Marijuana plant
‘At a minimum, dabs are four times as strong as a joint, and the high is administered all at once’ Reuters

Stoners are turning to 'dabbing' to get high, a new research paper has suggested, with the author of the study stating that it is "exploding onto the drug use scene".

Dabbing is a marijuana smoking technique in which the user inhales the vapour from a wax-esque highly concentrated form of marijuana using butane gas. Otherwise known as butane hash oil , it is much more potent because it is mainly made up of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) extracts – the ingredient in marijuana that produces a high.

Although dabbing has been a recognised technique since the 1970s, John Stogner, co-author of the research paper and an assistant professor of criminal justice and criminology at the University of North Carolina, says there has been a massive uptake in it recently.

He is quoted by Live Science as saying: "We have seen an emergence of dabs over the last three years. It is really exploding onto the drug use scene."

Stogner says that the reason why it may have shot up in popularity is because of its effectiveness. "At a minimum, dabs are four times as strong as a joint, and the high is administered all at once," he continues, adding that legalisation of marijuana in several US states would also be a contributing factor.

The findings, published in scientific journal Pediatrics, support previous research that dabbing may be more harmful to the user and is more addictive. Studies prior to this showed that marijuana users are weary of dabbing because the potency can lead to a higher tolerance of the drug, which in turn leads to stronger withdrawal symptoms.

Stogner added: "It's dangerous to assume the risks of dabbing are akin to [those of] smoking marijuana."