Macro detail of Cannabis flower (sour diesel strain) isolated over black background, medical marijuana concept

Cheers Patrick Gower. Your investigation of Cannabis on the New Zealand program “On Weed”, has been gleefully beamed into homes all across New Zealand. This television series has been an influential force in opening up the conversation surrounding New Zealand Cannabis in New Zealand. This second part of the series was the most watched program at 8:30 Monday, with an estimated 300,000 kiwi’s tuning in to see what his take was on Cannabis. Unfortunately, dabbing and 20%+ THC cannabis were a sensationalist addition unseen in the previous instalment.

In the previous episode, he got a medical recommendation for cannabis in Colorado and attended a cannabis infused tea party, where he got stoned with suburbanites.

New Zealand Dabbing

In this, the second and last instalment of the series, Gower talks to gangs, kiwi bush growers, pirate edible chefs and underground “Dab producers”.

Gower has been praised previously for his humble and neutral take on cannabis, but the inclusion of dabs alongside “regular cannabis” is a dangerous misrepresentation to the public.

Dig deeper:

Dabs are a cannabis concentrate that is produced by using high pressure carbon or butane extraction methods. The results is a wax or crystallised substances that needs to be super heated using specialised equipment before consumed. The manufacturing process is complicated and dangerous. It is not uncommon for homemade dab labs to explode.

Dabs are not Cannabis

Gower proclaimed that there is “Cannabis in New Zealand that is 81% THC”, which is a total mischaracterisation of what dabs are. Dabs are not natural cannabis, which is what the 2020 referendum is regulating. This is the cannabis equivalent of putting a bottle of vodka next to some wines and saying “There is wine that is 40%”! Dabs have little to do with the mainstream cannabis conversation in New Zealand.

Dabs are a small and nichè product in even legal cannabis markets, making up less than 10% of sales. Gowers reporting has peaked interest in dabbing in New Zealand in a very real way. Just look at the Google trends analysis-

The red line is search volume for the term “Dabbing” and blue is “dabs”.

It is clear that On Weed had an effect in interest in dabbing in New Zealand with breakout traffic volume. There is potential that the “No” campaign will seize dabs as evidence of “dangerous cannabis”. Gowers representation confuses people as to what Cannabis is being discussed by the new legislation. At a minimum, it’s a reductionist conversation focused on THC numbers.

Dabs, like vaping cannabis, have their place in medical cannabis for people with long term intensive pain, but are not a big part of New Zealand’s typical cannabis culture. As Gower points out in “On Weed”, dabbing will still be illegal under the new laws. The testing of New Zealand cannabis did illustrate that the 14% THC cap on natural cannabis might be a bit too low, because homegrown was testing at about 20%.

The Future of Dabs in New Zealand

Dabbing isn’t going to be the next big thing because dabbing is illegal, takes expertise skill, is dangerous and complicated. The 81% THC is a extreme and sensationalist example of New Zealand cannabis, one that doesn’t appeal to the average user. This is illustrated by Google Trends, as no one was searching for dabbing before On Weed, meaning it wasn’t on the general publics mind.

This referendum is about reducing harm to New Zealanders. Making “normal”, natural and safe Cannabis legal will allow resources to tracking down dab manufactures before they blow up their shed.

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