Reality is not what it seems. For example, we probably live in a simulation, time is an illusion, and there is no such movie as Shazaam. The mysteries of the universe also apply to dabbing, according to one study.
Despite what experience tells us, dabbing doesn’t actually get you higher than smoking flower, say researchers from Colorado State University. This finding comes after a fun-sounding experiment involving a party bus, balance tests, and oil rigs.
As a result of obnoxious federal laws, it’s very difficult for researchers to have subjects light up their bongs and rigs inside a laboratory. As a work around, CSU drove a van to the homes of more than 120 subjects, waited for them to get elevated in the comfort of their own homes, and then ran a bunch of tests measuring their balance and motor skills under the influence.
While dabbers showed higher levels of THC in their system than smokers, they didn’t actually seem to get any more intoxicated than their counterparts.
“There was no relation between the change in THC in the bloodstream and change in balance impairment,” said Brian Tracy, an associate professor in the Department of Health and Exercise and Science at CSU.
“There was significant balance impairment for the whole group of participants, but there was no significant difference between the group that used flower and the one that used concentrate. This could imply that a saturation effect may occur. In people who really increase the THC levels in their blood, there may be a plateauing effect on balance.”
One possible explanation for this, though not one put forth by CSU, is that dabbers generally have a higher tolerance for THC than those who prefer to smoke spliffs. This creates a kind of sliding scale for intoxication among cannabis users, one that complicates measures in field sobriety tests.
“With alcohol, performance typically declines as the level of consumption increases, but that does not appear to be the case with cannabis at these relatively high levels of blood THC,” Tracy said. “Blood levels of THC in these ranges could reveal approximately how much you smoked, but it won’t necessarily predict balance impairment.”