A powerful, concentrated form of marijuana is quickly gaining popularity along the East Coast—but unlike typical marijuana, it may carry the risk of overdose.
Butane hash oil —BHO — and the "dabbing"phenomenon that surrounds it, initially gained popularity along the West Coast, where marijuana is legal in many states.
The high can be very high, but there's a dangerous downside: Users have been known to pass out after ingesting it. Authorities have already seized butane hash oil in Maryland, and narcotics investigators in Virginia care keeping an eye out.
“It’s what’s described to me by one user, ‘This is the crack of marijuana,’” said Sgt. Mike Conner, who works in the criminal enforcement division with the Maryland State Police. He said authorities in Maryland have seized butane hash oil on state highways and through the mail system.
BHO — also known as dabs, honey oil, wax, oil, shatter, or budder — is ingested by heating up a piece of metal, like a titanium nail, possibly with a butane torch, and touching the hash oil to it. They then inhale the smoke created from the heat through a glass-smoking device.
“It is dangerous,” Conner said. “People claim you can’t overdose on marijuana. In fact, you can. It’s so strong, they are passing out.”
The marijuana community seems split on the drug's use and advance and whether it's the best pot experience in the world or the worst.
Dale Gieringer, with the pro-pot group NORML in California, says the increased use of BHO has led to an increase in hospitalizations for cannabis overdose.
"Things like this never happened until the popularization of hash oil in recent years," he writes in a letter to O'Shaughnessy's, which covers the medical marijuana movement. "The dangers are dire enough to merit a special warning."
In High Times, however, Daniel e Sailles, a partner at Denver dispensary Top Shelf Extracts, says the drug is like a miracle remedy. “I’m a 100-percent proponent of BHO, because I’ve seen it make people’s pain just evaporate," he says.Parents concerned about dabbing should look out for a glass-style smoking device, a titanium nail or other kind of nail with a burned substance on the end, and butane torches. They may also wish to speak with their children about the drug.