Dabbing for Dummies: Everything You Need to Know

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How to Dab Cannabis Concentrates: A Beginners' Guide

Move over bongs and joints, there’s a stronger, faster, more expensive way to enjoy marijuana — and it’s called dabbing. One of the trendiest methods of marijuana consumption, dabbing is a nickname for the use of a solid substance of concentrated butane hash oil. And dabbing is not anything like smoking a joint — the cannabis is in a different form; the act requires a whole new set of tools, and the psychotropic effect is significantly more intense. For those new to dabbing, we’ve got you covered on how to dab cannabis concentrates.

What is Dabbing?

Dabs are concentrated doses of cannabis that are made by extracting THC and other cannabinoids using a solvent like butane or carbon dioxide, resulting in sticky oils also commonly referred to as wax, shatter, and budder.

Essentially, dabbing is the practice of melting a cannabis concentrate over a heat source and inhaling the vapor. Depending on the extract type and quality, dabbing concentrates tend to have double the potency of that which comes from traditional marijuana flowers, which is why some think dabbing is the fastest, most efficient way to medicate.

How to Dab Cannabis Concentrates

Dabbing is not as simple as lighting up a joint, as it usually requires more prep and more equipment. The supplies needed for dabbing include your choice of a rig, bong or skillet, a torch (usually butane), a nail, and a wand. The rig is the main contraption that is used for the dabbing process; the hand torch is used to heat the nail; the nail fits inside of the rig and melts the concentrate; and the wand picks up the concentrate and presses it against the nail.

After a rig is set up, a nail is used to grab a bit of wax and the nail is heated with the torch. Once the dabber is prepared, the user starts inhaling the wax vapor while simultaneously using the dabber to slide the wax on the heated nail. When the wax is completely melted and no more vapor is coming up the user exhales the vapor.

Dabbing Doses

Because there are no universal tools for measurement, properly sizing a dab can be a daunting task to anybody who is not well-versed in cannabis concentrates. Those first-time dabbing are advised to start with a small dab – which usually is the size of a crumb.

It’s also important to keep in mind that different extracts have different THC concentrations, so it’s wise to know how potent your oil is before dabbing with it. Knowing the types of dabs is key.

Benefits of Dabbing

When done safely with clean, tested products, patients and recreational users may prefer dabbing as a delivery method, primarily its stronger effect compared to smoking a joint or using a vaporizer.

Some may say this makes dabbing very suitable for those patients suffering from severe or chronic pain or extreme nausea, by providing immediate and effective relief. For example, it can take several minutes to feel the effects of smoked marijuana, whereas dabbers may feel their pain subside as soon as the vapor is exhaled.

Dangers of Dabbing

While many turn to dabbing for its strong effects, it’s not without its risks. Dabbing can be dangerous because the process includes a combination of flammable gases and poor ventilation, which if done improperly, can result in explosion.

Also, there’s no way to know the quality or purity of your finished product used in dabbing. “Dirty” oil or too much heat may contain chemical contaminants that could present health hazards to users. In fact, a recent study from Portland State University found high temperature dabbing causes the release of noxious chemicals.

Overdose is another concern, due to the swift and powerful effects that comes from dabbing. Although studies show it is unlikely to die from an overdose of cannabis, the potency of dabbing can be very unpleasant if too large a dose is inhaled.

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