The Other 420: Cannabis Oil 710 'Holiday' Gains Prominence Promoting Concentrated Marijuana

Have you wished your favorite cannabis consumer a "Happy 710" yet?

It's "dab day!"

In a few short years, July 10 has risen to become the national "holiday" to celebrate the use of — and, from a marijuana-industry perspective — to promote concentrated resin products like wax, shatter, and hash oil.

"It's 'oil' upside-down," Ti Filice, manager at Kind Concentrates, a local medical-marijuana products maker, said of the number. "It's like one of those old calculator jokes."

The day/time/number is not yet as famous as 420, the number that commemorates both a day of the year and the time on the clock for getting high.

But the cultural meme of 710 — also seen as 7:10, 7-10 or 7/10 — has risen to prominence in the last several years, driven by the increased sales of products made of or infused with cannabis concentrates.

Most peoples still don't have a clue what 710 is, and even many former marijuana smokers have no experience with the products it represents. If you haven't seen much marijuana since the 1990s, you might be surprised at the range of products that modern dispensaries sell.

Concentrates are made by stripping away the THC- and CBD-bearing glands from cannabis plants with high pressure and a gas like butane or carbon dioxide. The process produces a sticky oil used to fill vape-pen cartridges, to mix into edibles, or to provide the active ingredient for tinctures, patches, or capsules.

Concentrated cannabis resin is also made into semi-solid chunks sold as shatter, wax, crumble, or hashish used for a type of high-heat vaping called dabbing.

Cannabis entrepreneurs are undoubtedly most responsible for increasing the excitement over 710, hoping to boost sales in the burgeoning state-legal marijuana industry.

Retail sales of concentrates increased by 125 percent last year across various states with legal dispensaries, according to Marijuana Business Daily.

Medical-marijuana dispensaries in Arizona, plus adult-use shops in Nevada, Colorado, Oregon, and other states, now create a celebratory atmosphere for 7-10 and discount pricing. Long lines are standard on July 10 at the most popular dispensaries, as patients flock to take advantage of various deals and share in the holiday spirit.

If you pick up this week's Phoenix New Times print edition, you'll even see a 20-page "710 Guide" packed with ads, plus articles about concentrates and how the 710 buzz got started by house advertising manager Jennifer Huber.

As Huber mentioned, cannabis aficionado and underground musician Taskrok took credit for the phenomena in a 2015 interview for by Mitchell Colbert. The musician helped create The Movement in 2011, an album about dabbing and using concentrates that tries to get people thinking about the number as the new 420. He's not a big fan of the day's commercialization.

“I still don’t try to lay claim to own it, but I do have a sense of pride behind it, so the least I could do is tell you my story. It’s not every day you start a new stoner holiday," Taskrok was quoted as saying.

Using concentrates began much earlier. But the new holiday, or sorts, helps bring awareness to the growing cannabis-oil market.

Filice said that concentrates bring greater relief to medical users, and designating one day to celebrate concentrates helps bring awareness to the growing cannabis-oil market. A medicinal user himself, Filice said that he discovered dabbing only a few years ago.

"At first, it sounded crazy and scary," he said.

The first time he inhaled a concentrated THC dab, "it was like the first time again," he said. "It was a step up."

When free of contaminants, concentrates don't seem to be any less safe than regular marijuana, which itself is often considered safer than alcohol or any illegal drug. But no one knows for sure, leading to recent question-headlines like that of a December 2016 PBS Newshour piece, "How Safe is Super-Concentrated Marijuana?"

July 10 may never rival April 20 as the most special day for cannabis users.

But with lines around the block in Nevada after that state recently opened its recreational-marijuana stores, and with California soon about to follow suit, for the next few years, this holiday has nowhere to go but up.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.