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By Dr. Dabber

What Is A Dab? Everything You Need to Know to Get Started

What Is A Dab? Everything You Need to Know to Get Started
Dabs are the strongest way to consume THC. Rather than smoking a large amount of flower, a single dab will often suffice. As the old saying goes, “A single dab will do ya.” But, there’s more to it than that! Dabbing is something that’s been undergoing refinements. With THC at the forefront of legalization, many different concentrates, as well as ways to smoke them, are appearing! There's quite a bit of information to cover when it comes to dabbing, so we're breaking it all down here.

As the legalization of THC products keeps progressing, the options available to enthusiasts and recreational users expand. We’re not talking about different strains-but we’re really excited about that too! 

Today, we’re talking about dabs. They weren’t always easy to get and were often considered the holy grail of THC products. Dabs are elusive to some, but they don’t have to be any longer.

If you’re looking for your next THC endeavor, you may be interested in dabbing. It’s more available now than ever, and it’s a great way to wind down at the end of the day. For everything you need to know about dabbing, keep reading!

The Short Answer

Dabbing is the act of smoking THC concentrates. To dab, a person needs a dabbing rig, as well as the oil or wax, itself. In order to smoke a THC concentrate, it has to be superheated so that it vaporizes. Temperatures too low will result in the concentrate just burning up, without producing the desired smoke or vapor. What’s the benefit of this?

Dabs are the strongest way to consume THC. The THC content of a dab is high, resulting in a powerful feeling. Rather than smoking a large amount of flower, a single dab will often suffice. As the old saying goes, “A single dab will do ya.”

But, there’s more to it than that! Dabbing is something that’s been undergoing refinements. With THC at the forefront of legalization, many different concentrates, as well as ways to smoke them, are appearing! As such, there’s quite a bit of information to cover when it comes to dabbing.

What Is A Dab?

We’re not talking about the outdated dance move here, we’re talking about the THC product. Dabs are THC concentrates. They’re one of the strongest ways to consume THC, depending on the type of dabs you’re using. It’s important to remember that not all dabs are created equal, too. There are a number of forms that dabs come in, and those forms lend themselves to a number of things, like THC content and flavor. 

How Are Dabs Made?

Dabs are the concentrated form of THC that are extracted in a few different ways. THC and other cannabinoids come in the form of a concentrated substance and are typically removed from the plant through a chemical process using different solvents. At this point, there are 5 really popular methods of extracting and creating concentrated versions and concentrated doses for dabs. Those methods are:

  • Butane Oil (Butane Hash Oil, BHO) Extraction: This method is used in a number of industries, including food and perfume. Butane is added to the plant to extract the cannabinoids, by pouring butane into the extract. The cannabinoids, as well as the butane hash oil, collect in another container. The resulting mixture requires evaporation to remove the remaining butane, leaving the butane hash oil concentrate behind.
  • Supercritical CO2 Oil Extraction: This method is non-toxic and environmentally friendly. It’s used when making beer, coffee, and tea. Supercritical carbon dioxide is passed through buds, and it picks up the desired cannabinoids. The liquid is then passed through a separator to remove the CO2. This CO2 can then be used in the future, as well.
  • Ethanol Extract: Ethanol extraction is one of the simplest processes for making dabs. The plant is soaked in ethanol, and THC is extracted as a result. Then, the product is refined, removing all of the ethanol and unwanted compounds, leaving only THC behind.
  • Water Extraction: While water isn’t considered a solvent, this method is similar to those listed above. These plants are submerged in freezing water and stirred, causing trichomes to separate from the plant. The mixture is then passed through a series of screens, resulting in a solventless extraction.
  • Isopropyl Oil Extraction: As the name implies, isopropyl alcohol is required for this method. Dried bud flowers are soaked in the alcohol, which removes the trichomes from the plant. The mixture is strained into a dish, and the isopropyl alcohol is evaporated, leaving a THC-rich oil behind.

 All of these different extraction methods allow producers to make different concentrates and provide different THC contents.

Different Types of Concentrates You Can Find

With dabs becoming more popular, you may see these options available in your local dispensary or shop. Each of these concentrates differs in consistency, as well as different THC content. Each one also provides a different experience of dabbing. Below are some of the most popular concentrates available, but if you want to learn more, head to our blog post here.

  • Shatter: This is one of the concentrates produced by using the BHO extraction method. It’s known for being stable, and somewhat glass-like. Shatter has a tendency to fracture into many pieces, hence the name. The majority of shatter is smooth, clear, and solid. However, you may find some instances where shatter is a bit sticky, which is why we strongly recommend the Dr. Dabber Budder Cutter for this. Most enthusiasts familiar with shatter seek it out, as it’s known for its purity.
  • Crumble: Crumble is another concentrate that’s made using the BHO extraction method. During the process, BHO is vacuumed or whipped, turning the concentrate into a soft and brittle substance. The name comes from its ability to crumble easily. This is one of the easiest concentrates to handle, and dabs are easy to size with it.
  • Wax: This is the messiest form of THC concentrate that you’ll find. It’s sticky, with a wax-like appearance. It needs to be handled with a dab tool. This is the form of THC concentrate that dabbing gets its name from. Wax is also made using the BHO method.
  • Oil: THC oils are normally products of the CO2 extraction method. THC oil is often runny and requires a syringe for use. The flavor resulting from the CO2 extraction method is an acquired taste, according to some enthusiasts, and ideal for use in an oil rig.
  • Water Hash: Sometimes known as bubble hash. The consistency of water hash is a result of the water extraction process, where the plant is stirred or shaken in freezing water. The result is a concentrate that’s sticky and acts as a paste. Imagine it being somewhere between the consistency of wax and oil.
  • Rosin: This is, by far, the most popular form of THC concentrates available. The only things required to make rosin is heat and pressure, making it a low barrier entry into the concentrates market. It’s similar to shatter, but a bit less fragile. It’s cheap and easy to get, making it a popular option among dabbers.

what is dabbing - Dr. Dabber

Dabbing at Different Temperatures

Different temperatures produce different effects when dabbing. Depending on what you’re looking for, you’ll want to smoke them at different temperatures with one of your favorite dab pens or electric dab rigs. We’ll cover how to heat dabs later on. Right now, below, you’ll find the ideal temperature ranges for dabbing, and what each range will give you. 

  • 315°F – 450°F: Considered to be low-temperature dabbing. This is the range of temperatures that you want if you’re looking for flavor. When concentrates are vaporized at this temperature, you prevent burning the terpenes, the compounds that provide strong flavors.
  • 450°F – 600°F: This is the middle range of temperatures for dabbing. In this range, you’re still going to get some flavor, as well as bigger clouds. Higher cloud production tends to mean that the high associated with the dab is stronger, as well.
  • 600°F – 900°F: These are high-temperature dabs, and they produce the thickest clouds. Nearly all of the terpenes are burned off at this temperature range, resulting in little to no flavor. A high-temperature dab provides a powerful high, producing the desired feelings in a short amount of time.

Smoking Dabs

We’ve learned about the wonderful world of concentrates, but how exactly do you smoke them? Well, there’s the old way of doing things, and the new and improved way. We’re going to cover both of them.  

The Traditional Way of Dabbing

Dabs weren’t all that popular until very recently. Regardless, these THC products still needed a way to smoke them. This method would have to differ from smoking flower or bud, though, because the temperatures needed to be higher. If the temperature wasn’t high enough, the concentrate would simply burn off. 

This is how the dabbing rig was born. A dab rig looks similar to a water bong or a specialized water pipe. It’s got a mouthpiece, a stem, and a large chamber for holding water. However, these rigs are typically a lot smaller than a water bong, and they have a few specialized pieces.

Dab rigs have what’s known as a nail, or a banger. This piece is where the concentrate is placed to vaporize it. To be able to do so, the nail has to be superheated. Superheating requires specific materials, or else you end up with a nail that fails after just a few uses, or a nail that loses heat too quickly. Nails are normally made from materials like quartz, ceramic, surgical steel, or titanium. Some examples are glass, but these tend to break fairly easily.

Each different material used for the nail provides a different experience. Some report steel and titanium adding a metallic taste to their dabs, while ceramic is entirely inert, meaning you get the full flavor of the concentrate alone. Quartz is the most cost-effective nail material, and the option you’re likely to find most often.

But how do you superheat the nail? A regular lighter won’t do that, after all. This problem is solved by using a butane blow torch. Butane torches are capable of superheating your nail temperature up to thousands of degrees. This is the best way to get your traditional nail heated to an ideal temperature.

The Problem With The Traditional Dabbing Process

The traditional way of dabbing presents a number of problems, to say the least. All of these problems revolve around the way that concentrates are vaporized. To start, the use of a butane torch and a superheated element is dangerous, and dabbing may not be the best activity for handling such things. When you reach temperatures nearing 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, you’re running the risk of serious burns.

The next thing to consider is the cost. Constantly buying butane fuel isn’t cheap. Depending on how often you’re dabbing, butane canisters may need to be replaced on a weekly basis. This is another factor that makes the traditional dabbing process problematic. You don’t want to spend more money than you have to, after all.

Now, let’s talk about the experience. Different dabs provide different effects. Some are highly flavorful, providing tastes more intense than the best strains can provide. Others have a high THC concentration, offering an intense high. However, to get these effects, you have to dab at the right temperatures. Traditional dabbing lacks greater control over the temperature that concentrates are vaporized.

How do you solve these problems? We have a full write up on our blog here that covers all the benefits of using an eRig over the traditional dabbing method.

dab rig - Dr. Dabber

Using Electronic Dab Rigs

In recent years, electronic dabbing rigs, or e-rigs, have become popularized. Being that we created the first e-rig, we feel more than qualified to talk about why an e-rig is the best option available.

An electronic dab rig is similar in shape and use to a traditional dab rig. The biggest difference you’re going to find is the way that concentrates are heated. With an e-rig, you take the torch and the nail out of the equation. What you have is a circuit that heats an element using electricity. This heating module is self-contained, making it safer for all-around use. It also removes some of the complications found in traditional dabbing rigs.

But how is electricity generated? E-rigs use powerful batteries to generate heat in a short amount of time. We’re talking seconds. While you may think that these batteries won’t last long, you’d be wrong. You can expect up to 100 hits per charge with the SWITCH and up to 60 with the Boost EVO. Should the battery go dead, both of our eRigs implement pass-through charging, allowing you to charge and dab at the same time.

When you get an e-rig from Dr. Dabber, you’re also getting control over the dabbing process. When you choose the SWITCH or the Boost EVO, you get a range of temperatures that allows you to get the perfect hit, every single time. When you’re looking to get the widest range of temperatures available, you’ll want to get the SWITCH. For a more narrow range of temperatures, but a more portable experience, you’ll want the Boost EVO. The range of temperatures on each is below:

  • SWITCH: Temperatures range from 300°F to 780°F, in increments of 20°F, approximately. This means that you can dial in exactly what temperature you want, and what your experience will be.
  • Boost EVO: The Boost EVO has settings providing a temperature range of 500°F to 750°F. The Boost EVO doesn’t allow for super low temperature dabs like the SWITCH, but you get the fully portable experience.

In addition to temperature control, you get a product that’s been designed specifically for dabbing. These are specialized products that have been created with the intent of giving you the best dabbing experience possible. To enhance that experience, they even come with mood lighting, or a stealth mode, depending on what you’re looking for. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best way to get into dabbing?

While traditional dabbing rigs tend to be cheaper than e-rigs, the best way to get into dabbing is by purchasing an e-rig. When you buy a SWITCH or a Boost EVO, you’re getting everything that you need to get started, and a product that will last years (don’t forget, we have an industry-leading warranty). You won’t have to worry about purchasing fuel, or replacing pieces as they wear out from use and abuse. An e-rig is the way to go if you’re looking to start dabbing.

What does the high from dabbing feel like?

A dabbing high is going to feel the same as a high from smoking standard products. The biggest difference you’re going to notice is the intensity, as well as how quickly it hits. If you’re smoking high-temperature dabs, the desired effects are going to be powerful, and they’re going to hit quickly. Over time, they’ll mellow out, and you’ll feel just like you would if you were to smoke flower or bud. 

Can you overdose on dabs?

Like all THC products, it is impossible to overdose on dabs. However, the first time you dab, it may be a bit more intense than what you’re used to. THC concentrates have a much higher THC concentration, ranging from 60 to 90 percent on average. The feelings of using such a product can be overwhelming due to its high potency, so it’s important to take it slow when getting into dabbing.

What are the benefits of dabbing?

The biggest benefit to dabbing becoming popular is the innovation in products surrounding dabbing. New extraction processes have been developed, and new technology is being created to make dabbing easier. With dabbing has come research and breakthroughs, e-rigs included. 

Breaking It Down

Dabbing is one of the most popular methods of consuming THC today. It’s a way to get the desired effects of THC in a quick method and deliver a powerful high. Thankfully, dabbing has become a more accessible way of consuming THC. With the development of e-rigs, the dangers of the traditional nail and torch method have been removed, allowing everyone to enjoy dabs.

We here at Dr. Dabber pioneered the e-rig, and we stand behind our products. If you’re looking to get started with dabbing, we can guarantee our products are the easiest way to do so. If you have any questions regarding dabbing, check out our other blog posts, or reach out!

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