Pubdate: Sun, 07 Apr 2013
Source: Times-Standard (Eureka, CA)
Copyright: 2013 Times-Standard
Author: Dave Stancliff


Americans are increasingly aware that marijuana has medicinal 
properties. Still, without a doubt, the flowering plant's ability to 
get a person "high" is what made it popular in the first place.

When marijuana advocates talk about marijuana properties these days, 
it's generally in a medicinal context -- something more acceptable to 
the general public and a more likely path to legalization.

It's not politically correct to say, "Hey, I smoke pot to get a good 
buzz!" Libertarians make no bones about a person's right to smoke 
weed. The issue to them is simple; the government has no business 
telling people what they can or can't do with marijuana.

Remember when corn cob pipes became popular to puff pot? Hookahs were 
the rage when Indian culture and gurus were considered cool in the 
'70s. People even used apples to make pipes.

Since the corn cob pipes, hookahs, glass pipes and joints, there's 
been a quantum leap in delivery systems. Most cannabis experts agree 
than a good vaporizer is the safest way to smoke weed.

There's just one delivery system that concerns me. Because it's 
become the rage recently among the younger set, I should explain what 
it is. You can now buy "wax" (high content THC Dabs) that have a 
stronger and faster psychoactive effect than any other delivery 
method can provide.

The user takes a single inhalation of vaporized or burned cannabis 
concentrate -- a dab -- that has been placed on a hot nail with a 
tiny spatula or needle. Dab concentrates are made from oil extracted 
from cannabis plants with a solvent.

The most widely used solvent is butane --better known as lighter 
fluid. You should know that butane extraction is against the law. 
People are serving time in prison for using butane as an organic solvent.

More important, butane is a fire and explosion risk because it is so 
highly flammable. Many people have been severely injured using butane 
to make cannabis oil extracts. And "butane" isn't pure butane; it 
contains contaminants.

Approximately 20 percent of the volatile fuel in common "butane" 
lighter fluid is a combination of other hydrocarbons including 
benzene, ethyl mercaptan, heptane, hexane, and other toxic impurities.

There are alternatives to using regular butane. A higher grade butane 
(USP grade or laboratory-grade) extract vaporized with a 
temperature-controlled device could be used if you can find it. 
However, using regular butane is the most common way to make dabs.

The nail used in the process presents a problem too. When heated with 
a torch to burn or volatilize the dab, the nail will gradually 
disintegrate and flake off, further polluting by the process. And 
let's face it, a stoner messing with an open flame is a recipe for a disaster.

According to High Times Magazine, dabs were the big hit (pun 
intended) at the High Times Cannabis Cup recently held in Los 
Angeles. Free samples were given out. You can only imagine the buzz 
that caused among visitors, some of whom openly walked around with 
torches and bubblers (a brand new type of multi-purpose bong that is 
dab friendly). Some people reportedly passed out and got sick from 
the sudden massive THC infusion.

There is an argument for using dabs. The hit is so intense it'll 
immediately help your condition (especially if you're in pain), and 
it lasts most of the day as opposed to conventional delivery systems 
(pipes, bongs, etc.) that may require multiple smoking sessions during the day.

There's a safe way to produce dabs, and there's a dangerous way, 
depending upon the process used. I think dabs are safer for people 
who have smoked for years and have built up some resistance to THC, 
as opposed to new users.

My research indicates that dabs first appeared in California, but 
their usage has spread to Oregon and beyond. Can a whole dab industry 
be far off? Dabs are the current fad and marketing efforts are 
popping up everywhere.

Nevertheless, the way I see it, if you're out to have a good time -- 
or need to medicate for whatever condition -- why mess with mother 
nature? When you mix toxic elements with your marijuana you take a 
chance of becoming an accident (or worse) a statistic.

As It Stands, once upon a time there was a jingle for Brylcreem (a 
man's hair wax) that went, "A little dab'll do ya ..." Buy wax today, 
and that little dab may do you harm!
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom