The process of dabbing marijuana concentrates is now relatively popular. It involves vaporizing tiny pieces of a product containing extremely high levels of THC. In some cases, the THC content exceeds 90%.
However, cannabis concentrates are too intense for some users. Indeed, there is a growing trend towards the use of CBD in place of THC in general.
It is a non-intoxicating compound found in marijuana and hemp. People use it to help with chronic pain and inflammation and manage the symptoms of conditions like diabetes, anxiety, depression, chronic stress, and insomnia.
When trying this cannabinoid, people usually opt for CBD oil to see if it helps. However, it isn’t always effective. Rather than giving up on cannabidiol, some individuals see if things will change when they dab CBD. It provides a high concentration of cannabidiol and terpenes and doesn’t cause a high.
This article looks at CBD dabbing, outlines what you can expect, and analyses whether it is potentially more effective than other forms of CBD consumption.
What Is Dabbing?
Dabbing is a fairly new method of marijuana consumption that involves the vaporization (or sublimation) of highly-concentrated, highly-potent cannabis waxes and resins.
A marijuana plant’s flower buds may only contain cannabinoid levels of 20-30%. In contrast, concentrates such as live resin, BHO wax, shatter, etc., routinely have cannabinoid concentrations of over 90%. This means they are MUCH more potent than traditional smoking or even vaporization methods.
Typically, the act of dabbing is performed with ultra-high THC concentrates. The raw marijuana flower is processed via various methods to extract the plant’s active compounds (either THC or CBD) into their pure, concentrated form.
CBD dabs are almost the same as their THC counterparts in terms of appearance and texture.
However, CBD does not directly act on receptors in the brain as THC does, so it does not get you high. Rather, it works by influencing receptors and neurotransmitters throughout the body’s immune system, cell tissues, and organ systems. This process promotes general homeostasis and a wide range of health benefits.
CBD dabs are almost the same as their THC counterparts in terms of appearance and texture. Barring isolate versions, both normally include terpenes and a high amount of the chosen cannabinoids. You also ‘dab’ the substance in the same fashion. However, if dabbing is traditionally associated with getting extremely high, why would someone choose to dab CBD when there’s no possibility of intoxication?
Dabbing CBD Concentrates: Is It the Most Effective Consumption Method?
One often overlooked consideration when choosing a CBD product and consumption method is bioavailability. This term refers to the amount of a drug that enters the circulation when introduced to the body; so that it can have an active effect.
Oral consumption has among the lowest absorption rates. A study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology in 2019 analyzed the bioavailability of CBD from different forms of consumption. It outlined that the rate was 13-19% when consumed orally and approximately 31% when smoked. There is a suggestion that as little as 6% of the cannabinoids in edibles reach the bloodstream.
The most popular method of using CBD involves placing drops beneath your tongue and holding them there for up to 60 seconds before swallowing. This is known as sublingual absorption. It is believed to have a higher bioavailability rate than oral consumption, though there is little research to confirm this theory.
Moreover, only a little of the CBD in the drops will get into the body via the sublingual gland. You still end up consuming the rest orally. However, the above study also noted that co-administration of lipids with oral CBD almost tripled systemic availability in rats. This is why CBD companies add MCT oil or another carrier to their products.
The researchers recommended consuming CBD orally with food or in a fed state to increase the absorption rate of the compound. A growing number of CBD oil manufacturers also use nanotechnology in a bid to increase bioavailability. The jury remains out on whether nano-enhanced hemp oil is as effective as claimed.
What About Vaporization’s Bioavailability?
In contrast, the vaporization of CBD leads to a significantly higher bioavailability level. A study published in PLoS One in 2016 looked at the bioavailability of THC and CBD when consumed via a vaporizer. The researchers looked at five well-known desktop vaporizers and found that the absorption rate varied from 50% to 80%. Even at the lower end, this is a significant improvement on other forms of consumption.
When you inhale CBD dab vapor, the cannabinoid enters your lungs and diffuses directly into the bloodstream. It avoids going through your digestive system and liver, thus avoiding the first-pass effect. You also feel the effects of CBD vapor quicker than other forms of consumption.
Doing the Math
The following are just rough estimates of how much CBD you would consume and ultimately absorb. Say you consume 50mg of CBD via oil, and the sublingual absorption rate is 20%. This means approximately 10mg of CBD would affect the body. Similarly, a 50mg CBD gummy with an absorption rate of 15% would provide 7.5mg of ‘useful’ cannabidiol.
Suppose you purchase CBD dab with 90% cannabidiol and the bioavailability of vaporization is 50%. A 50mg piece would contain 45mg of CBD, and you would absorb 22.5mg in total. Indeed, you would only require a 25mg piece (0.025 grams) to absorb 11.125mg of CBD. Therefore, in a purely mathematical sense, dabbing CBD concentrates provides you with more cannabidiol.
Can You Dab CBD Oil?
No, you cannot dab CBD oil. A dab rig only works with a solid CBD concentrate. There are vape pens that enable you to vaporize CBD liquid.
However, such liquids contain thinning agents. If you try to vaporize regular CBD oil in a vape pen, you will find that it is too viscous and will clog the device. The act of dabbing must involve a specifically-produced concentrate such as shatter, wax, or resin.
The majority of CBD concentrates are produced from the hemp plant. Unlike THC, which primarily exists in the flower buds of the marijuana plant, CBD is found throughout hemp – including in its leaves, flowers, and even stems. As such, manufacturers must grind and process raw hemp material to extract the pure CBD resin required for a cannabidiol concentrate.
Manufacturers must then process the resin further to remove residual solvents like butane or ethanol if they use such substances in the extraction process. Many companies prefer using CO2 extraction as it produces a cleaner final product with no unwanted residual solvent.
A properly-produced CBD concentrate has a thick, sticky, gooey, ultra-potent CBD waxy texture. It is possible to make slight changes to the process to change the consistency of the substance, and create wax, budder, shatter, etc. Regardless of the substance, it is ready for dabbing on a rig.
It is also possible to produce CBD concentrates from high-CBD, low-THC cannabis strains rather than hemp. Such strains include Charlotte’s Web, ACDC, and Cannatonic. However, CBD concentrates from marijuana are only legal in places that permit adult-use cannabis or in states with medical marijuana programs to patients with MMJ cards.
How to Dab CBD
Dab rigs come in a massive variety of sizes and styles. You can also choose from a range of different nails to suit your particular habits and specific tastes. The nail is the part of the rig where the concentrate gets vaporized.
You should only take one hit, or “dab,” at first and then go from there when you dab CBD. Dabbing is incredibly potent and very different from regular smoking. As such, its effects may surprise you if you’re not prepared. Bear in mind that at a 90% concentration, 0.1 grams of a dab provides 90mg of CBD, at least 45mg of which likely reaches your bloodstream.
Heat the nail for approximately 20 seconds. Then, stop heating the nail and wait 60 seconds before adding the CBD concentrate to it using a dabbing tool. Inhale the vapor via the rig’s mouthpiece. Newcomers should take a smaller hit and cover the nail with the dome to stop the vapor from escaping. Give it a little time before returning to finish the rest of the vapor.
There are also vape pens that are less complicated to operate than a dab rig. Certain devices enable you to use concentrate or hemp flower. You may also find pens that allow you to vaporize CBD liquid.
The Dangers of Dabbing CBD
Much depends on the quality of the CBD concentrate you use. Ideally, manufacturers will use CO2 extraction as it leaves a clean product. Companies that use ethanol should remove the residual solvent before making their products available to the public. We advise you to stay away from any brand that uses butane or hexane extraction.
Dozens of people have been hospitalized after vaping CBD in the last few years with lung illnesses. To be fair, these cases primarily relate to products containing additives such as vitamin E acetate in vape juice. Many concerns about vaping refer to excessive THC consumption or the release of carcinogenic substances when the thinning agents in vape juice are heated beyond a certain temperature.
CBD dabs should contain minimal THC, so there is no concern about excessive intoxication. No thinning agents are involved either.
Even so, one must question whether inhaling any substance heated to over 350 degrees Fahrenheit is anything but harmful to the lungs and throat. Inhaling vapor from even the cleanest CBD dab product isn’t necessarily harmless. At present, though, there is little research to guide us on this point.
As an aside, when dabbing CBD, try to keep the temperature between 320- and 350-degrees Fahrenheit. It is at this range that you vaporize cannabidiol but retain its terpenes and flavor profile. Once you go above 400 degrees, you could fully combust the dab, which may create unwanted chemicals.
What CBD Products Can You Dab?
The list of CBD products you can dab is growing rapidly. These days, you can choose between the following:
- Pure CBD Isolate: This usually comes in a powdered slab form. It is often up to 99% CBD but will contain no other cannabinoids. Dabbing CBD isolate is straightforward, though it offers no flavor.
- CBD Dab Wax: This is another solid form of pure CBD oil concentrate with a sticky, waxy texture. However, unlike an isolate, it may contain additional cannabinoids as it comes in broad-spectrum (no THC) or full-spectrum (maximum of 0.3% THC) forms.
- CBD Shatter: Products in this niche are also called CBD Sauce or CBD Terpsolate. They consist of CBD isolate with added terpenes to ensure you benefit from a great flavor while you dab.
- CBD Crumble: This product has a malleable texture that breaks apart when you handle it. Companies create crumble by purging the oils after extraction.
- CBD Extract: This oily extract is another full-spectrum offering. If you plan to dab it, make sure it was winterized first to remove the plant material and fats. Otherwise, you’ll end up inhaling these components.
There are options for dabbers, whether you want cannabinoids from CBD dab waxes, flavor from shatter, or a basic infusion of cannabidiol from an isolate.
Do CBD Dabs Get You High?
Unless you add THC or another intoxicating substance to the mix, the answer is ‘no.’ CBD dabs contain little or no THC, so you should not feel high. However, you could experience intoxication if the product in question contains an excessive level of THC.
Imagine you bought a CBD dab with 5% THC and consumed 100mg of the substance. You would inhale 5mg of THC, potentially enough to cause a high in someone unused to the cannabinoid’s effect. Granted, the high CBD content of the dab should help counteract the intoxicating effects of THC.
Even so, you should only purchase CBD from companies that provide third-party lab reports to highlight the product’s cannabinoid content.
What Do CBD Dabs Feel Like?
A lot of people want to know: “what do CBD dabs feel like?” It is very much a case of “try it and find out for yourself.” We can tell you that the effects will likely feel very different from CBD oil or edibles. This is due to the general CBD concentration of dabs and the intensity of inhaling the vapor.
If you find that CBD oil helps manage pain symptoms, a CBD dab could also assist you. However, its effect will almost certainly manifest itself faster. Vaporized cannabidiol gets to the bloodstream far more quickly than orally or sublingually consumed CBD.
As you consume more of the cannabinoid at once, the effects are potentially more intense than CBD oil or edibles.
You may also discover that the effects of CBD dabs don’t last as long as ingested cannabidiol. According to anecdotal reports, CBD edibles can affect for up to seven hours. Vaporized CBD, on the other hand, may only have a beneficial impact for three hours.
Yet, as you consume more of the cannabinoid at once, the effects are potentially more intense and perhaps suitable for individuals with severe pain. It is also a useful method of consumption at night if you find that CBD helps you enjoy a healthier sleep cycle.
Final Thoughts on Dabbing CBD
It certainly seems as if dabbing CBD has many advantages over other consumption methods. Vaporized CBD provides a higher rate of bioavailability than ingesting it or going down the sublingual route. It also takes effect faster and ensures you can consume a higher concentration of CBD.
There isn’t yet enough data on whether vaping CBD has a negative impact on the lungs, although it may do. Also, it is not guaranteed to provide better overall effects than other methods of administering CBD. You must also ensure you purchase products from reputable companies. Otherwise, you could be inhaling toxins and carcinogenic substances.
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