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How to Dab Concentrated Cannabis

Dabbing seems to be the latest trend in weed culture, but it can be daunting if it’s your first time. Click here to discover how to dab concentrated cannabis.

Keyword(s): how to dab

With cannabis being legalized throughout the United States and the rest of the world, you’re going to start hearing words like “dabbing” more frequently. What exactly does this term mean, though? This article will help you understand how to dab.

It’s not just a popular dance move; dabbing is also one of many ways that people can consume cannabis.

If you want to experience the benefits of cannabis but aren’t a fan of smoking or vaping, dabbing might be a good option for you. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about how to dab concentrated cannabis.

What Is Dabbing?

Before we explain how to dab, let’s talk briefly about what it entails.

Instead of the cannabis plant, dabbing involves using a concentrated cannabis extract. Concentrates come in a variety of forms that all fall under the umbrella term “butane hash oil,” or BHO.

Simply put, when you dab, the concentrated cannabis is heated with a powerful heat source, and a vapor is then released and inhaled.

How Is BHO Made?

The most common way to make BHO involves passing butane gas through a tube filled with cannabis plant matter. Other chemical solvents like hexane or propane can also be used.

The solvent dissolves the plant’s compounds and leaves behind pure cannabis extract.

When concentrates are made in a lab in a safe, controlled way, all remaining solvent is vacuumed away to ensure the product’s purity.

How Does Dabbing Differ From Smoking?

One of the biggest differences between smoking and dabbing has to do with potency.

Cannabis flowers contain between 10 and 25 percent THC, while concentrates can have up to 80 percent.

Cannabis concentrates also contain much less plant material than cannabis flowers. This plant material can be stressful on the body, especially the lungs.

Types of Concentrates

There are several different kinds of cannabis concentrates you can use when learning how to dab. The following are the most common options:


Many people believe that shatter is the purest kind of cannabis concentrate.

It gets its name from its glass-like appearance, as well as the likelihood that it will break when dropped on a hard surface. Some forms of shatter are slightly sticky, while others are smooth to the touch.

Shatter should be wrapped in parchment paper when not in use so that it doesn’t accidentally break.


Crumble has a dry and — you guessed it — crumbly texture. It’s easy to break crumble down and get the right amount that you need for dosing.

Store it in a silicone or glass container with a lid so that none falls out or gets wasted.


Budder is made by whipping either the original extract or shatter. It has a peanut butter-like texture that can sometimes be difficult to work with.

Freezing budder for about 15 minutes is the best way to solidify it. Budder can be stored in either a glass or silicone container or parchment paper.


Wax is even stickier than budder and must be handled with a clean dab tool. Otherwise, it will stick to your hands and get all over everything.

Wax can be stored in a container or parchment paper without any problems.


Oils, as would be expected, are runnier than other concentrates. They’re made with C02 instead of butane and, as a result, have a different taste.

Oils usually come and should be stored in a syringe, but they can also be kept in a silicone container.

How do you dab

How to Dab

Because concentrated cannabis is so potent, dabbing can be tricky at the beginning. If you’re learning how to dab for the first time, keep these tips in mind.

What Tools Do You Need?

The most traditional method of dabbing involves the following materials:

  • Concentrated cannabis extract
  • Water pipe
  • Nail that fits into the pipe’s gauge, usually made of titanium, ceramic, or quartz
  • Dome or glass hood that fits over the nail
  • Torch to the heat the nail
  • Dabber made of glass, metal, or ceramic that is used to apply the dab

How Much Do You Need?

Dosing is tricky with dabbing, but it’s generally a good idea to start with a small amount and work your way up from there. For reference, a small dose is only about the size of a crumb.

The Process

Once your rig is set up, you’re ready to start learning how to dab.

First, turn on the torch and heat the nail until it turns red hot.

If you’re using a nail, you’ll want to “season” it. After the nail turns red hot, dip it in water, let it cool, and then repeat the process five or six times.

When you’ve seasoned the nail, place the dome over it. Then, apply the dab directly on the nail inside the dome and inhale slowly. When the wax is completely melted and no more vapor is coming up from it, you can exhale.

Remember that nails and domes get very hot during the process. You should always let them cool down thoroughly before you try to touch them.

Alternative Technology

If you don’t like using a traditional dab rig, or just want to branch out and learn how to dab in other ways, you can look into alternative dabbing technology.

Domeless nails don’t require a glass hood to trap the vapor. Instead, they contain a series of holes that deliver the vapor straight through.

There are also electronic nails that eliminate the need for a dome and a torch. You also get more control over the temperature. The only downside to these is the fact that they are more expensive than other options.

Benefits of Dabbing

There are several benefits that come from using dabs over other methods of cannabis consumption, including the following:

Faster Effect

Because the effect of dabbing is stronger than smoking or vaping, it can help people feel the medicinal benefits of cannabis much faster. This makes dabbing ideal for people who suffer from acute or chronic pain, as well as severe nausea.

Fewer Respiratory Issues

Studies show that smoking joints do not damage the lungs, but it can lead to other respiratory side effects like increased coughing and sore throats. Dabbing lessens a person’s risk of experiencing these effects since there’s no smoke and you’re using a purer product.

More Discrete

Dabbing also produces less of an odor than smoking. This makes it a better option for those who prefer to consume cannabis in a more discrete fashion.

Common Misconceptions

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about dabbing that make people think it’s dangerous. The five most common ones are explained — and refuted — below.

Extracts are Dangerous

Many people believe that all concentrated cannabis extracts are dangerous because they are made with things like butane and propane.

What they don’t realize, though, is that extreme measures are taken to ensure that the concentrates and those who manufacture them are safe.

Commercial concentrates are made using a closed-loop system that eliminates remaining solvents and yields a totally pure product.

Now, when extracts are manufactured illegally by amateurs, there are, of course, a lot of risks. But, as long as you’re using a safely made product, there’s no reason to fear.

The Dabbing Process Is Dangerous

There is a certain level of care that is required when dabbing, especially if you’re using a traditional rig that requires a torch. This might initially turn some people off to learning how to dab.

But, as long as you’re careful when working with an open flame, you shouldn’t have any problems. If you can cook with a gas stove, you can probably figure out how to dab safely.

If you’re really worried about using a torch but still want to try and figure out how to dab, you can also invest in an electronic nail to avoid using a torch at all.

All Concentrates Are the Same

Thanks to the use of the umbrella term “dabs,” many people assume that all forms of concentrated cannabis are created equal. Of course, this isn’t true.

The only concentrates that are dangerous are those that were made cheaply or by amateur extractors and still retain high levels of chemicals after the extraction process is finished.

Dabbing is Unhealthy

Some people also think that the vapor inhaled while dabbing is bad for the lungs. In reality, though, there is very little evidence to suggest that this is true.

Furthermore, the myth that cannabis damages the brain cells has been thoroughly debunked.

The idea that cannabis damages the brain came from a poorly executed test performed on monkeys in the 1970s. More tests have been performed on monkeys since then and yielded results that showed cannabis does not have any significant effect on the brain at all.

Dabbing Has More Dangerous Side Effects

First-time dabbers often experience a stronger reaction thanks to the potency of cannabis concentrates.

But, the effects of dabbing overconsumption are relatively mild, especially compared to the effects that come from overconsuming substances like alcohol or opiates. Most people experience lethargy, mild nausea, and paranoia at worst.

Furthermore, there is absolutely no risk of death from overdosing on marijuana.

A 2014 study conducted at the Albany University, State University of New York also found that the risk of problems or accidents does not increase at all from using dabs over other methods of consumption.

Tips for First-Time Dabbers

When you’re dabbing for the first time, be sure to keep these tips in mind so that you can have an enjoyable experience.

Invest in High-Quality Products

Remember, most of the risks associated with dabbing can be avoided by consuming high-quality cannabis concentrates.

It can be hard to tell what a “good dab” looks like when you’re first getting started. A few good rules of thumb are:

  • Stick to dabs that are lighter in color (yellow/amber)
  • Avoid anything with bubbles in it
  • Avoid anything that has a rubbery look or feel

Only buy lab-tested concentrates from sources you trust. Try to ask about testing results and recommendations as well, if possible.

Additionally, you should try to find out what strain you’re using — Indica or Sativa. This is especially important for people who are first learning how to dab and don’t know what works best for them.

It ought to go without saying, but also remember that you should never try to perform chemical extraction at home, either.

Know How to Use a Dab Rig

Make sure you know how to use a dab rig properly before trying to consume cannabis with it.

It’s best to walk through the process and figure out how to dab without any product first. That way, none gets wasted, and you reduce your risk of burning yourself.

Start Small and Go Slow

Like with pot brownies and other edibles, it can be hard to gauge what your tolerance is when it comes to dabbing.

Remember, since cannabis concentrates are so potent, a crumb-sized amount will be plenty for your first time. You can always add more if you don’t feel the effects, but starting with too little is better than starting with too much and risking a bad experience.

It’s also recommended that you sit down when dabbing for the first time since the effect is almost always stronger than when smoking a typical joint.

Don’t Crank Up the Heat

Dabbing at a lower temperature helps you better experience the flavor of cannabis concentrates. You’re also less likely to irritate your lungs and deal with a lot of coughing when you reduce the temperature.

If you’re learning how to dab using an electronic nail, start by setting the temperature somewhere between 500 and 600 degrees. With a traditional dab rig, wait ten seconds after the nail turns red so that it can cool a bit.

Stay Hydrated

Like other forms of cannabis consumption, dabbing can leave you with a very dry mouth. To avoid becoming dehydrated, especially if you’re dabbing on a hot day, keep water close by.

Wrapping Up

Dabbing involves concentrated cannabis extracts that are much more potent than a typical cannabis plant. It is ideal for those experiencing acute medical conditions like pain or nausea who need fast-acting relief.

If you’re first learning how to dab, it’s best to start with a small amount at a low temperature to get the best results.

Dabbing is safe as long as you’re consuming concentrates that were extracted with a closed-loop system by a professional in a controlled environment.

For related Quantum 9 articles, check out the links below:

Weed Etiquette for the Smokers Circle

How to Take CBD Oil as Medication

How Long Does Weed Stay in Your System

Does Cannabis Kill Brain Cells

8 Interesting Benefits of Consuming Pot Brownies



About Quantum9

Quantum 9, Inc. is a Chicago, IL-based cannabis consulting firm. We specialize in getting high net worth individuals and private equity cannabis business licenses to cultivate, manufacture and dispense marijuana. We have over 50 marijuana consultants that work for the company, and we have practiced in 12 countries. Our areas of expertise include permit acquisition, team building, employee training planning, and process planning. We help clients fully maximize the potential of any cannabis cultivation, processing, and dispensary business.

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