Cannabis has been around for a very, very long time. And in that time, the most innovative and curious among us have found new and interesting ways of using it.
From the tried-and-tested method of smoking to topical treatments and edible treats, boundaries have been pushed and experiments undertaken. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a new and trendy means of consuming cannabis: dabbing.
What Are Dabs?
Think of dabs as “bite-sized,” single-serving hits that are usually no bigger than your pinky nail (though that’s actually a lot!). You scoop a dab onto the nail using a dabbing tool and then apply a flame to turn the solid into vapor. Finally, you inhale as much of the vapor as possible. That’s dabbing in a nutshell.
What Equipment Will You Need To Dab?
Dabbing requires some specialized equipment, so you can’t just decide one morning that you’re going to try it without first going shopping. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Dab rig — A specialized bong used with dabs.
- Nail — This isn’t the type of nail you buy at the hardware store.
- Dome — Fits over the nail and helps contain the vaporized wax.
- Carb cap — Creates a mini oven that helps vaporize the wax at lower temperatures.
And then, of course, you need your dabs.
What You Need
- Ounce of cannabis
- 2 Oven-proof pans (one should fit easily into the other with lots of room.)
- Glass tube for extraction or stainless steel turkey baster
- 1 can of butane
- Coffee filters
- Rubber bands
- Parchment paper
- Razor blade
- Cooking pot to boil water
Caution: We recommend doing this process outdoors. This will keep you, and your home, safer if the butane explodes.
1. Take an ounce of cannabis, grind it up, and pack it in your glass tube. Make sure the cannabis is packed in the tube tight enough so there are no air pockets, but not too tight. You still want the butane to be able to move all the way through the cannabis.
2. Place the coffee filter over the larger end of the glass tube, and use the rubber band to tightly secure the coffee filter in place. You should now have the coffee filter completely covering the one end of the glass tube.
3. Turn the tube so that the end with the coffee filter is on the bottom, and the smaller end of the tube is at the top. Put the oven-proof pan on the table underneath the end of the tube with the coffee filter.
4. Start releasing the butane into the smaller end of the tube. The butane should move through the cannabis in the tube, and drip into the ovenproof pan you’ve placed beneath it. Keep releasing the butane until you’ve used all of it. Hold the tube in place and watch to make sure that all of the butane in the tube moves through the cannabis and into the pan.
5. The butane that’s collecting in the pan will contain your cannabis concentrate. Your job now is to evaporate the butane so that only the concentrate remains.
6. On your stove, boil a pot of water. Use your thermometer to check the temperature of the water. You want to get the water to a temperature of 155° Fahrenheit.
7. Put your pan carrying the butane into the larger pan. Pour the boiling water into the larger pan so that the water rises up beneath the smaller pan carrying the butane. It should float gently on top of the water. Be careful not to get any water in the smaller pan carrying the butane. This heat will cause your butane to fizz and boil, which means the evaporation process is working. Wait until all of the butane has been evaporated. You’ll know you’re at this point when the butane stops bubbling. (Don’t leave it for too long, otherwise, your concentrate will begin to darken, signifying that its quality is starting to take a turn for the worse.)
8. You should now have a solid, honey-colored substance in the bottom of your small pan. Allow this to cool, then use a razor blade to scrape it out of the pan and smear it onto a sheet of parchment paper.
9. Allow it to cool completely before using it.
How To Use Dabs
1) Dab Rig
The most common way to use dabs is in — wait for it — a dab rig! Whether you’ve got wax, shatter, budder, or some other form of concentrate, you can smoke it in a special bong designed specifically for extracts.
2) Blunt, Joint, Spliff
If your dabs are more hash-like than wax-like (it’s ok, don’t develop wax envy, it’s all just concentrated cannabis anyway), you can crumble a bit into your blunt, joint, or spliff before you close.
Paired with a tried-and-true strain like Blue Dream, Chemdawg, Sour Diesel, or Fruity Pebbles, the high THC or CBD content in your dabs will add an extra kick to an already enjoyable experience.
You can also use dab crumbles to hit the Turbo Boost button on your joint-, blunt-, or spliff-smoking experience when rolling with low-quality bud.
The mids you found stuffed in the back of your drawer from who-knows-when take on new life — and new potency — when you mix it with your DIY dabs.
When we DIY a batch of dabs that is more hash than wax or shatter, we love to mix it in our favorite edibles recipes.
We’ve added it to everything from butter and honey to tea and candy. We’ve even sprinkled it on top of our lunch salad to get our afternoon started off right.
Just remember that dabs are concentrated cannabis, have a high THC or CBD count, and can really knock you on your back if you’re not careful.
There really are few things worse than being couch locked at work or trying to write a report while your desk and computer dance the Lambada in front of you.
The Pros and Cons of Dabs
As with all other methods of cannabis use, care should be taken when dabbing. Here are just some of the pros and cons associated with dabs:
- Owing to its potency, the highs from dabs can be very intense. It’s therefore wise to pace yourself and only use small amounts at a time.
- Solvent extraction is very dangerous. If you’re not an experienced chemist, it’s probably best to purchase ready-made concentrates or to use the rosin method.
- Solvents can be harmful to the throat and lungs.
- The strength of the concentrates has made them very popular with medical users as an effective painkiller.
- Recreational users report a stronger, more prolonged high.
- You don’t need a large amount. A small dab of concentrate can potentially treat aches and pains over a longer period of time when compared to other methods.