Cannabis How-Tos

What Is Dabbing and How Do You Do It?

Dabbing is one way to consume cannabis concentrates, which include shatter, rosin, wax, live resin and distillate. The process requires a few specific tools and some caution around temperature and dosing.

How to Dab Cannabis Extracts

Cannabis concentrates can be consumed by inhalation. One way to inhale cannabis concentrates is by using a dab rig. Read on to learn more about dabbing and get some tips to help you get started.

What is dabbing?

Essentially, dabbing involves bringing a concentrate into contact with an extremely hot surface — which causes it to undergo flash vaporization — and then inhaling the vapour. A basic dab rig involves four components: a water pipe, nail or banger, dome and dabber. You can either use a standard water pipe and swap out the components or purchase a specific dab rig.

The nail or banger is the heating portion and can be made of ceramic, quartz or titanium. A banger is shaped like a bowl and traps the vapour; if you’re using a nail, it will require a glass dome. The dabber is a tool used to apply the concentrate. You’ll also need a small torch to heat the nail or banger. Other accessories include carb caps, trays, mats and cleaning supplies. 

There are variations on this standard “torch and dab” method. Domeless nails are made of titanium and do not require a dome to trap the vapour, as the nail itself features small holes that draw the vapour through it. E-nails are similar but are also self-heating, eliminating the need for a torch.

What are the pros and cons of dabbing?

Dabbing is considered a smoke-free consumption method because it produces vapour instead of smoke. Only a small amount of concentrate is required for use, however, dabbing does require quite a few tools and caution in terms of temperature, as the nail or banger can get dangerously hot.

It is also important to consider dosing: Health Canada warns that certain types of cannabis concentrates, such as hash, kief, wax and shatter, contain high concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Always check the label for the product’s strength. To minimize the risk of overconsumption, Health Canada recommends starting with a low amount — no more than the size of a lentil — and proceeding slowly until you understand how your body reacts.

Which concentrates can be dabbed?

Cannabis concentrates are produced by processing cannabis flower into a concentrated form. Dabbing can be done with shatter and wax, rosin, live resin, distillate and hash (as long as it is full melt or six star). 

How to dab

Dab rigs may differ in terms of components, but the basic process is the same. Here’s how to dab using a rig with a domeless quartz banger. 

Descriptive Video: How to Dab Cannabis Concentrates
  1. Add water. Fill the water pipe to the recommended amount for your particular pipe. If you inhale through the mouthpiece, the water should bubble. If it splashes into your mouth, there’s too much water in the chamber.
  2. Heat the banger. Hold a torch (such as a butane kitchen torch) to the side of the banger to heat it for about 45 seconds. Wait about a minute for it to cool.
  3. Dab the concentrate. Use the dab tool to collect a small amount of concentrate (no more than the size of a lentil) and place it inside the banger.
  4. Pull lightly on the mouthpiece at the same time as adding the concentrate.
  5. Finish with the carb cap. Place the carb cap on top to capture all of the low-temperature vapour. Inhale on the mouthpiece again.
  6. Clean it. Use a cleaning solution to swab out the banger.

What to consider before dabbing concentrates

The main consideration when purchasing concentrates for dabbing: Always buy legal. As required by the Canada Consumer Product and Safety Act, every product sold by and Authorized Cannabis Stores, including concentrates, must go through rigorous quality assurance processes. And only those cannabis concentrates that are produced by a processor with a licence from Health Canada may be sold.

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Cannabis Concentrates