Dabbing: What Parents Need to Know

As the parent of a teen, it can be hard to keep up with all the memes, slang, ins and outs and trends in your teenager’s world. And why should you? Well, because social trends can also provide insights to the joys and challenges that teens are facing now, that you need had to. Case in point? Dabbing.

Now, you might think dabbing is the dance craze that evolved from the Nae Nae in 2015. After all, Cam Newton and many other athletes, musicians and celebrities promoted the craze. But there’s a world of difference between Dabbin’ (the dance) and dabbing, a means of consuming THC concentrates from marijuana that is gaining in popularity and is considered dangerous.

Dabbing is a relatively new way of ingesting cannabis. It’s a highly concentrated form of TCH, which is marijuana’s active ingredient. Dabs, or butane hash oil (DHO) is a hard, wax-like concentrate that uses butane gas as the solvent. They contain up to 70-90% THC, which is significantly more than what’s found in a typical cannabis flower.

How Dabbing Works

Dabs, or the waxy concentrate, are usually smoked using a vaporizer pen or water pipe, also known as a bong.

When using a bong, you use a blowtorch to preheat the heating surface, which is known as a “nail.” The nail is made of glass or titanium. After the nail is heated, the concentrate is “dabbed” on the surface, which creates a vapor that can be inhaled.

The Effect of Dabbing

Dabbing is being marketed as the most efficient way to get high. Just a small amount of the highly concentrated BHO or dab is needed. It’s also referred to as the “crack” of marijuana.

It’s said to provide a much more powerful and different kind of high. It’s often used by individuals who are experienced users of marijuana who have developed somewhat of a tolerance to THC. To an inexperienced user, it can be an overwhelming high and is not recommend to those who smoke or ingest cannabis occasionally.


butane honey oil, budder, shatter, wax

Are There Dangers?

Let’s start with the risks that come from trying to make your own BHO. Butane is highly flammable, and if you are not skilled in using it, the result can be explosions and fires. Also, because dab production is largely unregulated, there is risk of contamination during production .

When it comes to health effects? It’s hard to say, because it’s so new. There haven’t been scientific studies yet. However, the University of Albany did release a paper in 2014 that highlighted several risks of dabbing, including a higher possibility of withdrawal symptoms and even developing marijuana tolerance.

However, more and more stories are popping up nationwide that suggest the practice is quite dangerous. Recently, parents of a young man who committed suicide in Colorado came forward, sharing the diaries written by their son. He wrote, “I found out I was dabbing too much which I already knew and had cut back in February. But apparently, if you overdo it, you can get almost like poison and experience some negative effects.” While there is no way to prove it, his death certificate lists as a contributing factor, “use of concentrated marijuana products.” You can read the entire story here: http://www.9news.com/news/health/marijuana-in-colorado-a-warning-about-dabbing/346018775

According to the article, “…The state legislature is so concerned about the effect of marijuana on public health that it has now authorized millions of dollars for the state health department to begin studying safety and health effects of cannabis on pregnant women and unborn children, use of high potency THC products, and use by minors, just to name a few.”

Talk to Your Teen

  1. Why not share the news article or segment from 9News with your teen? Then talk to them about it. Ask what they think of the article and of dabbing. Listen, and don’t react.
  2. Let your teen know you care about their safety, and remind them that it is illegal for anyone under age 21 to consume marijuana. If they are even just arrested for doing so, it can prevent them from being able to pursue certain professions, like the medical field, law enforcement and aviation.
  3. Make sure they understand what your rules and consequences are, as well.

Signs Your Child Might Be Using Drugs or Alcohol

As your child approaches the teen years, a lot of changes begin to happen. They start to spend more time with their friends, and be more independent. That’s normal! However, some behaviors can signal that your child might be experimenting with drugs or alcohol. Here are a few signs to keep in mind.

Does your teen exhibit a new lack of energy or change in attitude? Are they lethargic?

Are their grades dropping?

Are they sleeping more than usual?

Have they had bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils or glazed eyes lately?

Are they using more mouthwash, perfume, breath mints or cologne lately?

Is their speech slurred?

After they spend time with friends, do they go straight to their room and avoid your family? Do they complain of being tired or not feeling well after spending time with friends?

Are they breaking curfew and not checking in with you like they used to?

Are they hanging out with new friends that you don’t know?

Has money gone missing from your wallet or purse lately?

These are just a few of the signs that your teen might be using drugs or alcohol. If you notice three or more of these things, it’s time to have a conversation with your child. And remember these simple things you can do:

  1. Know where your teen is and who they are spending time with.
  2. If they are going to a party, talk to the parents and make sure there are going to be chaperones. You could even volunteer to help them.
  3. Keep all alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs locked up in your home. You might be able to trust your teen, but you may not be able to trust their friends, or their friends’ friends.
  4. Have family meals together as often as you can.