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Doctors Should Warn Kids Against 'Dabbing' Marijuana, Experts Say

An increasingly fashionable way to use marijuana, called ‘dabbing’, is dangerous and pediatricians can help warn kids, two experts argue.
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An increasingly fashionable way to use marijuana called "dabbing" is dangerous in more ways than one, and pediatricians can help warn kids, two experts argued Monday.

Dabbing uses what’s called butane hash oil. The THC in marijuana — the active ingredient that causes the high — is concentrated using butane.

Making it and inhaling it can cause serious burns, and the concentrated form of THC is dangerous, John Stogner of the University of North Carolina and Bryan Lee Miller of Georgia Southern University argue in a letter in the journal Pediatrics.

“Because butane hash oil production is uncomplicated, requires few resources, and is the subject of countless instructional videos on social media Web sites, recreational users have created (it) at home in a process colloquially called ‘blasting’,” they wrote.

“Blasting involves passing butane through a steel or glass tube packed with dried cannabis trimmings,” they added.

“Because butane is very volatile, it evaporates (or is purged within a vacuum oven), leaving crystalized resins that can have a THC concentration approaching 80 percent.”

The result can range in color and consistency and can be called “shatter”, "earwax” or “honeycomb”.

“The process of creating these products is extremely dangerous because butane is flammable and volatile, and a number of fires, explosions, and severe burns have been attributed to home blasting,” Stogner and Miller added.

Plus, the concentrated product can be dangerous, also.

“Health care professionals have the responsibility to remind their patients, particularly those who have used marijuana, of the dangers that may be associated with a stronger product," they wrote.

Several studies have shown that marijuana and its products can have bad effects on the still-developing adolescent brain.

Marijuana's been found to help some medical conditions, such as cancer pain and nausea. But the American Academy of Pediatrics opposes non-medical use of marijuana by kids.