What is Dabbing? Everything You Need to Know about Cannabis Dabs
It’s a brave new world out there for cannabis and new trends like dabbing are becoming all the rage. You have probably heard the term, but do know about dabbing and all the tech behind to make safer than ever?
In short, dabbing is the process of heating up a concentrated dose of cannabis using what’s commonly referred to as a “nail” and then inhaling the vapor produced via a “dab rig” or "oil rig" which is a modified water pipe much like a traditional bong using a hot surface of a "banger" or "nail". More on these later, but for now, let’s get some context by looking at some cannabis history.
Human cultivation and consumption of marijuana stretches back millennia. Ancient Egyptian and Chinese cultures championed the use of cannabis, smoking flower as both a medicine and a natural fiber. But it was the recreational smoking of cannabis, tobacco and plant material that led our ancestors to devise new, ever more elaborate ways to consume them.
From simple pipes to hookahs to the modern bong, the smoking device has evolved along with human cannabis use itself. In fact, it wasn’t until relatively recently in Thailand that the Bong or ‘Baung’ was invented. Crafted from a simple piece of bamboo filled with water, the humble bong has become a staple of modern cannabis culture; a progression from old to new. So when we ask the question: What is dabbing? The answer isn’t simply a new gimmick on the block, but the evolution of smoking itself. The 21st centuries gift to getting high.
Dabbing Cannabis Concentrates
What’s driven the dabbing method into existence is the creation of a new wave of cannabis concentrates. Wax, shatter, bho (butane hash oil) and rosin, to name a few, are cannabis extracts with phenomenal levels of potency, the concentrated forms of cannabis.. How high you may ask? These extracts can have upwards of 90 percent THC concentrations. And it’s this unparalleled strength that attracts many cannabis consumers and medical patients to dabbing. But in order to consume these concentrates we needed a new method of vaporization to do the job: enter dabbing. Let’s get into the nitty gritty of dabs, what it involves and everything you’ll need to get started.
Equipment and Method for Consumption.
The first piece of the puzzle is the dab-rig. This takes the form of a bong-like water pipe and a separate heating attachment. These attachments generally come in two forms, and are referred to as either titanium ‘nails’ or quartz ‘bangers’. You can read our handy guide on the differences between the two here, but they both do the same job: retain heat in order to vaporize the cannabis extract.
Next up is the blowtorch. A blowtorch is used to heat the nail or banger up to around 360°F. Once it has achieved the desired temperature, a small ‘dab’ of cannabis concentrate is placed on the hot nail which immediately begins to boil and vaporize. At this point, the vapor is inhaled through the pipe, just like you would smoke a regular bong.
There’s a couple other pieces of equipment you’ll need to dab like a pro. One is a collection tool. Sometimes called a “wand,” a collection tool is recommended for moving concentrate onto the hot nail. This prevents it from sticking to your hands because extracts can be difficult to handle. There’s also a carb cap which is used to agitate the concentrate to ensure even vaporization and to control airflow through the pipe.
And that’s dabbing. The process may take a little time to get used to, and the blowtorch can be daunting for some, but ultimately, the high potency and sublime flavor make it all worthwhile.
What is dabbing? It has some pros.
The best thing about the vaporization method is that it is by far the healthiest way to smoke cannabis. The traditional burning of cannabis flower or hash to produce an inhalable smoke produces carbon monoxide and carcinogens, which are unhealthy but necessary to breath in whenever you smoke cannabis.
The vaporization method required to consume extracts is completely different. Instead of combustion, heat causes the concentrate to change state, from a solid to a liquid and then vaporize into a gas. No harmful fumes are produced in this process for you to inhale. And best of all, uncoloured by any burnt tastes, vaporized cannabis’ flavor is far superior to any other method of consumption.
Dabbing has some cons...
The only drawback of dabbing is it can be a little tricky to get the hang of. That and obviously the danger that using a blow torch represents. While you do need some special equipment, it’s not a ridiculous amount and can be affordably sourced. A good starter pack list would include: a dab-rig which consists of a water pipe and nail attachment like this GRAV® 6" Umbrella Perc Rig for example. A blowtorch, such as a Blazer® Firefox Torch, a Spacewalk Glass Duo carb cap and this Dank Fung Titanium collection tool. You also can’t go wrong with a dab mat to collect any over excited concentrate.
With its super strength, sublime flavor, and smooth as silk delivery, dabbing is the ultimate expression of cannabis culture. Concentrates like rosin are increasingly seen as the future of cannabis, and dabbing the preferred method of consumption. If the blowtorch puts you off then maybe check out an E-NAIL system, heated by electricity rather than a flame, as a safer alternative. And if the whole dab rig still seems too much for you, why not check out an all-in-one portable vaporizer like this Dank Fung EXPRESS. Because as dabbing evolves, the tools needed to dab just keep getting easier and easier.