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Beginner's Guide to Dabbing: The Fine Wine of Cannabis


Beginner’s Guide to Dabbing: The Fine Wine of Cannabis

The process of smoking a dab has grown in popularity over the past few years. Traditional smokers are experimenting with dabs for a fresh cannabis experience. Others are dabbing to get a more potent effect and taste. It’s true, dabbing concentrated cannabis produces a different feeling than traditional methods of smoking a joint or a bong hit.

Many advocates will relate smoking dabs to the experience of drinking wine. That’s because there are many subtle nuances between different types or strains of concentrates. This allows the consumer to uniquely experience cannabis in a connoisseur like fashion. Since dabs are concentrated cannabis, the flavor of the strains are concentrated really giving the consumer a full flavor profile for their strain. Our guide will introduce you to the dabbing process, and explain everything you need to know before you gear up to take your first dab.

What Is Dabbing?

Dabbing is the process of smoking vaporized cannabis concentrates through a glass bong or dab rig. Since dabbing involves smoking a more concentrated form of cannabis with higher THC levels, users can expect a more potent effect.

The concentrated wax or thick syrup is vaporized by applying high heat and inhaling the vapors. In essence, dabbing cannabis concentrates allows users to achieve a similar level of effect by consuming less than they would with smoking flower.

What Are the Multiple Ways to Dab?

One of the beauties of dabbing with concentrate is you are not confined to the typical smoking methods of burning bud. There are many ways to dab, and because dabbing is becoming such a popular thing among regular cannabis users, there’s always some new way to use dabs and waxes showing up in dispensaries and shops. Just like those who primarily smoke marijuana in the traditional way, you may want to experiment with different ways to dab until you find a way that suits you and your lifestyle.

Using a Rig

A dab rig comes in many different sizes and styles. They typically consist of a nail where the wax is placed for heating, a glass piece with water percolation, and a few other components that can vary according to rig style. Nails can come in different types of material including quartz, ceramic, titanium. Most experienced dabbers recommend quartz nails. In order to use a dab rig, you need a torch to heat the nail and concentrate to the correct temperature for vaporization. 

Burning Dabs on an E-Nail

If the whole idea of holding a small blow torch to the wax concentrate in a rig or in a pipe sounds intimidating, an electrical nail is probably going to be a preferred dabbing method for you. An e-nail allows users to set a specific temperature on the heating module that will automatically heat up your nail for you. Using an e-nail to take a dab is similar to using a regular nail, but instead of using a hand torch to heat the nail, electricity does it for you automatically. One of the advantages of using an electric nail, especially with a high-end model, is you get power over burning temperature, which can affect the effects you experience and how the vapors taste.

Firing On a Health Stone in a Pipe

Using a health stone is probably the least intimidating way to take a dab. A health stone is a small naturally porous rock that slips down inside of the bowl of your pipe. You sit the concentrated cannabis on the stone, light it with a cigar torch, and inhale. If you want to experience dabbing without investing in a rig or other equipment, a health stone tends to be the cheapest way to get started. This method is great for someone who doesn’t want to deal with using a larger torch to heat up a nail. 

Using a Pen

Dab pens are extremely popular among medical cannabis users because they allow them to get the medicine they need in a more socially acceptable fashion. Dab pens are designed with a small encapsulated area where you place a tiny bit of wax. The burner inside heats up to a high degree to vaporize the wax, and you simply inhale to take in the vapors as needed. To make this process even simpler, you can also get dab pens that have pre-filled cartridges that you just swap out when all of the wax inside is gone. These are great for on the go dabbers or someone who is looking to be discreet in a social environment. 

What Tools Do You Need to Dab?

It’s best to be prepared, especially when dabbing for the first time.

The entire process can be intimidating to a new user. But it’s actually pretty simple and can be rewarding if you take the right dab. Here is your checklist before venturing into your first dab:

  • Dabbing rig, nail, or health stone and traditional smoking pipe
  • Small butane torch that is capable of burning for long periods to apply heat (there are torches specifically made for dabbers that are the best)
  • Dabbing product, which could be anything from shatter, crumble, and sauce, or similar concentrated forms of cannabis
  • Dab tool, which is used to scoop dab out in small portions and apply to heating surface
  • Carb cap to restrict air flow through a rig until the dab hits the proper temperature
  • Q-tips to clean residue off your nail (if you don’t have any residue left your dabs are too hot)

How to Smoke Dabs in X Easy Steps

Taking dabs is a different process than smoking a bowl. It’s usually at least a couple steps to take your dab

Step 1: Fill up your dab rig with water

To take a dab you need a dab rig, which is a smaller glass bong, and a nail to put in its joint.

Step 2: Pick the size of dab you want to take

First get the size of the dab you want to take on a dab tool and set it aside so it’s ready to go. This is good to do so you’re not scrambling around right before its time to take your dab. 

Step 3: Heat your nail

Heat up the nail with a butane torch until it reaches the desired temperature, usually 30 seconds is a good time to start with. 

Step 4: Wait for cooling

Wait for the nail to cool slightly before taking your dab. After nail has cooled for a bit, usually double the heat up time, put the dab on the tool in the nail and inhale through the rig.

Step 5: Add your dab to the nail and use the carb cap

After all the wax is dabbed into the nail place a carb cap on top to lock in leftover heat and aid in getting as much of the hit as possible. This also helps distribute the wax to hotter parts of the nail by changing the airflow direction.  After taking your dab Q-tip your nail to help keep it clean longer. 

How to Smoke Dabs without a Rig and Nail

Smoking concentrated cannabis can be tough without the proper equipment. If you’re left without a rig and nail, try breaking up the dab into small pieces. Spread the crumbles over a large bowl of weed. Then try to light the bowl slowly and not torch it to allow for the dabs to vaporize. You want to try to bring the wax to vaporization temperature so make sure the wax is good and melted before you torch the bowl. 

Do Dabs Smell?

Dabs do smell, they just don’t smell for as long. The smell of dabs dissipates a lot faster than cannabis flowers. The smell also doesn’t really stick to your clothes so you  don’t have to worry about going in public and smelling like cannabis.

Can You Overdose on Dabs?

You cannot overdose on dabs medically speaking. You can take too many dabs to the point where you could be uncomfortably stoned though. It is best to just understand your limits and not go too far. Smoke in moderation, don’t over do it.

How Long Does a Dab High Last?

A dab high lasts longer than a hit of flowers would. Since the cannabis is concentrated the effects tend to be stronger and last longer than flowers.

Pros of Dabbing

  • The effects hit you faster, which is often appreciated by medicinal users
  • The taste
  • You experience a more intense high or more intense relief
  • Smaller dabs will have more potent effects than the same amount of flower
  • Dabs are more compact to carry without drawing attention to yourself
  • Concentrated dabs boost THC levels between 50 and 75 percent; a joint will probably contain around 18 percent with 60 percent of that lost when you burn it
  • Dabbing opens the doors to experiment with different techniques (i.e. dab rigs, vaporizers, etc.)
  • You get to experience the concentrated advantages of different weed strains

Cons of Dabbing

  • Vaporizers, rigs, and other dabbing equipment used must be properly cleaned because compounds from the dabs accumulate
  • Dabbing requires you to use more intense heating methods, like a small butane torch with rigs
  • Dabbing using a rig is a more involved process than simply smoking flower
  • Making the concentrated dabs on your own can be a dangerous process, particularly with solvents

Is Dabbing Right for You?

Dabs are just one component in the rapidly growing world of legal cannabis products. In the end, the best way to tell if dabbing is something you’ll like is to give it a shot. You may even find that you prefer dabbing over traditional smoking or consumption, it all boils down to personal taste. 

Hopefully now you have a base of information that you can make your own decisions about dabbing with. It’s a great way to fully enjoy the taste of cannabis strains, as long as you don’t over do it, but’s that’s everything in life. Don’t let the process intimidate you and give it a shot, you won’t be disappointed. 

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