Ask a Stoner: Do Dabs Carry the Same Risks as Vaping?

Dear Stoner: Is the wax and shatter sold at dispensaries made of the same stuff in vapes? I’m worried that dabbing will get me sick.
Jimmy D.

Dear Jimmy: It can be, but in this case that’s probably not a bad thing. There are THC vaping cartridges filled only with cannabis oil, whether it’s purified distillate, live resin or CO2-extracted oil. Most extractors slightly heat the concentrate to make it thinner for combustion, but it’s essentially the same stuff that you’re dabbing. And none of those products have yet been linked to vaping-related illnesses.

Dean Ween's Honey Pot Lounge is open and ready for dabbing.

Dean Ween’s Honey Pot Lounge is open and ready for dabbing.

Jacqueline Collins

The vast majority of hospital visits and deaths related to vaping have been linked to black-market products, which have been found to contain potentially harmful chemical additives and traces of pesticides. However, some of the vaping illnesses have been connected to additives in products sold in legal, regulated cannabis markets. Those additives are used to make hash more combustible for vaping, though, and aren’t used in the production of the hash you’re dabbing.

Still, just because there’s no vape liquid doesn’t mean the concentrate itself is necessarily safe, as hash extracted from moldy or pesticide-laden cannabis is even more toxic than the plants themselves.

Send questions to

Toke of the Town