Hash is an archaic form of "concentrated cannabis" and is as old as the use of cannabis itself, but the THC level and strength are in no way comparable to the concentrates used nowadays. Along with how it has assimilated itself as a sub-cultural phenomenon of sorts in such a short time, it is a bit of a mystery where, when, and who invented the "Dab".
Alas, the first archived article about it was published by Cannabis Culture in 2005 and according to it, the first "dabs" were in fact being smoked as early on as the 60s.
By that time modern methods to extract cannabinoids involved alcohol, chloroform, butane and other solvents and the outcome was traded as "honey oil", "red oil", "jelly-butane hash" or similarly named concoctions - the first dabs. The purity and cannabinoid levels were usually higher than those of hash, but the concentrates were often polluted by solvent residues and the process of producing extracts with chemical solvents was dangerous.
According to BudderKing, "Budder" is the outcome of ten years of research and its roots lay in the production of liquid cannabis oil - the honey oil. He and his colleagues in Surrey, British Columbia took honey oil manufacturing to a new level when they created a product named "glass". BudderKing explained that "It was a refined oil that was manufactured in a multi-step process that involved alcohol" and that "We then took it further and it hardened into something that had the feel and look of amber. We liked it because it was extremely strong and much easier to smoke than oil."
Some prominent people in the medical marijuana industry stated that they first ever heard of those high octane concentrates around the Summer of 2010. They also suppose that the concentrates took form first in the United States, either in Northern California or Colorado. From there the Dabs began to spread like wildfire and pick up momentum particularly in the areas in and around Denver and Boulder.
In 2012 the process of manufacturing concentrates became much more industrialized and prominent amongst growers and at the high times cup of the same year, there were actually more people smoking concentrates, than marijuana - and that in an amount, that it could be called close to abuse.
The word about this healthier or, according to skeptics who think it is a far more serious "drug" than cannabis, hazardous and abusive way to smoke, is spreading fast and only time will tell what the next level of cannabis products will be.