In the grand scheme of things, dabs are a baby drug. Compared to old-timers like flowers or cocaine, they’ve only been around long enough to start crawling and listening to Raffi. Everyone knows they’re growing bigger every day, but no one knows where exactly they’re going.

And neither do we, but we’re going to look at what happened to some other drugs when they were just youngins and see how they turned out.


Though ecstasy was first introduced as an aid for couples therapy, today it’s classified as a Schedule I substance with no approved medical uses. It’s odd to think that a chemical once endorsed so strongly by the medical community could become a taboo rave drug in mere decades, but that’s essentially what’s happened with MDMA and its derivatives.

This is much due to the difference between street drugs and those obtained in a lab: while most MDMA researchers insist that the drug is harmless if taken responsibly and in small doses, street versions cut with chemicals or OTC medications like Xanax or Ritalin can trigger unwanted side effects or withdrawal symptoms not associated with purer forms of MDMA. Groups like MAPS (the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) continue to research MDMA’s positive effects and medical uses for conditions like PTSD and Asperger’s, this is increasingly difficult with new drug laws and ecstasy’s reputation as a dangerous rave drug.


Mephedrone was a powerful synthetic speed that enjoyed a brief resurgence between 2003 and around 2012, particularly in the New York City and European club scenes. The drug remained in circulation briefly even after it was made illegal for human consumption, and was widely known as “bath salts.”


Other legal uppers like ephedrine had brief popularity spikes during the 90s, and were used as not only intoxicants but focus drugs and dieting aids. Though ephedrine is illegal in the United States, its less easily abused biological siblings are still available in certain diet pills, and the “hard stuff” can be obtained sketchily online.


Some of the post popular legal highs are inhalants like “poppers” and “whip-its” which share a similar half-legal status that concentrates do. Poppers can be purchased as sex enhancers while nitrous is easy to buy at any smoke shop and even restaurant supply stores, provided you say its for a whipped cream canister rather than personal consumption.


Legal inhalant highs and legal dissociatives/psychedelics are often most popular with younger users, for whom intoxication is most novel and illegal drugs are least obtainable. During its hey day, salvia was allegedly most trendy with high school students who left to purchase and consume the drug on their lunch breaks. Eventually, people just got tired of being goofed up for thirty seconds at a time, and salvia’s popularity waned like that crescent moon that appeared in your living room while you smoked it.


Wax is different than all these drugs in about every measurable way. Most significantly, you can’t OD on it, it’s almost certainly going to become more legal instead of less legal, and most of its effects are already known because it’s active ingredients are in flowers, and those have been smoked since the Bible days.

But still it’s fun to think about. Where will dabbing be at in the culture when our grandkids are hitting hover rigs in their moon colony?