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The CULTA Blog

Dabbing Basics: FAQs

cannabis concentrate

Concentrated cannabinoids in an oil form -- often referred to as dabs -- are a convenient way for medical users to consume a strong dose of cannabinoids in a short amount of time. Although the consumption method has been around for many years, it has only recently become very popular within the medical cannabis community. In this article, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about dabbing.

What is dabbing?

Dabbing is a form of consumption where medicinal users inhale vaporized cannabis concentrates. The concentrates can come from any part of the plant (including the stem, leaves, and other material that’s usually discarded before smoking). Dabs are single-serving hits of cannabis concentrate that usually come in two different forms: wax or shatter. To learn more about the different kinds of cannabis concentrates, check out this blog. 

Can I make my own dabs?

Although it might be possible to create a dab on your own, the extraction methods are extremely dangerous and have resulted in explosions and injuries. In fact, it’s so dangerous that FEMA issued a document warning the public of the dangers of separating hash oil from cannabis at home. Not only is the extraction process complex, but it’s also illegal, so leave the dab-making to the pros. 

What equipment will I need?

Although there are specific devices you can buy to dab, many people still rely on the essentials: a dab rig (what we call the chamber of a water pipe), a nail or a banger, a carb cap, a dabber, and a source of heat. Most commonly, blowtorches are used. Just make sure it’s a butane torch -- propane torches are hotter and the flame can completely ruin your nail. If it sounds complicated, your budtender can help. 

How do you dab?

Once you’ve set up your tools in a safe area and have selected a concentrate, it’s time to dab. Here’s a step-by-step process, but if you’re a visual learner, there are lots of how-to videos on YouTube: 

  • Heat the nail with your torch until hot 
  • Once hot (no hotter than 340 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal), turn off your torch and let the quartz nail cool for about 45 seconds (10 seconds if you’re using titanium) 
  • Apply the dan directly onto the nail with your dabber and inhale slowly 
  • Cover the dab with a carb cap to regulate airflow and finish inhaling 
  • Let the rig cool completely before dismantling 

Note: If you’re using an electronic nail, it will have a heat setting, so you don’t have to use a torch. Whether an electronic nail is used or not is ultimately up to the patient and their preferences. 

What are the benefits of dabbing?

Dabbing is an efficient method for those looking to ingest their medication quickly, which is great news for patients who suffer from chronic pain and other conditions who are looking for quick relief. Given that dabs are vaporized, patients are also inhaling a much cleaner product than they would be with some other consumption methods. Lastly, dab vapor doesn’t smell nearly as much as cannabis flower smoke, so it might be a good option for patients who are concerned about smell. 

What are the cons?

Dabbing is one of the most potent ways of consuming cannabis, so the effects can be overwhelming for some patients. This is why it’s super important to be cautious with dosing. Again, your budtender should be able to help you in this area. Other disadvantages: it takes a bit of skill and practice to perfect, which can frustrate some patients, and it does require more equipment than other forms of consumption. 

Why am I coughing so much?

The cough is a normal part of dabbing. When the dab expands in your lungs, it can be irritating. You can ease the intensity of your cough by taking a small inhale of fresh air before dabbing or by letting your nail cool slightly before puffing. Dabs taken off an extremely hot nail are harsher to inhale and less flavorful, which is why we recommend waiting 10-45 seconds before applying your dab to the nail.

How potent are dabs?

As we’ve discussed above, dabs are extremely potent. To put it in perspective, cannabis flower typically has between 10-25% THC, and dabs can max out at 90%+! There is no doubt that the high you’ll experience from dabbing will be more than anything you’ve ever experienced before, so please be smart and start slow. If you’re new to cannabis, this is absolutely not the right consumption method for you and here are some others you can explore.

Where can I buy cannabis concentrate?

If you live in a state where medical cannabis is legal, you can purchase many forms of cannabis concentrates at your local dispensary. Just make sure that you’re legally able to purchase cannabis in your state and that you fully understand how to purchase and transport your medicine. Unfortunately, some individuals have taken to manufacturing and selling cannabis concentrates illegally, and these illegal concentrates can contain harmful additives and ingredients. 

For your own health and safety, always purchase from a reputable manufacturer like CULTA. Have questions? Head to our flagship Baltimore dispensary to learn more about concentrates and dabbing.