TABLE OF CONTENTS
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.
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
- 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
Cannabis concentrates are separated into two main groups: solventless-derived concentrates and solvent-based extracts. Cannabis concentrates come in different textures and potencies.
- Shatter: Hard, brittle, and glass-like
- Wax: Sticky and thick
- Crumble: Brittle and crumbly
- Budder: Smooth and pliable
- Live resin: Made 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
- 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 rosin: Made using live bubble hash
Time Until Onset of Effects of Marijuana Dabbing
The effects of dabbing appear after about 30-90 seconds.
The effects of dabbing can last 2-3 hours.
- Banger: Flat-bottomed, square-necked dab rig nail
- Carb cap: A type of dome that contains vapor and restricts air flow
- Dab rig: Special 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
WARNING! Nails can become extremely hot while dabbing. After dabbing, let your dab rig components cool off before handling them.
- Set up the dab rig and open the cannabis concentrate container.
- Heat the dab nail until it begins to glow red or orange.
- If you are using an electric nail, turn it on and wait until it has heated the nail to your desired temperature.
- 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).
- After the dab nail has heated, you can place a dome over it.
- Use a dab tool to apply a dab (smaller than a grain of rice or more) directly to the nail or banger.
- Inhale slowly. Rotate the dab tool on the nail to vaporize all the concentrate that’s stuck to it.
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.
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)
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.
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.
- Precise temperature control
- Consistent experience
- No open flame
- Not all are portable
- Requires electrical outlet
- Requires laborious cleaning
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