Concern is growing among health and law enforcement professionals over the impact of dabs, a new form of marijuana that's on the increase. Officials are particularly troubled due to recent reports of severe burns and injuries during the production of the substance.
Dabs contain a high concentration of THC oil and are also referred to as marijuana wax, butane hash oil and "budder," according to WRDW.
Officers in Taliaferro County, Georgia, recovered dabs in a drug bust in September.
“If they use it they're more like someone who has used cocaine because they are more just out of it,” Chief Deputy Todd Dent told WRDW.
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Dabbing can cause rapid heartbeat, blackouts, psychosis, paranoia and hallucinations, according to the Huffington Post.
It contains a much higher percentage of THC than normal marijuana.
“A gram of this is going to average between $70-$100 where as a gram of the leafy substance is $15,” Dent said.
Health concerns are not the only risk dabs pose.
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“It can explode, blow your house up, blow the car up because it's just like meth. It's very flammable,” Dent added.
John Stogner, an assistant professor at University of North Carolina Charlotte, told Huffington Post that novice users are probably more likely to get hurt because of the intense impairment.
As well as being smoked through waterpipes, users can consume dabs through vape pens or e-cigarettes. Dabs produce no odor when inhaled this way, negating any need to conceal it.
“While more research is needed on the risks of dabbing, it is likely that the accepting attitudes fostered by the legalization trend are increasing the rate of experimentation with this new form of marijuana,” wrote Dr. Jonathan Horey for the Post. “Health, education and law enforcement authorities need to educate themselves about the dangers and get the word out that dabs are not just pot.”
A recent report from KUSA noted the case of Marc Bullard, a young professional. The 23-year-old from Colorado committed suicide in April 2016.
His parents later discovered he was hooked on dabs.
Although there is no way to prove Bullard’s usage of dabs led to his death, his death certificate lists use of high concentration marijuana as a contributing factor. High levels of THC were also found in his blood stream.