A new study is warning cannabis users of the practice of using marijuana called “dabbing.”
According to a recent study conducted by the Portland State University, the practice of heating highly concentrated cannabis oil, more commonly known as “dabbing” produces carcinogenic substances or substances that are capable of causing cancer.
A cheap process
The dabbing method is simple. First, pressurized butane is sprayed over marijuana, a process that is meant to extract the active ingredients in marijuana. This produces an oil which is then heated to purge the butane. The end product is what is called a hash oil.
The researchers found that terpenes, the chemical that gives marijuana its potent scent produces a carcinogen called benzene when heated at high temperatures. A relative to the carcinogenic chemical acrolein called methacrolein was also found.
Any individual can do the process at home, using cheap, unregulated heating methods that have no way of controlling the temperature levels.
The researchers are worried that the poorer or less educated segment of user demographic may be more susceptible to the harmful effects of carcinogens due to the lack of understanding or proper paraphernalia to do the process right.
“People that can afford it can buy electronic nails, and that will mitigate any exposure to carcinogens,” Dr. Robert Strongin, the study’s co-author says.
The recent study is one of the first to confirm the presence of any carcinogenic forms in cannabis.
Strongid adds that because of the drug’s tight regulations, it is still hard for researchers to get access to the drug, thereby slowing down the progress in uncovering its whole toxicology profile.
They also worry about creating a backlash to the marijuana movement that advocates for federal decriminalization of the drug.
“I don’t want to influence the regulation [of cannabis], I just want to give people facts,” Strongin says.
For now, marijuana is legal in 29 US states but is still considered illegal on the federal level.