Cannabis plants have certain levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other compounds, but various extraction methods can separate compounds from the plant material and capture them in a concentrated oil form. Certain steps can turn the oil into a solid substance like wax or shatter, but some people simply use oil, arguably the rawest and most basic form of extraction. Because of its concentrated nature, oil is several times more potent than basic cannabis, which means people only need a dab. This inspired the name dabs for concentrates and dabbing for their use. Likewise, most dabs are oil-based, and this inspired the numeric association with 710, which looks like 01L when turned upside-down. As a sign of 710’s growing popularity, people now celebrate the use of concentrates on 7/10 (July 10).
As with all oil-based concentrates, producers typically use a solvent (e.g., butane, carbon dioxide, etc.) or other medium to capture the cannabis compounds from the plant. Producers then purge the solvent using various methods, which can range from applying heat to freeze and filter. The purge process is often limited, which means oil is typically less refined with more impurities and inconsistent THC levels. However, it does retain a higher level of compounds like terpenes, the organic compounds responsible for the plant’s taste and aroma. For this reason, many people associate oil with having more flavor. The concentrate can be derived from plant trimmings, but high-quality oil is usually made with fresh frozen buds or extracted directly from the plant.
Oil is a gooey sticky liquid that often has a consistency similar to honey, and it can be hard to handle depending on how a person consumes it. Most people consume dabs by using a torch to superheat a heating surface known as a nail (usually made of titanium, quartz or glass) attached to a water pipe or vaporizer pen. Often using a vial or syringe, the person then drips oil onto the nail, instantly vaporizing it and providing a super-charged hit through the pipe or vape. Easier ways to enjoy oil include pre-filled cartridges for vape pens, candy edibles and oral ingestion through a syringe or vial. The latter is a throwback to the pre-prohibition days when pharmacies sold cannabis medicine in the form of a tincture, or liquid concentrate, and patients would put a few drops under their tongue. Another option is to take a cannabis nugget, coat it with oil, roll it in dry hash and then dip it again in oil. The coated nugget is called a honey bud.