Dabbing Etiquette: 10 Tips to Remember When Taking a Dab
Published on Dec 13, 2020
Have you tried dabs? As the cannabis industry continues to grow, dabbing concentrates has become one of the most popular forms of marijuana consumption. At its core, the word "dab" means to vaporize cannabis extracts. Although anyone can dab, there's a certain etiquette to the practice to always ensure an enjoyable end experience. Not sure if you're doing it right? Don't worry, we've got your back!
History of Dabbing
Thanks to longstanding and continued federal prohibition, there are no history books to let us know exact answers for questions like "when did dabbing start?" or "where did dabbing start?" What we do know is that dabbing gained popularity with West Coast cannabis communities in the early 2010s thanks to the emergence of butane hash oil, and quickly spread to the rest of the country.
Usually, taking dabs requires a dab rig, a blowtorch (or a power source for an electric nail or e-nail), a dab tool to pick up product, q-tips and ISO alcohol for cleaning, and of course sticky weed waxes, shatters, rosins, resins, etc. With all that equipment and such high heat, knowing how to use a dabber can be complicated and intimidating to beginners. If you're nervous about getting in on the next dab session, you're in luck. We've got a set of dab tips and dab tricks to make you look like a seasoned pro when it's your turn to heat the nail and hit the next glob.
What To Expect While Dabbing
As you might have heard, taking a dab comes with a much stronger and intense high than smoking a bowl or a blunt. Because cannabis concentrates are, well, concentrated, there is much more THC in a gram of dabs than there is in a gram of flower. If you're new to dabbing, get ready for a strong high similar to edibles, but without the unpredictable wait time or extra long effects.
Most dabbers use a "rig" to consume their concentrates. For experienced smokers, learning how to smoke dabs with a rig will look exactly like a bong, but with a dab nail in place of a traditional bowl. There are a few different dabbing nail types including quartz and ceramic. No matter the material, the nail is typically heated with a blowtorch before a dab of concentrates is added and instantly vaporized. If you want to try dabbing without a rig, you can always add cannabis concentrates to a bowl or a joint, but it won't be quite as effective.
It may look scary at the start, but if your tolerance is sky-high and regular bong rips and pre-rolls aren't doing the trick anymore, there's a good chance that dabbing could soon become your favorite cannabis consumption method.
10 Tips for Proper Dabbing Technique
There's a reason they're called dabs, and it all has to do with the small amount of concentrate needed for each hit. Because cannabis extracts pack such a heavy punch, beginners should start as small as possible and build up to bigger hits, or as seasoned dabbers call them - globs.
Torch Comfort Is Key
If you've never used a blowtorch before, the big flame can be a little nerve-racking. Make sure there is nothing on your dab station besides your rig, dabbing tools, and cleaning supplies. If someone in your smoke session is more comfortable with the torch than others, let them heat the nail for every dab instead of passing the torch after every hit.
Take Your Time
In the early days of dabbing, smokers would take their hits as soon as the nail was glowing hot. As the technique evolved though, dabbers discovered that low-temp dabbing offered a better-tasting terpene profile, cleaner high, and better overall experience. These days, most dab connoisseurs recommend that you heat your nail for 30 seconds to 1 minute and then wait another 30 seconds to 1 minute while it cools to a more appropriate temperature. Patience is a virtue which is why true dabbers jokingly say "Waste it, to taste it."
Cap Your Dab
Outside of expensive dab rigs and cool dabbers, carb caps are one of the most popular tools in the dab toolbox. Carb caps go on top of the nail after the dab is dropped to keep the vapor in the bong and maintain the temperature of the nail.
This one is for the real dab newbies. If you're used to using a traditional bong with a bowl and a slide, you're probably used to grabbing and pulling out the bowl after every hit. On a dab rig, the concentrate nail is still blazing hot after each dab, and should not be touched at all until it has a significant (10 minutes or more) cool-down period.
Clean The Nail After Every Dab
If there's one thing that sets dab enthusiasts apart from other weed smokers, it's an obsession with cleanliness. That tidiness is most noticeable in the form of post-dab q-tip tech. After every dab, use a cotton swab and a few drops of isopropyl alcohol to clean out any residual concentrate from the nail.
Have a Can of Butane Handy
Just like a missing lighter can ruin a regular smoke session, starting a dab sesh without extra butane can be disastrous. If your torch runs out you always want to have a refill handy to keep the party alive and make sure everyone in your crew gets a fair toke.
Put Your Dab Tools Down Strategically
Cannabis concentrates are sticky, so make sure that your dab tools are put down and stored in a designated area. In addition to your tools and rigs, make sure to clean your dab station frequently.
Sharing Is Caring
Because dabs are still a relatively new phenomenon in the world of weed, there are plenty of stoners who still haven't experienced the wonders of extracts. If you're going to get into dabs and invest in a torch and a rig, it's only fair you share the wealth with friends - just like your buddies did when you first started dabbing.
Clean Your Rig After Every Session
Keeping in line with the alcohol-dipped cotton swabs, most dabbers make sure to clean and change the water in their rigs after every session. Cleaning your rig will make sure your concentrates always taste their best and won't gross out your friends too much to come back for the next dab sesh.
Once you get the hang of dealing with dab rigs, blowtorches, and the other tools of the trade, there are a few extra steps that will turn you into a pro dabber. A dab mat will keep all the sticky residue off of your coffee table and protect your rig from hard surfaces. A kitchen timer or stopwatch and a laser thermometer will help you track your heating and cooling times better for the perfect low-temp dab every time. And for an expert-level dab experience, fill your rig with distilled water to prevent any streaking on your glass!
Can you think of any dabbing tips we missed? Hit us up in the comments with your favorite techniques for the perfect dab session!