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The Best, Worst Marijuana in the World is Spreading Like Weeds

Dabbing: like "the crack of marijuana."

Dabbing has opened a whole new branch of debate in the marijuana community. (Patch file photo.)
Dabbing has opened a whole new branch of debate in the marijuana community. (Patch file photo.)
By Mary Stachyra and Todd Richissin

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. 

The effects have been known to shock even people who have used marijuana regularly, according to the San Francisco Weekly. In Arizona, there are reports of children as young as 11 using the drug. 

“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. 
Kelley Davis September 25, 2013 at 11:12 AM
I live in Ca and I can tell ya some of this new stuff is kind of Dispensary hype. "Hay ya got an Oz for 300$ but how about some hash oil for only 50$". Really it's a case of suggestive selling and shipping coasts. The bongs they sell for the Dab are extremely expensive. There are a lot of investors willing to invest in a bong co. and not a dispensary. Really if you want these adventures to stop then legalize it. When it was legal it was week but the moment it became illegal the quality became a commodity and here we are today.
Paul Hurteau September 25, 2013 at 11:20 AM
"People claim you can’t overdose on marijuana. In fact, you can. It’s so strong, they are passing out.” There is a BIG difference between passing out and overdosing. Overdosing normally means a death could occur,, please,, tell me,, how many deaths have been reported??
Kevin_Hunt September 25, 2013 at 11:29 AM
Zero deaths from dabbing. This article is prohibitionist hype
Immortal Illumined September 25, 2013 at 11:50 AM
.the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING... half the country now, alcohol and tobacco kill hundreds of thousands EVERY year, marijuana has never killed 1 person, ever the world is still 20 years behind the greatest state, but that's normal, LOVE and FREEDOM dabbing isn't dangerous, weve been doing it for years...just an increased high, but not dangerous...more reefer madness myths....FREEDOM
Immortal Illumined September 25, 2013 at 11:53 AM
o, fredericksburgh is a southern state, makes sense now...20 years behind us the south is, the backwards south will NEVER rise again, ever
Robert September 25, 2013 at 12:30 PM
Just more propaganda to scare away marijuana legalization. Dont believe this nonsense people. The main ingredients extracted from the plant using butane or Co2 are completely safe an non toxic. It may cause some overwhelming effects for some who are inexperienced because it is very potent but again like I said non toxic and can not kill a person. Many people prefer using honey oil rather than smoking because you eliminate combustion thus eliminating any harmful chemical byproduct from smoking. Honey oil is simply a pure extract from the plant. And can be used to make a variety of methods of safe ingestion my favorite way is through food. And that it being in this form as an extract makes it easier to modulate the dosages you put into food for use as medicine. Dont believe anything you read from media. Do your own research and learn from yourself. Marijuana has absolutely no links to any death or toxic overdose. The only way anyone has ever died linked to marijuana is through the violence caused by the drug war.
Esoteric Knowledge September 25, 2013 at 12:36 PM
I know of another drug that you can pass out from, and it's been accepted and used for a very long time, and it's actually dangerous: alcohol! Quick, get hysterical! Other than using the word "dangerous" over and over again can anyone tell me HOW the mythical marijuana pass out is "dangerous"? This article really highlights what marijuana prohibition is about: irrational, no common sense, no logic, no reasoning individuals who represent the half of the American population which desire to destroy and deny the existence and freedom of the other half of the population. It's just a ploy for the slow to steal the life and steal the time from the swift. Half of the population (conservatives) wants to control the other half. It's slavery...the desire to own other people. It's the same with other issues society can't resolve: abortion, online poker, gay marriage. All because half of the American population is unethical, can not tell right from wrong, and can not understand and can not accept that the days of human ownership are over. I'd like to comment more about it, but there is no freedom of speech in America. No one can disagree, no one can question or even think about alternatives to the status quo, or one will be hit in the head with a baton. And I'm not a millionaire, and I don't have the social status (power) afforded to me because my mommy and daddy didn't purchase for me a Harvard business degree, so ergo my words are worthless; will never be on the news...and everyone will suffer through the nightmare imposed on us like we did last year, and it will be the same for the next hour, the next month, and the next year, and the next decade. And they keep telling us we are free.
Esoteric Knowledge September 25, 2013 at 12:37 PM
We can't even have paragraphs! That's only for the rich folks like Mary Stachyra and Todd Richissin.
kris September 25, 2013 at 01:26 PM
How is it that none of the above people who posted seem to understand why passing out is a problem? They feel that alcohol is more dangerous. I get that. However, passing out is passing out. When you pass out, you have no control over what could be happening to you, your children, your pets, your home, while you're passed out. Anything could happen. In my line of work, I have seen house fires start this way. I have seen too many children die this way, (drowning, falling, etc). And what about the hazards of doing this while DRIVING!!! We all know it happens. Do you think that driving while high and possibly passing out will not affect the other people in your car? The other people on the road unfortunate enough to be driving in the same vacinity as you?? A lot of people die this way too. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but the notion that there have been ZERO deaths caused by marijuana use is just a fallacy. People who think that are obviously only thinking about themselves. Please please please consider the negative consequences of marijuana use on those who love you, those who you are responsible for and to.
Karl September 25, 2013 at 03:53 PM
I somewhat have to agree with kris that passing out is dangerous and could potentially be fatal. I applaud Dale Gieringer, with the pro-pot group NORML for issuing a special warning to pot smokers. To answer what is no doubt a rhetorical question; I don't think that people don't get the problem with passing out. I think that marijuana smokers are extremely defensive when it comes to negative and factually incorrect statements about pot. An overdose generally means death or near death directly caused by the drug. It does not refer to passing out, which is dangerous if used irresponsibly such as behind the wheel of a car. Most of the users I know are responsible adults. Unfortunately less experienced or just plain stupid people also get high. I believe that this particular method of inhaling vapors eliminates most of the smoke that some find objectionable. I would ask users to please use (un)common sense and not do behind the wheel of a car.
Michael Rinella September 25, 2013 at 04:16 PM
It is not a marijuana issue, it is a route of administration issue. The safest way to consume a naturally occurring substance is orally.
Joe Turner September 25, 2013 at 04:35 PM
I lived in Fred back in the 90's, and you couldn't even get sweet tea or biscuits, it's most certainly not southern, even if it is below yankeeland. As for the article, where can i get this stuff to try it? We don't have it here in the real south.
TheOtherJim September 25, 2013 at 04:37 PM
kris asks "How is it that none of the above people who posted seem to understand why passing out is a problem?" I think it's because we used to call it "going to sleep," and for some people that's the desired end result. I believe most marijuana users are familiar with the concept and are quite prepared for that eventuality. And yes, this is a very silly article.
stacey schley September 25, 2013 at 04:59 PM
So you can overdose because you pass out? Really? Like pass out when you drink too much alcohol? Come back when you have a valid argument which will be never.
Irish Ledden September 25, 2013 at 05:28 PM
Ah, the dumbing down of America. Keep smokin' all you doper boys!
Jeremy Rapp September 25, 2013 at 09:33 PM
Angel Dust Warning
Robert September 25, 2013 at 10:11 PM
You know another drug that can make you or is designed to make you pass out. Dextromethorphan the main ingredient in Tylenol pm. Kids can buy that over the counter no problem. Oh, and did you know that Tylenol is the No1 cause for liver failure. We should start locking people up for a more dangerous drug Tylenol PM because its designed to make you pass out and too much will kill you.
Robert September 25, 2013 at 10:21 PM
like I said people do your research before you open your mouth because you sound stupid when you make comments and you don't even know what you're really talking about, and you know what you probably really are. that's really sad. #legalizeMarijuanaToday
Joe DP September 25, 2013 at 11:45 PM
What a lame article, I was getting so called honey or whatever you want to call it in the 70's. Some was red like Lebonese hash, some was gold like blonde hash and some was black like Afgan and Pakistani hash. Yes it was strong and we smoked it with fancy little glass pipes, and let me tell you that as hard as we tried we never "passed out" or OD'ed from it. We did fall asleep however, if you want, you can call that passing out. And for all of you out there. The pot out there is not much stronger than the pot that was available in the 70's, it's just that the more potent strains are more widely available. We were getting (and growing) pot in Pa., this good long before California became known for it.
Robert September 26, 2013 at 02:33 AM
Legalize pot in all forms plant, extract, and food. Tax it regulate it. That is how we will keep it out of the hands of our youth. Its very simple just like they do with alcohol and tobacco. If your under that certain age you won't have access to it. Implemt law that punish the drug dealers or whom ever sells to minors just like they do with alalcohol and tobacco and watch the black market dwindle away. No more kids on weed, and half as many otherwise good americans in jail for such a stupid reason. Take my own personal experience with these substances. The first time I drank was after 21yrs, the first time I used tobacco was 18. Why, because I simply had no access even if I tried to get it. And no black market for them. The first time I used pot was age 8. Why. Because it was widely available and drug dealers are already breaking the law so why would they care who they sell it to as long as they get paid. Its common sense understand that. The war on marijuana needs to change the method in order to be successful. Its not going anywhere. Legalization is going to happen very soon all over and im sure most of you will be able to see the positive effects very quickly. Keep an open mind and use some logic.
Stephen Hales September 26, 2013 at 07:12 AM
No matter what part or how the plant is ingested only good happens!
Malcolm Kyle September 26, 2013 at 08:03 AM
A kindly reminder: Like all other past and futile attempts at curbing a person's desire to self-medicate or alter his consciousness, marijuana prohibition is rooted in hate, paranoia, racism, misinformation, half-truths, and outright lies —It's your right to disagree, just please try to remain factual. There is no debate: Marijuana is absolutely safer than alcohol, tobacco, and all prescription and over-the-counter medicines, while Prohibition, a costly nightmare that enriches both criminals and corrupt politicians, is a threat to us all. Legal or not, millions of citizens are already using marijuana. What many sane people are now proposing is to take the criminal aspect out of it, collect revenues from its sale, and instead of spending billions of precious tax dollars on doomed-to-failure enforcement, put it's 'taxable income' to work for the whole community. "Imagine coming out of surgery and the nurse caring for you was drunk. Or having to work harder on your job to make up for a co-worker who shows up drunk on whiskey. It could happen everywhere in the United States. The repeal of the Twenty-first Amendment would do more than simply legalize alcohol. Doing so would hurt America's economy, raise business costs, and make it harder to create jobs. Employees would be allowed to come to work drunk and employers would be unable to punish an employee for being drunk until after a workplace accident. Not only could worker's compensation premiums rise, but businesses will lose millions in federal grants for violating federal law. America's economy is bad enough. Repealing the Twenty-first Amendment will hurt workers and business and cost jobs. Twenty-five national newspapers including the New York Times, United Autoworkers and Senator John Boehner agree: stop the repeal of the Twenty-first Amendment." Sounds crazy when you replace the words "high" with "drunk, "pot" with "alcohol" and "Legalize and Regulate Marijuana" with "the repeal of the Twenty-first Amendment", doesn't it?
Rick Vas September 26, 2013 at 08:27 AM
let them do it and then have a body count in about thirty or sixty days and then we will have visual confirmation weather its deadly or not, end of Controversy. instead of listening to this idle ranting from these hemp" gurus.
James Dulong September 27, 2013 at 02:49 PM
They don't "overdose," they fall asleep. Marijuana has always been known to make people fall asleep when used in large doses. And this isn't a "new drug," it's marijuana in a different form. There's nothing different about it other than that it's concentrated. When you take a shot vs having a beer you don't call it A NEW DRUG =O ...you still call it alcohol. Just gets you to the same place quicker. The only negative effects to be studied here are the effects of super-heated oils entering the lungs. Get off the THC bit, it's not bad for you, we've known it for years and yet people still bitch because they're unbelievably uneducated and biased. They never back up a single thing they say with any legitimate studies, whereas the health benefits are backed by countless studies. The problem isn't marijuana, it's the people who refuse to face the facts because they have ulterior motives rooted in a warped culture for disliking a substance that was never harmful in the first place.

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