Facts About Cannabis Consumption

How to Dab Cannabis Extracts

Dabbing is one way to consume cannabis extracts, 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

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dabbing is a smoke-free alternative for consuming cannabis because the extract is heated to produce a vapour.
  • A basic dab rig is made up of four parts: a water pipe, nail (also called a banger), dome and dabber. You’ll also need a butane torch to heat the nail.
  • Certain types of extracts contain high concentrations of THC. Start low and go slow.

Cannabis extracts can be consumed by either ingesting or inhaling. One way to inhale cannabis extracts 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  an extract 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 extract. 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. The concentrated nature of extracts means that only a small amount 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 extracts, such as hash, kief, wax and shatter, contain high concentrations of THC. Always check the label for the product’s strength and consider selecting products with a low amount of THC and an equal or higher amount of CBD. 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 Extracts Can be Dabbed?

Cannabis extracts (also commonly called concentrates) are produced by processing cannabis flower into a concentrated form. Dabbing can be done with shatter, rosin, wax, live resin, distillate and hash (as long as it is full melt or six star). Alcohol-based extracts, such as tinctures, should not be dabbed.

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. 

 
  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 extract. Use the dab tool to collect a small amount of extract (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 extract.
  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 Extracts

The main consideration when purchasing extracts for dabbing: Always buy legal. As required by the Canada Consumer Product and Safety Act, every product sold by OCS.ca and Authorized Retailers, including extracts, 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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