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A Beginner's Guide to Dabbing

By Carolyn Lipka on July 17, 2017

Dabbing has a reputation for being a production, with the intense-looking glass bongs and the need for a blowtorch when using a rig, but with the advent of wax- and oil-capable vaporizers, it can be a fun, easy and safe way to take your cannabis experience on the go. Using oil and concentrates can seem intimidating to a first-time dabber, but once you learn the basics and jargon, it’s just as simple as packing a bowl or rolling a joint.

What is Dabbing?

“Dabbing,” or smoking dabs, is not a new form of consuming cannabis products, but because of the expansion of the market and the new extraction methods for creating the concentrate you smoke, it feels ubiquitous to even casual cannabis users. A “dab” simply refers to a concentrated dose of cannabis created by extracting tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoid compounds using butane or carbon dioxide. This concentrate goes by a number of names, including shatter and wax. Because these concentrates are so jam packed with active cannabis compounds, it’s the most potent form of ingesting marijuana. The extraction process isn’t just something you can do at home, however. The chemicals and technique required to create shatter are advanced, and should be left to professionals. If you plan on partaking in 710, you can simply acquire the wax from your local dispensary.

Using a Rig

Say your dispensary is offering free dabs or your friend invites you out to a dab bar—what exactly does that mean? Well, you’ll most likely smoke out of a rig, or an intense-looking glass bong designed for taking dabs. Because this method requires novelty items like a butane torch hot enough to melt the wax, releasing the smoke into the bong for you to inhale, it’s better for rare social situations, much like the equally intrusive smoking experience one enjoys with a hookah.

To smoke a rig, you heat the nail using a butane torch and then “dab” a nugget of shatter onto the nail. That melts the wax, turning it into smoke, which you inhale through the mouthpiece of the rig. Simple, smooth and quick!

Using a Pen

As vaporizers for flower have evolved to include custom temperatures, visible chambers and sleeker designs, they have also begun expanding to become wax-capable. Popular vape retailers such as PAX and Firefly have created multi-use devices for you to consume marijuana in multiple forms. For some of these pens, like the Blackout X dry herb 2.0, they come with a separate cup for you to put your wax in to protect the flower chamber and conduct enough heat to smoke the wax. For pens whose only function is as a dab pen, like the Puffco Pro 2, you simply load the chamber with wax with a nail or enclosed applicator, close and heat the piece and voila! Perfect for a day at the beach or a walk in the park.

With these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy 710 by indulging in dabbing, but be sure to dab responsibly. Because the concentrate is so potent, one or two dabs can feel like smoking an entire bowl. With such longevity, a little bit can go a long way and enhance your day with a single hit.

Photo credit: The Highest Club

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