How to Dab: Sorry, this definitely IS NOT the dance!
Dabs, also known as concentrates, are a concentrated form of cannabis. Dabs contain higher amounts of THC than cannabis and have become very popular over the past few years. As legalization spreads across the country, the popularity of dabbing is only going to increase, so read this article and jump on the bandwagon!
Step 1: Find the best concentrate for you
Concentrates come in many forms including shatter, wax, crumble, budder, live resin, live rosin, sugar, sugar wax, and many more being invented every day. The reason for this is that there are different ways to extract cannabinoids from the cannabis plant and each method yields a different type of concentrate. To find out which one you like the best, you’ll have to try ’em all as there isn’t much research on the subject as of now. However, it is widely believed that shatter is the cleanest/purest concentrate on the market, so you might want to start there! Just be sure that whatever concentrate you get is from a respectable dispensary or you’ll be smoking “poop soup”: a poorly extracted concentrate with a soupy butane mix in it. Yuck!
Step 2: Get Supplies
- Concentrate of your choosing
- Glass Rig (bong-like device made for cannabis concentrates)
- Quartz, Ceramic, Glass, or Titanium Nail (they type of nail you use is up to you, we will be using a quartz nail for this tutorial)
- Dabber (holds the concentrate while dabbing)
- Carb Cap (covers the nail to keep the smoke in the rig)
- OPTIONAL: e-nail. An e-nail is a device that heats your nail to a certain temperature. This eliminates the need for a torch or butane.
Step 3: Get your dab on the dabber
Depending on the type of concentrate you get, this might be a bit tricky. If your dabs are gooey, press your dabber onto the concentrate and yank it away quickly. This way, you only pull up a small amount of the concentrate. If your dabs are hard and won’t stick to the dabber, heat your dabber just a bit and the concentrates should stick right on there.
Make sure you only take a dab you can handle! If you are new to dabbing, start small and work your way up. The average bud you smoke has anywhere between 15%-25% THC. Concentrates can range in the 65%-85% THC range so know what you’re smoking!
Step 4: Heat your nail
This can be the toughest and most important part of dabbing. Start by filling your torch with butane. Light your torch and hold it up to the bottom of the nail at a diagonal angle. Some of the flame should be going up the side of the nail with most of the flame heating the bottom. Gently move your torch in small circles to evenly heat the nail. When your nail has a slight red glow to it, it is time to stop heating.
Now, grab your dabber with concentrate but don’t put it in the nail yet! Using your free hand, hold it about half an inch away from the nail. If the nail is too hot for you to hold your hand there comfortably, the nail is too hot. When the nail is red hot it is roughly 800°F, the ideal temperature for dabbing is between 500°F and 650°F. If you take a dab when the nail is too hot, you risk burning your lungs and wasting the concentrate. Wait until your nail cools a bit and you can comfortably hold your hand next to the nail. Don’t wait too long, though! If the nail is too cold, the concentrate won’t melt and you’ll be wasting your money.
Step 5: Melt the dab on the nail
Now that your nail is the perfect temperature, put your lips on your rig and get ready to inhale. Place the end of the dabber (holding the concentrate) on the inside of the nail. The concentrate should melt off, slide into the base of the nail, and smoke up nicely. Pull the smoke in, filling the rig.
Step 6: Cap it!
Carb caps are similar to a shotgun on a bowl – their purpose is to limit the flow of air through the piece so you get as much smoke to stay in the rig as possible. Sometimes carb caps are a part of the dabber, sometimes they are separate. To use it, cover the nail with the carb cap once the concentrate has melted off the dabber. Continue to pull smoke in gently. After a few seconds, you should have almost all of the smoke from the dab in the rig. Remove the carb cap and give a strong, fast inhale, clearing the smoke out of the rig.
Step 7: Inhale and enjoy!
When inhaling smoke from dabs, or any smoke for that matter, it is important to inhale but not to hold it the smoke in for too long. A quick inhale and breathe out does the trick, holding in the smoke for an extended period of time (even just a few seconds) can damage your lungs and does almost nothing to make you higher.
I hope you enjoyed our tutorial and learned a few things too! We still have a lot to learn about the effects of dabbing as it is a relatively new phenomenon. However, it is clear that dabbing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon so it’s important that everyone knows the safest and most effective way of smoking concentrates. Share this info with your friends to keep their lungs healthy, happy, and high!
This post was originally published on June 6, 2016, it was updated on October 3, 2017.