Nowhere But Up from Here: The Lowdown on How to Dab Weed
This guide will let you know everything there’s about how to dab weed like a pro, even if you’re a complete beginner.
We get it: Maybe you’re one of our regular cannabis buddies looking for a new high, or maybe you’ve found it harder over the years to get the high you did when you first started smoking joints or bowls.
Maybe your lungs can use a rest from smoking and you’re seeking a cleaner alternative, and are considering
We have the details on how to dab weed — plus where to buy cannabis and THC concentrates in Canada online, from the comfort of your own home.
How To Dab Weed; The Basics
Dabbing is the process of burning cannabis concentrates, such as wax or shatter, in small amounts. You inhale them similarly as you would using a bong.
But take note that these concentrates are THC levels to the extreme — like, 70% to 90% THC — so, when we say small amounts, we mean small. The size of what you’ll be dabbing will be equivalent to a match head. When you dab, think to yourself: “A little dab will do ya!”
Dabbers put the dab on high heat inside equipment called a rig, and inhale the vapour from it. The rig is similar in construction to a bong. In fact, many experienced cannabis buddies “step up” to dabbing concentrates from smoking flower in joints or bowls once they’ve become more THC-resistant.
The Pros of Knowing How To Dab Weed
If you’d like to start dabbing, consider these benefits:
• Easier On Your Lungs
There’s no smoke or added chemicals, so there are fewer carcinogens when using a dab rig.
Many dabbing buddies feel the inhaling vapour is easier to inhale than smoke, as the vapour contains more cannabinoids and no tar.
The key to lowering carcinogens in your dab is to keep your temperature on the low side.
• Better Taste
Joints, blunts, or plain pipes can have a strong tar-like taste that feels scorching to the throat.
But dab rigs use a water filtration system similar to a bong. It gives off a vapour that’s cleaner and tastes better than traditional smoking.
• Super High Potency
Dabbing concentrates can have THC levels as high as 70% and 80%, whereas bud and flower can be anywhere from 15% to 30%.
Even though it may seem counterintuitive as an experienced cannabis buddy, take a dab no larger than what can fit on the head of a pin to start.
The Cons of Knowing How To Dab Weed
As with anything, there are always drawbacks to consider:
• Complicated Setup
Many people feel that setting up the equipment, plus the regular maintenance is too much work.
• Burn Hazard
As always, when you’re using an intense, open flame, there’s a safety concern around getting burned.
How To Dab Weed: What Do You Need to Start Dabbing?
Dabbing involves using way more equipment than weed and rolling papers.
Here’s a list of what you’ll need.
A dab rig is specifically designed for consuming cannabis concentrates and is similar to a bong.
• Banger or Nail
Similar to the bowl where you pack weed, the banger is where your dab burns.
Be sure to use a quartz crystal banger for the best heat resistance. The banger is also sometimes called a bucket.
• Carb Cap
A heat-resistant cap covers the banger to limit airflow so your concentrate heats to the perfect temperature.
You can use almost anything as a cap — a shot glass, a bong flower bowl, lid for a jar, for example — as long as it’s not made of plastic. Anything made of plastic will melt!
• Terpene Spinner
Also known as pearls or splashers, spinners are optional but ensure your dab gets evenly heated. Trust us — a spinner will make each hit last longer.
A small, handheld blowtorch, either butane- or propane-powered.
• Cotton Swabs
Use these to clean the banger. Use cardboard or wood handles rather than plastic, which will melt.
85%- to 99%-proof alcohol is heavy-duty. Clean the dab rig using the cotton swab dipped in the alcohol after every use.
Helps dabbers gauge when the nail reaches the right temperature after you torch it.
Not you, the dabber, but rather the dab tool you use to take your dab. It resembles a surgical scalpel and is necessary to precisely measure your dab amount.
Whether it’s butter, rosin, shatter or wax: choose what you’ll use to get your dab on. We have multiple choices of concentrated cannabis in-store to choose from.
How to Make Weed Dabs at Home in 6 Steps
1. Dose your dab. Get your dose set up before you heat the rig. When your rig reaches the right temperature, then your dab’s ready to go.
2. Hook up the banger. Attach the banger by sliding it into the rig’s downstem.
3. Heat the banger. Be sure to use extreme caution at this point. Light your torch and keep the flame tip slightly away from the banger’s surface. Evenly heat the banger for 30 seconds or until it glows a yellowish-orange colour.
Extinguish the torch and after between 45 and 75 seconds off the heat, the banger is typically cool enough to add your concentrate. Hot dabs cause serious lung issues and waste your THC.
4. Add your dab. Add your concentrate using your dabber. We can’t stress this enough — a small amount! — at least until you know your tolerance. Draw slowly from the rig’s mouthpiece. Slow drags are easier on your lungs, plus your dab will last longer.
5. Put a cap on it. Capping the banger creates an “oven” and heats your dab evenly. It also prevents any concentrated vapour from sneaking out of the banger. While you draw, the spinner flies around the banger and splashes the dab around the inside for even heating and more draws.
6. Clean the banger. It’s essential to clean the banger while it’s still hot, otherwise, it gets sticky and difficult to clean. Dip one end of a cotton swab in the alcohol and use it to clean and sterilize the inside of the banger. Use the dry end to soak up any residual oil.
You might need several swabs to get the banger completely clean. If the banger is black, that’s a sign your dabs are too hot.
Particularly for beginners, the main thing to be ever mindful of when dabbing: Exercising extra safety when using the blowtorch to heat the banger.
Aside from the actual flame, most torches come equipped with a metal flame guard that will stay hot well after you switch off the torch, as can the banger that holds your dab.
For safety, hold the torch stationary. You can find trays that fit the torch canister to keep it still and upright.
Move the rig so the banger is in alignment right front of the flame. Once the banger is heated, carefully set the rig down to continue your dab.
Also, get organized. Always make sure you have all your equipment and concentrate ready beforehand.
Set up your station so you’re comfortably seated while you dab. While you’re in the dabbing process, if you’re standing up, leaning over and reaching around for things can lead to spills, burns and broken rigs.
Have a comfortable seat, relax and dab away.
3 Frequently Asked Questions on How To Dab Weed
1. What Concentrates are Recommended for Dabbing?
We could write an entire page on the best concentrated THC extracts to dab, so we’ll simply give you some of our local favourites.
These concentrates from the cannabis flower are popular for dabbing:
• A butter-like texture is a little harder to come by and has a higher price point.
Crumble or wax
• Known for its high THC levels, it has a unique crumbly texture and yellow colour. It’s extracted using a solvent (like butane) under heat and pressure.
• A sap-like resin made without solvents instead of using a combination of heat and pressure on cannabis trichomes.
• A solid, glass-like cannabis extract, a dabbing favourite.
The concentrate you choose to dab with is entirely up to you — there’s no one-size-fits-all in this practice but you must start low and go slow.
Concentrates range in higher THC levels, so if you’re unsure, feel free to consult our knowledgeable budtenders.
They’re available in the online chat with any specific questions you may have about our cannabis concentrates when starting your dabbing journey.
2. Can Dabbing Hurt Your Lungs?
Dabbing is the act of inhaling vapours of heated cannabis concentrate. The THC-rich oils are removed through heat and passed by evaporation.
While opinions vary across different communities, the main concern is the effects of inhaling contaminants. Pesticides from the flower sourced to create the concentrate, and the butane residue resulting from the solvent not fully purging during the manufacturing process carry multiple risks when inhaled.
However, there’s no concrete evidence on how inhaling the vapour affects the lungs.
3. Do Dabs Ruin Your Tolerance?
Levelling up naturally means you’re somewhat desensitized to what used to give you your ideal high. Of course, your tolerance is stronger. But what does that mean long-term?
If you want to relax your tolerance so you can go back to vaping or smoking joints for enjoyment, you must take a break from cannabis (a t-break).
The good news is that your tolerance levels will drop back to previous levels within weeks.
The bad news is, well — you’ll have to either stop or drastically cut back for it to have an effect.
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