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But it’s also far more dangerous than most people may know.
And just like any other mind-altering substance, it can in fact become highly addictive too.
If you’ve been using dabs drug, and you’ve become addicted to it, it’s important to realize the negative consequences that can go along with continued use. Dabs addiction treatment can assist you with recovering from this addiction so that you can heal from it.
This guide takes a closer look at what this drug is, why it’s so dangerous, and how to stop using it for good.
Take one of our addiction quizzes to find out if you or someone you care about needs help today.
Dabs gets its name from the fact that it only takes a very small amount (or a dab) in order to produce a high.
The dabs drug is a part of the Cannabinoid category of drugs.
Dabs is made by extracting the THC from the marijuana plant. Once that is done, a wax or butter substance is produced, and this substance is highly concentrated with the drug. In fact, there are some versions of dabs that are as much as 95% THC, and that makes it extremely potent. One hit of some types of dabs can be as strong as ten inhalations of ordinary marijuana plants.
Many people also turn to “dabbing” as a way to achieve a cleaner high that doesn’t involve inhaling the carcinogens released by burning marijuana. However, recent studies have found that dabbing does in fact release plenty of other toxins in the body, some of which can be even more harmful than those in traditional smoking.
There are a few different ways that dabs are created. Some of them involve harsh and dangerous chemicals, while others simply take heat, pressure, and a few other natural ingredients.
The four most common methods are outlined below.
Dabs are smoked, used in edibles (THC-infused foods), or vaporized in e-cigarettes like JUUL.
When smoked, users need a modified bong that allows them to heat up a small section of the pipe, usually called the "nail." After the nail is heated, typically with a powerful torch, users place the dabs onto the nail and inhale the vapors that are released.
In most states across the country, dabs abuse happens with just one use of the drug because of the fact that it’s illegal. However, dabbing is legal in states where recreational marijuana use is allowed.
As with most drugs, continued use of dabs only promotes abuse and eventually leads to addiction. The addiction can become so strong that users are no longer to obtain any kind of high with traditional marijuana use.
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It certainly is.
Dabbing is a surprisingly dangerous drug for a couple of reasons in particular.
Part of what makes smoking dabs so dangerous is the fact that many times, the solvents that are used to strip THC from marijuana actually get left in the dab itself. And as a result, smoking a dab or wax can involve burning and inhaling these solvents directly into your lungs.
The most common solvent used in creating dabs is butane. In addition to the damage that inhaled butane can cause in the lungs (resulting in pneumonia-like conditions), butane is also a potent neurotoxin as well. And if enough is ingested or smoked, it can cause serious problems for the body’s fragile nervous system.
On top of that, studies have shown that while dabbing is considered a “cleaner” high, the truth is that dabbing actually releases a slew of carcinogens (cancer-causing toxins). These include benzene and methacrolein.
Ultimately, many people engage in dabbing thinking that they’re avoiding the lung damage that comes with traditional smoking. But with the butane, benzene, methacrolein, and numerous other toxins involved, dabbing can actually be just as harmful (if not more so) than smoking normally.
This one might come as a bit of a shock to many. After all, marijuana is a harmless drug, right? And no one has ever officially died from ingesting too much THC (except for one woman).
But the truth is that taking in too much THC quicker than your body can process it can cause some very real and very detrimental side effects.
Some of the most common side effects according to the CDC include:
As you can see, there aren’t any directly life-threatening symptoms listed above.
However, it’s important to remember that these symptoms can also increase the chances of fatalities indirectly. Driving, operating heavy machinery, and even walking the streets when overdosing on marijuana can all put the body in danger of physical harm.
On top of that, the side effects of marijuana overuse can also be especially distressing. According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), there were nearly a quarter of a million ER visits in 2011 caused by marijuana alone.
And on top of that, marijuana ER visits are actually on the rise. From 2004 to 2011, the number of ER admissions involving THC alone rose by a whopping 43%. This may be due to the fact that more concentrated THC products (like dabs) are becoming more widely abused.
Overdosing on THC then, may not be fatal. But it’s certainly an unpleasant experience.
Several of the methods used to create dabs are relatively safe. The water hash method, rosin, and CO2 for instance don't leave behind any solvents or chemicals. And with the right equipment, they can be performed without many risks.
However, the safer methods are also typically more difficult as well. And that fact alone usually means that most people creating dabs will resort to the butane method, which can be highly dangerous.
Part of the danger comes from the fact that butane is highly flammable. And without proper safety precautions, this can lead to deadly explosions.
For instance, there have been cases where butane was being used to create BHO (butane hash oil). And even though the people creating the dabs didn’t know it, a lot of that butane actually escaped the piping used to create the drug and leaked into the air. After that, all it takes is a small spark or the lighting of a match to explode. Even static electricity can ignite it!
The danger, then, is similar to the explosive potential of methamphetamine labs.
Just have a look below to see how devastating these explosions can be.
Another danger involved with dabbing is the fact that there are quite a few very serious drug interactions that can occur with marijuana and other substances/medications. These range in danger from a simple rash all the way up to respiratory depression, coma, and even death.
Part of what makes this so concerning is the fact that most people do not tell their doctors that they use dabs recreationally – even in states where it is legal. In fact, studies have shown that up to 81% of patients lie to their doctors.
And that can become a serious problem with dabs because most people don’t consider the harmful interactions it can have with medications. But if a doctor does know, then they can prevent these from ever happening in the first place.
Below are some of the most serious interactions between dabs and medications to be aware of.
Combining THC with narcotic pain medications or cough medicines can cause serious problems involving depression of the central nervous system. The most severe cases of these problems can lead to:
These conditions can become even more severe when other depressants or alcohol are involved as well.
Some opioids in particular to watch out for include
Some benzodiazepines (used for treating anxiety and depression) can have distressing side effects. And when they’re used alongside dabs or other marijuana products, the side effects can be even more severe.
One of the most notable is a state called hypomania. This is when the nervous system is thrown out of balance, causing slightly manic symptoms such as:
It’s also worth noting that some benzodiazepines can also increase the sedative effects of marijuana. It’s never advisable, then, to use these two drugs together.
There are a few other drug interactions with THC, marijuana, and dabs to be aware of. The most important are listed below.
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It’s common for some people to live their lives in denial that they’re addicted to Dabs, even if they’ve been using it for quite some time. In addition, some people have friends or family members who use this powerful, potent drug, and they need proof as to whether or not their drug abuse has become an addiction. It’s easy to recognize a Dabs addiction if you know what to look for. The following are some of the most common Dabs addiction behaviors and symptoms:
Whether you’re concerned about your own Dabs drug use, or you’re thinking of someone you care about, treatment is essential if you’ve noticed any of these symptoms or behaviors.
One common misconception is that marijuana doesn’t create any withdrawal symptoms at all. It’s often described as being not physically addictive. And that can lead many people to think that they can use and abuse this drug without risking the development of an addiction.
But in fact, drugs with THC can be addictive.
Addiction is defined by NIDA as:
…a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences.
There are two main points here. First, addiction involves compulsive drug-seeking. Having an uncontrollable urge to use or get high, then, might indicate an addiction.
But what really shows that a problem has developed is the fact that dabs or marijuana abuse continues despite adverse consequences. If getting high is making it difficult to succeed at work or school, maintain relationships, or causing health problems and someone continues to do it anyway, the problem is likely serious.
There are plenty of ways that addiction can ruin your life. And part of that comes from the fact that addiction affects nearly every aspect of who you are. Your body, your mind, your relationships, your goals, your abilities, and even the way you perceive the world around you are all impacted by an addiction.
So before you brush off a dab addiction as not being that bad, have a look at the list of ways an addiction can ruin your life below.
Despite what many people believe, marijuana can in fact cause withdrawal symptoms when someone stops taking it abruptly. And since dabs are a concentrated form of marijuana, these withdrawal symptoms are typically far more intense than the leaf form.
According to NIDA, some of these withdrawal symptoms may include:
These symptoms can also end up lasting quite a bit longer than other withdrawal syndromes. In fact, users trying to overcome their dabs addiction can experience these symptoms for around two weeks after quitting.
While most dabs or marijuana addicts will experience a dramatic reduction in withdrawal symptoms two weeks after quitting, some may still have lingering physical and psychological problems long after. And for some, these problems may last for weeks, months, or even years after quitting.
This is what’s known as Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, or PAWS. It’s characterized by persistent uncomfortable symptoms that last longer than the typical withdrawal period.
Many times these symptoms
And as you can imagine, this can make maintaining sobriety
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), some of the possible symptoms of protracted withdrawal include:
It’s important to remember that not everyone will go through PAWS. And today, much more research needs to be done on which factors influence this unique syndrome.
But what is clear is that the guidance and expertise of a professional treatment center can make PAWS much more bearable and less likely to lead to relapse. There are a few things that professional treatment centers can do to help, including:
As with any problem, the first step in treating a dab abuse problem or addiction is identifying the signs.
But unfortunately, most people just don’t know what to look for. Many expect a substance abuse problem to look like it does in the movies: complete financial ruin, no job to speak of, an utter lack of personal hygiene, and persistently immoral behavior.
The truth of the matter, however, is that the overwhelming majority of the time, an addict or substance abuser will look and act like most other people. And for most, the signs of their addiction will often go unseen.
That being said, there are a few specific signs that you can look for to help spot a serious problem early on. And the sooner you can do that, the sooner you’ll be able to seek out professional help.
Sometimes it can be hard to tell if someone you are close to is struggling with a substance abuse problem. And part of this difficulty comes from the fact that many times, the people around an addict tend to enable their addictive behaviors.
Have a look at this quick quiz to see if you’re guilty of enabling.
In any case, there are a few things you can look for to tell if your loved one is going through a dab abuse problem or even a full-blown addiction.
Using Other Names for Dabs:
Showing Signs of Dab Intoxication:
You can also take a short online family member addiction quiz or reach out to a qualified addiction specialist for an expert’s opinion as well.
While it can be hard to tell whether or not the people closest to you are addicted, it’s even harder to admit that you’re the one with the problem.
That’s because denial is incredibly common among substance abusers and addicts.
In fact, one national study found that it might be even more pervasive than most people believe. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), there were 17.7 million Americans that met the criteria for needing treatment for a substance use disorder but never received it. And 16.9 million (95.5%) of those people didn’t think they had a problem.
When you’re addicted, you can’t trust your own judgment about whether you’re actually struggling with a substance abuse problem. And with dabs, it’s no different.
That’s why it’s so important to look at your behaviors objectively. And there are a few ways to do that.
While it is possible to overcome an addiction without it, the absolute best way of treating a dabs addiction is by checking into a professional treatment center. These programs specialize in helping people push through the difficult withdrawals and restructure their lives and thinking to better embrace sobriety.
The best programs will use only evidence-based treatments that have been proven to work. Given the complexity of addiction, it’s also important to use a wide range of treatments during recovery.
And finally, finding a program that has a history of satisfied clients and has earned national accreditation is also likely to lead to a higher chance of success.
A professional program is usually broken down into three distinct stages: detoxification, rehabilitation, and aftercare.
Detoxification is the very first phase of most professional programs. And for some, it can be the most difficult to get through. That’s because this stage deals exclusively with the stage of withdrawal.
Withdrawal is when the body is forced to readjust to functioning normally without the help of an addictive substance. And though this stage is necessary, it can also be incredibly uncomfortable as well.
The dabs withdrawal syndrome can be easier to bear than other addictive drugs like heroin or benzodiazepines. But that doesn’t mean it’s a picnic either. As we saw earlier, dabs withdrawal can involve uncomfortable symptoms like:
A professional program helps treat these symptoms to make the process far easier to get through. They can also prevent and treat any complications that might pop up along the way too.
This stage of recovery comes directly after dab detoxification. And while detox is more concerned with the body side of addiction, rehabilitation is more focused on the mind.
Using one-on-one counseling, group talk sessions, and behavioral therapies, dab rehabilitation will help users replace their compulsive drug-seeking and self-destructive behaviors with healthier life strategies.
There are a variety of different rehabilitation programs, but the three most common are inpatient, outpatient, and intensive outpatient programs (IOPs).
After graduating from an addiction treatment program, the struggle with cravings and powerful triggers isn’t over. And for many, the period following professional treatment is when the real struggle begins.
Part of this struggle comes from the fact that recovering addicts in this phase often don’t get the same level of support that they’ve grown accustomed to in a professional program. And ultimately, that leads them to lose motivation, give in to temptation, and sometimes go through a full-blown relapse.
Aftercare programs are designed to provide much-needed ongoing support after a professional program. Many recovering addicts attend these programs years and even decades after quitting. And in addition to keeping them motivated to stay sober, they also connect recovering addicts with others in similar situations, thus expanding their social support network.
Not all professional treatment centers are the same. And finding the right one is one of the most important steps of any recovery. However, that can be difficult for some given the large number of choices available today.
To make your search a bit easier, have a look at the list of questions to ask to help you determine if a facility is right for you.
Does your facility use inpatient or outpatient programs?
Is your staff trained and licensed?
Is your facility accredited/qualified in any way?
Do you offer Dual Diagnosis expertise for co-occurring disorders?
Do you use medicated or holistic detox?
What is your staff-to-patient ratio?
Do you use evidence-based treatments?
Do you have individualized treatment plans, or is it a one-size-fits-all approach?
What kinds of amenities do you offer?
Does your program accept my insurance?
Do you offer any flexible payment plans or sliding-scale costs?
Northpoint Recovery is a 28-day inpatient program in Boise, Idaho. We emphasize highly individualized programs that are tailored to meet the unique needs of each of our patients. After all, everyone’s addiction experience is different.
We also use only evidence-based techniques and strategies to give our patients the absolute best chance at long-term recovery. We’re nationally accredited by the Joint Commission, and we also have one of the highest staff-to-patient ratios in the industry (so you'll always get the attention you deserve).
But we also know that not everyone will be a good fit for our program. Having just a short chat with an addiction specialist can help determine if Northpoint Recovery is right for you.
In the end, we’re driven by a passion for recovery. We know just how destructive a dab addiction can be. And we’d love to be a part of your journey to sobriety.
So please, contact us today to get started now.
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