Dabbing: What Is It and How To Do It

Table of Contents

There are all sorts of new and different ways on how to smoke weed. Despite joints and blunts still being the most famous, dabbing is also something a lot of people are getting into. Through the use of marijuana concentrates and specialized dab rigs, it is a very neat and intriguing way of getting frosty! So what are dabs and how do you use them? Will they have different effects and flavors compared to your classic joints?

WHAT IS A DAB?

First of all, let us discuss what dabs are. A dab refers to a segment of cannabis- usually extracts or concentrates – that contain THC, CBD, and just about all the other cannabinoids present in weed. While it refers to a general form of a marijuana product, dabs can take a number of different forms. The most common type of dab usually comes in the form of oil, wax, badder, bubble hashish, kief, or rosin.

There has been a steady rise in the popularity of cannabis extracts mainly for the use of medicinal purposes. But with dabs, people also use them for leisure and recreational purposes. 

Can dabs also get you high?

A dab (along with most cannabis extracts for dabbing) will generally contain around 85% to 90% THC. The rest is composed of all different kinds of chemicals and cannabinoids such as CBD. As such, dabs will most definitely get you high. In fact, a smaller amount of dabs is enough to get you just as high as other smoking methods. As such, it is advised to build up a certain level of tolerance to cannabis THC first. Dabbing is something that leans more towards experienced smokers so be careful! Smoking too much via dabbing can cause some very uncomfortable side effects such as nausea and paranoia.

Keep in mind that dabbing is only starting to become a big thing in the weed community! This means that any adverse impacts in the long run that this may have on your health  will still need to be studied further. The inhalation of wax and other substances mixed into dabs may cause certain reactions in people. Dabs are generally subject to a number of different processes and quality control in order to remove any hazardous chemicals from the raw materials. 

HOW DOES DABBING WORK?

Dabbing is essentially a more advanced and improved way of smoking cannabis today. Not many people will actually have access to it because it is generally a lot less popular than using typical weed buds. However, those who do get into dabbing will definitely stay hooked to this method of smoking. Using a dab gives you all the best qualities that joints and blunts will and much more. 

One thing to keep in mind is that a dab is able to produce smoke and highs through the use of vaporization. As we said above, a dab can come in all sorts of forms and shapes. This basically means that you can use dabs that come in a solid form (such as hash, kief, and crystallized shatter) or in a liquid form (cannabis was, marijuana oils, concentrates). But ultimately, dabbing exposes your dab to a high temperature of heat which melts and evaporates it.

What do you need when dabbing?

Dabbing makes use of tools and paraphernalia, which means that it isn’t the most handy method of smoking. It works very similarly to smoking a bong, with the only difference being that dabbing concentrates more of cannabis extracts instead of marijuana flowers and buds. But aside from that, you get pretty much the same elements in smoking a bong. You still use heat to combust your solutions, water to filter and push up the smoke, and various percolators to produce a much cleaner and smoother high. But while a lot of people consider dab rigs to be just another form of a water bong, we like to think of it as a separate smoking method entirely.

Here are some of the things that you will need when you dab. You can purchase these in various weed shops or through online transactions.

DAB RIG

In order to start dabbing, you will need… well, a dab rig. Have you ever tried to go fishing without a fishing pole? While it is possible to do so, it certainly won’t deliver the same experience. A dab rig is a certain type of bong that is mainly use for dabbing. It is composed of many different parts (which we will discuss later on) that the smoke travels through. This gives it a much more pleasing and cool inhale. 

One key feature that dab rigs have as opposed to bongs is that they will generally make use of male downstems rather than the usual female downstems used in bongs. This allows a more compact and secure chamber for your oils and extracts to vaporize due to its form. Dab rigs come in different forms and sizes. While the ordinary ones are quite bulky and thick, there are also portable-size ones that are great for travelling.

DAB TOOL/DAB FORK/DABBER

A dab tool is a special kind of equipment that a person should use to pick up the concentrates. It is specifically design to pick up both solid and liquid forms of dabs, which makes it a very reliable piece of equipment to have. Of course, if you are using liquid dabs, then there are certain alternatives. These include medicine droppers, pipettes, or even regular pins. However, a dab tool gives smokers a lot more precision in controlling the amount you will use. Dab tools also help you push down the liquid into the banger.

For beginners, we suggest opting for those dabbers with scoops on the other end. This works very well for picking up dabs, especially those in solid form.   

NAIL or BANGER

Now, this is where things start to get really interesting. Instead of the usual bowl that you will attach to a bong, a dab rig makes use a nail or banger. These types of equipment are the ones that you heat up and place your dabs into in order to vaporize! There is quite a difference between a nail and a banger

NAIL:r

A nail is basically an elongated piece with a flat platform attached to the top. On top, you will place your dabs into the small opening provided. It comes in various materials such as ceramic, titanium, quartz, and glass.

Glass nails are highly breakable and are often good for only a couple uses. We do not recommend them as they can easily break and damage your dab rigs. Titanium nails, on the other hand, are the best type of nails due to their durability. 

BANGER:

Bangers, on the other hand, are the more popular type of attachment. This is because they are much easier to use and are able to hold up more smoke. These will look a lot more similar to the usual bowls that we are use to. Bangers contain a deep bowl-like platform attached to a neck which lets the dabbing solution travel all the way down to the downstems.  

Unlike nails, the majority of bangers come in quartz. These are very sturdy and can work with just about any form of dab that you choose.

LIGHTER/TORCH

You’re gonna wanna get that nail nice and hot as you place your dab into it! This allows your dab to melt right to the touch. Unlike bongs, where you light up the buds, dab rigs will need you to heat the nail or banger instead. This allows the dabs to avoid being burnt and producing a bitter, nasty taste.

You won’t have to get fancy when picking your lighter. Any propane torch will do the trick. 

VAPOR DOME/ CARB CAP

This optional tool is used basically to keep any smoke from being wasted. Once your dab starts melting away and producing smoke, there is a high chance that some of it releases into the air. 

Using a dab rig dome keeps all the smoke inside the nail/banger! It is a very useful tool that adds a little bit more quality to your smoking experience.

Optional: ELECTRONIC NAIL

Technology today has allowed us to exert much less of an effort in smoking dabs. An example of this is the electronic nail, an extremely handy tool that automatically heats the nail without the use of a lighter. It is a great little way of adding a lot more into your dab rig setup.

THE ANATOMY OF A DAB RIG

A dab rig setup is, in many ways, unique in itself. With a lot of pieces such as the nail/banger, dab tool, and carb cap, dab rigs are certainly capable of standing on its own. However, we cannot ignore the fact that it is also considered as a bong or water pipe. A whole lot of its elements work exactly the same as a marijuana bong would! 

With that being said, here is a list of some of the common parts in a dab rig:

  1. PERCOLATOR – Perhaps the most underestimated part of a dab rig and bong is the percolator. This piece of equipment acts as a filter that provides a much cleaner and smoother smoke. Percolators, also called percs, are usually found in the more advanced types of bongs including dab rigs. 
  2. WATER CHAMBER – Dab rigs are also considered water bongs as they contain water chambers at the base of the device. This water also acts as a filter and cools down the smoke before pushing it up to the smoker’s mouth. Water chambers are the main reason why bongs and dab rigs provide a much creamier consistency as opposed to joints and blunts.
  3. MOUTHPIECE – This is where the smoke travels upwards and into a smoker’s mouth. It is located at the top of the tube or pipe.
  4. TUBE/PIPE – Speaking of, we have the tube or pipe! This acts as the main body that transports the smoke from the water chamber all the way up to the mouthpiece.
  5. DOWNSTEM – A dab rig’s downstem, which is usually a male joint, connects the banger to the water chamber. This is what sends down the smoke produced by the dab into the dab rig. 
  6. SPLASH  GUARD – Dab rigs also pose the risk of water shooting upwards if there is too much pressure built inside. This is controlled by a splash guard. This device keeps the water from entering the pipe and avoids any accidents with dab rigs. 
  7. ICE PINCH – If you’re feeling like adding a little more coolness and smoothness in your hits, then you could add ice into your dab rigs. Of course, you will need an ice pinch, a device that keeps the ice inside the tube and prevents it from falling into the water chamber. This gives an extra cooling and minty sensation when using a dab rig.   

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF DABBING

Dabbing comes with its own sets of advantages and disadvantages. While a lot of people will find absolute pleasure in using one of these bad boys, others might find it quite unappealing. So, what exactly does dabbing have to offer that you can’t get from other smoking methods? And what qualities does it have that make it unappealing to some people?

Advantages of dabbing:

  • Dabbing gives a much cooler and smoother smoking experience due to the filters and percolators present in the device. This is something that you just can’t get from joints, blunts, and spliffs. 
  • Smoking a dab will generally work much faster than other smoking methods. This is because the concentration of waxes and extracts make it easier for the compounds to synthesize. 
  • Dabbing also gives and emulates the exact same highs that you will get when smoking marijuana through joints! This means that you will not be foregoing any quality in smoking. 
  • There are much larger concentrations of cannabinoids in marijuana extracts rather than in weed buds. This makes it a great alternative for people who use CBD-rich oils for treating their medical treatments. Additionally, this also boosts the tolerance of smokers to high cannabinoid contents.
  • People often say that dabbing significantly increases the market for cannabis oils, waxes, and other extracts. In the long run, more and more people will develop an interest in dabbing. This helps boost the popularity of cannabis overall!

Disadvantages of dabbing:

  • One thing that people constantly point out is the limit in diversity of cannabis dabbing. Yes, it may come in different flavors and highs. However, there is just something about weed strains that makes it much more appealing to many people. 
  • It is less popular than weed strains, which makes dabs a little harder to gain access to. 
  • Smoking through dabs may be a lot smoother and cleaner. However, it also is more complicated. Unlike joints, a lot more preparation and maintenance is needed with dab rigs. Additionally, dab rigs are a lot less portable than joints and blunts. There are, of course, smaller-sized dab rigs fit for travel. 
  • Extra caution should be exercised when using dabs! Although the production of dabbing products undergo strict procedures, there is always a risk of danger. The production will involve various chemicals and hazardous elements that, if not processed properly, will cause serious problems when smoked.
  • There is a higher chance to overdose on a dab than with a joint! This is due to the higher concentrates of THC found in a dab portion. As such, people should be mindful of the amount of portions that they smoke when dabbing. 

HOW TO DAB

If you are familiar with using a bong, then dabbing should be easy for you! While it doesn’t really need any sort of special reminders, it may take a few times to get used to it. Here is a simple guide that will help you get started in lighting up your very first dab.

Step #1: The first step is to heat up the nail or nager that you are using. Getting this up to a temperature hot enough to melt your dab allows you to continuously use it. Also, this sterilizes the nail and gets rid of any dirt that may form. 

Step #2: In order to avoid any burning of the dab you will use, let the heat settle for around a minute or so. This makes sure that the dab stays nice and luscious instead of a burnt, bitter solution. 

Step #3: Take your dab tool and pick up a small amount of concentrate. Carefully bring it to the head of the nail/banger and place it in. You will notice the water chamber boiling as the pressure builds up to filter the smoke. Afterwards, place your mouth into the mouthpiece and slowly inhale! The dab may take a while to fully melt so make sure you don’t run out of breath!

Step #4: Once the dab is completely melted, take a dab rig dome and cover the  banger! This ensures all the smoke travels into the downstem. You wouldn’t want any of that going to waste! After you inhale all the smoke, quickly exhale and let the high captivate your mind! 

Step #5: You will always want to wipe your nail down after every use in order to keep it neat and clean. Any residual from past use may cause it to burn and taste bitter. This causes it to destroy the taste and smell profiles of the dab.

SHOULD YOU START DABBING?

There are definitely a lot of factors that come into play when deciding whether to smoke dabs or not. While it is a new and innovative way of getting high and frosty, you must first familiarize yourself with what it brings to the table! 

The thing is, dabbing is okay every once in a while. As cannabis smokers, it is something that you should definitely try at least once! Of course, there is something special with joints and blunts that make it hard to let go of. But if you prefer dabbing instead, then there is no problem with that at all!

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