Dabbing is a popular method of getting high that uses potent cannabis concentrates. It’s a bit different from smoking marijuana flower or vaping oil from a cartridge. Dabbing involves vaporizing cannabis extract and inhaling this vapor from a dab rig. Getting started with dabbing can seem overwhelming at first, but you’ll soon find that the payoff is higher than you could have ever imagined.
Cannabis concentrates are a lot more potent than marijuana flower. You only need a ‘dab’ of a dab to feel the effects. While modern cannabis buds commonly feature between 10% to 30% THC, concentrates can range between 50% to 90% THC. This intense potency is one of the reasons why dabbing is so popular amongst the cannabis community.
Tools You’ll Need
If you’re interested in dabbing, you’ll need to become familiar with the necessary equipment and terminology. Starting out can be overwhelming and expensive, especially since the art of dabbing is continuously evolving. These tools will help you get started with the classic dab setup.
- Dab Rig – Dab rigs are water pipes specifically designed for smoking dabs. Much like bongs, dab rigs use water to cool down vapor before you inhale it. Purchasing a decent quality rig can be expensive; turning a bong you already own into a dab rig can be an appealing and affordable option. Dabbing attachments to replace the glass bowl portion of a water pipe can be found at many smoke shops or dispensaries.
- Nail – The nail of a dab rig serves the same purpose as a bowl does on a bong — it’s the part where the weed goes. Some dab rigs come with a nail included. Nails are typically made of quartz, glass, or titanium, with titanium being the most common. You can buy nails online or in any smoke shop that sells dab supplies.
- Dome – A dome is a glass hood that gets placed around the nail to contain the vapor. Using a dome ensures that the dab can be properly inhaled. Standard nails require a dome to trap the vapor, but domeless nails do exist as well.
- Dabber – The dabber is a spoon-like tool used to apply concentrates to the nail. Dabbers come in a variety of materials including ceramic, metal, and glass.
- Torch – Regular lighters won’t cut it for dabbing — you’ll need to use a torch instead. Mini-torch lighters work just fine, but many dab enthusiasts choose to upgrade to a larger propane-fueled torch to heat the nail up faster. Some flameless methods, like e-nails, are the safest and healthiest option, though they do tend to be pricer.
E-Nail – E-nails are nails that heat themselves up using the power of electricity. Many versions plug directly into a power outlet, although portable options are available as well.
E-nails are significantly more expensive than standard nails, but they do provide a good deal of benefits. They eliminate the need for a torch, the most dangerous part of dabbing, and give users control over the nail’s temperature.
Types of Concentrates
Cannabis concentrates are globs of extracted cannabinoids that are perfect for dabbing. There are a wide variety of concentrates available on the market. Each type is processed differently and has a unique consistency. Concentrates can be purchased at marijuana dispensaries or through cannabis delivery services.
- Oil – Cannabis oils are thick, sticky substances created by separating cannabinoids from plant material. The most common oils found on the market are Butane Hash Oil (BHO) and CO2 oil. Other varieties include THC honey oil, Rick Simpson oil, and a range of tinctures.
- Shatter – Shatter is a solid concentrate that looks like a honey-colored shard of glass. This fragile substance is one of the most commonly dabbed concentrates.
- Wax – Wax has a buttery consistency and appearance. This spreadable texture makes wax easier to work with than many other concentrates, like oil or shatter.
- Live Resin – Live resin is created by freezing freshly harvested marijuana throughout the extraction process. This flash freezing process preserves terpenes in the cannabis, making this concentrate aromatic and flavorful.
- Crumble – Crumble is a soft, brittle concentrate. This variety is excellent for dabbing, making edibles, and even adding to joints for an extra kick.
- Budder – Budder is a moist, gooey, waxlike substance. This form of concentrate is easy to use and one of the most popular.
- Bubble Hash – Bubble hash is crumbly concentrate created using water, ice, and mesh screens. This process pulls out whole trichomes, making the substance powerful and THC-heavy.
How to Take a Dab
First, you’ll have to heat up the nail on your dab rig. Depending on the material your nail is made of, this step may vary. Light your torch and point the flame directly at the nail. Ideally, the nail should reach temperatures of 550°F to 750°F. For a titanium nail, this means keeping the flame applied until it turns red-hot. Quartz, however, can easily overheat and must be monitored. This is the most dangerous step of the dabbing process, so use caution.
Once the nail is hot, turn your torch off. Wait 10-15 seconds for a titanium nail or 45 second for a quartz nail to cool. While you’re waiting, prepare the concentrate of choice onto your dabber (just a small crumb will do).
Apply the dab directly on the nail inside the dome. Inhale slowly while rotating the tip of the dabber against the nail so you don’t waste any concentrates stuck on it. Once there’s no more smoke left in the dome, exhale!
Precautions & Tips
Dabbing is a great way to consume cannabis, although it does require knowledge, practice, and proper equipment. Follow these extra precautions to ensure a fun and safe experience.
- Dabbing involves open flames and materials that conduct heat. Use extreme caution and make sure all pieces are cool before touching them.
- Cannabis concentrates are potent. Start with small dabs and increase the size and dose as you get more comfortable.
- If you start feeling too high, take deep breaths and relax. Eating food and staying hydrated will help you feel better quickly. Additionally, using CBD oil can alleviate symptoms of being ‘too high.’
The complexity of dabbing can make it difficult to get into, but the highs might just be worth it. Once you get the rig set up and concentrates bubbling, you’ll realize that it’s all easier than it first seems. Now that you how to safely dab, it’s time to get lifted! Enjoy your trip to the moon!