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Beginner’s Guide to Dabbing
Beginner’s Guide to Dabbing

Beginner’s Guide to Dabbing

In recent years, nothing has gained more traction in the marijuana community than smoking wax and concentrates (AKA dabbing), and for good reason. They can’t just be portable and discreet, but their effects are practically immediate and darn near odorless. When you take a dab, you’re receiving a high dosage of concentrated cannabis in a short period of time. Dabbing can be one of the finest methods to get an ultra-intense high or a potent dosage of medication considering concentrates can have THC levels as high as 80%. All of this might sound intimidating, but dabbing can be as straightforward as smoking traditional cannabis with the appropriate knowledge and equipment.

What is Dabbing?

Dabbing gets its name from the dabs of concentrate that, when combined with the correct device, get you thoroughly and completely high. Named after the minimal amount of material used when smoking concentrates, dabbing is a method of inhaling cannabis concentrates such as wax and shatter that is quite similar to smoking cannabis through a bong or pipe. When you dab, you’re flash vaporizing or slow vaporizing concentrated cannabis extracts by placing them on a heated surface and inhaling them using a device such as a dab rig, vaporizer, or a nectar collector.

What material can you dab?

Cannabis concentrates are made by an extraction procedure that varies mostly depending on the solvent utilized. This is because, based on which extraction process is used, it can generate more terpenes or even THC. Some of the many forms that marijuana concentrates come in are:

  • Oil
  • Crumble
  • Shatter
  • Wax
  • Honeycomb
  • Live Resin

We’ll go over these different concentrates more thoroughly below. But depending on which type of concentrate you decide to go with, your mileage may vary. The primary differences include but aren’t limited to the dab taste, temperature, your overall high, the cost, plus many other contributing factors.

What are the Different Types of Dabs?

Seeing as how you’re now familiar with what dabbing is, it’s time to speak about all the different types of dab concentrates there are out there. The majority of dabs may look fairly similar in appearance and have a similar texture. But the major differences stem from the cannabis strain they’re created from and not necessarily the consistency. Without further ado, let’s jump right into it:

Oil

This is an early term for dabs that refers to the raw terpene, solvent, and cannabinoid mix extracted mostly via butane. These dabs have not been entirely purged and include additional plant materials.

Crumble

Sugar crumble, as it’s sometimes known, has a crumbly and crystalline surface, hence the name. They create these dabs using a solvent extraction process. Their bright yellow to green tint shows it is high in THC and terpenes. These dabs also contain very little moisture and should be scooped up using a shovel or scoop dabber.

Shatter

Shatter is easily identifiable by its transparent, yellow hue and fragile texture. Unfortunately, this fragility can make it quite difficult to shape and deal with. On the positive side, it boasts the ability to last longer than the majority of other forms of concentrates.

Wax

Unlike shatter, wax concentrates have an appearance not too different from that of wax or butter. As a result, they are far more malleable than other, more brittle forms of concentrates. The name comes from its waxy finish that’s a direct result of the minimal amount of moisture found in the dab.

Honeycomb

This form of concentrate is soft as well as fragile and boasts an appearance similar to that of honeycomb. And unlike some other types of concentrates, honeycomb is usually created with a solvent to remove the chemicals from the flower. Otherwise, its distinctive texture would be impossible to achieve.

Live Resin

This form of concentrate differs greatly from the rest in what it’s created from. They produce live resin from fresh nugs and trim that are cryogenically frozen during the extraction process. This process allows for the extraction of high amounts of THC and terpene oils from the plant. For this reason, these dabs are easily the most sought after.

What You Need to Get Started

Getting started in dabbing concentrates can be a bit overwhelming as far as what is needed on your part. Some forms of concentrates can simply be scattered over a bowl of dry cannabis and smoked just the same as always. Whereas others will require some type of specific smoking device. Most people prefer using a device, seeing as how they’re specifically designed for optimal concentrate delivery. If this is the route you choose to take your dabs, you’ll need a banger, a torch, along with a dabbing tool, to go with the initial dab rig. This may seem to be quite a lot of gear needed on your part, but the number of items required for a classic joint or bong smoking is pretty much the same. We’ll go over the primary gear needed as well as why each item is necessary.

Types of Dabbing Devices

Dab Rig

The most important piece of your setup would have to be the dab rig itself. Since they’re usually smaller in size, dab rigs also have a lower level of filtration when compared to their water pipe brethren. This is to curb any re-condensing of vapor that happens with bigger dry herb water pipes. These are basically nothing more than smaller water pipes that have extra features to allow for the usage of concentrates.

Concentrates

This is the material that you consume to get you lifted (wax, shatter, etc.). In essence, they’re what’s referred to as a BHO (Butane Hash Oil) that boasts highly concentrated THC levels.

Dab Tool

A pointed tool that’s commonly used while dabbing. Dabbing tools are used to apply a dab of cannabis concentrate, such as wax, shatter, or honeycomb, to the heated surface on a dab rig. You’ll find them in varying shapes and sizes, each designed specifically for certain types and uses of concentrates.

Banger

A banger (AKA dab nail) is a flat-bottomed “bucket” that you insert into your rig’s downstem. This piece is usually crafted from quartz and is where you’ll heat your preferred dab concentrate.

Torch

This is what you use to heat your banger to your desired temperature. And if you decide to go with a high-quality torch, you’re then able to be much more methodical with the heating process. When you learn to control the temperature with a torch, you’ll waste fewer dabs as well as bring out more of the flavorful terpenes.

Carb Cap

This is an absolute necessity if you prefer flavorful low-temp dabs. It works by restricting airflow, allowing the concentrates to vaporize at lower temps. Some carb caps will move directionally, whereas others will even generate a mini vortex of wind.

Accessories for your Dabbing Pleasure

Although these are some of the most common items needed to dab concentrates, this is in no way an end-all-be-all list. It’s more of a launching pad to get you started in the dab game. When you’re more comfortable with dabbing concentrates, you might consider adding additional accessories to your setup.

From dab containers for holding your concentrates, to a thermometer that can provide you with precise temperature control, there are quite a few that can benefit your dabbing experience. And since dabbing doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, you’ll want to keep an eye out for new and cool dabbing accessories to help bring your dab sessions to the next level.

How To Dab?

If you’ve ever used a bong, then dabbing shouldn’t be that foreign to you. And since everyone has their preferred dabbing methods; it’s all about personal preferences and what works best for you. We’ll simply go over the most popular methods of doing so. The key aspects of the entire dabbing process from beginning to end are:

Steps to Dab Properly

Step 1

Start by setting up your dab rig and collecting a small amount of concentrate with your dab tool to set aside for later. And when we say “small amount,” we mean a small sliver or a crumb. Since everyone’s body is different, your friend might get lifted off one rip, where it could take multiple dabs for you to feel the effects. That’s why it’s recommended that you start low and slow so as to not overdo it. Remember, if you’re not satisfied with the effects of your dab, you can always take another.

Step 2

Now that you’ve got your dab rig set up with your concentrate ready and waiting in the wing, you’ll need to grab your torch. Sorry, a regular lighter won’t cut it. This is the step where you heat the banger/bowl to your preferred temperature. Since low temp dabs are recommended for an optimal session, you’ll more than likely want to heat the banger to around 350 – 400°. If your banger is on the larger side, you’ll need to heat it for a bit longer to reach your optimal temperature.

Next, you need to wait for it to cool down before you place your dab inside. A general guideline is to let the banger cool for the same amount of time it took to heat up. Depending on what type of banger you’re using, this can vary. That’s why quartz bangers are an ideal choice thanks to their short heat-up time as well as their excellent heat retention capabilities. 

Step 3

Once you’ve waited the recommended amount of time to allow for your banger to cool down and you’ve placed your dab inside, it’s time for the final step. This is the step where you’ll have to do what Bill Clinton wasn’t able to, and that’s inhale. And despite what you may think, there’s a right way and a wrong way to inhale a dab. Inhale too fast and you’re likely to choke and have a bad time. That’s why you’ll want to start out by very slowly inhaling the vapor (inhale only as much as you’re comfortable with). Then make sure you exhale completely to ensure you’ve emptied your lungs. It’s also advisable to have a glass of water in waiting in case your throat needs clearing.

As previously stated, there are multiple ways you can go about dabbing concentrates. Some ways take a little more work along with trial and error to find what works best for you. If you’re looking for an easy peasy lemon-haze squeezy method of dabbing, we highly recommend you check out our line of dab pens. Don’t take our word for it, the five-star reviews for the Terp Pen and Terp Pen XL speak for themselves.

Conclusion

As previously stated, you’ll want to take things slowly while getting your feet wet in the dab game. Dabbing may seem tricky at first, but the more you practice, the easier it will get. As long as you go slow and low, then you shouldn’t have any actual issues. But, if you’re a more experienced smoker and are in search of a hard-hitting session, you’ll want to go with high-temp dabs to get things done. No matter which route you decide on, we know you’ll have a good dabbing time!

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