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What Are Dabs?

What is a dab?

There are so many different ways to enjoy cannabis.  You can roll it up into a joint and smoke it, you can eat it in the form of a tasty edible, there are topical solutions you can apply on your skin, and you can even incorporate it into your own cooking by using our cannabis butter recipe or cannabis honey recipe.  If you’ve been around the world of weed for any period of time, you may have heard of another method, dabbing.  What are dabs and what sort of effects can you expect?  Let’s take a closer look.


What Are Dabs?

A dab is a term used to describe concentrated cannabis which is meant to be vaporized and inhaled using a dab rig.  Examples of cannabis concentrates used for dabbing are wax, shatter, rosin and butane hash oil.


How Are Concentrates Made?

Dab concentrates are made by extracting cannabinoids, most notably THC, from the cannabis plant using a solvent of some sort such as butane, propane, CO2 and ethanol.  The solvent is used to dissolve the cannabis plant’s trichomes, separating them from the rest of the plant.  The liquid is then evaporated off by using a vacuum oven and pump to remove as much of the solvent solution as possible.  The result is a sticky, resin, wax like cannabis concentrate that is very high in THC, offering a more potent high than smoking herb on its own.


What Accessories are Needed for Dabbing?

Dabs are inhaled through a vaporizer designed for wax concentrates called a dab rig.  A dab rig looks similar to a water bong, but its design incorporates a unique bowl-shaped end called a nail.  The nail is different to the bowl of a regular bong as the nail is specifically designed to heat up and vaporize whichever cannabis concentrate you’re dabbing.  You’ll also need a dabber, which is an elongated tool used to transfer the concentrate onto the needle of your dab rig.  These dabbers can come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes such as pointed, scooped, paddled etc., in order to accommodate the different consistencies and textures of concentrates.  Although not essential, a carb cap can be a great addition to your kit.  Carb caps are placed on top of the nail in order to allow you to control the amount of airflow.  They also trap the heat in which helps burn your cannabis concentrate more efficiently.  You’ll also need a torch to heat up your nail.  A propane torch is a great choice as it will heat your nail up quickly and easily.


How to Get Your Dab On?

So, you’re accessorized up and are ready to get dabbing.  Let’s take you through the steps of how to do it.

  1. First of all, you’ll need to heat your nail up. Using your torch, heat your nail until it just starts to turn red.  This is a good place to start, but you can always heat it up less or more depending on your preferences.  If you have an electric nail, it will have a built-in heating element.  You’ll want to refer to the manual that came with your electric nail for usage instruction.
  2. Now that your nail is nice and hot, let it rest for about 45 seconds if it’s made of quartz or 10 seconds if it’s made of titanium. This will help bring the heat down to a more appropriate temperature to vaporize your concentrate.
  3. Grab your dabber and scoop the amount of concentrate onto it that you wish to dab.
  4. Place your lips onto the mouthpiece of your dab rig and place the dab onto the hot nail. Begin inhaling.
  5. If you have a carb cap, place the carb cap on top of the nail and continue inhaling.
  6. That’s it! You’ve just enjoyed your first dab.  Repeat steps 1-5 until you’ve reached your desired high.


How Much Cannabis Concentrate?

As with any cannabis product, if you aren’t sure about the potency, it’s important to start with a very small amount and increase gradually until you reach your desired high.  For dabbing, you may want to start out with an amount no bigger than a peppercorn.  You can always do another dab but you can’t undo it, so ease in slowly to ensure you have a great experience.  After a few dabs, you’ll quickly understand what quantity works best for you.


Do I Need to Clean My Dab Rig?

Absolutely.  Maintaining your dab rig by cleaning it on a regular basis will ensure you get the most out of every single dab.  Purchasing a dab rig is an investment, and by keeping it clean you’ll be able to enjoy for many years.  Many like to clean the nail after every use.  This ensures a nice clean hit for the next dab.  To clean the nail, you can simply heat it up to burn off any unused and unwanted residue.  If you find there’s some build up, scrape it off gently with your dabber.  There are also cleaning solutions you can purchase for your dabber nail, or you can simply soak it in 91% isopropyl alcohol.


Can I Make My Own Concentrates?

The process of extraction to create dabs can be a dangerous one if not done properly.  It requires specialized equipment to ensure the extraction is conducted safely, a series of lab tests to ensure product quality and experienced professionals to monitor and carry through the process.  As the solvents are flammable, creating your own dabs could lead to a dangerous situation such as an explosion if done incorrectly.  It is advised to purchase your concentrates from a reputable company to ensure the highest quality product possible.


While dabbing can seem like a daunting endeavor for those who have never dabbled in the dabbing world, once you have the proper accessories and cannabis concentrate, it’s really straight forward.  If you’re not sure if dabbing is right for you, see if you can find a friend who has a full dab kit and give it a try first.  Maybe, it might just be your new favourite way to get high.  Happy dabbing!