Dabbing concentrates may seem a little daunting at first, it looks a lot more complicated than smoking a joint or even a bong, but once you read about it, it will come easy to you with a little practice. To help make sure your first dabbing experience goes smoothly, we have written this guide about how to take a dab. 

Dabbing is the term giving to vaporizing cannabis concentrates such as wax, shatter, budder, etc. A “dab” is weed that comes in the form of a concentrate, you place it on a hot surface and inhale the vapors. 

While the cannabis flower may have 15 to 25% THC content, cannabis concentrates will typically have from 50 to 80% THC, depending on the extract type and method used and the plant strain. 

But you don’t have to dab high THC concentrates; you can dab CBD oil with little to no THC content just as easily for quick therapeutic benefits with no intoxicating side effects. This can be a fast way to inhale a larger dose of CBD than you’d get from smoking cannabis, which may be suitable for some medical CBD users. 

Dabbing isn’t for everyone, and you need to be very careful with the dosage, especially those new to cannabis consumption. 

What do you need for dabbing? 

The cannabis industry is always evolving, and you’ll find a growing rang of enail and even electric rigs from quality head shops like Lookah, however here we will look at the traditional dab kit setup which includes the following items:

  1. Dab Rig: This is a water pipe similar to a bong. Usually smaller than the average bong and with a suitable fitting for a nail. 
  2. Nail: This is the equivalent of a bowl for your bong. Today the standard is a quartz banger, usually a bucket shape. You can get ceramic or titanium nails as well as e-nails. Be sure the nail has the correct gender and size to fit your dab rig. If the rig has a 14mm female joint, you’ll want a 14mm male nail. You will need mail nails for a female rig and vice versa. 
  3. Dabber: A dabber or a dab tool is used to apply the concentrate to the nail. These dab tools can be made from metal, glass, or ceramic and have a number of shapes. Usually, one end will be a scoop or flat blade/paddle shape, and the end will be a point or pick shape. Some shapes are better for different concentrate types to scrape or scoop them into the nail. There are different tools for different concentrates; for a smooth, waxy consistency, it would be best to use a paddle-shaped tool, while a hard shatter would require a sharper, more pointed tool to break it apart. 
  4.  Carb Cap: While this isn’t essential, a carb cap is recommended to help regulate the airflow. There are many combination dabber/carb caps on the market, which are becoming increasingly popular. 
  5. Torch: Mini-torches like those a chef would use for creme brulee are commonly used. They are refillable and use typically use butane. If you have an enail, you can dispense with the torch.
  6. Extras: Dab Mat and Timer. The dab mat is not necessary but helps to keep your dabbing station clean and tidy. The Timer lets you accurately adjust the time you heat the nail to achieve different temperatures for consistent dabbing time and time again. 

Working out Concentrate and CBD Oil Dosages

Measuring a dab isn’t always straight forward. Different extracts will have different levels of THC, so you want to know how potent your concentrate is before calculating the size of your dab. A small dose the size of a crumb may not look much but at 80% THC it could be plenty.  

Dabbing often feels more intense than smoking cannabis to those unaccustomed to it, so be aware of your tolerance and be sure to carefully read the content levels of your concentrates before dabbing them. 

All legally sold concentrates require the cannabinoid information be clearly displayed on their packaging. The potency is displayed in a percentage. Concentrates are usually sold by the gram or a half gram. If you have one gram of concentrate that contains 80% total THC, then there will be 800mg of total THC in that one gram. The recommended starting point for edibles is 5 to 10mg per serving, with dabs starting at about 20 to 40mg per day is suitable. If you have been prescribed medical CBD, then consult your physician as to dosage and check the THC to CBD ratio of your concentrates. 

If you have 1 gram of 80% THC concentrate, getting 5mg from it could be almost impossible. Something the size of a peppercorn would already be 25mg. Choosing the right dab tool will help. For hard or viscous concentrates, slightly heating them or your dab tool can help to portion off a small piece. 

If you split that gram of concentrate into ten portions, each would be 80mg, then split one of those down again into four pieces to get a 20mg dab. It is much easier to split concentrates down this way than to estimate a 20mg dab of an 800mg nug of concentrate. For a guide, a 20mg dose would be about the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen. 

If you think that’s small remember that concentrates several times more potent than cannabis flower. 

It’s best to start low and slow, wait for 15 – 25 minutes between dabs do see how it affected you before deicing if you need to take more or not. 

How to Take a Dab

Once the dab rig is set up, you have your nail in place and have portioned off your concentrate, you’re ready to take a dab. 

Step 1.

With your torch, heat-up the nail, put the flame directly at the nail until it begins to turn red hot. 

Step 2. 

Once the nail is glowing hot, turn off the torch and put it to one side. If you have a quartz nail, you’ll want to let it cool for about 40 to 50 seconds. This ensures the surface temperature isn’t too hot. This is where having a timer comes in handy. For a titanium nail, let it cool for about 10-15 seconds.

Step 3.

Pick up the dab with your dab tool. Apply it directly to the nail with the dab tool and slowly start to inhale. Rotate the dab tool around on the nail to prevent wasting any concentrate which may be stuck on it. 

Step 4.

Cover the nail with the carb cap. This will help control the airflow stopping the vapor from escaping and letting you preserve all the dab goodness. 

A word of caution: Torches, nails, and dab tools become very hot, be careful how you handle them and where you put them. Always wait for them to cool down before handling them. 

How to Clean Your Nail

If after dabbing there is reclaimed oil and particulate buildup on the nail, you should clean it to prevent building up, which will impair the flavor of future hits. 

Torch: The easiest way to clean a nail is to heat it up with the torch to burn off any residue. 

Scrape: For a small buildup of residue, you can scape it off with a sharp dab tool. 

Wash:you can soak the nail in isopropyl alcohol for 10 to 20 minutes and then add in some coarse sea salt and shake well to get off hard to remove reclaim and stains.