Increase in dabbing dangerous with high THC concentrations, health experts say

"I think you're always taking a risk," Kernan said. "I don't think there's a safe way because of the high concentration. I don't recommend anyone staying on dabs."

Posted: Mar 19, 2021 6:53 PM
Updated: Mar 20, 2021 11:23 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Throughout the past few years, concern has been growing over a relatively new way to consume THC called dabbing, which is when a person smokes concentrated THC.

"People feel that it is safe to use, but the high concentrate is really not safe at all," said Kathy Kernan, a nurse practitioner in family medicine and behavioral health at PeaceHealth's Unified Care Clinic in Eugene. "An edible for instance, might have 10 milligrams of THC on average. The dabs and high concentrate can have up to 800 milligrams in one hit."

KEZI 9 News talked to Paul Hampshire, an Oregon Liquor Control Commission licensed processor.

"800 milligrams in one hit is not really a possibility. You would need to consume an entire gram at one time which doesn't happen," said Hampshire. "I'm sure that people have. That's not just an every day thing."

According to Hampshire, "the OLCC limits are 5 milligrams per serving and 50 milligrams per package."

"I think you're always taking a risk," Kernan said. "I don't think there's a safe way because of the high concentration. I don't recommend anyone staying on dabs."

Dabbing can have both physical and mental impacts. According to Kernan, patients who use dabs have reported episodes of psychosis as well as increased anxiety.

"I've seen some of my patients come in that are young in their twenties and they have hypertension and they have high heart rates," Kernan said. 

According to Makis Mosley, a sale manager at The People's Wellness Center, people are making the switch to dabbing from other consumption methods because it is more accessible.

"They're just an easier form of smoking cannabis without the lighter, the ashes, the smell," Mosley said. "It's just so much easier for people to do it without worrying about getting in trouble and I think that's why they've become super popular."

The pandemic also has had an impact on the shift toward dabbing, Mosley said.

"This year, with COVID going on especially, I think a lot of people are just taking the cartridges," Mosley said. "They don't want to pass a joint around."

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