What Is Dabbing? The Ultimate Guide to Smoking Dabs & Top Best Practices

Dec 22, 2021 | Cannabis 101, Cannabis Therapy

It’s likely you’ve heard of dabbing by now, and we’re not talking about the meme-worthy arm gesture popularized in 2015. Smoking dabs is rising in popularity as the cannacurious and cannaconnoisseurs discover the consumption method’s unique perks.
What are some benefits of smoking a dab pen, or doing traditional dabs? Uncover the secrets of dabbing effects and all the dabbing best practices you need to know for an elevated experience.

The Dab Definition

First, let’s define what dabbing actually means. Technically, the term is used as a noun and a verb with dabs and dabbing. ‘Dabs’ is commonly used to describe the concentrate used for the action of ‘dabbing’. The act of ‘dabbing’ refers to the flash vaporization of the concentrate with high levels of heat.

Just like sparking a joint, or hitting a vape pen, dabbing requires heat to activate the cannabinoids and terpenes contained in cannabis concentrates. The traditional method of doing a dab, or dabbing also requires a few specific pieces of equipment which we’ll cover more in-depth after reviewing the unique benefits of smoking dabs, first.

The Benefits of Dabbing

From the definition alone, you might already grasp one benefit of dabbing effects. That being, it’s a quick, and intense hit of highly potent concentrates. In today’s world of weed, concentrates can easily contain THC levels of 90%+. To put that in perspective, keep in mind most buds or cannabis flower material only contains 15-30% THC.

Beyond potency, there are a few other unique benefits of smoking dabs that a wide variety of cannabis consumers are now taking advantage of, including:

  • Time – Similar to taking a shot of alcohol – sometimes, you just need a quick rush or hit of relief. Dabbing takes only a matter of minutes, doesn’t require multiple hits, and delivers a high level of potency fast.
  • Vapor over smoke – While the word is still out on the exact long-term effects of vaping or vaporization, many consumers prefer inhaling vapor over smoke due to health concerns, and its lack of carcinogens.
  • Flavor – Just like a good live resin cart, at certain temperatures dabs can be full of pure strain-specific flavors consumers crave.
    Versatility – Whether you have a high tolerance, or get tired of smoking the same ol’ bowl day in and day out – dabbing adds a touch of versatility to any consumer’s cannabis repertoire or routine.

Ready to reap the benefits of dabbing? For those new to smoking dabs, let’s explore the special equipment you’ll need to do so and a step-by-step guide on how to dab to help.

A Dabber’s Toolbox & How-To

While dabbing still seems somewhat new to most consumers, it’s already come a long way in innovations. So, first, let’s cover the tools you’ll need to dab traditionally before getting into the latest and greatest gadgets in the game. Here’s a list of special items you’ll need to start smoking dabs:

  • A dab rig or water bong – This piece will hold your nail or banger, and provide the mouthpiece to inhale.
  • A nail or banger – A nail or banger is similar to a bowl, yet has a flat surface you can heat and place the concentrates into.
  • A dabber or dabber tool – This metal tool is the perfect material to pick up sticky, or ooey-gooey concentrates and place onto high heat.
  • A torch – A butane torch is required to heat the nail or banger to high levels of heat.
  • A carb cap or dome – This tool is somewhat optional but allows you to contain the vapor from the dab in the rig while you catch up with your inhale.

Over the years, the emergence of e-nail devices and electronic dab rigs have simplified the art of dabbing. With nails or bangers that heat automatically, dabbers can use the new technology to dial in temperatures and avoid the need for a torch. Dab pens are also increasing in supply and demand, as avid dabbers look to take their dabbing routines on the go.
The how-to of dabbing is similar to ripping a bong with a few differences. First, you’ll want to prep the concentrate you’ll be dabbing on your dabbing tool. Second, you’ll light up the nail or banger with your torch until the surface is red. From there, you can let the banger or nail cool down for a lower temp dab, or place your concentrate onto the surface for a higher temp rip.

As you’re placing the concentrate onto the surface, inhale simultaneously while swirling the tool around to heat it completely. When the concentrate is fully melted, place your carb cap or dome on the nail or banger and finish your rip.
And just like that, you know how to dab! Now, if you’re interested in taking your dabbing routines to the next level – let’s review some top dabbing best practices next.

The Top Dabbing Best Practices

Just like other consumption methods, there are dabbing tips and tricks that can help to elevate your experience. To improve your current routine or start off on the right foot – here are the top dabbing best practices to know.

1. Temperature matters

The latest debate amongst dabbing connoisseurs is low temp vs high temp dabs. That’s because the temperature of your dab will affect the flavors, and even the effects. Why? Because cannabinoids and terpenes are delicate compounds that burn off at varying temperatures. So, the temp of your dab might heighten the effects of one cannabinoid while losing out another. To decide for yourself, here’s a list of benefits for both and temperature ranges you can dial in.

  • Low temp dabs (315 – 450°F) – Many call low temp dabs the ‘sweet spot’ for being the range most beneficial compounds become optimally activated. Including THC, CBD, Delta 8 THC, CBN, CBG, and terpenes like myrcene, limonene, linalool, and caryophyllene. The presence of the terpene means low temp dabs are more flavorful and much less harsh than high temps.
  • High temp dabs (450°F) – High temp dabs are beloved by consumers who desire white, thick, puffs of vapor and coughing their heads off in elevated delight. You’ll lose out on flavor with high temp dabs but it’s a surefire way for a quick rush to the head.

2. The nature of cleaning

If you think bowls and bongs get coated in sticky, black resin – just wait until you see how sticky dabbing concentrates can be. Stick to silicone tools, and get a tray for your dabbing tools just like you may have for rolling. The longer you let your dab rig go, the harder it will be to clean so regularly rinse the device in hot water, and use coarse salt to help break up the extra sticky bits. For an extra good clean, adding isopropyl alcohol helps but be sure you rinse completely before lighting up again. You can also clean carb caps, and dabber tools in a ziplock with alcohol, salt, and hot water.

3. Taking dabs on the go

As you can tell, a dab rig or bong isn’t as portable as other consumption methods. But luckily, as we mentioned, the advancement of the industry has already given us dab pens for on the go. The benefits of smoking a dab pen are similar to that of smoking a vape pen. It’s discrete, practically odorless, convenient, and gives you high hits of potency no matter where you go.

Dabbing to Elevate Wellness

All in all, dabbing is a highly effective consumption method to elevate cannabis effects and wellness routines overall. For those who suffer from symptoms that can benefit from quick hits of potent products – a little dab will do ya! Not to mention how invigorating dabbing can be for recreational consumers, looking to elevate their buzz that much more.
No matter your reason, keep these dabbing best practices in mind to level up your conscious cannabis use and to join the growing trend.

About The Author

<a href="https://www.cannabistherapynetwork.org/author/courtneyt/" target="_self">Courtney Trzos</a>

Courtney Trzos

To Courtney, it’s always 420 somewhere… After attending Michigan State University and working in communications for over 10 years, she took her passion for cannabis, professionally. In 2017, Courtney began freelancing as a writer for cannabis brands across the globe, promoting the therapeutic and recreational use of the plant, while helping her partner cultivate crops full-time, and learning more about the industry from a seed-to-sale perspective. Get in touch with her and follow her journey at https://www.instagram.com/thecannaspace/