile rant.

          • Guest

            I can do both!

          • Steve D’Agostino

            :D

          • RubyMontana

            :)

          • Aaron W

            Suck me off you piece of shit.

          • Aaron W

            NOW THAT is a narcissist who cant take criticism. Get a clue bud (from a guest profile too, Impartial observer my ass)

          • Guest

            Wassa matta? Did I harsh your buzz ? Should I call a waaambulance ?

          • Aaron W

            Hey! That was actually a very fun to read jab! Nice Work! :-)

          • Steve D’Agostino

            Obama?

          • Heidi Porter

            Pot can cure cancer its been proven

          • Heidi Porter

            Wow what would you have ur kid doing? Pot or hard core drugs and sticking needless in there arms?

          • Heidi Porter

            That’s not true!! Heavy smokers when they quite the THC comes out thru ur pores and you feel crappy for awhile intill ur body detoxes it self

          • Heidi Porter

            That’s why the make hash

      • Heidi Porter

        Safer then tobacco

  • Weed wandering wayne

    I lost my mom 2 years ago cause of weed…..n I’m still lookin for her.

    • Heidi Porter

      You don’t loss people because of weed u desided to not be around her pot doesn’t do that to people!!

  • Leonard

    It only takes 1 hit of dab to fuck u up

  • Andy Cook

    What a nob

  • fefe

    I just need to ask what may seem like a stupid question, as i am not very educated on marijuana and its products any more. I have been smoking synthetic weed for the last 7 years (chemically made)(dangerous i understand) however i have recently stopped using the synthetic drugs(i found out i was pregnant) and am starting to be able to feel the effects of thc again. I realize that the use of thc during pregnancy is still not totally accepted how ever that is what i am choosing to do. My question is.. does “dabs” have ANY chemicals in it that does not come from the plant?

    • Angela Bonds

      Get an abortion. You sound like a horrible person, incapable of making even the smallest common sense decisions, and in no way, shape or form should be raising a child.

      • SADJELLYjr

        very true. the woman sounds like an awful person. You cant stop smoking for 9months to save your own child from having problems? What kind of a person ARE you?

        • wade

          What is Sweeny? Alchole dabs?

        • wade

          What is Sweeny? Alchole dabs?

        • Abby

          That’s not fair. You don’t know how this pregnancy is treating her. Some pregnancies are very difficult — nausea, pain, sleeplessness — and any woman growing a person inside of her needs relief from these things (if she can’t eat, baby can’t eat; if she is in pain and stressed, baby is stressed; if she can’t sleep, she won’t have the energy needed to effectively grow the baby in the first place.

          She never said anything about toking all day everyday. She’s just curious about the best way to get relief from cannabis and wants to know if dabs are less toxic than other options. Give her a break.

        • Heidi Porter

          Wow you have no idea what some women go thru in being pregnant!! It actually makes u eat witch in return makes ur baby weigh more when born!!

    • Sergio

      Don’t listen to these people. Let’s keep waiting for constructive beings to answer your question.

    • james

      Butane

    • Abby

      If you’re using a rig and heat your nail too hot, your dabs will combust which creates toxins. If you’re vaporizing, maybe you could try a high-grade bubble hash (solvent-less), and even then, go light. Even though the vapor is better for you and baby, the more you vape, the less “clean” oxygen baby will get which can lead to other problems down the line.

      Good luck, mama!

    • .

      Don’t dab at all while you’re pregnant there’s butane in all dabs no matter how yu smoke it or whatever an it’ll FUCK yo baby up

    • Wez

      If it has been made correctly then no maybe very small traces of butane but you would be using a butane lighter to light your cone or joint so no more than that.

  • Used to be Smart

    I am now dumber. Thank you.

  • Guest

    Back in the day, this was known as ‘getting stupid’ – I’m awed to see the progress made by the yoot of ‘Merica toward the goal of total imbecility. Way to go, dudes.

    • Steve D’Agostino

      It’s not about getting high for most of us. It’s about getting free so we can make our own decisions. The vast majority of Americans support legalization but claim to still be unlikely to use it. Should we outlaw alcohol again? It makes you far, far stupider than pot.

      • Guest

        I agree it should be decriminalized. But is it benign ? My friend, I say no – at least as far a ‘dabs’ are concerned. Why do I say this ? Here’s an anecdote : My son was living in CA up until a few weeks ago, when I providentially brought him home because of the conditions he was living in- a situation that existed prior to his arrival, btw.. Two days ago, his erstwhile room-mate died. He was a heavy dabs user, which probably didn’t kill him, but certainly contributed to his ill-health. Here’s a photo of the late room-mate’s bedroom. ( btw, you know me, but for obvious reasons I choose to post as a ‘guest’

        • Steve D’Agostino

          Hey, my friend. I know who you are. But while we see eye to eye 99% of the time, I split from you on this one. I will venture one of two things regarding this guy: either he was into much heavier stuff, or he had other issues that may have been exacerbated by heavy use. Looking at his place, I’m guessing he was very depressed. I was a daily user for about 16 years and have run in all sorts of circles with all sorts of drug users. I’ve been addicted to crack and powder, and I’ve heavily used psychotropics like LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin (generally mushrooms, but sometimes extracts). I’ve done it all – ecstasy, heroin, meth, ketamine, pills, and huffed anything that emitted fumes. Believe it or not, that was me. What I’ve learned in my experiences is that users of any form of pot that end up like this guy are not just dabbing or toking up (dabbing isn’t a new thing; it’s just called something different. We called it hash oil, but it was extracted the same way and looked the same. One toke would do the trick.). They’re into other stuff or have severe psychological issues. I’ll admit that if you’re lazy, it will make you much lazier. No doubt about that. But study after study shows that any health effects (in adults who ONLY smoke pot) are negligible. Now an underdeveloped brain is a different story. Teens shouldn’t be toking. It can stunt the physical development of the brain. But an adult has already developed in that sense. Does that mean that everybody is exactly the same or that it’s never dangerous to anyone ever? Well, no, I’ll never make that claim, but generally speaking, to an adult who partakes responsibly, it is pretty much benign. Certainly more so than the truly deadly yet socially accepted alcohol. I’ll admit that all my friends ended up different from me, (I did this through college and graduated 3.6 in finance and now lead analysis and portfolio development at an investment firm, I build websites and do SEO, speak 3 languages as an American, and now lead the teen version of Celebrate Recovery) but they didn’t just smoke pot, either. I think that’s what throws people. It’s not pot that makes you try harder stuff; it’s the desire to try stuff that leads to pot use. And most who end up badly off are not staying exclusive to the green stuff or even hash or dab.

          • Guest

            Well, we have more in common than I previously thought. Me a child of the 60’s, and all. : )….. Won’t go into that, though. Just one more cautionary note : You- know-who was leader of a choom gang. And we all know how HE turned out. : ) …this is the ‘leader’ of the free world. Don’t be that guy. ( See you in the neighborhood ! )

      • Heidi Porter

        Its about it helping with the pain

  • dan

    were can i buy bho or oil online , im in tasmania ,and have made oil but want to try bho before i try making it

  • sweetz

    where can i get a dab thats all i wanna know
    i live in indiana thou :( double sad face UGH

  • Sarah

    Personally, I do smoke recreationally, but there are all these people out there who are so against weed just because they are uneducated. The effects of using marijuana for medicinal purposes far surpass any effect or kind of relief that any man-made pill or syrup could suppress. If my child was to ever be hurt or sick, I would want whatever was going to be the best medical treatment for him that could be provided and if that means it’s medicinal marijuana, then by all means give it to him! I don’t think there is anybody out there who if a doctor told them that their [insert somebody you love more than life itself here] would need medical marijuana, I don’t think anybody would be opposed to that kind of treatment. You cannot get addicted to THC itself. It is the high that people get addicted to.

  • jedorff

    the hash from the 70’s in Europe ( shipped in from the middleeast) was far more potent than any Dab I have taken I live in SoCal where dabs are in every dispensory…so I’ve been smoking for over 43 years amd I’m telling you the hash , the real hash from Pakistan, Lebenon, etc was far more potent than any pot or dab I’ve ever smoked…the pot now a days is far better, but the old school middleastern hash is and was the best in my opinion…old freak

    • Bomar

      Spot on bro, the Nepalese Hash that was imported into New Zealand in the late 70s was better than anything I have had since. Mind you, had some great Lebonese blond in the 80s that was close.

  • jedorff

    the butane method is being phased out in LA…using a CO2 based solution instead…Butane? really? uck