What is Marijuana Dabbing & How to Smoke Cannabis Dabs?

Area 52
October 20, 2021 | Blog

Dabbing, or heating very concentrated cannabis wax then inhaling it, is a fairly new method of cannabis consumption, but it’s growing quickly in popularity— and for good “resin.”

Cannabis users who want to get high right away love dabbing because it means a quick onset time and a potent, concentrated THC or CBD experience.

With just a few tools and the right cannabis concentrate resin, you’ll be ready to start dabbing and enjoy the intense high that comes almost immediately after you inhale.

Learn how to dab, how to dose your dabs, how dab concentrates are made, and a few of its side effects in this review.

What Is Dabbing?

Dabbing is a relatively new way to smoke cannabis since dabs have only entered the scene during the last ten years.

Typically, dabs are extracts of the cannabis plant in a concentrated smokable wax or resin form.

Users can smoke psychoactive dabs that contain THC or non-psychoactive concentrates like CBD isolate.

Since dabbing is relatively new, dabbing technology is modern and makes use of advanced extraction methods and cutting-edge tools.

To dab, users must first obtain a dab rig or oil rig, which is a special device that allows the user to heat the waxy concentrate and smoke it. It also relies on the most modern cannabis extraction methods, which tend to produce the highest-quality and most pure forms of THC or CBD wax.

Dabbing is one of the fastest and most efficient ways to get high from smoking marijuana. Many users who dab report feeling very high almost immediately after smoking the dab.

Is Dabbing the Same As Smoking?

Dabbing is similar to smoking in that the user heats the cannabis product and inhales it, but it is not the same thing as smoking a joint, for example.

Since dabs are made of highly concentrated and incredibly potent cannabis extracts, the effects of dabbing tend to be much more powerful and intense than smoking standard marijuana or hemp products. Even in a non-psychoactive form, dabs are much stronger than their hemp flower counterparts.

Dabbing is considered to be more dangerous than smoking joints or using a bong to smoke because of its extreme potency. Since the wax is much more concentrated than dry herb, the dab rig produces more smoke than a draw from a traditional joint would.

Most dab users distinguish dabbing from more commonplace smoking because a much larger quantity of smoke is inhaled into the lungs when dabbing. Just one pull from a dab rig creates a massive amount of smoke compared to a pull from a joint or bong.

Dabbing can be seen as a form of smoking, but the two are quite different.

What Are the Benefits of Dabs?

Cannabis Concentrate In a Glass Container

There are a few major benefits of dabbing versus any other cannabis consumption method.

1. Dabbing Is Efficient

Users love that with just one hit of the dab rig, they can experience a robust THC high or quickly induce the non-psychoactive benefits of CBD. There is no need to re-dose or keep puffing because one hit is enough.

2. Dabbing’s Effects Hit Fast

Dab users also appreciate how quickly the effects of the dabbing begin — almost immediately. For those cannabis lovers who are used to eating edibles or taking tinctures that have delayed onset and can take anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour to kick in, hitting a dab is a pleasant surprise since the effects can start instantly.

Cannabis users seeking some alleviation from pain and nausea may also be interested in dabs. Because of its quick-acting effects, some users report relief for symptoms like dizziness or other discomforts right away.

3. Dabbing Is Less Harsh

Dab extracts and resins are made with the most technologically advanced processes and produce high-quality, incredibly pure waxes. Many users say the smoke is easier on the lungs than untested or unpurified products like dried marijuana flowers. More research is needed to determine if this claim is accurate, but it does make some sense hypothetically.

One slightly less straightforward benefit of dabs is the increase and improvement in the cannabis extraction technology sector. Creating wax for dabs calls for isolating THC or CBD concentrate. This demand for dab waxes has streamlined this extraction and isolation process, and biochemists and scientists have further developed the extraction techniques.

How to Dab Cannabinoids?

To dab cannabis wax or shatter, many users use a glass object similar to a bong used for smoking cannabis flowers. Most dab rigs hold water and circulate air and smoke through the water to the user when inhaled.

To begin dabbing, users must know how to use a dab rig. First, fill the dab rig with water. Then, heat the dab nail, which is equivalent to the bowl or slide for a glass bong. It’s the part of the rig that holds the substance while it’s heated.

Next, heat the dab nail (bowl) with a torch lighter until it turns red and reaches a very hot, consistent temperature. It’s a good idea to turn off the torch once the dab nail is hot enough, and some users like to let the dab nail cool for a few moments for safety.

After the dab nail has reached the right temperature, dip the metal tool, called a dabber, into the resin or wax and apply it directly onto the heated element. Place the wax concentrate that’s on the dabber onto the dab nail, and begin to inhale. Inhale slowly, though, since dabs are potent and can be intense.

You may also opt to cover the dab rig carb to regulate the flow of the smoke once you’ve finished heating the wax or resin. Some individuals purchase carb caps to simplify the carb covering process.

Here’s a quick summary of the four main steps to dabbing:

  1. Heat the dab nail with the torch.
  2. Dip the dabber into the wax and place it on the hot dab nail.
  3. Inhale the smoke from the dab rig slowly.
  4. Exhale and enjoy.

What Tools Do I Need For Dabbing?

Tools Used for Dabbing Cannabis Concentrate

There are a few different tools and pieces needed to dab. Here’s an outline of the tools necessary and how they work.

1. Dab Rig

A dab rig is a glass piece similar to a bong that makes the whole dabbing process possible. Each dab rig has a few slots for different purposes, including a place to put the dab nail (male or female), a carb hole that helps with air and smoke circulation, and a mouthpiece to inhale the smoke from. The dab rig is filled with water; the smoke is filtered through the water when the user inhales.

2. Glass or Titanium Dab Nail

The dab nail is usually glass or titanium and has a bucket shape. This piece is similar to the slide or bowl part of a more traditional glass bong. Just like the bowl, it’s the part of the piece that holds the cannabis product — in this case, wax or resin rather than flower. The dab nail gets heated up before the cannabis substance is placed inside to smoke.

3. Dabber

The dabber is an important part of the dabbing process because, without it, users would have no way to get the cannabis wax or budder into the heated dab nail without getting burned. Dabbers look similar to crochet needles or dental tools and come in various shapes and sizes. The dabber you choose will depend on the type and texture of the cannabis product you’ll smoke. For example, if you’re using an oily, syrup-like resin, you may want a paddle-shaped dabber, while a needlepoint dabber is more useful when working with a thicker wax.

4. Torch

The torch is equivalent to a lighter when using a bong. While dabbing, though, the user heats the dab nail, not the wax or resin directly. The wax is placed onto the heated dab nail element and melts, releasing its compounds into smoke. Many users choose simple kitchen torches, like those used for baking, but these torches rely on propane, so be prepared to refill your torch. Other more advanced torches exist, too. Check out the options before purchasing one.

5. Cannabis Dab Concentrate

You’ll have to experiment with the different isolates to decide which you prefer. Cannabis dabs come in various textures and forms. Most dabs are rosins, waxes, resins, or shatters. It’s a good idea to order a small amount of each type of dab concentrate and sample them all before committing to a large quantity of a dab product you might not enjoy.

There are other specialty dab tools like carb caps and dab mats, but they’re optional and based on user preference.

Cannabis dabs are available for the following cannabinoids: 

  • Delta 10 THC
  • Delta 9 THC
  • Delta 8 THC
  • CBG (Cannabigerol)
  • CBD (Cannabidiol)
  • CBC (Cannabichromene)
  • CBN (Cannabinol)
  • HHC (Hexahydrocannabinol)
  • THC-O (THC-O-Acetate

Learn More: List of Different Cannabinoids in Cannabis

How Do I Dose Dabs?

When dosing, dabs start small — super small. Cannabis concentrate waxes are very potent, so even though a dab may seem small, it’s better to take another draw than to be higher than you’d hoped.

Start by checking the potency of your cannabis extract. The higher the potency, the smaller the quantity you’ll need to dab.

A good size reference for a small dose, or ‘micro-dab,’ is the size of a sesame seed or chia seed. That may seem minuscule, but remember, you can always take more; you can’t take less once you’ve inhaled it. Feel free to take more if you feel comfortable doing so.

Since most cannabis waxes are labeled with potency percentage, you can generate a rough idea of how strong the wax will be. Since it’s hard to eyeball the measurement of a syrupy substance, and over-dosing could be intense, be modest in your dosing as you begin dabbing.

Almost all cannabis wax is extremely concentrated, so despite the small dose, you’ll still have a powerfully high experience.

How Are Dabs Made?

Dabs are cannabinoid concentrates that are made into wax, putty, resin, or other gooey, viscous textured substances.

Cannabis concentrates are made by extracting cannabinoids from marijuana or hemp plants using a chemical solvent such as carbon dioxide or butane.

These chemical solvents are blasted through marijuana plants with pressure and heat, ultimately producing a new cannabis substance in a concentrated wax or oil-like form.

The process of making cannabis wax is risky and can result in fatal or harmful explosions. Do not try to create cannabis dab oils at home. The concentrate crafting process is best left to scientists and professionals in lab settings who have the proper tools and safety measures in place.

Are Dabs Dangerous?

Although dabbing is akin to inhaling only pure, highly-concentrated cannabis, it can still be dangerous.

Ultimately, all smoking, even light smoking, is dangerous in any dose, but there are reasons beyond that:

1. Too Potent

One danger of dabs is the intense potency of the cannabis extract. Natural THC products contain between 10-15% THC, while cannabis concentrate can contain up to 80% THC. Due to this high concentration, some users could develop greater tolerance or dependency. Users should consider the potency of the wax they choose before making a purchase.

2. Too Much Heat

Using a dab rig can pose a danger since a torch lighter is needed, and an entire glass (or sometimes titanium) piece (dab nail) is heated to scorching temperatures. Accidentally touching the inflamed dab nail could cause bad burns.

3. Harmful Substances

If using dabs, it’s incredibly important to purchase the cannabis concentrate from a reliable, trustworthy source that lab tests each batch and provides COAs (certificates of analysis) for user review. This way, you can ensure that no heavy metals or other harmful substances remain in the product before dabbing it.

Dab concentrates are also made using chemicals like butane, which is both unstable and dangerous and can result in explosions if not done in the right way. So, making cannabis concentrate for dabs is certainly dangerous.

What Are the Side Effects of Dabbing?

Heating a Dabbing Tool

There are a few known side effects of dabbing. Some of the effects of dabbing may be harmful, so do your research before dabbing cannabis concentrate.

One report cites side effects of dabbing to include psychosis, neurotoxicity, paranoia, and cardiotoxicity [1].

Other dangers of smoking marijuana wax can include: 

  • Black spots in the lungs
  • Hallucinations
  • Worsened symptoms of schizophrenia

Some users report side effects like:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Tingling skin
  • Head rush

On the other hand, others claim that marijuana dabs have beneficial effects. Some users have reported that dabbing helps to stimulate appetite, reduce pain and nausea, and can even be sleep supportive. Plus, since dabs take effect so quickly, these beneficial effects could ease discomfort right away.

Each user will have a different experience, so it’s important to consider any health conditions you may have before dabbing. Weigh out the potential dangers and risks of using cannabis concentrates, as well as the possible benefits.

Can I Overdose On Dabs?

Dabs may get you super high, but there are no reports of people dying from using just marijuana.

Fatal overdose from marijuana consumption is practically unheard of. Inasmuch, when it comes to overdosing on marijuana, the term ‘overdose’ more accurately refers to the consumption of toxic levels of the product, which could produce adverse effects, but not death.

There is a higher risk since dabs contain incredibly high percentages of cannabinoids, sometimes more than double that of natural marijuana plants or dried flowers.

Most often, the adverse side effects of excessive marijuana consumption include:

  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Panic
  • Paranoia
  • Rapid heartbeat

Users who are concerned about drug poisoning and overdose should consult a doctor before consuming marijuana products or dabbing.

Key Takeaways: What Are Dabs?

Dabbing cannabis concentrate is one of the fastest and most potent methods of marijuana consumption today.

Dabbing is a way to inhale cannabis smoke through a dab rig by heating a waxy cannabis resin. Since the cannabis resin substance is so concentrated, users just need to smoke a small ‘dab’ or seed-sized portion of the wax to get a complete experience.

Dabs are great for users who want to enjoy the effects of cannabis quickly since the effects set in rapidly. The effects of dabs are also pretty strong since dab concentrates and waxes can contain up to 80% cannabinoids.

With just a few simple tools like a dab rig, dab nail, dabber, and torch, a user can heat their preferred cannabis concentrate and achieve their desired high with a slow inhale.

Making dab concentrates can be a dangerous process, though, so it’s best left to the professionals. But if you practice safe use at home, you can still enjoy using a dab rig with your favorite cannabis wax ordered directly from a trustworthy online vendor.

If you are interested in getting pretty high pretty quickly, dabbing is the way to go.

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