Taking dabs refers to inhaling concentrated cannabis extracts. Dabs are super-potent and effective, making them one of the trendiest methods of cannabis consumption in 2019.
Dabs are all the craze now, and this dab has nothing to do with dance moves. So what is dabbing exactly? Dabs refer to various types of cannabis concentrates and extracts often referred to as rosin, wax, shatter budder, or hash oil.
Even just a small amount of cannabis concentrate can be incredibly potent, which makes dabbing the fastest and most effective method of administration. Cannabis concentrates have been around for ages, so why is dabbing so popular all of a sudden now then?
Advances in cannabinoid extraction technology, dab rig accessories, and bong attachments have amplified dabbing into the budding world of mainstream cannabis consumption. Now you can dab pretty much any ratio of cannabinoids, terpenes, or your favorite strain profiles of cannabis using multiple kinds of concentrates and dab tools.
What Are Dabs & How Are Dabs Made
“Dabs” is a general umbrella term used to describe most types of cannabis concentrates that can be consumed with a dab rig or dab straw.
Essentially there are two main types of cannabis concentrates used for dabbing and the difference in the two comes from the way the concentrates are made.
Concentrates that are extracted using chemical solvents include,
- BHO (Butane Hash Oil)
- CO2 oil
- Live resin
- Caviar & Jelly Hash
- RSO (Rick Simpson Oil)
In solvent-based concentrates, a chemical solvent is used to separate the cannabinoid-rich oils and terpenes from raw cannabis plant material. The risk is that some solvent residue may remain in the concentrate, which can be toxic. It’s best to use only concentrates that have been tested for purity and contamination.
Concentrates that do not use chemical solvents for extraction include,
- Rosin Extract
- Kief & live kief
- Bubble Hash
- Full-melt bubble hash
- Dry sift
- Cold Water Hash
You can learn more about the different types of cannabis concentrates, how they’re made and how to dab different kinds of concentrates linked here.
Dabbing vs. Vaping
Essentially dabbing is vaping to the extreme. With dabbing, the concentrate is placed on a hot “nail” heated with a torch. The nail is hot enough to make the concentrate immediately sublimate into mostly vapor and some smoke.
Vaporizers that are made to use with cannabis concentrates come in small handheld or tabletop devices. Handheld devices like vape pens are great for anyone wanting to take their concentrates on the go.
Concentrates For Vape Pens
Cannabis concentrates are used with vape pens and other handheld devices, but vaping is definitely different than dabbing. Vaporizers are much more discreet and users have more control over how much product they consume. Some are made for use with dried cannabis, but most will typically be made to use with various types of concentrates.
Vaporizers often come with variable heat settings, which is helpful to gauge the intensity of hits, allowing you to increase or decrease as needed. Having control over dosage helps ensure that you don’t over consume, which can easily happen with potent THC-extracts and oils.
The less portable desktop style vaporizers, such as the infamous Volcano, are often the choice of home users. Tabletop vaporizers are typically equipped with a hose or vape-filled bag for sharing and inhaling cannabis concentrates or dried cannabis.
Dabbing vs. Smoking
You could potentially get the same effect from just one dab hit as you would from multiple heavy bong rips. That’s because dabs are super-concentrated and potent. Although high-CBD concentrates are available, most users choose high-THC dabs.
If your not careful you could end up dabbing too much, leading to feeling overwhelmingly stoned. With smoking cannabis, it’s a lot easier to manage the dosage.
The lungs absorb most cannabinoids in cannabis smoke quickly. Holding the smoke in more than 3-5 seconds is most likely overkill. But when it comes to dabbing holding the hit in can significantly increase the effects of cannabis concentrate.
How Dabbing Works
Dabbing without a rig is possible, but it’s a bit rudimentary and you can risk wasting costly concentrate if done improperly. One great way to dab without a rig is to use a dab straw, honey straw, or nectar collector.
It’s basically a straw that’s made to be heated on one end for smoking cannabis concentrates. Honey straws for dabbing are quick; portable dab tools used mainly by dabbers on the go or those just getting into the sport.
Dabbing uses a bong modified with dab accessories and attachments such as nails, caps and domes, ribs, diffusers, and percolators, which allow you to take heavy rips of concentrates from a bong or water bong.
Bangers For Dabs
Bangers, typically made from quartz or ceramic, are essentially the bowl for dabbing. Some bangers have different shapes or features, but all do the same job. Bangers are heated with a blowtorch. Then concentrates are delicately placed into the hot banger.
When concentrates hit the hot banger they instantaneously sublimate. The banger funnels the smoke and vapor into the bong and presto; you’ve got a dab. Dabbing with a banger is great, but dabs can also be done using a nail and a dome, or with an e-nail or e-rig.
Nails & Dab Accessories
Nails are typically made from titanium, glass, ceramic, and quartz and are designed to modify most bongs into a dab rig. Concentrates are placed onto a hot nail and then domed, optionally with a carb cap.
A butane blowtorch is the tool of choice typically used for heating bangers and dab nails. This can be intimidating for a lot of dabbing beginners, which is understandable. What if you get blazed and burn your eyebrows off or something?
Blowtorches can be difficult to manage, but meanwhile, there is another option for those who would prefer to forego the flame. An electric nail, or e-nail, is a great option for anyone who’d rather not risk setting their self on fire.
How To Season a New Nail For Dabbing
Seasoning a dab nail is pretty easy. It’s basically burning off any residual coating or unwanted substances from the nail by heating it with a blowtorch.
Use a tiny amount of regular food-grade oil, or concentrate if you like, and heat the nail until its red-hot. Let it cool off and its ready to go. Typically, you want to season most titanium and ceramic nails, but quartz and glass can just be washed off with water.
E-nails for Dabs
An electric nail can modify a dab rig or they can be bought as a standalone type of dab-rig. E-nails are usually made in titanium or quartz and allow you to heat the nail to an exact temperature. Temperature control for dab rigs is perfect for adjusting the heat needed to dab various different types of cannabis concentrates.
An e-nail ensures a great dab every time without the fire hazard that a typical nail and torch setup comes with. However, expect to shell out a bit more cash for an electric nail or dab rig. More about dab rigs, carb caps, e-nails, nails, domes, and bangers a little later on.
Diffusers and percolators are dab accessories for dab rigs designed to create a cooler, softer, and smoother dabbing experience. That being said, not all dab accessories are made equally. As with most equipment or gear, you get what you pay for when it comes to dab rigs, tools, and accessories.
What Are Dabbing Tools
If you want to dab then you’re going to need the right tools. First things first, sort out your concentrates. You’ll need to have your concentrates stored in a container that keeps them from getting too warm and melting.
What’s the best type of container for cannabis concentrates? Most people store their oils and shatter in small, medical grade, silicone containers. A great silicone container is one of the first tools you’ll need to start dabbing.
Other options for storing sticky oils, waxes, and other concentrates include parchment paper and glass or plastic containers. What’s so great about silicone for storing concentrates?
- Non-stick, which means you won’t lose any of that tasty hash oil.Non-toxic and easy to wash and keep clean.
- Silicone acts as an efficient insulator keeping your concentrates from becoming warm and losing structure or melting
Other dabbing tools and accessories you’ll need to start dabbing include,
- A dabber to titrate concentrates from their container to the dab rig
- A blow torch to heat the dab nail perfectly
- A dab rig, or modifiable water pipe, or bong
- A nail or banger
- A dab mat to keep your rig safe
- A dome or glass hood if the nail has no airflow
How Long To Heat The Nail For The Best Dab
Heating the dab nail properly is just one of those things you can truly only learn through experience. For most beginners, dabbing its one of the most difficult parts of getting a good dab.
Overheating the nail can mean that you precious concentrates can combust, turning into a harsh and poor tasting smoke instead of a thick heady dab rip.
Under heating the dab nail can mean wasting expensive cannabis oil or wax. So. How long should you heat the nail for the best dab rip?
If using anything other than glass heat the nail with a torch until its glowing red-hot. Then wait for the nail to cool. Placing concentrates on nails at a lower temperature is the key to getting a great tasting and huge dab.
How can you tell if the nail is ready for dabs? Hold your hand close over the nail. If you can hold it there, but it’s still super hot, then the nail is ready for your concentrate goodness. If you can hold your hand over the nail, but it’s not at least nearly unbearable, then your nail’s become too cold.
Dabbing Tips & Tricks
After a little bit of practice, most newbies get the hang of dabbing within a few sessions. Here are a few quick tips to help you have a great dab experience.
Dabs are highly concentrated and it doesn’t take much to over consume something so potent. Take it easy, especially if you’re a beginner. Try tiny dabs at first and if you need more you can always increase the size of your dab, but starting small makes sure you don’t over consume or waste any of that awesome shatter you just bought.
Dabbing can be dangerous considering it can involve fire, glass, electrical devices, with consuming psychoactive substances. But with a little education, training, and practice mostly anyone can handle dabbing safely.
A dab mat can be used to keep your costly dab rig safe during use. Typically made from silicone, they keep your rig from sliding or getting scratched while dabbing.
Dab at low nail temperatures to ensure that concentrates vaporize correctly. Concentrates hitting a red-hot nail can be burned like putting grease in a smoking hot frying pan where everything just goes up in smoke
– Make sure when torching the nail that you don’t heat the dab rig or bong. And absolutely don’t think about touching the nail ever! Even if it doesn’t look hot, nails can stay hot enough to burn you for a long time, so just don’t do it unless it’s not been used recently.
Clean Dab Tools & Accessories
– Keeping your dab setup free of leftover concentrate residue will make sure that your next session is hassle-free. Using a dirty dab rig can be a little smoking a cigarette butt. It’s just not a nice taste. Keep it fresh and tasty by cleaning your dabber, nail, and dab rig frequently.
Dabbing Wrap Up
Finally, we’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to dabbing. Check out our other articles to learn more about dabbing tools, dab rigs, cannabis concentrates, and the latest news related to concentrates and dabbing.
What’s your favorite cannabis concentrate for dabbing? Did we miss something? Have a dab-related question? Want to share your dab-story? We’d love to hear from you! Leave us a comment in the discussion section below.
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