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Expand chart
Data: Online SurveyMonkey poll; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Most parents aren’t familiar with “dabbing,” a potentially dangerous way to inhale a highly concentrated dose of marijuana, according to a new Axios/SurveyMonkey poll.

By the numbers: Only the youngest adults we surveyed knew about dabbing, even though some health officials have been concerned about it for years.

How it works: Most Americans are clueless about dabbing, so here’s a brief primer:

  • A dab is a highly concentrated form of THC — the chemical in marijuana that gets you high. It looks like a small chunk of orange or brown-sugar-colored wax.
  • A dab pen looks like a vaping pen and costs anywhere from $20 to $200. It is an electronic device that emits less of a pot scent than smoking.
  • A joint is roughly 25% THC, but a dab can be up to 90%, which is why some experts say dabbing is to weed what hard alcohol is to beer.

By the numbers: Half of the 18- to 24-year-olds in our SurveyMonkey poll said they have either used a dab or know someone who has.

  • That number fell to 32% among 25- to 34-year-olds and continued to decline as respondents got older.

Done responsibly, THC concentrate — which also includes edibles and vaping, not just dabbing — can offer a more controlled dosage and fewer toxins than smoking.

But students may hit the dab oblivious to its THC levels.

  • Students have told me they find themselves slurring or wobbly, or even passing out from dabbing.

They say its use is exploding, especially among kids from wealthier areas who can afford the more expensive dabs and pens.

  • Teens like to hit the dab because it gets them super high, super fast.
  • Because there’s little odor or smoke, they can sneak it in bathrooms and at home. It also looks like a vape, so they can confess to just vaping, not dabbing, if they’re caught.

Academic research is mixed. At least one study found that dabbing is no more dangerous than smoking marijuana, but others have pointed to individual medical reports of “seizure-like activity” or hypertension.

  • Only 4% of respondents in our SurveyMonkey poll, and just 8% of 18- to 24-year-olds, said they think dabbing is the most dangerous way to consume marijuana.
  • Pluralities of old and young people alike said all forms of marijuana post equal risks to users' health, followed closely by those who thought vaping presented the greatest risk.

What we're watching: Majorities in every age group in our survey said they support legalizing marijuana for recreational use nationwide.

Methodology: The data is from a SurveyMonkey online poll conducted among adults ages 18 and older in the United States. Respondents were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Data has been weighted for age, race, sex, education and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over, including the 2016 vote.

The survey was conducted Jan. 24–28 among 2,726 adults. The modeled error estimate for this survey is ± 2.5  percentage points. 

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

3 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

Updated 3 hours ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

Caskets for the dead are carried towards the gravesite as relatives and friends attend a mass funeral for members of a family that is said to have been killed in a U.S. drone airstrike, in Kabul on Aug. 30. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."

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