Dabbing is the “okay what the hell is going on?” of cannabis consumption methods. Anyone that dabs has a story of firing up their blow torch only for someone to stare at them like we’re about to start freebasing terpenes. But like anything cannabis-related, the stigmas around dabbing are mostly due to miseducation, and there are plenty of people that may be sleeping on one of the most flavorful experiences. My friends, let’s talk about dabbing concentrates.

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What is dabbing?

To explain dabbing, you have to first explain concentrates. Concentrates are one of the four most common types of cannabis you see out there; the other three being flower, edibles, and the miscellaneous umbrella of topicals/tinctures. Dabbing is a method of heating up and smoking those concentrates.  Concentrates, also called extracts, are the oils that are made from extracting trichomes from dry or frozen cannabis flowers. You know them as dabs and vape carts. Dabs are sold in those circular containers of goopy sauce that come in many forms and various price levels. The name comes from the small amount of oil needed, and the way it's consumed.

How do you dab?

To dab, you need dabs and a dab rig first and foremost. A dab rig is essentially a bong for extracts. Like bongs, dab rigs come in all shapes and sizes, they have at least 3 main  components: glass body, the nail/banger, and the mouthpiece. To use a dab rig, you’ll need a torch or e-nail to heat your banger, a dab tool to transfer the oil to your banger, and a glass of water nearby because you’ll probably cough your ass off after hitting that first dabby.

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Once you’ve got all the necessities, follow these simple dabbing instructions:

  • Step 1: have dabs, have dab rig
  • Step 2: heat your banger with a torch/e-nail
  • Step 3: wait for banger to cool down to a won’t-burn-my-throat temperature
  • Step 4: put the dabs on dab tool, put the dab tool inside the banger
  • Step 5: suck the mouthpiece and get high

There are additional accessories that maximize the dabbing experience like carb caps, which are glass tops that cap your banger and essentially work like carbs on pipes and bowls on bongs. Carb caps help you get the most of your dabs by keeping the oil heated at a combustible temperature. As far as the best dabbing temperature goes, it’s up to you to find your sweet spot. Many find comfort in that 400-550 degree zone.

Which concentrates are best for dabbing?

You can call dabs whatever you want, but ultimately they all breakdown into two categories: solvent-based and solventless. There is no “Best Choice” when selecting which dabs you’ll consume and it’s largely based on personal preference.  The difference between solvent and solventless concentrates comes down to extraction method. Solvent-based extracts use solvents like butane and alcohol to pull the trichomes and chemical compounds from the plant. Solventless extracts are made through alternative methods such as applying heat and pressure with a press, sifting through micron screens and soaking in cold water with the aid of a bubbleator machine.   Solvent-based extracts go by many names like hash; sugar; budder; wax; and come in many consistencies that can look saucey, chunky, crystalline, and goopy. Most of the time the solvent-based dabs are made from butane hash oil (BHO), but there’s also propane hash oil (PHO), and CO2 oil out there. CO2 pretty much kills terpenes, and that’s why it’s mostly used for vape carts versus dabs.  Solventless extracts go by names like  dry sift, live resin, rosin, and bubble/ice water hash. These are deemed the most pure form of dabs, as nothing that wasn’t already part of the plant ever touches the plant. There’s some debate around if ice water hash is considered solventless because it used ice and water to pull the trichomes from the plant. Technically, water is indeed a solvent, the universal solvent, but we’ll leave that one up to the people that like to argue. 

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Why do people dab?

The benefits of dabbing are about two things above everything else: flavor and potency. Dabs take all the cannabis terpenes that make weed smell and taste good, as well as all the compounds that get us high, and mash them into one single smokable oil. Once you find the perfect temperature to maximize those terpenes and THC, you’ve got yourself one of the most enjoyable highs possible. That high however, comes with an understanding that pulling these compounds directly out maximizes potency, and that’s why the people that dabs are usually OG veterans in the cannabis game. A single dab can sit you on your ass for hours and hours, and even after the high calms down, you’ll still feel the buzz of what once was. That said, dabs are not to be feared, they are to be practiced, and you should check them out  if you’re ready to take your relationship with cannabis to the next level.