[UPDATED] Smoking Dabs: What is Dabbing & How to do it
[UPDATED] Smoking Dabs: What is Dabbing & How to do it
It may be surprising to know that dabbing has been prevalent in the smoking world for more than a decade. But with the recent legalization and advanced method of extraction, smoking dabs have become all the rage at the moment. Even though it is highly confused with the dance type, dabbing does have a better and long-lasting effect! And if you wanna twerk after that, that’s totally on you!
So, what exactly are dabs, and how are they made? How to smoke dabs, and what constitutes dabbing?
So many questions! We answer them all. Read on!
Smoking Dabs: What are they?
Starting from the basics, let’s look at what are Dabs and how exactly are they made?
Dabs are a concentrated version of your regular marijuana and cannabis buds and flowers. Smoking Dabs are perfect for heavy consumers or those with severe medical conditions. With the help of a solvent like butane or carbon dioxide, the THC and other cannabinoids are extracted, resulting in a sticky, oily texture.
Also known as shatter, budder, wax, and Butane Hash Oil (BHO), they are more potent, thereby making you really, really stoned in just a few minutes.
When tested, Buds and flowers contain 10 to 25% THC, while concentrates tend to test between 50 to 80% THC, depending on the extract type and quality. It is evident that the THC in Dabs are magnanimously higher than raw buds, and you only need a tiny amount to be mind-numbingly ripped!
The next time someone asks how much THC is in Dabs, you would know the correct answer.
You can also avoid the cerebral euphoria by dabbing non-intoxicating cannabis concentrates, which will give you a quick therapeutic relief without the uninvited “high”.
Now that we know what dabs are, let’s see how they are made and how do you smoke dabs!
Smoking Dabs: How are they made?
If you’re wondering how are dabs made, there are two different processes of extracting the CBD and Terpenes from the raw cannabis buds; Solvent-Based Extraction and Solventless Extraction. Solvent-based extraction makes use of hydrocarbon solvents such as butane, propane and hexane, or through the use of CO2. On the other hand, Solventless extraction method uses only heat and pressure to produce concentrates.
Basically, dabs are made out of the buds and are a more compressed and processed version of them.
The Different Types of Dabs
Similar to walking into a strain shop and finding a huge variety of buds, there are different types of dabs that lead you towards the euphoric state.
They differ in colours, texture, consistency, or are simply named after the extraction method. Which is why smoking dabs may not always have the same effect,it all depends on the strain. Let’s see what are the most popular types of Dabs based on their extraction method.
Butane Hash Oil
Any type of Cannabis oil extracted with the help of Butane is termed BHO(Butane Hash Oil). Butane is the preferred solvent for a majority of extracts as it allows large quantities to be extracted with higher yields when compared to other methods.
CO2 oils make use of CO2 as their solvent as they are less viscous than their counterparts. A common ingredient in weed cartridges, they are also used to make runny distillates with high levels of THC and added terpenes.
The resin technique is a form of non-solvent extraction which makes use of heat and pressure to extract the cannabis oil. To make rosin, a hair straightener or heat press is required. Either is used to apply heat and pressure to cannabis until hash oil comes out.
The other two types of Dabs are Sauce, which gets its name from the consistency, and Rick Simpson Oil, which is harsher than the concentrated listed above.
Seems fascinating, isn’t it? That’s what smoking dabs is all about!
Smoking Dabs: What is dabbing?
Now that you know where dabs come from, let’s tackle the bigger question – What is Dabbing?
Dabbing is essentially smoking the dabs or concentrates to experience a surreal high. It works upon the principle of flash vaporization, giving you a clean and smooth hit. It may seem daunting for the beginners, but once you understand how it works, it’s a smooth ride from thereon.
The answer to how do you smoke dabs is a precise one. All you have to do is place the concentrate on a heated bowl or nail. As soon as it meets the heated surface, it vaporizes, filling your bong or dab rig with smoke which can be inhaled. Like the popular bongs, it makes use of water to cool down the smoke. And, you’re now smoking dabs!
Cannabis extracts that are precisely and carefully manufactured allow the consumer to experience a clean, pure product that’s easier on the lungs. Smoking extracts eliminate the resin, hot smoke, and other unwanted materials while still preserving cannabinoids and other compounds like terpenes.
Smoking Dabs- The tools you need to dab
I get a lot of questions on how do you smoke dabs, especially with a rig. Let me explain.
Dab rigs, also known as oil rigs, are the smoking paraphernalia used to consume cannabis concentrate. Pretty similar to bongs, they have a water chamber and a bowl where the substance is placed. Generally made out of glass, dab rigs are more portable and compact than their bong counterparts and are used to smoke legal dabs instead of flowers and buds.
Here are the tools that you need to smoke dabs efficiently:
- Cannabis Extract: This is no brainer, you will obviously need a cannabis extract. As they are available in various types, you will have to experiment and find what suits your needs the best. If you’re doubtful, instead of taking the risk, ask your budtender.
- Dab Rig or Water Pipe: Dab Rigs are special equipment curated to smoke dabs. However, if you have a traditional water pipe, you can take the glass bowl out, and replace them with dabbing equipment, turning it into a functional dab rig.
- A nail: A nail is where you place your extract, and is usually made out of titanium, ceramic, and quartz. If you’re using it on your water pipe, make sure the nail fits its gauge.
- A dome: It is a circular glass globe which is placed around the nail to trap the vapour before it is inhaled. You can also get your hands on domeless nails if you don’t want to go through all that trouble.
- A torch: A torch becomes a requirement when you’re smoking dabs or concentrates. You can use a mini butane torch or opt for touch-less experience with e-nails.
- A dabber: A dabber is what helps to scoop the concentrate from the box and onto the nail. It is made of glass, metal, or ceramic, allowing you to effectively transfer the tiny amount of extract.
Now you know what you need to smoke dabs with a rig, let’s see how you do it!
Smoking Dabs: How do you do it?
Now moving to the most crucial part of the information, how do you smoke dabs?
It’s not rocket science, folks, so don’t be scared. Dabbing is an art, and you’re going to need more than a try to master it. But trust me when I say this, gone are the days of a good rookie. If you wanna get seriously baked, then smoking dabs is the way!
Now before you start with the process, keep the tools handy so you’re not rushing here and there. Which reminds me, make sure you’re sitting down or have support nearby. The hit can be intense, and you don’t wanna have mysterious pain in your body when you’re sober. Once you’re seated, choose your preferred extract and get to work.
Here’s how you smoke dabs with a rig.
Using the dabber, scoop a tiny amount of the concentrate. If you’re a novice, make sure you start from a very little, gradually expanding your capacity. Remember, a little can do a lot!
Now, you’re ready to flame it up! Using a butane torch, heat the nail until you see it is red-hot. The time it will need to reach that level depends on the material and size of the nail along with the room temperature. Once it reaches its desired temperature, keep the torch aside and place the dome around the heated nail carefully.
Give approximately 10 seconds for your nail to cool down; you don’t want to burn your concentrate, you just want to vaporize it. Once cooled, place the already scooped concentrate onto the nail with the help of the dabber, allow the magic to unveil, and inhale! Make sure you drag the smoke slowly and consistently instead of just vigorously sucking it up.
And Voila, the effect begins!
While smoking dabs, remember, we are here to enjoy the process and not get over with it quickly.
Smoking Dabs: Choosing the right dab rig
Like every other product, you need to choose the perfect one to yield maximum efficiency, or in our case, maximum hit!
Dab Rigs are the best way to smoke dabs as they are especially curated for these sticky concentrates. You can find one in various designs, from the most simple one to the most exciting and dope one. But before you pick your choice, let’s discuss what you should keep in mind before shelling pennies on the dab rig.
Unless you’re seriously rich, you have to consider the budget before investing in any smoking accessories. And, Dab Rig is no different.
Before you empty your pockets, keep in mind that a good dab rig will last for years and it’ll be years before you need a new one. As for parts, you can always have them replaced.
If you’re a beginner who is starting to smoke dabs, choose from the lower range of the product so that you don’t regret spending too much on something you didn’t like. Once you’re a professional dabber, then invest in a kickass dab rig!
Base your value on the fact that you won’t need to spend money, except on concentrates, after buying a quality dab rig.
2. The Right One
We always emphasize on finding the right smoking gadget, because with the wrong one, well, it just never feels right! *wink wink*
Dab Rig can be easily confused with bongs as they do look like identical twins. Though both use the water filtration and cooling system, they are not the same. Bongs are used to smoke buds and flowers, whereas dab rigs use concentrated cannabis extracts to hit the right notes.
Make sure you enquire about the gender of the joint, which can either be male or female. If it’s male and comes with a dome, it’s for smoking dabs. If it’s “female,” it’s probably just a regular water pipe.
3. Complete kits or Customizable Parts
If you’re just starting out with dab rigs, I would advise you to go for the complete kits available on Olivastu. But if you’re a connoisseur looking for customization, buying parts individually can help you curate the dab rig of your dreams.
Make sure you pay enough attention to the nail, as that is where the magic begins!
While we are on the topic of smoking dabs, you can always find a vape to do so.
Dab rigs are complicated and can sometimes be a fire hazard, or simply not very compatible for smokers who want a quick and hard drag. Vapes are a great way to consume cannabis concentrate without the entire hassle of the flamethrower or heated nails, especially if you’re a beginner.
For this reason, we have dab pens that are pen-style vaporizers especially curated for vaping cannabis concentrates like wax and dabs.
How to Vape Dabs?
If you’re wondering the correct way to smoke dabs with a vape pen, it is a pretty simple procedure. The first step is to understand how your vape/wax pen works, since each of these devices have a different set of working.
The general way to vape dabs is by removing the top cap to access the coil where you concentrated will be heated. Use your dab tool to scoop a bit of wax and load it into the heating chamber. At this point, your device should be turned on and the heating process should have started. Wait for a few seconds to allow the wax/dabs to vaporize before holding down the button and inhaling. As simple as that!
Vaping Dabs is also a great way to build up your capacity before moving onto bigger equipment.
Side Effects of Smoking Dabs
You already know that Dabs contain a large amount of THC which can lead to anxiety and paranoia if consumed in high quantities. This is one of the reasons why we advise people to take it slow with dabs, especially if you’re new to smoking dabs, as it can negatively impact you. You may experience paranoia, psychosis, anxiety, and hallucinations as they are well-known side effects of inhaling weeds.
Another major concern with smoking dabs is that they can lead to an increase in tolerance which would eventually dampen down the effects with nominal dosage. For those who consume cannabis for medical reasons, you may not even experience any sensation from herbal cannabis also.
On the other hand, you may be unknowingly ingesting other hazardous chemicals which may have crept in the extraction process through the metal and other materials.
Last but not the least, the fire hazard coupled with smoking dabs are hard to ignore. We talk about this in the next section, precautions.
There are no immediate or long-term effects of smoking dabs that are different from the usual smoking process.
In any case, it is advised to never try the THC extraction process at home. It is a very complicated process which involves the highly volatile and flammable Butane and can lead to accidents. Stick to the manufacturers and brands to provide you with this goodness.
Dabs Vs. Weed
This is a perennial debate in the world of cannabis – Dabs Vs. weed.
While some people prefer one or the other, I say why even make a choice?
Each type of cannabis provides a unique flavour and distinctive high that cannot be replaced by the other one. For example, if you’re on the move and need a simple toke, a pre-rolled joint or cone would be the easy way to go about it rather than lighting a dab rig.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to get ripped with your homies in parties, dabbing would be the perfect way to go about it.
In the end, it is a choice, each with their own set of effects and precautions.
Precaution while Smoking Dabs
- “A dab’ll do ya” is a true saying and you have to abide by it!
Start with a small amount of concentrate, and try not to get too excited with the cannabis extracts as it can be more powerful than you can comprehend.
- Drink water, loads of it. Dabbing tends to dehydrate your body and you need to equate that with hydrating yourself enough!
- Flamethrower or butane torches are very fun to use but are a common cause for fires. Make sure you tread with carefulness and if you’re not sure about that, get an e-nail which does not need such equipment. You don’t wanna burn the house down to get high!
This was the crash course on smoking dabs and what is dabbing. As they say, practice makes you a perfect buddy!
So take out the dab rigs, light it up, and take a drag. And if you’re still sceptical or have some doubts bubbling in the back of your mind, feel free to hit me up in the comments section below.
Ciao fellas, until next time and Toke it your Way with Olivastu!
Dabbing is a quick and efficient way to smoke dabs or cannabis concentrates. Click to know what are dabs, how they are made, how to smoke them, their side effects and precautions.
How to dab cannabis concentrates: oil, shatter, wax, and more
L earning how to smoke dabs may seem daunting at first, but it’ll comes easily once you read about it. To help ensure your first time goes smoothly, this resource will teach you how to take a dab.
Essentially, dabbing is the flash vaporization of cannabis concentrates, once they are applied to a hot surface and inhaled. These concentrates (you’ve maybe heard of shatter, wax, BHO, oil, etc.) are a lot more potent than flower, so a little bit goes a long way.
While bud tends to test between 15-25% THC, concentrates typically range between 50-80% THC, depending on the extract type and quality. You can even dab non-intoxicating CBD extracts for quick therapeutic effects with little to no cerebral euphoria, but in some regions these oils can be difficult to find.
Dabbing isn’t for everyone, especially if you’re new to cannabis entirely. The dosing process is more delicate, but once you’ve gotten the hang of it, concentrates can offer you new heights of physical relief and unique cerebral effects. Extracts also contain a lot less plant material than flower, so you’re inhaling more cannabinoids (e.g. THC, CBD) and less combusted resin. Check out our tips for dabbing.
What dab tools are needed?
When learning how to use a dab rig, keep in mind that dabbing technology is evolving. The traditional setup includes the following items:
- Dab rig. This water pipe is like a bong except it will have a fitting for a nail.
- Nail. This is like the bowl for your bong and where you will put the concentrate. The standard today is a quartz banger, which has a bucket shape. Ceramic and titanium are other options, and e-nails are becoming more common. Be sure to get the correct joint size, where the nail slides into the dab rig: If your rig has a 14mm stem, you need a 14mm nail. Nails can be male and female as well—you need a male nail for a female rig, and vice versa.
- Dabber. Use this tool to apply the concentrate to the nail. They can be metal, glass, or ceramic, and have many shapes: ballpoint, needlepoint, scoop, spoon, paddle, etc. Pick a shape depending on the texture and consistency of the concentrate you’re dabbing.
- Carb cap. Although not necessary, we highly recommend one of these to help regulate airflow. Combination dabber/carb caps are increasingly popular.
- Torch. Mini-torches used for crème brulee are commonly used, but you’ll have to stock up on propane for them. Again, e-nails are increasingly common (but expensive) and cut out the need for a torch.
- Cannabis extract. These come in a variety of forms, but the most common ones used for dabbing are shatter, wax, BHO, and solventless extracts like rosin.
- (Optional):Dab mat. To keep your dabbing surface clean and not sticky.
- (Optional): Timer. To ensure you heat your nail up consistently dab after dab.
How to dose cannabis oils and concentrates
Measuring a dab can be daunting as well. Different extracts have different THC concentrations, so it’s helpful to know how potent your concentrate is before dabbing it. It’s generally recommended to start small and increase the dose if you feel comfortable doing so.
A small dose is no bigger than a crumb. It may not look like much, but that’s a lot of THC going straight to the dome at once. Dabbing can feel a lot more intense to those accustomed to flower, but as your tolerance adjusts, the effects become less jarring.
Legal markets are required to add cannabinoid information on their concentrate packaging. Potency is broken down into a percentage. Most solvent-based hash oils will land in the range of 60-90% total cannabinoids, with a few special examples exceeding 90%. The potency of some solventless concentrates may fall below 50% total cannabinoids.
For example, if you have one gram of hash that contains 80% total THC, that one gram will contain 800mg of total cannabinoids. For reference, the recommended starting dosage for an edible is between 5-10mg. This should be an indicator that dabbing is generally for more experience cannabis consumers. Obtaining a 5mg dab from a piece of hash is difficult.
If you split that gram of hash into eight equal portions, each portion will have 100mg of cannabinoids. It’s easier for the naked eye to split the concentrate into eight pieces than pulling a 25mg dab off of an 800mg slab. For reference, a 25mg dab at the ratio of 80% total THC typically comes in about the size of a couple grains of couscous. This will change depending on the potency of your sample, which is why reading the label is important.
Always start small
Don’t be afraid to take the smallest dab that your tool will allow and use that as a reference point. Micro-dabbing offers many benefits, and you can always take another dab. Find a dab size that works for you.
It’s important to understand that different sizes of dabs—and different ratios of cannabinoids—will affect everyone uniquely. A 25mg dab of THC is not guaranteed to give you the same psychoactive effects as your friend; our endocannabinoid systems all operate differently. The best way to find out what dose works for you is to start small and work your way up.
How do you dab?
Once the rig is set up and your dab is prepared on the dabber, you’re ready to get started. We advise sitting down while taking a dab, since it might be intense.
- Step 1: Turn on your torch and aim the flame directly at the nail. Most people will heat the nail until it begins turning red hot. If you’re using an electronic nail, refer to the section below for more information on heating.
- Step 2: Once the nail is hot, turn off your torch. It’s recommended to let quartz nails cool for about 45 seconds (and about 10 seconds for titanium) so the surface temperature isn’t too hot—this is where a timer can come in handy. Check out this article for more tips on how to get the right temperature.
- Step 3: Apply the dab directly onto the nail with your dabber and begin inhaling slowly. Rotating the dabber tip on the nail can help prevent wasting any oil stuck to the dabber.
- Step 4: Cover the dab with a carb cap and finish inhaling—a cap will help regulate the airflow. Always cap your dabs.
- Step 5: Exhale and enjoy!
Safety note: Nails become extremely hot when dabbing. Take caution when handling them, and always wait for all pieces to cool down before you even think of touching them.
How to clean your nail
After a dab, carbon, reclaimed oil, and particulates can build up in the nail. A lot of people will clean their nail after each hit, but you should at least do it at the end of each session. Here are some ways to clean your nail:
- Torch. The easiest way to clean your dab nail is to heat it with your torch to burn off any residual carbon or reclaim on your nail. When applying this method to ceramic and quartz nails, be careful not to expose your red hot nail to a rapid change in temperature or you may risk a stress fracture. After your nail becomes red hot and the residue dissipates, let it cool down completely before finishing off with a final scrape.
- Scrape. For minor buildup, use a sharp dabber tool to lightly scrape your nail. Be careful not to chip any glass.
- Wash. Try soaking your nail in 91% isopropyl alcohol for 10 minutes.
What are e-nails?
The above explains how you take a dab using the common torch-and-nail method, but e-nails are becoming increasing popular.
E-nails, or electronic nails, are significantly more expensive than standard nails, but the investment is often worth it for serious dabbers. They cut out the need for a nail and a torch, which is easily the most dangerous element of dabbing. Furthermore, you will have full control over your nail’s temperature. This is a fantastic feature if you care about making the most out of flavors and terpenes when you dab.
Dabbing technology is constantly improving and expanding, so watch out for the latest trends and products if you’re interested in leveling up your dabbing game!
Patrick Bennett also contributed to this article.
This post was originally published on December 9, 2015. It was most recently updated on June 30, 2020.
First time dabbing? Learn how to safely smoke wax, shatter, and other cannabis concentrates with this step by step guide.