It's called "marijuana on steroids." Also, the "crack of marijuana." It's dangerous, potent and explosive, and it's turning up in local neighborhoods. It goes by many names including dab, dabbing, wax, butter, honey and amber.
"I know someone who almost blew up their kitchen doing it," said "Bill," an admitted drug user and peddler for the past 15 years. He calls the drug dangerous and very potent. "A very small amount can be the equivalent of two to three grams, which a normal person would take a week to smoke. And you're smoking this all at once," he said.
Two men in Lakewood were recently busted for possession of the drug following a search of their home. "We did find two homes in Lakewood actually producing the butter. They had large amounts," said Lt. Kevin Kaucheck, the man in charge of the city's narcotics unit.
In Mentor-on-the-Lake, emergency crews responded to a report of an explosion and fire at the North Shore Estates apartment complex. A subsequent search of the place found evidence of dabbing. The resident had been in the process of manufacturing butane hash oil when the explosion occurred. "It was a flash fire, and it actually injured the individual," said David Frisone, the director of the Lake County Narcotics Agency.
Butane hash oil, or dabs as they're called, are hard and wax-like concentrates that are made by extracting THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
The drug is made with butane torches. Because butane is highly flammable, improper production practices can lead to explosions and fires.
Channel 3 News discovered that most police departments have never heard of the drug, but "Bill" says it's widely available on the streets of Cleveland and its suburbs. "I had quite a few people ask me for it or they asked me to make it and I flat out refused because it's just too dangerous," he said.
The State Highway Patrol found four pounds of dab during a traffic stop in Hamilton County. They arrested the driver, a Cleveland man. He was hauled off to jail and charged with felony drug possession and trafficking.