Police warn of the dangers of 'dabbing' and driving - KPTV - FOX 12

Police warn of the dangers of 'dabbing' and driving

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Portland police say they are seeing more marijuana users “dabbing,” a practice using concentrates that can be two to three times more potent than normal marijuana. (KPTV) Portland police say they are seeing more marijuana users “dabbing,” a practice using concentrates that can be two to three times more potent than normal marijuana. (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A new way for recreational marijuana users to get high is growing in popularity and creating a new twist on an old problem for Portland police officers.

The practice is called “dabbing” and it involves recreational users smoking small amounts of highly concentrated marijuana oil, wax or brittle known as "shatter."

The concentrated material has THC levels that range between 60 percent and 90 percent, much higher than conventional marijuana which rarely contains even 30 percent THC.

The resulting high can be intense and in some cases, overwhelming.

“I wouldn't say it's so much different it's just more intense at first,” Mercedes Shaw, a manager at Foster Buds in Southeast Portland, explained.

Shaw added that she now prefers dabbing to the conventional method of smoking marijuana.

"It kind of reminded me when I took my first dab ever of the first time I ever smoked. So it took me back like 10 years," she said.

While dabbing is perfectly legal, officers with the Portland Police Bureau say it can be dangerous if people get behind the wheel.

“It's just a much more powerful, faster. It just hits you like a ton of bricks from the way that people describe it,” PPB drug recognition expert Officer Nathan Scott said. "About half of the drug recognition evaluations that I do involve people that have used concentrates."

Scott said he remembers responding to a crash in May that involved a man who admitted to dabbing and driving.

"He said he blacked out, doesn't remember the crash," Scott recalled. "He ended up crashing into the jersey barrier of the freeway, but he had no memory of it. He said he's never dabbed before."

Scott said part of the attraction of dabbing is that users can be discreet. Concentrated oil, for instance, can be used in an ordinary vape pen.

“They can kind of hide it,” he said. “It looks like they're just using maybe a nicotine oil, where they'll actually be smoking marijuana going down the road and no one will really know that that's what's going on.”

Drivers found to be impaired as a result of marijuana use can be charged with a driving under the influence.

Still, fans like Shaw don’t see the practice of dabbing as a problem, though she said users need to be aware of the effects and be responsible.

“Everybody's line is going to be different. Everybody's tolerance is going to be different than somebody else,” she explained. “Basically the best way to know is to know your body, and to never want to out-do somebody you're with.”

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