CannaBasics: Dabbing for Beginners

Smoking cannabis flower is the tried-and-true method of consuming cannabis, but if you’re a beginner, you might need a brief lesson on why dabbing is the method of choice for so many consumers out there. Concentrates are extremely potent, so a word of the wise toward newbies, a little goes a very long way. While some people say dabbing is safer than smoking because there is little or no combustion involved, others claim smoking is less dangerous. You decide.


This is the art of consuming extracted THC or other cannabinoids from cannabis. This can be done using a few different methods, such as butane extraction or bubble hash. The result is a concentrate such as hash, kief, wax, shatter, crumble, budder, oil, tincture and isolate, to name a few. While historians believe that dabbing has been around for a long time, it has only been the past five years or so when concentrates began to take off in popularity.


Like with any cannabis consumption, be mindful of where you’re allowed to consume. Some states are more accepting than others, and every state’s approach to regulation concentrate sales and consumption will differ.


This isn’t just a roll-your-own-joint-and-smoke-it kind of method. Instead, you need to be prepared. This can go one of two ways. Either prep yourself buy purchasing a dab rig, nail and dome, heat source (like an electric nail) and a wand, or simply purchase a vaporizer pen as a more simple alternative.


Like with flower, concentrate has many appearances, textures and scents. It will take some first-hand experience to figure out what you like best. Keep in mind that not all concentrates work well with every vape pen out there, so be conscious when purchasing with that in mind. If you go all-out with a wand, make sure that the concentrate you choose can be easily manipulated. Budder, shatter and wax often work better for dabbing than an oil.


If you’re using a dab rig, add an appropriate amount of water to your rig, just enough to filter the vapor. Take your metal or glass wand, and scoop up a small amount of cannabis concentrate onto the end. Put the nail onto the rig, and heat it either electronically or by safely using a blowtorch until it’s just shy of red hot. Lower temperatures are better for your lungs. Then cover the nail with the glass dome. Carefully drop the concentrate onto the heated nail through the opening in the dome. When the cannabis compound hits the heated nail, it turns into a vapor. You will want to gently inhale the vapor through the water chamber of the rig and into your lungs.

Vaporizer pens are a little more familiar, and all you have to do is find a compatible concentrate, apply it to the pen and press the main heating button.

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