Dabbing: Smoking marijuana extract with high levels of THC is growing in popularity

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ByCeFaan Kim via WABC logo
Friday, February 2, 2018
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CeFaan Kim reports on marijuana dabbing.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- There's a new drug with THC that's not the marijuana you're used to. It's not green. It's not a plant. If you didn't know any better, you might think it's crack cocaine.

Users have to heat it with a blowtorch to smoke it. It's marijuana extract; otherwise known as concentrated cannabis. The use of it is called dabbing.

Dabbing is illegal in New York, but it is legal in California, Colorado and Washington. Experts say it's highly likely it will be legalized in New York in just a few years.

Eyewitness News met with two users in New York who asked us not to disclose their indentities. We'll call them John and Joe.

"All of it is very very sticky," John said. "Almost impossible to get off your hands."

It has extremely high levels of THC -- that chemical in marijuana that produces a high. Dabbing is gaining enormous popularity among cannabis smokers.

Seconds after dabbing we asked John, "How are you feeling right now?"

"In the snap of a finger I went from not high to being 100% high," John said.

"There have definitely been cases where people have overdosed on dabbing," said Doctor Yasmin Hurd, a neuroscientist and the Director of the Center for Addictive Disorders within the Mount Sinai Behavioral Health System. "For the developing brain, we know that THC has long term impact even on lower concentrations, so no one yet knows what these high concentrations of THC will do because they're very new."

But medical experts say it can cause psychosis, rapid heartbeat, and blackouts. Traditional marijuana has a THC concentration of about 20 percent. Dabbing has close to 100 percent.

"It's like any other drug," Dr. Hurd said. "Dose matters. The fact that you can have 80-90 percent THC going into your body, I think people should think about that.

John and Joe agreed.

"Dosage is everything, Joe said. "You can have a really small amount where you're barely feeling anything. And then at the same time you can have a massive amount where you'll be high for a long time at a high level."

Joe said it is important to remember dabbing must be done by responsible users and that it is not for the novice user. But consumed correctly he says it can be a purer and cleaner method of consuming cannabis versus smoking traditional plant marijuana.


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