PORTLAND – It’s been called pot’s most powerful high. Search YouTube for “Dabbing” and you’ll find a seemingly endless list of videos depicting people putting marijuana concentrates on a heated surface and inhaling the smoke.
Marijuana advocates say the method of smoking pot has, in recent months, become increasingly popular.
“Its definitely exploded on the scene,” said Danielle Burton, the manager of Mary Jane’s House of Glass in Vancouver.
Burton said the so-called rigs used to smoke concentrates are selling quickly. She attributes the popularity to the quick, powerful high that concentrates deliver.
“It’s basically eliminating the plant matter and you’re just getting pure THC,” she said.
THC is the main mind-altering ingredient in cannabis. One of the more common marijuana extracts is called butane hash oil, or BHO.
“You’re looking at about 75 to 100 percent concentrated THC,” Burton said of BHO.
For college student Eddy Radcliffe that is part of the appeal. “Because you get so much higher, so much quicker,” he said.
Self-described marijuana user Chris Kelsey argues that “dabbing” is safer than traditional means of smoking pot because he argues you have to smoke less for the same results.
“If you do one dab it’s like the equivalent of smoking one joint by yourself,” Kelsey said.
Not everyone agrees.
"We see it, if you will, as the crack cocaine of Marijuana,” said Dr. Andy Mendenhall.
Mendenhall is an addiction specialist and the in-patient medical director of Hazelden in Beaverton. He views “dabbing” as a troubling trend.
“People are experiencing extreme levels of euphoria and that means that the brains of those individuals are more likely to become attached to those experiences,” he said.
He worries about the long-term impact powerful extracts will have on the frequent users, especially teens and young adults whose brains aren’t fully developed.
“The use and repeated use of a very strong substance -- that’s creating reward,” Mendenhall said. “That’s creating euphoria during a time of brain development. It can’t help but have an effect on long-term mental health.”
While he urges caution, the popularity of dabbing appears to be growing as smokers search for a stronger high.