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Cannabis Joints vs Dabs: which one is better?

Marijuana consumption methods have improved for the better over time. From a simply rolled joint that was the best means many years ago to various cannabis edibles, dabs, oils, and many more. 

Dabbing is one of the modern ways of consuming cannabis concentrate. According to the fans of this method, it is considerably safer than consuming the dry herb, mainly due to lack of combustion. 

Furthermore, many proponents of flower also believe that dabbing is a more potent way of consuming cannabis. This guide looks at how dabs compare to joints based on strength, health risks, and other qualities. 

What are joints?

Traditionally, a joint is the most common way of consuming cannabis. Ideally, a joint roll contains pure cannabis, but some smokers may prefer adding a bit of tobacco for a different smoking experience. This method requires only two things – cannabis and a rolling paper

Advantages of joints

  • Results: Smoking delivers almost an immediate effect on the body and mind. The effects can peak within 30 minutes and can last up to 3-5 hours. 
  • Bioavailability: This refers to the number of active ingredients that reach their destination. Smoking a joint delivers between 2% and 56% bioavailability compared to oral consumption of THC, which is between 10% and 20% only. 
  • Increased euphoric effect: Smoking a joint leads to an increased feeling of pleasure, relaxation, and overall euphoria. This is due to the combination of the first two advantages.

Disadvantages of joints

  • Quantities: Each consumer regulates the amount of cannabis to smoke in a joint. This can be challenging to first-time smokers who do not know their limits.
  • Respiratory health: While a joint contains pure cannabis, it contains tar, which has a higher concentration of carcinogenic elements such as benzopyrenes and benzathracene. 

What are dabs?

Dabs are also known as wax, shatter, amber, honeycomb, or budder. These are concentrated versions of butane hash oil (BHO), which has higher concentration levels of THC. Dabs are produced through a chemical process that uses butane oil to extract the oils from cannabis. 

The process involves pouring butane over cannabis, which extracts THC from cannabis. The THC dissolves into butane and leaves a gummy, semi-solid substance with high amounts of THC. 

According to some studies, dabs can have a THC concentration level of up to 80% compared to traditional marijuana, which has only about 10-15% THC concentration. A standard dab is four times stronger than a joint. Additionally, people who consume dabs experience an intense high delivered all at once instead of gradually building it over time. 

Are dabs safe?

The production process of dabs can cause some challenges, especially for those who choose the DIY extraction route. There is the risk of getting burned during the extraction process because butane is highly inflammable. However, ready-made dabs from reputable sources don’t have such challenges. 

Advantages of dabbing

  • Higher concentration of THC 
  • Just one hit is enough to cause a high

Disadvantages of dabbing

  • Potentially risky process of extraction
  • Several side effects
  • More addictive

Is dabbing dangerous?

Many cannabis enthusiasts believe dabbing is a safer method of consuming cannabis because it is so highly concentrated. Besides, users only have to take one hit to get high. However, there is no safe level of drug use. Any substance, cannabis included, carries some risk. Dabs are no exception. 

According to one study, dabbing can cause higher tolerance and worse withdrawal symptoms. Notably, users should not assume that dabbing carries the same risks as smoking marijuana. The two are entirely different. 

Additionally, dabbing comes with several side effects such as increased heartbeat, crawling sensations on the skin, blackouts, loss of consciousness, and other psychotic symptoms like hallucinations and paranoia. According to one study conducted at Portland State University, dabbing may also expose users to increased levels of toxins and other carcinogenic compounds. 

Dabs vs Joints: Potency

In terms of potency, dabs score higher than joints. Most joints deliver between 10 and 25% THC, while dabs provide up to 80% THC. Besides, inhaling a dab could provide ten times the amount of THC as a joint, which is damn potent. For that reason, first-time and inexperienced smokers would probably want to wait until they have developed tolerance before they can try dabbing. 

Cannabis joints vs dabs: which one tastes better?

Both joints and dabs appeal to all five senses of sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. Senses are so objective, and some users swear by dabs because they believe the extraction process leads to a pure product whose taste is the best. Well, they have a point. 

Joints vs dabs: Consumption difficulty

When it comes to consumption difficulty, joints are much easier to consume. Rolling a joint is equally easy, and those who don’t have the skills can buy pre-rolled joints. On the other hand, making a dab requires special equipment such as an extracting machine, including a water pipe, a dome, a nail, and a dabber. The equipment is expensive.

Both dabs and joints are fantastic and have their places. If you would want to try dabbing, you should consult a budtender for appropriate advice. These days there are entry-level kits that are affordable to first-time users. 

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Laura Jenkins

Laura is a writer from Denver, CO, with many years of experience. She is the author of many articles about food, health, and lifestyle. Since 2018, Laura has been covering only cannabis-related topics. After joining the team, Laura is mostly writing about cannabis-related lifestyle news from all around the world.

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