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What is Dabbing? A Guide for Beginners

Posted on April 8th, 2021 to Education

The cannabis market is quite literally in full bloom, and dabbing is suddenly more part of the mainstream than ever before. What does dabbing weed mean, and could this newfangled way of cannabis smoking be worth your attention? We’ll delve into the answers to these questions and more.

What is dabbing?

Dabbing involves using a dab rig to smoke super-concentrated forms of cannabis known as dabs. The basic process of dabbing involves:

  • Using a dab torch to heat up the nail on a dab rig
  • Applying a pre-measured amount of dab onto the hot nail with a dabber tool
  • Inhaling through the mouthpiece as the concentrate is vaporized
  • Use a carb cap to regulate airflow and continue inhaling

What is a dab rig?

A dab rig is a unique pipe specifically designed for use with concentrated cannabis. The rig has a nail that gets heated, a water bowl at the base the smoke passes through, and a mouthpiece where you inhale.

Why would you consider doing a dab over packing a bowl?

Dabbing concentrates is definitely a different experience over packing a bowl with flower, so why would anyone choose this method of smoking weed? Dabbing actually brings along a few noteworthy benefits for the user, such as:

  • A faster onset of effects – Smoking always offers a faster onset of effects—usually within minutes. However, smoking dabs gives you even faster effects, which can be especially important for people using cannabis for therapeutic reasons like pain or nausea.
  • A cleaner, purer smoke – Dabs offer an inhalable form of cannabinoids that may not be so harsh on the lungs. The additional plant matter is not being ignited because the concentrates are free of most of the extra stuff.
  • Less waste when using the dab – When you fill a bowl with bud, you do burn up most of what you put in during the smoking process. However, you also have a lot of ash and resin left behind. Dab-smoking allows you to utilize pretty much every bit of concentrate with little waste involved.
  • More powerful effects – A lot of people prefer dabbing over flower because dabbing can yield more powerful effects with less smoking. You may only need a few hits of a dab, where you may need a full bowl of bud.

What are the different types of concentrates for dabbing?

So, what is a dab of weed? What does it look like? Essentially, dabs are just marijuana concentrates that can be found in a sheer litany of interesting forms. However, the four most common types of dabs include shatter, budder, BHO (butane hash oil), and wax.

What’s the difference between the different types of dabs?

The difference between dab types comes down to consistency, for the most part. Shatter is less sticky and more like hard candy, budder is a bit creamy like butter, wax is, well, waxy, and BHO is like thick oil. Regardless of what type of dab you are using, you will only need a dab at a time (hence, the name).

Is the high the same with dabbing is raw flower?

Naturally, once you understand what dabbing is, the next question is usually: What is a dab high like? Even though you are getting the same cannabinoids as with regular bud, you’re getting them in a much more concentrated way, so the high can be more fast-hitting and intense. Every individual can report a different experience. A word to the wise: Always, always start with the tiniest dab, so you don’t accidentally smoke too much. Overdoing it with dabs is much easier to do than with bud.

How does dabbing taste and smell?

A top-shelf dab should taste like the strain from which the product was made but in a more concentrated form. Because concentrates are concentrated cannabis, the terpenes that yield flavor and aromatics are also super-concentrated. Therefore, if you are smoking a strain like Blueberry Kush, that lovely fruit-filled flavor and smell should be stronger than usual. Dabs should not taste or smell like:

  • Plastic
  • Chemicals
  • Burnt matches

Low-quality dabs sometimes taste more like the solvent used for concentration and not like the strain at all. So, you do need to make sure you get your dabs from a good source.

How much should I be looking to spend?

Concentrated cannabis used for dabbing can obviously be a little more costly per gram than flower. You’re getting more bang for your buck, so a gram of pretty much any dab is going to give you many more smoking experiences than a gram of flower. For example, you may pay anywhere from $40 to $70+ or more for a gram of wax, depending on the strain.

Considering dabbing for the first time? Get with a good dispensary for a quality product, grab a buddy with some experience to help you along, and enjoy the experience. You may find dabbing to be your preferred method of consumption.

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