(CBS) — It’s called “dabbing,” and it’s a new drug craze parents should know about.
Users inhale a highly concentrated and potent marijuana vapor; there are serious dangers they face, including burns and injuries.
Fires and explosions are occurring because the drug is cooked, and the process requires highly flammable materials.
Blow torches, butane and highly concentrated hash oil or THC oil are used.
Highly combustible butane is used to cook the oil, which comes from cannabis, turning it into a wax. Later, the butane is used a second time to heat up the wax and turn it in to a vapor.
The vapor emitted is reported to be four to five times stronger than smoking marijuana, and is described as the free-basing of marijuana.
“In my eyes it’s dangerous. It’s like a meth lab. You don’t know what exactly is being done or how it’s done with burners, butane — you don’t know,” cautions one Chicago-area mother, who wanted to keep her name confidential.
She says she learned about dabbing because teens near her suburban home are doing it.
She says in addition to using wax they also are using vials of Hash or THC Oil to fill e-cigarettes or “vape pens” with the drug to ingest.
She tried her adult daughter’s vape-pen and nearly passed out because of its potency.
“Four or five drops, and I think I took 4 or 5 puffs off of it, and I was gone,” she says.
She says her daughter told her she bought bottle filled with the oil from a man selling it out of the backroom of a tobacco store for $30.
“Anything that’s manufactured on the black market is dangerous, because we don’t know what’s in it,” says Kathie Kane-Willis who is the Director of the Consortium on Drug Policy at Roosevelt University.
She adds: “There will always be young people who seek out strong forms of intoxication.”
Kane-Willis says dabbers prefer the greater levels of THC and want to get high faster, and some are willing to take a risk to create it themselves.
“I think when you’re playing with lighter fluid — that’s a pretty stupid thing to do,” she says.
CBS 2 spoke with local teens who say some kids are buying the wax on the street, thinking it’s less dangerous if they don’t make it themselves. But they still need to use a blowtorch to create the vapor to inhale.