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What Are Dabs, How Are They Made, and How Do You Use Them?

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What Are Dabs, How Are They Made, and How Do You smoke Them? Dab wax.

What Are Dabs, How Are They Made, and How Do You Use Them?

What are dabs? Whether you’re a seasoned cannabis connoisseur or a newbie, you’ve probably heard a lot of talk about dabbing lately. Simply put, dabbing is a method of consuming concentrated cannabis extracts (also known as concentrates) for medicinal or recreational purposes.

Based on all the hype, one would think a completely new, recently developed method of consuming cannabis. However, it’s not new at all. In fact, dabbing, in its modern form, has been around for at least a decade. Cannabis resin has been used for thousands of years for medicinal and spiritual purposes.

Recent advancements in technology have improved cannabis extraction techniques. The market is being flooded with new cannabis concentrates featuring a full spectrum of therapeutic compounds.

However, before you partake of this trend, it’s wise to learn more about what dabs are, how they are made, how they are consumed, and what types are available to have a safe experience.

What Are Dabs?

The short answer is that dabs are concentrated doses of cannabis that contain high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), and more.

In some cases, an extracts THC or CBD content can be as high as 90%, which is a great deal higher than the level found in a joint or a bowl of flowers. This makes it a powerful medicine that offers long-lasting relief from chronic, or severe pain, extreme nausea, and inflammation.

A dab is like a tiny, super-charged dosage that medicates the user quickly and effectively and eases painful symptoms.

Dabs are also widely used by recreational cannabis users because consuming even a small amount of the extract results in a fast, intense high. So next time someone asks you what dabs are, you can tell them they are concentrated doses of cannabis.

How Are Dabs Made?

Traditionally, hash has been made using either dry or wet sieves to separate the trichomes, those tiny crystal-looking hairs, that cover cannabis flower buds. These lovely little resin glands hold on to all the therapeutic compounds of the cannabis plant.

However, dab makers use a solvent, such as butane or carbon dioxide to extract the THC (or other compounds) from flowers. The plant material is “blasted” with the solvent, and then the solvent is purged, leaving behind a potent glob of concentrated cannabis.

Although some brave souls do attempt to make dabs in their homes, it’s not well advised. Remember, you’re dealing with flammable and potentially explosive substances. It’s best to leave this delicate process to a professional extractor.

Solventless Methods

  • Dry sift: Micron screens are used to agitate the trichomes from the cannabis plant buds. Flash-frozen plant buds can be used. The trichomes (kief) are collected in the container below and can be compressed into hash.
  • Ice water: Ice water extraction uses ice cold water to agitate the trichomes from cannabis flower buds. The trichomes sink and are collected at the bottom of a series of micron filter bags.
  • Rosin: Anything from a hair straightener to a commercial rosin press can use heat and pressure to press out the trichomes from flower or hash.

Solvent-Based Methods

  • Butane and/or propane: Hydrocarbons such as butane and propane can produce butane honey oil (BHO). These solvents are great at separating cannabinoids and the volatile (low-boiling point) terpenes from the plant.
  • Ethanol: Ethanol has a relatively low boiling point making it the perfect solvent to separate cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant.
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2): Supercritical CO2 extraction uses carbon dioxide in a liquid-gaseous (supercritical) state to strip the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant.

How Are Dabs Consumed?

You can certainly combine extracts with your dry flower and smoke them in a joint, pipe, or bong with no problems. It is also very possible to use a vape pen to consume dabs. However, the typical setup for consuming dabs is a dab rig.

A bong outfitted with accessories such as a “skillet” or “nail” that replaces your current bowl is another alternative.

To consume the dab, users simply heat up the nail, or other accessory with a torch until it is very hot. The concentrate is then dropped onto the heated surface, and the smoke is inhaled through the bong or a rig.

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  • Dab rig: A pipe, usually made out of glass, designed to vaporize concentrates. Dab rigs vary in style and size. All include a separate nail used to heat extracts.
  • Vaporizer: A dab pen is a portable device that features a heating chamber where you can add various dab types or acts as a battery for disposable vape cartridges.
  • Electronic nail (e-nail): A digitally controlled nail that can attach to a rig to maintain a precise temperature.

Types of Dabs Available

When delving into the world of dabs, don’t let the terms trip you up. Cannabis extracts come in a variety of forms, such as shatter, budder, oil, or wax.

Shatter, so called because of its resemblance to a sheet of thin glass, is one of the purest forms of concentrate and ranges in color from clear to amber.

Cannabis dabscan also be found in a slightly liquid form, referred to as sap. Budder, oil, and wax are softer, more opaque versions, each earning their name from the consistency of the dab.

Dabs are also categorized by how they are created, falling under either solvent or non-solvent based extracts.

Solvent-Based Extracts

Solvent-based extracts can take on a variety of consistencies and colors depending on the  quality of the starting material, as well as the extraction and refining method.

  • Shatter: A semi-translucent, glass-like extract that’s hard and sticky
  • Budder: A matte-colored, smooth and soft extract with a malleable consistency
  • Wax: A viscous and sticky extract
  • Crumble: A matte-colored extract with a brittle and crumbly consistency
  • Oil: An extract with a thick, sticky, and runny consistency
  • Live Resin: Made from flash-frozen cannabis buds, live resin contains a higher-than-average concentration of aromatic terpenes; it comes in a variety of consistencies
  • Distillate: A cannabis oil that contains a single cannabinoid, usually THC or CBD
  • Isolate: A crystalline powder that contains a single cannabinoid isolate (THC or CBD)
  • Broad-spectrum: An extract with a near complete spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes, except for THC.
  • Full-spectrum: An extract with a complete spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes

Solventless Extracts

Solventless extracts don’t use any harsh and flammable solvents. Instead, they rely on manual separation of the trichomes from the cannabis plant material.

  • Rosin: An extract made from heat and pressure, which are used to literally squeeze out the resin from a flower, kief, or hash
  • Live Rosin: Similar to rosin, this extract is made with full-melt bubble hash.
  • Kief: The resin glands collected from cannabis flowers, leaves, and stems using a mesh screen
  • Hash: Kief compressed into a ball or slab
  • Bubble hash: Hash made from kief that has been extracted using the ice water method

Is Dabbing Safe?

There is some controversy surrounding the use of dabs, namely the high potency of THC and the equipment and processes used in amateur extractions. In a lab-grade environment, creating cannabis concentrates is safe and effective.

However, unskilled extractors who use flammable solvents at home have an increased risk of creating an explosion when exposing the solvents to an open flame.

Pro tip:  Make solventless extracts such as kief and use a hair straightener to make rosin without any flammable solvents.

For low-tolerance users, dabs with a high THC content can cause side effects such as paranoia, anxiety, nausea, and dizziness. Opponents say that it’s impossible to gauge safe dosages of dabs; however, there is no evidence that this is an issue.

It’s not technically possible to overdose. However, inexperienced partakers may find themselves feeling uncomfortably high if they over-consume.

There are over 300,000 jobs in the cannabis industry. CTU trained me for one of them!

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Pro tip: Check out our blog post on how to prevent greening out and find ways to come down after a bad dabbing experience.

Torches and water pipes are often associated with harder drugs like meth and crack, which strikes fear in the uninitiated.  Not only does dabbing look like a hard drug, but it can also scare off people who are afraid of using the blowtorch regularly. However, it’s as easy and safe as using a blowtorch to make crème brûlée.

Pro tip: Modern electronic nails (e-nails) remove the need for a blowtorch, so users can conveniently and safely dab at the perfect temperature. In addition,  you can also invest in portable vaporizers that can allow you to consume on-the-go (and safely).

The techniques for producing dabs and the tools for smoking them may change, but they’re not going anywhere. Dabs have definitely earned a spot in the hearts and dab rigs of cannabis lovers everywhere. What are dabs? Dabs are here to stay!

Become a Dab Expert

Students at the premier cannabis training destination, Cannabis Training University learn everything they need to know about dabbing. From how to grow your own weed to how to make your own rosin, CTU can give you the knowledge you need to use and make dabs at home (safely). Enroll today to start your dabbing journey!



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Cannabis 101

How to Get Rid of a Weed Hangover

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No one wants to experience a hangover, whether it’s caused by alcohol or weed. Weed hangovers, however, aren’t as debilitating as ones caused by alcohol. Still, they aren’t fun. Here’s how to get rid of a weed hangover in no time.

What Is a Weed Hangover?

There’s a fine line between the effects of weed and what happens when you over-consume delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). You will feel intoxicated, euphoric, and relaxed in low to moderate amounts, but THC can turn against you in high amounts.

No matter your tolerance level, there is always a risk of overconsuming cannabis. Weed hangovers can leave you feeling groggy, unfocused, and slightly nauseous, but the effects will subside over hours.

Weed Hangover Symptoms

How do you know if you’re suffering from a marijuana hangover? Be aware if any of these cannabis hangover symptoms appear:

  • Fatigue 
  • Brain fog
  • Lethargy
  • Headache
  • Mild nausea
  • Dry mouth and eyes

Causes of Weed Hangovers

Weed hangovers occur when a person overconsumes THC. The symptoms of over-consuming weed can be caused by numerous factors, primarily the following:

  • Mixing substances: If you’re smoking weed and drinking alcohol or using other drugs, you have a higher chance of feeling hungover the next morning because the effects of weed can be amplified. Upset stomach and smoke weed for smoking marijuana and medical cannabis 
  • Cannabis withdrawal: If you’re an everyday user, you may feel withdrawal symptoms if you stop for a day or cold turkey. Withdrawal symptoms include irritability, trouble focusing, and insomnia.
  • Effects of weed: A weed hangover can be caused by too high of a dose or the type of delivery method. For example, edibles are notoriously tricky to take because they can take an hour to kick in and can have effects lasting up to 8 hours.

The onset and duration of cannabis effects can be determined by the consumption method and dose. Determine the best delivery method and dose for your needs to ensure you do not feel the negative effects of a weed hangover.

Cannabis Hangover Research

Unfortunately, research into weed hangovers’ symptoms, causes, and effects is very limited and outdated.

One 1985 study on 13 male subjects tested the time perception of individuals who smoked either a cannabis cigarette or a placebo cigarette. When tested the following morning (9 hours later), the cannabis smokers exhibited residual hangover effects.

A different study conducted in 1990 tested the effects of marijuana hangovers in 12 cannabis users without seeing any significant hangover effects the morning after.

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In 2017, a survey of patients who used cannabis for chronic pain found that self-reported effects such as lethargy and brain fog were reported the morning after using weed.

As you can see, there needs to be more research on how marijuana smoking and other delivery methods can cause weed hangovers to ensure users take cannabis effectively.

How to Get Rid of a Weed Hangover

If you’re experiencing a weed hangover right now, just remember that the effects will go away on their own. There is no one weed hangover cure. Although you can’t speed up the hangover symptoms, there are ways to find relief.

  • Drink plenty of fluids: Keep water or a hydrating beverage by your side throughout your experience to avoid dry eyes, dry mouth, and headaches. Dehydration can make your head hurt and worsen symptoms. 
  • Eat a balanced meal: A healthy meal goes a long way. Fruits and veggies should make up half of your plate, with a quarter reserved for whole grains, another quarter for protein, and some healthy fats. 
  • Take a warm shower: If you’re feeling out of it, a hot and steamy shower can relax your muscles and clear your mind the morning after overconsuming cannabis.
  • Use pain relievers: If your headache doesn’t disappear, tale an over-the-counter pain reliever.
  • Take CBD: Although the research isn’t in yet, cannabidiol (CBD) is believed to offset many of the negative symptoms caused by the overconsumption of THC.
  • Drink caffeine: If you’re feeling groggy and out of sorts, a touch of caffeine, such as tea or coffee, can perk you up.

How to Prevent Weed Hangovers

Are weed hangovers preventable? Consuming cannabis does not always lead to hangover symptoms. Although the best way to avoid hangovers is not to consume cannabis, there are ways you can significantly decrease the risk of experiencing a weed hangover. 

Weed Hangover vs. Alcohol Hangover

Compared to alcohol hangovers, weed hangovers are much milder. However, they may share similar symptoms, such as mild nausea, headaches, and mental fog. Alcohol hangovers, however, can have other symptoms, including trouble sleeping, low blood sugar, electrolyte imbalance, and dehydration. 

There are over 300,000 jobs in the cannabis industry. CTU trained me for one of them!

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When You Regularly Experience Weed Hangovers

No one wants to feel nauseous, tired, and dizzy after consuming cannabis. In some cases, some heavy users experience cannabis hangovers regularly. If this is the case, cutting back and asking for help can be the best way to control and use cannabis effectively.

Although cannabis may not be physically addicting, it can cause mental dependence. Signs of cannabis use disorder include using it every day or nearly every day, experiencing cravings, increasing your use over time, and trying and failing to stop using it. 

Become a Better Cannabis User with CTU

Cannabis Training University (CTU) provides students of all skill levels with a budget-friendly, online training program covering the most essential aspects of the industry. Learn everything, from growing cannabis to starting your own business, with CTU. Enroll today!



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Does CBD Modulate THC? No, Says Study – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana

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Does CBD modulate the effects of THC? No, says a new study.

For years, both experience and research have indicated that CBD has a mitigating effect when consumed with THC.

For example, budtenders suggest a THC-strain balanced with CBD for new consumers to avoid overwhelming them.

When an experienced stoner has eaten an edible or taken some oil and feels too high – they use CBD to take the edge off.

But a recent study suggests this is all placebo.

How Could CBD Modulate THC?

CBD Modulate THC

More extensive studies will conclusively determine if CBD modulates THC. But for now, we’ll have to rely on conflicting research and anecdotal experiences.

CBD and THC have drastically different effects. THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, the most famous of all cannabis compounds. THC binds to our cannabinoid receptors to produce the “high” feeling.

CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t directly bind to our cannabinoid receptors. It is more like a psychedelic in that it targets the serotonin 5-HT1A receptors, which we find primarily in our stomach.

CBD also prolongs the life span of our endogenous cannabinoids: anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG).

These endogenous cannabinoids bind to our cannabinoid receptors. Researchers figure that because CBD inhibits the breakdown of anandamide in the cannabinoid one receptor, THC can’t fully bind and thus has a muted effect.

Research performed under double-blind, placebo-controlled conditions suggested CBD can reduce the unpleasant effects of THC.

Other research disputes this. But what about this new study?

Does CBD Modulate THC? No, Says Study

psychosis

According to the latest study no, CBD does not modulate the effects of THC. Published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacologythis randomized, double-blind cross-over trial was thorough.

Researchers recruited 46 healthy volunteers ranging from 21 to 50 years old. They’d used cannabis before but not more than once per week during the previous year. Researchers asked them to inhale cannabis vapour containing 10mg of THC combined with different levels of CBD. 

So per experiment, they consumed a 10:0 ratio, then a balanced 10:10 ratio, followed by 10:20, and then 10:30. In other words, by the last experiment, participants were inhaling more CBD per milligram than THC. 

After each experiment, the researchers asked the participants to complete a set of tasks. Researchers measured “psychotic symptoms,” including “cognitive, subjective, pleasurable, pharmacological and physiological effects.”

For example, THC is associated with delayed verbal recall. The study said CBD did not improve those scores.

The study concludes, “There was no evidence of CBD modulating the effects of THC on other cognitive, psychotic, subjective, pleasurable, and physiological measures.”

Even going further to suggest, “This should be considered in health policy and safety decisions about medicinal and recreational cannabis.”

Yet, did this study conclusively determine these results? Even the authors admit their research can only go so far without a placebo-controlled group.

To suggest that “no evidence that CBD protects against the acute adverse effects of cannabis,” while other double-blind clinical trials have shown otherwise, indicates more to the story.

Building a CBD Tolerance 

CBD Modulate THC

This latest study suggested that CBD does not modulate the effects of THC in the short term. But what about the long term?

Cannabis connoisseurs know about tolerance. If you smoke weed daily, you build up a tolerance to THC. You can take a few days off and let your cannabinoid receptors reset. When you return to the herb, you’ll feel the effects more with less.

CBD might work the opposite way. It may promote receptor sensitivity, meaning you need less over time.

CBD may also reestablish homeostatic levels (bringing balance to your endocannabinoid system). So while it may give the impression it’s not doing anything, CBD is working with your system without producing the “psychotic symptoms,” of THC. 

At least one study suggests the longer you use CBD, the lower dosages you’ll need. Which is another way of saying: you need to build up some CBD in your system before it can work. 

With that in mind, how accurate was this new study? A short-term look at people inhaling THC-CBD vapour after a year of virtually no consumption?

And no placebo-controlled group, to boot.

Yet, these researchers want their inconclusive opinions “considered in health policy and safety decisions” about cannabis.

The Problem With the “CBD Doesn’t Modulate THC” Study

Langara College grant

Of course, the apparent problem with this “CBD doesn’t modulate THC” study is its short-term aspect, the lack of a placebo group, and the cannabis delivery method.

Cannabis is a complex plant, and if you consume THC or CBD through edibles, the body will process the cannabinoids differently.

Same for plant extracts. Were the volunteers of this study taking THC and CBD isolates in vape format? Or were these full-spectrum products containing other cannabinoids like CBG and CBN?

What would result if a participant ate 10mg of CBD edibles for two weeks straight and then smoked a one-gram joint with 25% THC? And what if we paired them with a participant who didn’t consume CBD two weeks prior? 

This is why more research is needed before inconclusive results should be “considered” in government policy. 

But the big problem with the “CBD doesn’t modulate THC” study comes down to bias.

The study says, “Cannabis users may reduce harms when using a higher CBD:THC ratio, due to the reduced THC exposure rather than the presence of CBD.”

Throughout the paper, the researchers engage in a priori extremism by labelling THC “harmful” without further discussion. It’s one of the biases built into the study. And we saw it earlier by referring to THC’s effects as “psychotic symptoms.”

But what evidence links cannabis, particularly the effects of THC, to “psychotic symptoms?”

When we consume THC, we don’t become “psychotic.” We get high. We become stoned. The fact that they didn’t use a neutral, scientific term to describe THC’s effects brings the entire paper into question.

Not to mention, English and Australian universities funded this study. Two countries not exactly known for their legal recreational cannabis markets. (Even their medical program is strictly controlled and absurdly risk-averse).

Furthermore, we have conclusive, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies that prove that CBD reduces anxiety. And since higher concentrations of THC cause anxiety in some people, it’s no surprise we have past studies indicating that CBD modulates the effects of THC. 

What Did This Study Prove?

CBD Modulate THC

The problem with this “CBD doesn’t modulate THC” study is its bias and limited scope. They created a category of “psychotic symptoms.” Then they tested this theory on a small group of participants in the short term without any placebo-controlled group.

It may be that CBD isn’t the modulating agent we think it is. Further studies may validate the conclusions of this study. 

But further research is needed. Governments destroyed nutrition science in the 20th century by accepting half-baked theories and biased research as proven facts.

With cannabis legalization sweeping the world, we cannot allow the same thing to happen to cannabinoid-based therapies. 





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Cannabis Legalization in Ireland? – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana

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Ireland is the latest European country to take a step closer to cannabis legalization. Introduced by a People Before Profit Party member, the bill would legalize cannabis possession for adults over 18.

However, the bill doesn’t include cannabis sales or cultivation. It is more decriminalization than the commercialization of the industry. The bill says possessing up to seven grams “shall be lawful,” despite no commercial market.

A top government official is skeptical that the bill will become law. Right now, it’s in the lower chamber of Ireland’s legislature.

“I hope the government can support this legislation. It is timely. Different parts of the world are looking at different models which do not criminalize people and which take a harm-reduction approach. I look forward to the debate,” said Gino Kenny, the politician who introduced the bill.

How soon until cannabis legalization comes to Ireland?

Cannabis Prohibition in Ireland

Cannabis Legalization in Ireland?

The illegality of cannabis in Ireland stretches back to the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1934, making Ireland one of the first countries to ban cannabis (beating the United States by three years).

And like the United States, cannabis legalization in Ireland may be an uphill battle. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, in response to the popularity of cannabis, the Irish government cracked down by implementing harsher criminal penalties.

Even today, if police catch you “trafficking” a large amount of cannabis, you can face up to 10 years in prison.

That said, despite what the laws say, attitudes and tolerance have adjusted over the last twenty years. This isn’t the first time politicians have introduced a cannabis legalization bill in Ireland.

In 2013, a motion was put forth to legalize cultivation, possession, and a commercial market. However, within the Irish legislature, only eight people voted for it, with 111 voting in favour of continued prohibition.

MMJ in Ireland

In 2016, Gino Kenny introduced a private member’s bill to legalize medical cannabis. (The same politician that introduced the latest cannabis legalization in Ireland bill).

The government was cautious but went forward with it. Over two years, the Irish government only approved two dozen medical cannabis licences.

It wasn’t until June 2019 that medical cannabis legalization in Ireland took off. The Health Minister set up a new program that eased patients’ access by allowing them to buy cannabis at a pharmacy. It also expanded the criteria of who was eligible for medical cannabis.

The government called it a measure of “last resort,” since patients were travelling to countries like the Netherlands to get medical cannabis.

Cannabis Legalization in Ireland When?

There is still pushback about cannabis legalization in Ireland. The Irish prime minister worries that legalization would ” glamorize” cannabis use.

“I think we have to be careful that we don’t glamorize cannabis either because there are real concerns within the health community and the medical community about what cannabis can do to young people,” he told media.

As well, the current Irish government is a coalition between different parties, none of which have a unified (or even favourable) stance regarding cannabis legalization in Ireland.

That said, if cannabis legalization in Ireland becomes a reality, it will likely suffer from the same bureaucratic excesses that strangle cannabis legalization in Canada.

For example, the Irish PM said, “Cannabis can do real harm too, to young people, and many people in the medical world have said that to me. That’s just a concern I have.”

Translation: Cannabis may not benefit young adults. Ergo, I will take the advice of public health and continue with harmful prohibition or bureaucratic decriminalization instead of recognizing that people have a right to bodily autonomy.

It’s the same story no matter where you go. An undemocratic public health order kneecaps your right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

On a positive note, the Irish government announced a Citizens’ Assembly on Drug Use in 2023. If enough people express their desire for a classically liberal, legal market, then cannabis legalization in Ireland may be here sooner than later.





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