While vaping refers to the process of heating an E-liquid to create inhalable water vapor, “dabbing” refers to a fairly different process. A “dab” is a highly concentrated dose of cannabis, sometimes produced using very strong solvents, like butane. Most “dabs” consist mainly of the cannabinoid THC – the compound responsible for marijuana’s psychoactive effects.
The dab is heated on a hot surface, like a nail or other type of metal. Then, the dab is inhaled through what’s called a “dab ring” – similar in look and feel to a glass bubbler or small bong.
People choose to dab instead of vape or smoke because dabbing delivers an extremely potent dose of marijuana in a direct, immediate fashion. Users feel the high instantly – and it’s a powerful high, much stronger than a few inhalations off a joint or from a vape pen. The strength of dabbing has created the potential, for the first time ever, for a marijuana overdose – the effects likely aren’t deadly, but passing out becomes a stronger possibility when dabbing comes into play.
Of course, dabbing is useful for the same reason it is dangerous. Users who need their medicine badly – and immediately – sometimes find that dabbing delivers relief more effectively than any other method. To ease severe pain or nausea, dabbing- research shows – seems to offer a remedy.