Insert Dab Here
I pride myself on being knowledgeable on matters worth knowing, and Cannabis (along with its various methods of consumption) is a heavily weighted subject in my life-long quest for comprehension. I’ve been an avid flower consumer most of my adult life, but when I graduated from bong hits to dabbing concentrates I have to admit, I did it all wrong. In my defense, however, I wasn’t alone. How many of you have hacked til you cried after lunging that BHO off of a red-hot Ti nail? And then counted that as a success? I can see more than a few raised hands in the room… Then one day, all that changed for me.
First of all, major credit to Dax, creator of the DAXTRACTOR for enlightening me on a higher level of consuming cannabis concentrates. I met him shortly after joining #teamSHO as Creative Director and immediately vibed with his kindness and sincerity so of course, we quickly sat down to start dabbing and chatting. He grabs his TCASE, pops the locks and pulls out a @fluid.glass 9-hole straight fab rig with a Whitney Harmon bucket and a carb cap from… I forgot where the carb cap was from... it’s not important, it’s what he pulled out next that both humbled and intrigued me. It’s changed dabbing for me ever since.
So what was it? A quartz drop-in insert.
Such a small, simple device that has such a large impact on the efficiency and flavor of your dabs. You drop it into your heated banger and it helps facilitate a convenient cold start dab, among a plethora of other benefits. Typical “hot dabs” start with heating your banger to the-surface-of-the-sun degrees Fahrenheit. Then you wait an excruciatingly exact one-hundred and nine seconds (or something like that) so that when you touch your precious oils directly to a hot surface, it’s not so hot that your whole dab is gone in half a hit and now your bangers chazzed and you can't stop coughing… OR it doesn’t drop temperature too much, leaving you wondering where your hit of expensive hash rosin went and why you bothered with any of this at all.
Enter the realm of the cold start dab. The drop in insert method starts in a similar way as a hot dab. Once you’ve pre-loaded your insert with the concentrates of your choice, you heat up your banger, but since these guys leave your banger much cleaner in general, you don’t have to “torch clean” your quartz to get that last bit of oil off. This is a major cause of “chazzing” aka pitting the surface of your quartz leaving it cloudy and prone to gathering even more oil or debris, starting a cycle leading to your bucket inevitably… kicking the bucket. So less intense heat off the bat means less time torching, less butane, more time for dabs. But it only gets better from here. I only wait 10-25 seconds before dropping in the insert. This cuts a full minute or more off of the typical wait of a “hot dab”. That’s real time savings folks, after 60 dabs or so you’ve practically earned that extra episode of 90-Day The Other Way. But more importantly, It’s within my attention span so I'm less likely to forget what I was doing, having to start all over. Ok, so less time torching, less time waiting, you dropped the insert into your banger… now what?
You wait. And watch. This is actually my favorite part. Soon you’ll see, as the insert slowly heats up, your dab will start to loosen up and migrate around the dish like a pat of butter in a warm pan. Meanwhile, soft wisps of vapor start dancing above like spirits of our stoner ancestors past… but I digress. Many folks would see this as an invitation to dive right in, but this would be a classic rookie mistake. This cold start applies heat very gently (protecting fragile terpenes) as the heat is conducted from the banger to the insert. Soon, things will start to bubble, this is a good time to place your carb cap on your banger, but DON’T TAKE YOUR HIT YET! A saying I’ve used in the past is “Just when you think you’ve passed it, you’re almost there.” It’s good advice for insert dabs and life in general. Be patient here. Similar to microwave popcorn, once you notice the action start to die down rather than increase, you’re good to go. The lesson being that your insert is still heating up until that point, and passing a lung full of air over a tiny, wet dish will counter that ramp up in temperature. Speaking of which, hit softly and steadily, while twirling the carb cap for maximum agitation and contact area with warm surfaces. Don’t hit it too hard or your oil will spill out of the insert and cool things down too fast. Once you’ve found the right draw, timings, and your temp preferences, you can “catch” the insert at a lower temperature by quickly taking long, consecutive hits before it reaches its peak heat. The added thermal mass means longer, low temp hits, and a whole lot of them. I’ve hit most insert dabs with many breaths for over a minute, still obtaining satisfying vapor production down to the end. If you’re paying top dollar for the good stuff , this method is a great way to stretch out every last bit of your headstash.
Ok. You just took the best dab of your life, it tasted better than any hit you’ve had before and you didn’t even cough… what’s next? Well I want a dab too, so set me up. Hit the insert with the rounded end of a dry Dab Swab and soak up any remaining oil in the insert while it’s still hot. Cold oil is thick, sticky oil, so let's get this stuff wiped up while it’s hot and runny. Afterwards I usually take the pointy end of the Dab Nation dab swab and get the corners, top of insert, and banger walls above insert. “Now what?” you say. Well, you fill your other insert. You DO have more than one insert right? No? Another rookie mistake… Let’s step that game up. I keep at least 3 or more inserts around so you can hot swap and sesh hard and fast. Once your next insert is prepped, use reverse tweezers or a dab swab to pull out the used insert, BE CAREFUL IT'S HOT! I place my inserts in a Dab Nation Banger Saver to cool since its non-stick platinum cured silicone pins allow air to cool it from all sides. Make sure you pick one up, it makes a great sesh organizer. Now I just bring my banger back up to temp (it should still be warm and spotless if you avoided spillovers), wait 10-20 seconds, and dunk that other insert in like I’m Shaq or something (not really though, quartz is quite fragile, so handle it gently).
Enjoy your newfound dabbing prowess, and do your best to share the fun and knowledge with others.