Dabbing for Health: CBD Dabs Have Instant Relief

For many, dabbing is all about excess. Instagram and YouTube are full of videos of proud dabbers showing off herculean lung capacities able to hold up to five whole grams of cannabis concentrate in one go. That’s the equivalent of about half an ounce of cannabis flowers — all in one hit.

However, dabs can be about the medicine, too. While strains high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have dominated the flower and extract markets since hippies were freebasing hash hits off hot knives fresh from the stove, extracted strains high in cannabidiol (CBD) have carved out a unique presence in the world of dabbing.

For one, the taste. Every hit of a high-CBD strain like Harlequin, Sour Tsunami, or Cannatonic has the distinctive flavor of candied red cherries at the front of the mouth and lips upon exhale.
And the effects are best described as expansive: immediate mood alteration, muscle relaxation, and pain relief. Many CBD dabbers say they dab because of the immediate anxiety-relief — a fast-acting, non-pharmaceutical Klonopin, without the nasty side effects.

As CBD gains mainstream popularity thanks in part to CBD oil’s efficacy in treating childhood epilepsy — the story of a young Colorado girl whose intractable epilepsy was treated using high-CBD cannabis extracts was featured on Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s groundbreaking CNN documentary series Weed — more plants have been bred to produce more CBD, and more growers are growing high-CBD strains than ever.

Some cannabis users have gravitated towards concentrates made with high-CBD strains, as the effects are more prominent and immediate when dabbed.

“It doesn’t give you the head flightiness — for me it works
the same as taking a Vicodin
or a Percoset,” says Portland, Ore.-area cannabis cultivator
Jess McKinney.

McKinney has been extracting CBD to use for dabbing and supplying local dispensaries with “non-psychoactive dabs” for over a year. She says concentrated CBD alleviates the muscle spasms and chronic pain she experiences due to a car accident that fractured her face and collarbone and threw her spine out of alignment. She has experimented with growing and extracting seven high-CBD strains, though her favorite is Cannatonic.

Most concentrates in the Bay Area are THC-rich, but with a little looking, you can find CBD oil at dispensaries. San Francisco’s The Green Door carries Dabber’s Delight CBD Oil, which clocks in at 41.70 percent CBD.

While CBD flower strains are available in every dispensary, CBD dabs may overtake them. Oregon growers have found that extracted CBD is more popular with patients than flowers alone.

With the rise of CBD, THC is often villainized, despite having a host of medical properties of its own, including the ability to shrink tumors in lab tests. The allure of isolated or high-CBD cannabis to conservatives is that there is no “high.”

CBD, unlike THC, is considered to be non-psychotropic, meaning it won’t cause the trippy psychedelic-like effects of THC. This isn’t entirely true: CBD is technically psychoactive, as it crosses the blood-brain barrier and causes mental effects — just not the intoxication typically associated with cannabis. But because CBD alters the psychotropic nature of THC, a CBD dab could help take down an uncomfortable high.

Immediate relief and even psychotropic harm reduction: Dabs are indeed medicine, thanks to CBD.

Photo by Gabrielle Lurie