American Chemical Society’s ACS Omega has published a study which claims to be groundbreaking in terms of how we view a very specific type of cannabis consumption, the so-called cannabis oil dabbing. Dabbing has been a growing trend since talks of legalization have started a few years ago.
The study which was published this month finds that dabbing cannabis oil through glass rigs may expose users to elevated toxin levels as compared to other methods, such as smoking dried cannabis or even vaping it for that matter.
Dabbing has been known to cause extreme highs through heating up the cannabis oil to such temperatures that it actually vaporizes, after which it is inhaled by the user. Butane hash oil (BHO) is used in the process, which can often have THC contents of around 90%.
In an effort to explain how the chemicals in concentrated cannabis break down under heat, a team of scientists from Portland State University has discovered that concentrates exposed to the high heat common to dab setups produced elevated levels of carcinogenic and toxic compounds.
The team from Portland State University explained how “Different nuances in its processing can lead to slightly different consistencies, which take on terms such as shatter, budder, crumble, pull-and-snap, wax, and so on.”
Dabbing at low temperatures might be the way out
Researchers from PSU said that the key factor in which chemicals get released is the degree of heat used to activate cannabinoids in the oil.
“The results of these studies clearly indicate that dabbing, although considered a form of vaporization, may, in fact, deliver significant amounts of toxins,” researchers wrote. “The difficulty users find in controlling the nail temperature puts users at risk of exposing themselves to not only methacrolein but also benzene.”
Researchers also found that the higher the temperature that a substance’s flavoring terpenes are subjected to, the more carcinogens, toxins, and potential irritants are produced — meaning that you should dab on as low as possible temperatures.
This is yet another worrying trend, as cannabis oil manufacturers have been growing strains with increasingly more terpenes.
“The heavy focus on terpenes as additives seen as of late in the cannabis industry is of great concern due to the oxidative liability of these compounds when heated.” They continued, “This research also has significant implications for flavored e-cigarette products due to the extensive use of terpenes as flavorings.”
It appears that dabbing might not be the healthiest way of consuming cannabis, but at least you can feel safe knowing it’s kosher.