Teens smoking highly potent 'dabs' or 'earwax' with e-cigarettes

Blog Post created by Thomas3.20.2010 on Feb 14, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) —A growing number of teenagers are smoking a highly potent form of marijuana – virtually undetected – with no smell and no way for anyone to know they’re breaking the law.

And the trend could be causing an increasing number of explosions in the Sacramento area, including the one of a Rancho Cordova apartment complex in January.

“The whole building had to be evacuated and basically rendered dangerous,” said Sgt. Lisa Bowman, of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.

Deputies believe a drug lab was set up in the bathroom to make a more potent form of marijuana known as hash oil, honey oil, dabs or earwax.

It contains 75 percent THC, the chemical that induces the high.

But what’s now getting the attention of law enforcement is how teenagers are ingesting this pot.

“It doesn’t really have a smell to it. Obviously, if you’re holding (the smoke) in, there’s no way to tell. People just don’t know. You can do it … and no one will really notice,” one teenager told KCRA 3. He did not want to be identified.

The teen said he smoked e-cigarettes – also known as “vape pens” or “trippy sticks” – and used the homemade hash oil he got from friends.

“It got to the point where people were making it a lot more," he said. "And then you were ‘dabbing’ a lot more, in bigger quantity."

What’s concerning isn’t just how much the e-cigarettes resemble pens, but also how easy it is to fill the removable cartridges with hash oil.

“This is how it is with the adolescent culture of drug use," said Jon Daily, a drug addiction specialist with Recovery Happens Counseling Services. "They’re always creating something new that is under the radar. New terms, new slang, new ways of using it.

“We don’t know who is going to have a psychotic break. We just know there’s a lot of it going on."

He continued, “patients are smoking it, and then losing control. They're hearing things. They're seeing things. They actually go to their caregivers and say, ‘I think I'm going crazy. I need help.'"

Yet, it’s nearly impossible to catch users.

“It’s completely odorless," Bowman said. "It doesn’t have an odor that would normally alert me as a law enforcement officer that there’s marijuana."

Although minors can’t purchase e-cigarettes at places like Walgreens or head shops (which sell them to adults), the sticks are easy to get online.

Assemblymember Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, introduced a bill weeks ago that would ban the Internet sales of e-cigarettes and other tobacco products to Californians.

Businesses would be exempt.

“It makes sense to me to do what we can to protect our young people and make sure they don’t get introduced to this habit, this addiction," Dickinson told KCRA 3.

[My Son told me about this yesterday and I looked it up - Thomas]