Down the rabbit hole and into a universe of intense flavors, Instagram confrontations, stolen techniques and one-upmanship—first time dabbers have no clue what in the world they are getting themselves into. The tools of the trade are intimidating and expensive. Extract artists who process concentrates are notoriously pretentious but deny such a depiction with great fervor. Style is everything in the dab community; texture is key and quality is king.
Extracted hash oil has in one form or another been around since at least the 1970’s. Its manufacture, sale and use was limited to a small community living on the fringes of society until it found its way into the medical marijuana community at the turn of the last decade. Lauded for the ability to deliver a large amount of THC in a relatively small dose, dabbing revolutionized the way patients medicate. Dabbing is an evolved form of consuming cannabis.
It also gets folks higher than a skeetercat howlin’ at the moon. For daily smokers that are burnt out on weed or have built up a significant tolerance, dabbing is the logical progression in the development of a well-rounded and knowledgeable cannabis user.
The wonderland of concentrates offers many paths towards enlightenment. Solvents such as butane, propane or hexane used during extraction may potentially leave harmful residuals in the final product if not purged correctly. Look and smell tests won’t do much to quell those concerns so consider the reputation of the processor and origin of source material before making any purchasing decisions.
Supercritical CO2 extraction is non-toxic and environmentally conscious. With a history in the essential oil market this method of extraction is finely tunable and may provide higher terpene percentages in a final product. This style of extraction has found a place in the vape oil cartridge segment of the cannabis industry but rarely produces dabbable concentrates of note.
Concentrates are available in many different consistencies to the consumer. Personal preference plays a part when choosing what to dab on. Modifiers like clear, stable, terpy and saucy are used note characteristics when posting to photos to social media.
If it ain’t shatter it don’t matter. At least that’s what they say. This form of concentrate is firm to the touch and can be rated on its transparency and color. See-through and golden yellow receives top marks. This substance is fragile and as the name suggest can shatter into a thousand tiny shards without much provocation. Keeping it in a refrigerator helps to retain the composition for as long as possible. Use a lighter to delicately heat small slivers of shatter to make them form into something large enough to dab.
As the name foreshadows, crumble is a difficult stuff to work with. It can’t be worked by hand as wax or shatters as it will dissipate into fingertip grooves before becoming lodged underneath fingernails on the way to a thorough hand washing. It is best to use the flat end of a dabber to muddle the crumble into a paste that can be scooped up. Also may be smeared on the inside of a blunt or sprinkled on top of a bowl.
This post was originally published on July 27, 2017, it was updated on October 3, 2017.