If you’re new to dabbing, the whole process can seem a bit daunting. But follow these tips on how to smoke dabs and soon you’ll be dabbing like a total pro.
Dabbing is a very popular way to consume marijuana. “Dabs” is a form of marijuana concentrate, typically in wax form. The concentrate is extracted from cannabis trichomes, resulting in higher cannabinoid levels such as THC. This results in an intense high.
Most users prefer the high they get from dabs. Unlike smoking joints or bongs, dabs don’t use harsh smoke. Dabs has a smooth but powerful toke, resulting in a clear-headed and focused high.
Today, states that offer legal and medical marijuana offer dab variations. Both recreational and medical strains come in wax form for the concentrate consumers.
If you plan on following this trend, here’s how to smoke dabs like a pro.
Understanding Marijuana Concentrate
Dabs are simply a casual way of saying marijuana concentrate. There are multiple ways to use dabs and each has different names.
When the concentrate is extracted from trichomes, it can be preserved in a variety of ways.
All of these dab variations contain higher a cannabinoid concentration. The dabs you choose depends on your preference.
Here are some of the most popular types of cannabis concentrate:
- Wax — the most traditional type of wax used for dabs, it’s a sticky oil used in a dab or oil rig.
- Rosin/resin — one of the safest and easiest concentrates to make and consume.
- Scissor dabs — the concentrate that sticks to the scissors that cut the marijuana leaves. It’s easy to acquire, is very potent and is extremely sticky.
- Ice wax — because it’s extracted with water, this is one of the safest concentrate consumption methods.
- Shatter — extremely hard pieces of concentrate and requires extreme heat for vaporization.
- Dust — has a grainy consistency and is easy to melt.
- Budder — has a creamy texture, similar to butter. Is the most versatile concentrate.
- Oil — has a liquid consistency and is extremely potent.
All concentrates resemble the color of ear wax. Each dabbing material is slightly different. This is because of the variety of ways you can extract concentrate.
Most street marijuana is extracted using butane.
The edible concentrate is extracted using food-grade solvent, such as olive oil.
Most concentrates you buy legally, whether medicinally or recreationally, is extracted using safer but more expensive measures such as a carbon dioxide solvent.
Before smoking dabs, you need the right materials. Similarly to smoking traditional marijuana, you’ll need materials such as rolling papers or a glass pipe.
To work with the hardened wax material, dab users need specific materials to melt the wax and turn it into vapor.
Some examples include:
- An oil (or dab) rig — these look similar to a classic bong. Rather than heating the cannabis, you heat an item called the “nail” that holds the concentrate.
- Vape (or dab) pen — one of the most common ways to consume dabs. These pens look similar to traditional e-cigarette pens.
- Healthstone/bowl — this is similar to a bong and is touted as one of the safest ways to consume dabs.
- Joint — when combined with marijuana flower, you can include pieces of marijuana concentrate into a traditional joint or blunt. You may need to melt the concentrate with a lighter first so you can properly inhale the concentrate with the flower.
- Hot Knives — this is the classic way of dabbing, also known as the poor person dab. Oil rigs and vape pens can get expensive, and this is a cheaper alternative to consume dabs.
How to Smoke Dabs
Now you know the different types of dabs and the different ways to consume dabs. Here’s your guide to using each device with the recommended type of dab wax.
How to Use an Oil Rig
When most people think of dabbing, they think of an oil rig. You can take an old water pipe and modify it, and there are specialized oil rigs you can buy.
If you plan on using an old water pipe as a rig, modify it by adding dabbing accessories, which are available to purchase at dispensaries and head shops. You can easily search for stores with a source such as Leafbuyer.
Here are the materials you need:
- Water pipe
- Nail or e-nail
First, you fill the pipe with water, the same way you do with a traditional bong. Attach the nail, the same way you do with a carb.
The way oil dabs work is by heating the nail. There are old and new nails. Older nails require a dome around it, while newer nails don’t. If you’re unsure of your rig set-up, ask a budtender.
You’ll likely buy a newer nail model. This is a circular device, which looks like a hole in the middle of a moat. Older nails require a torch to heat the nail. But many newer nails are e-nails, which means they have a heating device installed.
After you heat the nail, apply the wax in the moat area. A softer concentrate such as budder works best, but any type of wax can be used. Vapor rises from the hole in the middle. Inhale out of the mouthpiece.
How to Use a Vape Pen
There are several types of vape pens on the market and each one is different. There are also specific vape pens used for dabbing, so make sure you buy one of those.
Before using your vape pen, always read the instructions before using. Most vape pens follow a similar structure, which will be explained here.
A vape pen is comprised of core parts:
Once you find out how a vape pen works, you’ll discover it’s one of the easiest ways to consume dabs.
Start by disconnecting the atomizer from the battery — your pen’s instructions or the budtender can teach you how to do this.
Place a small amount of dab on the coil; depending on your pen, some have a separate place for this. Reconnect the pen and turn it on. Turn on the coil, this will melt the dab. Inhale through the mouthpiece.
How to Use a Healthstone
A healthstone works similarly to a traditional pipe. There’s a glass bowl where the dab goes. You directly light the dab and inhale.
The main difference between a healthstone and a traditional pipe is the porous glass insert. This helps vaporize the smoke, making it one of the safest dabbing methods.
You can use any type of wax in a healthstone. Just make sure you use a torch rather than a traditional lighter; concentrate requires more heat to melt.
How to Twax With a Joint
One of the favorite ways of consuming cannabis is adding cannabis concentrate to a joint, which is also called twaxing. Here, you mix regular cannabis leaf with concentrate in a traditional joint or blunt.
Start by preparing the joint normally. Lie it out flat, grind up the cannabis flower, and add the flower to the wrap.
This next step depends on the type of cannabis you use. Your concentrate needs to be somewhat melted. Since you light a joint with a lighter, the heat needs to be able to penetrate the concentrate.
You can use a softer concentrate, such as budder or dust, which easily melts.
But if you decide to use a harder substance such as shatter, you’ll have to melt it before adding it to the joint. You can melt dabs by applying a lighter and melting it down to a liquid or softer form.
Simple add the concentrate to the joint, roll it up, and begin smoking.
Cannabis concentrates are technically not a new thing — concentrate has been extracted from trichomes for a long time. But today, there are devices used to consume dabs. Back in the old days, they had to use DIY methods.
The hot knives method is one of the most common DIY dabbing methods. It was discovered by a stoner who happened to be cooking one day and got the idea when he saw a butter knife next to his stone.
Just take two butter knives and heat them on the stove. Make sure you only heat the tips — the handle should be cool enough to hold.
After the knives are hot, take them off the stove and transfer them to a heat-safe surface. Be careful, they will be HOT. Place a dab on the heated area of one knife and sandwich the concentrate between both knives.
Use a funnel to inhale the vapor. This can be a straw, a cardboard roll, or any funnel you can find. Place one end on the knives and inhale through the opposite end. Be sure to inhale quick! The concentrate will fizzle out quickly.
Dab Like a Pro
Concentrates, or dabs, are rising in popularity. They’re more potent than cannabis flower and vaporizing is safer than flower smoke. But many cannabis users don’t know how to smoke dabs, so they stick to marijuana flower.
Whether you’re a medicinal or recreational user, smoking dabs heighten the marijuana consuming experience.
For more information about dabbing marijuana and other marijuana topics, visit our resources.