What is a marijuana dab?
It’s a straight forward question that doesn’t have an easy to provide answer. It’s a question that more and more people are asking as marijuana continues to go mainstream and people continue to explore the buffet of marijuana options that are out there these days. The term ‘dab’ or ‘dabs’ is used outside of the marijuana world. ‘The Dab’ is a dance move that was made popular last year by NFL quarterback Cam Newton.
In the marijuana world, the term ‘dab’ or ‘dabs’ is used to describe some forms of marijuana concentrates. It’s marijuana slang, which makes it hard to apply a one-size-fits-all description. Dabs have a very high THC concentration, making it the most potent form of marijuana commercially available. The consistency of some forms of dabs, and the increased potency levels, has led marijuana opponents like Project SAM to call dabs ‘rock THC’ or ‘the crack of marijuana.’
Dabs can take on many forms.
Shatter, wax, honeycomb, heat press, oil, BHO, etc. I have heard them all referred to as dabs. Marijuana concentrates are not new, although the term dabs is somewhat new. People have been making hash on the West Coast for decades, including via methods that are used today to make dabs. People just didn’t apply the slang terms to it. I heard dabs called ‘honey oil’ way before I heard it called dabs. But that was back when hash wasn’t as common.
Now there is an entire culture revolving around dabs. I would only smoke hash on rare occasions prior to this decade. That wasn’t because of lack of desire as much as availability. This decade has seen a huge increase in the amount of hash being produced, and the overall quality has risen a lot in recent years. There was good solvent and solvent-less hash in years past, but most of the hash I saw out there was junk. Now days, there is quality dabs all over the Western United States.
It seemed like for a time, the use of the term dab referred to hash made with methods that involved a solvent, most commonly butane (butane hash oil, referred to as BHO) or CO2. But at some point it went on to include even solvent-less hash like full melt extracts and heat pressed rosen. But not all concentrates are considered to be dabs. For instance vape pen cartridges, which are filled with concentrated oil made with butane or CO2, is not referred to as dabs. No one I know asks if someone wants to ‘take a dab hit’ when they have a vape pen cartridge. But compare that to a vape pen that doesn’t involve a cartridge, and instead involves putting hash into a heating chamber. In that instance, ‘taking a dab hit’ would apply. Make sense? Clear as mud?
Using the terms ‘dab’ or ‘dabs’ is a lingo game
Using the terms ‘dab’ or ‘dabs’ is a lingo game, and can be a confusing one at that. Whenever I give someone a dab hit for the first time using a nail, it’s straight forward. Whether I’m chipping of a piece of shatter, or dipping a utensil into some wax, saying ‘this is a dab hit’ is straight forward. But when someone asks for a comprehensive answer as to what a dab is or what dabs are, it’s much more difficult without a visual aid. All dabs are concentrates, but not all concentrates are dabs, just as all squares are also rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares.
The lingo has been evolving in recent years to be more descriptive. People use the term wax to describe waxy dabs, and shatter for dabs that are of a hard consistency that breaks up when handled in certain ways. As marijuana experimentation continues to spread across America, and the world for that matter, I expect more forms of marijuana concentrates to be discovered. I also expect many forms of marijuana to become popular that have been around all along, just not in the spotlight. And not with a clever slang name!
image via Wikipedia