Because marijuana concentrates are highly potent, the physical and psychological effects can be much stronger than with plant cannabis use.

But like all drugs, the effects of cannabis and THC depend upon how much you use.

There’s a difference between smoking a low-THC joint once a day and using a high-THC concentrate multiple times a day.

Mark Prince, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at Colorado State University, said, “Research suggests that frequent, heavy use, such as a large quantity of cannabis, has deleterious effects.”

But he adds that right now, there isn’t enough scientific information to know where the line falls between beneficial and harmful cannabis use.

When people use a marijuana concentrate, they can titrate the dose so they only inhale or ingest enough THC to get high.

Piomelli says although this reasoning makes sense, we don’t know for certain whether this is how all people use these products.

Also, it’s easier to overdo it with marijuana concentrates, especially for novice users. This can increase the risk of toxicity.

In recent years, doctors have reported cases of users developing heart and brain problemsTrusted Source or psychosisTrusted Source after dabbing.

This could be related to the higher levels of THC in these products. But Piomelli says the marijuana concentrates can also deliver high amounts of contaminants.

One studyTrusted Source found more than 80 percent of tested products were contaminated, such as with solvents or pesticides. Homemade marijuana concentrates or those bought on the street may be more likelyTrusted Source to contain toxins.


When it comes to the long-term health effects of marijuana concentrates, we’re entering uncharted territory.

“We have a good sense of how smoking cannabis affects health. Surprisingly, it’s not as bad as one would think, based on the tobacco example,” Piomelli said.

“But we know almost nothing about all these various vaping and dabbing products that are now available,” he added.

Some studies have found that higher-potency cannabis increases the risk of cannabis dependenceTrusted Source or psychosisTrusted Source, with some studies looking specifically at the use of butane hash oilTrusted Source.

Prince’s lab has looked at the links between cannabis potency and physical and mental health effects, but have seen mixed results.

He adds that the variability of marijuana concentrates on the market also make it difficult to draw firm conclusions about the health effects.

More research is needed to understand how people are using marijuana concentrates and the short- and long-term effects of these products.

“THC is a very biologically active molecule. It has multiple effects, some of which are positive, some of which are not positive,” Piomelli said.

But he added, “We still know very little about its chronic effects, particularly in teenagers and children, pregnant women, and elderly people.”