How to Dab Weed Concentrates, Waxes and Oils
You may have heard of the term “dabbing” or may have been asked “want to take a dab?”, but what exactly is a dab and how does it work? In this post, we’re going to break down what a dab is and how to dab weed concentrates, waxes and oils step-by-step.
What is Dabbing Weed and What Does it Mean?
Dabbing is the flash vaporization of cannabis concentrates that happens when they are applied to a hot surface and inhaled. These concentrates (for example: shatter, wax, BHO, oil, etc.) are a lot more potent than marijuana flower or “bud” is. A small amount goes a long way. Dabbing isn’t for everyone and is usually done by those most familiar with cannabis.
On average, flower tends to test between 15-25% THC while concentrates normally test between 50-80% THC depending on the extract type and quality. It’s also possible to dab a CBD concentrate, which may provide therapeutic effects without the euphoric feeling of being high.
Cannabis concentrates can take you to new heights as they contain a lot less plant material than flower. This means that concentrates are made up mostly of cannabinoids like THC and CBD.
Tools Needed to Dab Cannabis
In order to dab properly, you need the right tools. You’ll want the following:
Source: Leaf Science
Dab Rig/Water Pipe - 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/Dab Tool - 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/Dome - 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.
Measuring Your Concentrate
Measuring a dab is an important task. Different extracts have different THC concentrations, so it’s helpful to know how potent your concentrate is before measuring! We recommend starting small and increasing 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 your head at one time. Dabbing can feel a lot more intense to those who are used to smoking flower, but as your tolerance adjusts, the effects become weaker.
Marijuana Product Types You Can Dab With
Concentrates are typically made from cannabis by using two methods: solvent and solventless. These can be further divided into two groups: butane and carbon dioxide. Regardless of what solvent was used, all concentrates will need to go through a process called purging to remove the chemicals before you can consume it. On the flip side, solventless concentrates use heat, pressure, and filtration to extract the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant.
Solventless extraction takes more time and effort, but some people consider it a more natural and artisanal method. That said, one method isn’t necessarily better than the other — if you’re purchasing it legally it’ll be safe to consume.
Marijuana wax is a concentrated preparation of cannabis essential oil. Wax features a texture similar to flakey clay. A high-quality wax is soft, is easy to manipulate and features an amber coloration. Wax is also among the most potent cannabis extracts and features superior flavor when compared to many other essential oil preparations.
Is Dabbing Stronger than Cannabis Flower?
As you could probably guess by now, dabbing concentrates is much stronger than cannabis flower. On average, flower tends to test between 15-25% THC while concentrates normally test between 50-80% THC depending on the extract type and quality. It’s very important to know your tolerance and to start dabbing with a smaller amount if you are used to smoking flower or vape pens.
How to Dab
Once the rig is set up and your dab is prepared on the dabber, you’re ready to begin! We suggest you to sit down when taking a dab as the effects are strong and happen instantaneously.
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.
Other Ways to Dab
Mix your Concentrate with Flower in a Bowl
Source: Yo Dabba Dabba
Instead of using a rig, some people find that the easiest way to enjoy concentrates is by combining them with cannabis flower. To do this, you sprinkle your concentrate or budder on top of a bowl and mix the resin in with your flower. Learn how to pack a bowl HERE.
This can provide a flavorful and fun experience but as always, it’s important to be mindful of how much concentrate you add. Proceed with caution so it doesn’t get too intense, especially if you plan on smoking with someone who isn’t used to cannabis.
Roll Concentrate into a Joint or Drizzle on the Outside
Another way you can enjoy marijuana concentrates without a rig is to roll it into your joint or drizzle it on the outside. When you use concentrates like shatter and wax, make sure that you put them in the centre of the joint and then fold the weed over it when rolling. This will allow the concentrate to remain covered on all sides. If your concentrate is not properly covered, it will make for a very uneven and unsatisfying burn.
A good way to go about it is to place down a layer of bud first, add the concentrate, then top it with another layer of bud—just like making a weed sandwich.
Drizzling the concentrate on the outside looks super cool but is easier than rolling a concentrate filling and getting everything right. Here is how to do it:
Roll a nice joint as you normally would.
Take the shatter or wax and form a long snake with your fingers.
For shatter, it may take a minute to warm up in your hands, but then it should be malleable enough to form into your desired shape. Make sure your twax snake is long enough that you can wrap it around the entire length of your joint.
Start at one end, then wrap the snake in an even spiral around the joint. You may be tempted to make cool patterns and all sorts of fancy things with it, but it’s best to keep things simple. Again, twaxing can make for an uneven burn if not executed cleanly and correctly. For a consistent and slow burn, stick with a simple spiral around your joint.
Unlike a vape pen, which is designed for compatibility with vape cartridges filled with oil or distillite, a dab pen is used to consume dabs of concentrate.
Most dab pens (also known as wax pens), are essentially made up of the same components as a vape pen: a battery and heating element.
With dab pens, the concentrate is placed into the heating chamber rather than loaded into a vape cartridge in liquid form. With this type of pen, users are not limited to cartridges, and can consume many forms of concentrate, including wax, badder, budder, and shatter.
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