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Cannabis Concentrate

If you are a complete beginner in the world of dabs, don't fret. Our beginner's guide can take you through every step of the consumption and home extraction process, so you can enjoy your DIY dabs from the comfort of your home.

Ready to learn how to smoke dabs and how to make dabs?

Table of contents:

  • What are dabs?
  • How to dab like a pro
  • How to make dabs at home
  • How to become a dabbing expert

What Are Dabs?

Dabs are potent cannabis concentrates that come in a variety of forms, including:

  • Shatter: A thin, translucent, and glass-like extract
  • Crumble: An extract with a crumbly inconsistency
  • Budder: An extract with a creamy and buttery consistency
  • Hash: An extract made from compressed kief in the form of a ball or slab
  • Live resin: An extract made with fresh frozen cannabis to preserve terpenes
  • Distillate: A highly potent extract of THC or CBD commonly found in vape cartridges and edibles
  • Terp sauce: An extract with a mix of a runny and crystallized consistency with a high terpene concentration
  • THCA/CBDA crystals: A crystallized powder of non-intoxicating compounds

How to Dab Like a Pro

If you want to learn how to dab like a pro, we've got you covered. Follow our step-by-step process to start dabbing in no time.

Step 1: Choose the Right Extracts for You

Always shop for quality extracts from a licensed retailer to ensure that your product is free from contaminants.

Here are some tips to help you find the right extract:

  • If you love the aroma and flavor of cannabis, look for high-terpene full-spectrum extracts (HTFSE) which have a higher terpene concentration than average.
  • Full-spectrum products contain the entire range of therapeutic compounds for improved effects and minimal side effects.
  • If you don't want any solvent in your cannabis, consider solventless extraction methods products such as ice water hash, rosin, kief, and hash.

Step 2: Gather Your Dab Rig and Dabbing Tools

Here are some of the basic tools you'll need to smoke dabs:

  • Dab rig: A water pipe but for dabs
  • Dab nail: A heating chamber for your dabs
  • Dabber: A tool that lets you collect and load a dab of extract into your hot nail
  • Butane torch: A tool used to heat the nail
  • Thermometer: A tool used to get the appropriate temperature of the nail
  • Carb cap: Like a lid on a boiling pot, a carb cap improves airflow and allows you to take lower temperature dabs
  • Terp pearls: Tiny balls that spin around the nail for better oil distribution
  • Quartz inserts: Inserts keep your dab rig clean and provide better dabs
  • Electronic nail (e-nail): An external heating source that attaches to a dab rig for better temperature control

Don't have a dab rig at home? Don't worry. You can easily learn how to smoke dabs without a rig. There are many YouTube tutorials and blog posts showing you how to make a homemade dab rig.

We've got plenty of resources to help you learn how to smoke dabs with a knife. Check out our blog post on how to heat up a glass dab nail without torch.

Step 3: Get the Temperature Just Right

When learning how to use a dab rig or how to use a dab pen, one of the most important things you will learn is how to heat up and cool down your dab rig to get the temperature right to avoid burning your dabs or underheating them.

Essentially, the size and thickness of your dab nail will determine how long you have to heat your nail and how long you have to let it cool down before you add your dab. If you don't want to learn how long it will take to heat up your dab rig, an e-nail makes temperature control a piece of cake.

Step 4: Keep Your Dab Tools Clean

Keeping you or dab tools clean doesn't just make your rig look good, it improves the overall experience of your high. Dabs can leave behind reclaim on the nail, which can affect the aroma and flavor of your dabs.

Check out resources on how to clean a dab nail and how to clean a dab banger that use isopropyl alcohol, water, and soap to extend the longevity of your tools.

The frequency of cleaning depends on how often and how many dabs you smoke. We recommend cleaning out your rig with every use to reduce the amount of time you have to spend deep cleaning later on.

How to Make Dabs at Home

Dispensaries carry a wide range of dabs that vary in color, potency, consistency, and purity. You can also make your own dabs at home using flower buds, hash, or kief. Here are a few easy and safe ways to make a DIY dab.

Alcohol Extraction

Alcohol is a powerful and efficient solvent that can strip away the plant’s active compounds.

Here’s how you can make hash oil with alcohol.


  • Raw cannabis material
  • Food-grade alcohol (190 proof Everclear or similar)
  • Oven-safe glass containers (bowls or dishes)
  • Mesh strainer
  • Unbleached coffee filters
  • Flameless heat source

How to make cannabis tincture:

  1. Break apart your buds by hands leaving behind a coarse grind.
  2. (Optional) Bake your buds on a baking sheet at about 180º F for about 20 minutes to remove more of the moisture.
  3. Put the cannabis material in a glass jar and add enough alcohol to immerse all of the material. Then, stir slowly for about 10 minutes.
  4. Place a strainer over the glass dish and slowly pour the alcohol and cannabis mixture into the strainer and dish. Save the buds for additional extraction runs.
  5. Pour the mixture into a rice cooker or heat the dish on a heating pad on low heat for several hours to remove the alcohol.
  6. In the end, you will have an extract with a resinous consistency without any alcohol.

It's that easy.

Ice Water Extraction

Ice water hash is one of the highest-grade extract forms available.


  • Cannabis buds
  • Bucket or large trash container
  • Water and ice
  • Mixing spoon
  • Micron filters such as bubble bags
  • Gloves

How to make ice water hash:

  1. Freeze your cannabis for at least 1 hour to get them to about 41º F or lower.
  2. Place the cannabis material in a large container or specialized ice water extraction machine.
  3. Add water and a lot of ice (regular or dry).
  4. Wait a few minutes for the water to get cold. When it gets below 34º F, the trichomes are brittle and easier to break.
  5. Use the spoon to mix the material for a few minutes to break apart the trichomes.
  6. Arrange your micro-filters such specialized bubble bags over a separate container with the largest number (220 microns) on top/inside and the smallest on the bottom/outside.
  7. Pour the buds and cold water mixture into the innermost bag/filter allowing them to flow through the outer bags and into the container.
  8. Put your gloves on and pull out the innermost bag squeezing out the water into the bag underneath it. Store these buds for further extraction.
  9. Pull out the second bag and squeeze the excess water into the bag underneath it.
  10.  Scrape the resin from the bottom of the bag/filter, put it on parchment paper in a thin layer, and allow it to dry for at least 48 hours.
  11. Repeat the process for the remaining bags/filters.

Now you have ice water hash.

Rosin Pressing

Making your own rosin is one of the easiest ways to make dabs at home.


  • Hair straightener
  • Cannabis flower, hash, or kief
  • Unbleached parchment paper
  • Dabber
  • Heat-resistant gloves

How to make rosin

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  1. Set your hair straightener to the lowest setting (about 300º F).
  2. Cut the parchment paper into small pieces.
  3. Fold the parchment paper in half.
  4. Place your cannabis material in your folded parchment paper.
  5. Gently press the parchment paper with your fingers.
  6. Line the cannabis buds in your parchment paper with your hair straightener and firmly press it for about 3 to 7 seconds.
  7. Remove the parchment paper and buds from the hair straightener.
  8. Unfold the parchment paper.
  9. Remove the flattened cannabis bud and other plant material with your dabber.

And there you have it. You have homemade rosin dabs ready to consume.

Become an Expert on How to Dab at Cannabis Training University

Ready to become a dabbing expert? Enroll in Cannabis Training University to learn all about cannabis plants, including how to use and make concentrates.

Our online curriculum will also teach you:

  • How to make dab wax
  • How to make edibles with dabs
  • How to decarb dabs
  • How to make dabs with butane

Enroll today!

Fred Hernandez - Cannabis industry expert writer
Fred Hernandez

Fred Hernandez is a highly accomplished and versatile writer, boasting an extensive background in the cannabis industry. With an in-depth understanding of various sectors including cultivators, processors, retailers, and brands, Fred's expertise spans across the entire cannabis landscape. As a prominent contributor to CTU, he consistently delivers insightful articles exploring the latest developments, news, and regulations shaping the cannabis industry. Whether it's delving into the intricacies of cannabis products, cannabis strain reviews, or providing comprehensive analyses of cannabis laws, or sharing expert insights on cannabis cultivation techniques, Fred's wealth of knowledge positions him as an invaluable writer and educator for all cannabis-related subjects.

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