Dabbing … What Is It Exactly? See Here


ˈdab | Noun / Verb

The term dab can be used both as a noun and a verb. When used as a noun, it describes an unspecified dose of CBD concentrate. It can also refer to the type of concentrate used, like budder, crumble, sauce, shatter, or wax. As a verb, dab defines the act of inhaling vaporized cannabis concentrates through a dab-rig, e-rig, or vaporizer. 

“I prefer dabbing CBD concentrates than smoking hemp flower from a bong.”

“I love dabbing CBD crystalline in the afternoons.”

What Are Dabs? 

A dab is a portion of cannabis concentrate that you vaporize using a dab rig. This process is also known as dabbing, and many people prefer it over smoking CBD flower from a bong. Also, cannabis in a concentrated form is much more powerful than cannabis flower. 

Dabs are made up of highly concentrated cannabinoids and terpenes, which is why they’re known to be very flavorful. Because they are supposed to be vaporized instead of combusted, dabs offer an immaculate taste, but only if done properly. The most popular hemp CBD concentrates are budder, badder, sauce, crystalline, rosin, live resin, wax.     

More About Dabbing

Dabbing is one of the most popular consumption methods among cannabis users. People like to dab because dabs offer a potent effect and flavor-packed experience. This consumption method involves using a dab rig, a glass chamber similar to a bong. To dab from a rig, you need a nail or a banger, typically made from glass, ceramic, quartz, or titanium. Simply put, a nail is like a “bowl,” but for a dab rig. You’ll also need a butane torch or e-nail to bring the banger to a temperature that almost instantly vaporizes the CBD concentrate.

Users prefer dabbing to smoking CBD flower because it offers more potent and immediate effects. It typically produces a strong flavor and terpene-rich aroma. Dabs do smell, but their scent doesn’t linger for a long time compared to CBD flower. This method is even more discreet when you use handheld vaporizers and portable e-rigs. 

The biggest disadvantage to dabbing is the necessity for tools and accessories. There is also the learning curve involved in achieving the perfect vaporization temperature. The temperature of the nail when you take the dab affects the flavor of the concentrate (it affects terpenes) it could alter its effects and the ability to clean your nail. 

Dabbing at high temperatures from 340 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit (170-370 degrees Celsius) scorches the concentrate, giving it an astringent and harsh flavor. The residue left behind a high-temperature dab is also very hard to clean. So, make sure you are dabbing at low temperatures below 340 degrees Fahrenheit or 170 degrees Celsius. These dabs are known as “low-temp dabs,” where the concentrate is not fully vaporized and leaves behind just a tiny bit of oil that can be easily cleaned with a cotton swab. 

According to a 2017 study conducted by the Portland State University, vaporizing terpenes at high temperatures (required for dabbing) may produce toxic chemicals like methacrolein and benzene. This means that if you dab cannabis concentrates at high temperatures, the terpenes may turn toxic. 

How to Dab CBD Concentrates

If you’re new to hemp CBD concentrates, you’ll have to go through some trial and error to get the technique down before fully enjoying your dabs. Keep in mind that the upfront cost and accessories involved in this consumption method may feel overwhelming at first. But, once you have all the equipment at hand and get the process down, using a dab rig becomes an easy and efficient process. If you’re just starting, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Heat the nail 

Use a butane torch to heat the nail. If you’re using a quartz nail or a banger for the first time, heat it up until it’s glowing red. Heating the nail burns off any small particles that may linger on the nail. The red color gives you a sign that you are starting with the hottest surface.

Step 2: Let It Cool 

As we’ve mentioned, dabbing at high temperatures scorches the concentrate, so after achieving the maximum temperature, make sure you let the nail cool down. How long should you wait for the nail to cool down? It depends on the thickness and the material used to make the nail or banger. To get the most flavor out of the concentrate, your target temperature should be around 300-450 degrees Fahrenheit (149-232 Celsius). Here are some steps to help you decide when the nail is ready for the dab: 

  • In general, it takes 30 to 60 seconds for a nail to cool. This depends on the material and thickness of the nail. It also depends on how hot the nail is heated. 
  • If you’re a beginner, you might go through trial and error to figure out how long it takes for the nail to cool to the desired temperature. This can be done with an infrared thermometer and a timer or a stopwatch that allows you to track the exact time it takes for it to cool down. 

Step 3: Put the Dab on The Nail

Put the concentrate on the surface of the nail and inhale the vapor slowly. Dabs require a long, slow inhale because the majority of the concentrate does not vaporize instantly. You won’t find this to be the case with a typical bong hit of CBD flower that requires an immediate inhale.

Step 4: Use a Carb Cap  

A carb cap is an essential tool for dabbing that’s placed on the nail or banger to vaporize the dab better. This tool acts as an oven and traps all of the heat in the nail, ensuring you get the most out of your experience. After inhalation, exhale the vapor immediately. 

Step 5: Clean Your Nail  

Residue on your nail can change the flavor of your next dab. That’s why you should always keep your nail clean and prevent residue buildup. To clean the nail, allow it first to cool down. Then take a cotton swab and swipe the inside of the warm nail. If there’s still some residue, deep clean the warm nail with a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol.

If you fail to take a dab on the first try, don’t get discouraged. It may take some time and repetition before you get familiar with the process. Once you start to “feel it,” you’ll love how incredibly efficient it is and how it allows you to use CBD concentrates to their full potential.

Is there an alternative to a traditional dab rig? Many people want to control the dabbing temperature, which is the main benefit offered by e-rigs or e-nails. Unlike a traditional rig where you need to time each step before the nail cools down at the desirable temperature, with an e-rig, you can simply dial in the precise temperature. This gives beginners peace of mind because the nail will remain within a narrow range of desired dabbing temperature. E-rigs are also heated electronically and don’t require a torch. 

How Long Do CBD Dabs Stay in Your System? 

The method of consumption has an impact on how long CBD stays in your body. Typically, CBD stays in the system for two to five days. In some people, it can stay up to two weeks. When you vape cannabidiol concentrates, you feel the effects quickly, but they’ll also wear off quickly. The amount of time CBD dabs stay in your system depends on several factors:

  • How much you use
  • How often you use it
  • Your metabolism
  • The food you eat
  • Method of use

Tools You Need for Dabbs 

  • Dab Rig: The main component of concentrate vaping is a rig, which is the chamber of a glass water pipe. Both dab rigs and bongs fall under the category “rigs,” a term used to describe pipe chambers connected to a nail or bowl.  
  • Nail or Banger: An attachment into which dabs are placed and vaporized when heated. This accessory comes in many different styles, which affect the amount of concentrate that can be dabbed at one time. Typically, they are made from titanium, glass, quartz, or ceramic. Some bangers include a vacuum-sealed jacket that allows them to retain heat for a longer period. 
  • Carb Cap: An optional but useful dabbing accessory made from glass, ceramic, quartz, or titanium. A cap has a small hole covering the top of the nail, lowering its pressure and acting as an oven to trap the heat and reduce the vaping temperature. Lowered temperature prevents the cannabinoids and terpenes from being scorched and gives a more flavorful and effective dab. 
  • Dabber: The tool you need to remove a dab from a concentrate container and place it inside the nail or banger for heating.  
  • Torch: It usually comes as a butane torch and serves to heat the nail until it reaches the highest possible temperature. It’s available as a propane torch, but it’s not ideal because it burns a hotter flame that can damage the nail.
  • Quartz insert: An addition to the basic banger or nail. Quartz inserts add extra surface area inside your nail or banger, which increases the ability to get the most out of low-temperature dabs. When you place a quartz insert into a hot nail, it acts as an internal carb cap.

Final Thoughts

Dabbing is one of the best ways to consume CBD concentrates. It requires a dab rig, additional accessories, and some trial and error to achieve a smooth dabbing experience.