What is dabbing anyways? My first dab was in an alley behind the restaurant I worked at. I had no idea what I was doing. Let’s try to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes I did.
I’d never taken a concentrate before and I was offered a bong-looking device with a titanium plate attached to it, what I now know to be called a “dab rig”. I asked them, what is dabbing, and they said that words don’t explain it.
I was also passed a butane kitchen torch, normally used to carmelize the sugar on deserts, but this time we were apparently heating the titanium plate till it would be hot enough to vaporize the concentrate; a snotty-looking mixture that was kind of yellow or amber in colour.
I got so blasted, that I needed to take about 5 minutes to regain my composure. It was awesome. But kinda scary if you don’t have an entire staff of bartenders and kitchen workers to catch you when you land.
What Is Dabbing?
Dabbing is really cool for a few reasons. It can give you a cleaner high than you’ve ever had with dried flower. You taste the cannabis more than the plant matter. You also get waaaaay more THC and cannabinoids in the concentrate. Think about it, a dried flower might have 20% THC or so, and if we concentrate that down into 40% by reducing the plant matter by half, taking the stems and non-active ingredients out of the equation. Some concentrates are 90% pure, so check yourself before your wreck yourself.
Dabbing has a rich history, in fact, dabbing is one of the original ways to consume concentrates of any variety, whether you’re a hash man, a wax gal, a butter dude or a shatter chick. The practice has evolved over time as technology and laws advance, we now have batteries and electronics that can compete with older butane and propane heating. Crystal becomes easier to manufacture and we can now heat glass to higher temperatures.
What Is A ‘Dab’ Anyways?
Dabbing is the act of taking a dab, or inhaling a concentrate of cannabis. The word most likely came from the amount of the concentrate used, as a dab of something is roughly a small amount.
You might want a ‘dab’ of lotion for dry skin, or a ‘dab’ of glue to hold a broken item together. When you do a dab in cannabis, it’s a small amount of the concentrate that you use on the heated plate. A dab will do you!
How Is A Dab Rig Different Than A Bong?
You wouldn’t want to use a bong for dabbing. The temperatures that a bong should experience are much lower than a dab rig. When you use a bong, you are heating the product in the bowl, so the bowl and stem absorb heat, but not a crazy amount of heat.
But what is dabbing? Or a dab rig for that matter? When you are talking about a dab rig, you are talking about very high heat. Today it’s more typical to use a banger made of crystal, instead of a titanium plate. In either case, you are aiming to really heat the heck out of it, maybe red or white-hot.
Once the container or plate is hot enough, you carefully add a pinprick of concentrate to the hot surface, while inhaling. The concentrate is instantly ‘poofed’ into a vapour cloud and since you’re inhaling at the same time, the vapour travels into the rig, and up into your lungs for quick absorption.
This gives the user quite a rush, as it’s getting a lot of cannabinoids into the bloodstream very quickly. If you are used to bongs but have never tried a dab, be warned, it’s not even close. If you’ve never used a bong and you want to try a dab rig, be even more careful because bongs can deliver quite a punch, and dabs deliver even MORE of a punch than that.
Dab rigs will have convenient holders for the ‘nail’ and ‘banger’, the size of the glass will be a bit different, perhaps designed to reduce the heat from the banger, and cool the cloud down before it hits your lungs. Bongs don’t need to cool the smoke down, but it helps. Bongs are also designed with ash, and ash catchers in mind. Dab rigs are built with carb caps and banger beads/terp pearls [terp pearls link] in mind to help save you from wasting concentrate.
What’s The Difference Between Concentrates, Extracts, and Dabs?
Concentrates are pretty much any form of cannabis that is not simple dried flower. One of the most simple concentrates that every weed smoker is familiar with, is keif. The light brown crystals that collect at the bottom of your grinder. (If you have space at the bottom of your grinder, try unscrewing it. You may find you have a compartment full of this valuable stuff!) Keif is a concentrate because it’s going to contain a % of THC that is much higher than regular dried herb.
If you are eating a weed brownie, you are using a concentrate mixed with butter or oil, and adding that to the food. If you use a cannabis drink, then there is a concentrate of some kind in that drink, mixed with sugar and syrup.
Extracts are when you try to remove a certain compound from a cannabis plant. You can have a CBD extract for example, where the producers of the product are just keeping the CBD, extracting it from the plant, and putting the CBD somewhere else, like a drink, tincture, lotion, etc.
Live resin and live rosin are popular forms of solventless extracts.
You can have a full terpene extract in your soda, so we would imagine that a full spectrum of cannabinoids would be extracted from the plant, turned into a liquid, and mixed with flavour and carbonation, in order to become a cannabis soda.
So what is dabbing actually achieving?
Dabs are all about actually vaporizing and inhaling the concentrated weed. In other words, a dab can refer to specifically vaporizing and inhaling a concentrate that has been extracted. Dab can be a noun, or a verb, so you could say that “Johnny loves to use a bit of dab after work, but he never dabs before work.”
You would probably get some funny looks if you say “I’m going home to do a concentrate.” or “Hey can you pass the extract?”
What Are The Benefits Of Dabbing?
They Are Highly Potent
If you are new to dabs, concentrates, or even bongs, you will have your socks blown off by one tiny dab. You’ve been warned! This is normally a good thing, but if you aren’t ready for a stronger hit, you might ruin the rest of your afternoon.
Doing a dab can be fun and exciting but we are going from a normal 16-20% THC in dried herb, to more like 90-95% THC in a dab.
Start off with a literal pin-sized glob of concentrate until you find a comfortable amount. You can use a pea-sized amount, but please, don’t start with that.
They Are Flavorful
It’s not just the cannabinoids that are going to be concentrated, it’s also the flavours too! You get roughly 5x higher from a dab, so you get about five times more flavour as well.
This is because we are also removing all the other plant material and flavours out of the weed, just leaving the medicinal aspects like the cannabinoids and terpenes, molecules like THC and linalool.
Dabs Burn “Cleaner” Than Smoke
The reason a dab is cleaner is that it is concentrated, and waste products like stems, leaves or other plant material, have all been stripped away, leaving a cleaner product to consume. It’s just that simple, it is a cleaner feeling because it’s a cleaner substance.
Why Do We Celebrate ‘Dab Day’ On 7/10?
Weed smokers are notorious for coming up with codes to convey information. You used to tell your friend that “we’re going by the basketball court to practice HIGH jumping” if you wanted to smoke some weed.
You’d ask a friend “do you have any ‘Nature DVDs’ to watch this weekend” and they know you’re looking for weed. So it’s kind of a similar deal with 7/10 day, our International Dab Day.
The reason we celebrate oils and dabs on July 7th, is that if you look at the date 7/10, and you flip it upside-down, it spells OIL.
It’s kinda like that trick in grade school where you type out 5318008 on a calculator and then hold it upside-down to reveal the word BOOBIES. We are a sophisticated bunch.
Hopefully this guide helps you to have a full understanding of the answer to the question of “what is dabbing?” and how to get started with it today!