Dabbing Marijuana Concentrates 101
Published on 10/14/19
Updated Jun 15, 2022
While there are many ways to consume cannabis, dabbing marijuana concentrates has quickly become one of the most popular methods among users. It's fair to say that concentrates have been gaining some serious momentum recently. Sales figures for products like wax, crumble, and shatter have spiked by about 40 percent, a massive surge in popularity over the last few years. And as we all know, dabbing is the best way to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to pretty much every form of concentration.
Not only is dabbing a great way to consume a high dose of THC with a small amount of product, but it's simple, easy, and fun to do once you get the hang of it! While the thought of learning how to dab can seem intimidating to beginners, it is not as complex as it might at first seem.
We know how intimidating it can be if you're looking to dab for the first time. That's why we put together this handy, go-to guide for all things dabbing and concentrate-related topics. Think of this as your crash course in everything you'll need to know before vaporizing some concentrate with a dab rig, a dabbing 101.
What Dab Tools Do I Need?
Before starting your first dabbing experience, you must ensure you have the proper setup. While dabbing is constantly evolving, we will review what you need for a basic setup.
- Cannabis Concentrate: First and foremost, you will need some form of concentrate to dab, as you can't consume traditional flower this way. Concentrates commonly dabbed with are wax, shatter, budder, and butane hash oil (BHO). If it is your first time purchasing cannabis concentrates, ask your local budtender about which concentrate to purchase.
- Dab Rig: Every regular dabber needs their trusty dab rig. Dab rigs are water pipes with modified bowl attachments that make them perfect for smoking your concentrates. But don't try and dab with a regular water pipe because it won't work - your rig must be for concentrates.
- Dab Nail: Dabbing nails come in a variety of materials. Some common dab nails are titanium, ceramic, quartz, and glass. Dab nails are essential when heating your concentrates. The type of nail to buy can depend on what kind of concentrate you will be dabbing, so ask your local glass shop for more information.
- Dabber Tool: This tool transfers your concentrate from the container onto your dab nail. Dabbers come in all shapes and sizes. When choosing the dabber you want to use, you will need to consider what type of concentrate you are smoking and what kind of dab nail you are using.
- Torch: The torch is what separates dabbing from other methods of consuming concentrates. When using the torch, it allows for high temperatures in a more controlled setting. We recommend a butane torch because it combusts at a lower temperature. Propane torches can also work, but be careful as they heat up much faster and have the potential to melt non-titanium nails. There are torches made explicitly for dabbing. However, any torch will work.
- Carb Cap: This is an optional tool, however. If you have a domeless nail, a carb cap can trap the vapors, allowing you to take more than one hit off of one dab. Carb caps are essential if you are dabbing at lower temperatures.
How Do I Dab?
Once you have your dab rig set up, it is time to learn how to take a dab. We recommend you take a seat when first learning how to dab, as concentrates are potent and hit beginners hard.
- First, you will need to light your torch and begin heating the nail. Continue to keep the flame on the nail until it turns bright red. If you have an electronic nail, read your manual for instructions on proper use.
- Once your nail is red hot, turn your torch off and place your dome over the nail. Allow your nail to cool for 20 to 45 seconds, depending on what type of nail you use.
- While your nail is cooling, take your dabber tool and get the concentrate you plan on dabbing. A good dab size for beginners is about the size of a pinhead. Anything larger than that, and you're likely overdoing it for no particular benefit. The effects of dabs hit users fast and hard and can be overwhelming for first-time dabbers. Remember, you can always do more, but you can never do less once you've inhaled. While you can't overdose on dabs, you can become uncomfortably high.
- Once your nail is cooled, apply your dab directly onto the nail inside the dome. Inhale slowly while you rotate your tool around the nail. Avoid handling the dome or the nail directly while it is still hot.
- Now exhale and enjoy the dab that you have just taken.
- Wipe any excess concentrate left over with a q-tip to keep your rig in tip-top shape.
How Do I Clean My Dab Rig?
After more than a few dabbing sessions, it is easy for your dab rig to have excess buildup on the nail or rig itself. Cleaning your nail frequently can help extend its life, so you don't have to replace it often, and it keeps everything clean and ready for the next session. Preventative maintenance is always the best choice - after every dab, wiping down your nail helps keep it clean. However, we understand that given the circumstances, you might be more inclined to sit back and enjoy the dab you've just taken. If that's the case - worry not!
There are three main ways to clean your nail:
- Using your torch is probably one of the easiest and most effective ways to clean your nail. Heat your nail and wait for it to burn off any reclaim or residual carbon on your nail. Once your nail is red hot, and all residue is gone, allow your nail to cool off entirely before gently scraping anything left off. If you have a ceramic or quartz nail, avoid exposing your nail to rapid temperature changes as it could crack and damage it.
- Using a sharp dab tool or even a paperclip, you can scrape off any minor buildup on the interior of your nail, removing most of the buildup. However, for harder-to-remove build-up, like sticky reclaim, you may need to read on to our next option.
- For a comprehensive clean, soaking your entire rig in isopropyl alcohol will not only reach and break down any leftover reclaim or carbon, but it will also leave your rig looking shiny and new again. Soak your rig in alcohol for 10-15 minutes, then remove and thoroughly wash with water several times. After this, season your nail by applying a small amount of wax or oil and then heating it. This will create a thin layer within your nail's open pores and ensure all alcohol is removed.
The Bottom Line
Dabbing can be a refreshing, potent, and exciting way to intake your cannabinoids of choice. As long as you have the right equipment, a few cannabis concentrates, and the patience to set up and use the dab rig, you should be good to go in no time!
Dabbing isn't for everyone. But for those who love it, swear by it and vouch for it consistently. The only way to find out if it might be right for you is to take a few rips and see if it's up your alley!
While dabbing can seem daunting at first, we promise it's easier than it looks. Have you purchased a dab rig yet? Tell us about your first dabbing experience in the comments below!