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If you are looking for a high-potency and fast-acting cannabis experience, dabbing may be right for you. Cannabis dabbing can be intimidating for first-timers, but our dabbing guide teaches you how to safely consume cannabis concentrates to reap their many benefits.

What Is Marijuana Dabbing?

Dabs are a highly concentrated form of cannabis that are usually vaporized and inhaled in a dab rig. Cannabis flower contains 1-30% THC levels. THC produces intoxicating effects. Dabs can have 50-99% THC, a significant difference compared to flower products.

Cannabis concentrates can be made at home or in a commercial lab through solvent-based or solventless extractions. Solvents include supercritical carbon dioxide, ethanol, and butane. Processors extract the trichome resins from the plant material.

Marijuana Dabbing Pros and Cons


  • Potency
  • Aroma and flavor
  • Clean vapor compared to smoke
  • Fast onset of effects


  • May be too potent for low-tolerance users
  • May require the use of flammable and explosive chemical solvents to make dabs
  • Can decrease THC tolerance
  • Concentrates may contain harmful residual toxins
  • Carcinogens, smoke, odor, cough, congestion, sinusitis, butane inhalation, and carbon monoxide

Different Types of Cannabis Concentrates

Cannabis concentrates are separated into two main groups: solventless-derived concentrates and solvent-based extracts. Cannabis concentrates come in different textures and potencies.

Solvent-Based Extractions

  • ShatterHard, brittle, and glass-like
  • Wax: Sticky and thick 
  • Crumble: Brittle and crumbly
  • Budder: Smooth and pliable
  • Live resinMade from fresh-frozen flower; high terpene levels
  • Distillate: Highly refined cannabis oil; high concentrations of THC or CBD
  • Isolate: Diamonds or powder form; up to 99.9% THC or CBD

Solventless Extractions

  • Kief: The collection of trichome glands from cannabis plant material
  • Dry sift hash: Kief is compressed into a slab or ball
  • Bubble hash: Made using the ice water extraction method
  • Live bubble hash: Made using fresh-frozen cannabis buds
  • Rosin: Made using a rosin press; sappy consistency
  • Live rosinMade using live bubble hash

Learn how to make dabs at home and how dabs are made in a commercial lab by reading our blog posts.

Time Until Onset of Effects of Marijuana Dabbing

The effects of dabbing appear after about 30-90 seconds.

Duration of Effects

The effects of dabbing can last 2-3 hours.

What Do I Need to Dab?

  • Banger: Flat-bottomed, square-necked dab rig nail
  • Carb capA type of dome that contains vapor and restricts air flow
  • Dab rigSpecial water pipe designed for dabbing concentrates
  • Dab tool (aka dabber): Used to pick up the concentrate and apply it to a heated nail
  • Dome: Glass good that contains the vapor in a dab rig
  • Nail: Part of the dab rig that is heated and vaporizes the cannabis concentrate
  • Quartz insert: Small dish that goes inside the dab nail to provide an extra surface area for better low-temp dabs and to protect the dab rig from becoming hazy or breaking
  • Reverse tweezers: Dabbing tool used to pick up hot dab rig parts
  • Terp pearls: Dabbing accessory used to evenly distribute the concentrate

How to Dab Cannabis Concentrates

WARNING! Nails can become extremely hot while dabbing. After dabbing, let your dab rig components cool off before handling them.

  1. Set up the dab rig and open the cannabis concentrate container.
  2. Heat the dab nail until it begins to glow red or orange.
    1. If you are using an electric nail, turn it on and wait until it has heated the nail to your desired temperature.
    2. If you are using a blow torch, turn it on and aim the flame right at the nail until it is red hot (around 20-60 seconds, depending on your torch).
  3. After the dab nail has heated, you can place a dome over it.
  4. Use a dab tool to apply a dab (smaller than a grain of rice or more) directly to the nail or banger.
  5. Inhale slowly. Rotate the dab tool on the nail to vaporize all the concentrate that’s stuck to it.
  6. Enjoy!

Best Dabbing Temperatures

Some users prefer to take dabs off a red-hot nail, while others prefer low-temp dabs. Ultimately, the best dabbing temperature is up to you. Experiment with different temperatures if necessary to gauge the difference in effects.

Hot dabs can produce immediate effects, but low-temp dabs allow you to preserve more of the aromatic terpenes and produce a more flavorful experience. Terpenes have a lower boiling point than cannabinoids like THC and CBD.


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Low-temperature dabs: 400-500º F (204-260º C)

Standard dabs: 545-570º F (285-299º C)

Hot dabs: 570-600º F (299-315º C)

Other Cannabis Concentrate Consumption Methods

Cannabis concentrates aren’t just meant for dabbing. Dabs can be smoked, eaten, or added to your favorite carrier oil to make a soothing topical.

  • Smoke: Add cannabis concentrates to your joints or bowls to enhance the potency. Smoking, however, can burn the fragile terpenes in the extract.
  • Edibles: Substitute cannabis flower with concentrates in your recipe. Dabs must be decarboxylated to activate the THC and CBD and make cannabutter or cannabis cooking oil.
  • Topicals: Infuse cannabis concentrates into your favorite topical recipe to add more therapeutic power. Topicals can be applied topically for localized relief and are not absorbed into the bloodstream.

What Are an E-Rig and E-Nail?

An electronic rig heats dabs with a battery compared to a torch when using a standard dab rig. An e-rig is plugged into an electrical outlet and can heat dabs to precise temperatures, depending on your preference.

An electronic nail (e-nail) is an attachment to a traditional dab rig that replaces the standard nail. It is made of ceramic, quartz, or titanium and attached to a control box that allows you to set it to a specific temperature.


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marijuana extraction course - Johanna Rose
Makes $24.50 @ THC +

  • Precise temperature control
  • Consistent experience
  • No open flame


  • Expensive
  • Not all are portable
  • Requires electrical outlet
  • Requires laborious cleaning

Learn How to Grow Weed, Make Dabs, and More at CTU

If you want to become a cannabis expert, enroll in the world’s most renowned online industry training program. Cannabis Training University’s Master of Cannabis Certification program covers basic and advanced cannabis topics.

Learn from industry experts with courses that are regularly updated to reflect the latest research, regulations, and technologies. Enroll in CTU today and start living your cannabis dream tomorrow!

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