How To Dab: A Beginners Guide to Wax and Concentrates

by | Jun 7, 2023 | Guides

Welcome, budding cannasseurs! If you’ve found your way here, you’re probably interested in learning about one of the more advanced ways of enjoying our favorite plant: dabbing. This method involves vaporizing concentrated cannabis extracts, or “dabs,” which are lauded for their potency and flavor. But it can seem daunting if you’re new to the world of concentrates. Fear not, friend – this guide is here to demystify dabbing and get you started on your journey. Let’s dive in!


The Basics: What is Dabbing?


Dabbing refers to the process of heating a small amount of cannabis concentrate – the “dab” – on a hot surface and then inhaling the vapor. This is performed using a unique piece of equipment called a “dab rig,” which is somewhat like a bong or water pipe but designed for use with concentrates rather than flower. Various equipment is used in dabbing, each with its unique quirks and benefits. The key components of a standard dab rig setup include the rig itself, a nail (the surface that gets heated), a dabber (a small tool used to apply the dab to the nail), a torch for heating the nail, and of course, your chosen concentrate.


Types of Concentrates


One of the most exciting aspects of dabbing is the wide range of concentrates available, each offering a unique experience. Some of the most popular ones include:

small chunk of cannabis concentrate

Shatter: Known for its glass-like consistency and potency, shatter is a favorite among many dabbing enthusiasts.

Wax: This concentrate is softer and more pliable than shatter, resembling the texture of earwax or even honey butter.

Budder: Budder is a creamier concentrate, similar in texture to wax but more spreadable, like the butter from which it gets its name.

Live Resin: Made from freshly harvested cannabis that’s flash-frozen, live resin boasts exceptionally high terpene content, contributing to a vibrant flavor profile.

Rosin: Rosin is produced using a solventless extraction process that utilizes heat and pressure, making it a favorite among purists.


How to Dab: Step-by-Step


Prepare Your Dab: First, use your dabber to portion out a small amount of concentrate. If you’re new to dabbing, remember: less is more. It’s a powerful method of consumption, so it’s best to start small and work your way up.

Heat Your Nail: Using your torch, heat the nail of your dab rig until it’s glowing red. Be careful during this step; the nail can get extremely hot!

quartz dab nail

Cool Down the Nail: Allow the nail to cool down for a bit. The perfect temperature for dabbing is a subject of debate. Still, many dabbing connoisseurs recommend waiting about 45 seconds to a minute to prevent burning the concentrate and losing precious terpenes.

Apply the Dab: Take your dabber and apply the concentrate to the nail while inhaling from the rig’s mouthpiece. As the concentrate vaporizes, it will travel through the rig and into your lungs.

Cap the Dab: If you’re using a carb cap, place it over the nail after applying the concentrate. This process helps regulate airflow and allows for more even concentrate vaporization.

Exhale and Enjoy: After inhaling the vapor, exhale and enjoy the potent effects and intense flavor profiles that dabbing offers!


Choosing Your Equipment


Like with any hobby, the quality of your equipment can significantly influence your experience. Here are some factors to consider when choosing your dab rig:

Material: Dab rigs can be manufactured from various materials, but glass is the most popular choice due to its durability and heat resistance. Look for borosilicate glass, which is particularly heat-resistant and less likely to crack.

Size: While larger rigs can provide cooler hits due to the increased distance the vapor travels, smaller rigs can offer more flavorful dabs as the vapor doesn’t have as much time to lose potency or flavor.

Nail type: Nails can be made from quartz, titanium, and ceramic. Quartz nails heat up and cool down quickly and provide a clean flavor. Titanium nails are highly durable and retain heat well but can impart a metallic taste. Ceramic nails offer excellent heat retention and a clean flavor but are more fragile.


Safety Precautions


As with any method of consuming cannabis, safety should be your top priority when dabbing:

Be Careful with the Torch: A torch is a necessary part of dabbing but can also be a potential hazard. Always ensure your torch is off when you’re not using it, and keep it away from anything flammable.

lit butane torch

Start Small: Cannabis concentrates are potent, and dabbing can deliver a large amount of THC in a single hit. If you’re new to dabbing or have a low tolerance, start with a small dab and see how it affects you before taking larger hits.

Stay Hydrated: Dabbing can be quite dehydrating, so drink plenty of water before, during, and after your session.

Never Dab and Drive: The effects of dabbing can be intense and long-lasting. Like with any form of cannabis, you should never drive or operate heavy machinery while under the influence.


In Closing


There you have it, folks – a comprehensive beginner’s guide to dabbing. This method of cannabis consumption is not for everyone, but for those seeking a potent and flavorful experience, it can be quite rewarding. As always, the key to a positive cannabis experience is informed consumption. So now that you’re equipped with the knowledge, you’re ready to explore the world of concentrates and find what suits you best. Happy dabbing!

I hope this guide helps you navigate the often-complicated world of cannabis concentrates and dabbing. And remember, dabbing is a potent method of consumption, so take your time, start low, and go slow!

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