What is Dabbing and How Dabs Work
Dabs are cannabis concentrates made when extracts rich in THC or other cannabinoids are mixed with solvents like carbon dioxide or butane to form sticky oils.
Dabs are then heated and inhaled through a dab rig. Dabbing as a method of consuming cannabis has gained massive popularity in recent years, although it has been around for close to a decade.
As cannabis concentrates gained popularity, so did dabbing.
With the introduction of advanced cannabis extraction methods, concentrates have become a popular choice for most marijuana users.
Dabs are mostly made from THC compounds that makes them one of the most effective methods of getting high.
Because dabs are primarily made of THC compounds, you might think that cannabis extraction can only yield THC compounds.
The reality is you can extract non-intoxicating compounds like CBD from cannabis too. Other compounds that can be extracted include terpenes, the aromatic oils that give cannabis its distinct flavour.
While its possible to extract many compounds from cannabis, preserving them during the extraction process is a difficult task.
What are the perceived dangers of dabbing?
There’s no denying the fact that dabbing comes with dangers of its own. For instance, it involves heating and flammable gases.
In the case you’re producing your dabs in a poorly ventilated place, there’s the real danger of an explosion, with many flammable gases that can go off in such places.
Even if you make it through the extraction stage, you still risk getting “dirty” oil that could be laced with chemicals or excess amounts of residual solvents, a clear health hazard.
Because there’s really no way of gauging the purity or quality of the finished product, here are a few pointers that could help you get rid of production issues:
- Use high-grade solvents
- Test your concentrates in the lab to check purity and potency
- Engage trained professionals while extracting
- Aim for closed-loop extraction
Now that we have identified the major production-related risks associated with dabbing, does this mean that dabbing is absolutely safe for consumers?
Dabbing could be dangerous to consumers too. However, with the right precautions, dabbing is usually super easy and safe.
Many first time dabbers invest in a nail attachment and a handheld torch. Heating metal nails with a small flame holder can be a dangerous exercise.
It’s worth noting that new methods of dabbing are frequently being introduced into the industry and we more go into that further below.
Another important safety factor that every unseasoned cannabis user should consider is the potency of THC. In most cases, extracts contain between 50-90% THC, essentially giving you a strong, instant high.
However, intense and uncomfortable effects await you if you exceed your personal tolerance limits.
The best idea is to start with small dabs as these will provide a positive experience.
While the short-term effects of dabbing are well known, the long-term effects aren’t.
It’s only through research that we can get to know the long-term risks associated with dabbing.
For now, no one can really tell the dangers of prolonged dabbing.
What are the benefits of dabbing?
Dabbing as a delivery method can be beneficial to patients and adult consumers.
They only need to make sure that they use clean, tested products to enjoy the benefits, including a swift high with its powerful effects.
Most patients with severe pain, chronic pain or nausea report that they get immediate and effective relief when they dab. But even with these benefits, most doctors would be hesitant to recommend dabbing as the first course of action for patients.
Cannabis extracts that have been produced using the proper method are clean, pure and easy on the lungs.
Extracts eliminate unwanted materials like resin and hot smoke and still deliver the essential cannabinoids.
Unlike dabbing, smoking produces smoke and resin, and these could negatively impact the health of your lungs
One other benefit of dabbing is the scientific and technological curiosity that it has created in recent years.
As dabbing gains popularity, more extraction and consumption technologies have also emerged.
These include high-tech dabbing tools, cannabis distillates, terpene infusion, oil cartridges and full-spectrum extraction.
What methods & tools are needed to dab?
While dabbing technology is evolving all the time, the traditional setup includes the following items (keep in mind that the appearance of each tool may vary slightly depending on its design):
- A cannabis extract. Cannabis extracts are available in a number of different forms, but the most common ones used for dabbing are BHO, budder, shatter, CO2, and solventless extracts like rosin. If you have any doubt at all about the safety of dabbing a particular oil, ask your budtender.
- A water pipe. You can take the glass bowl pieces out and replace them with dabbing attachments to turn your pipe into a dab rig.
- A nail. Find a nail that fits your water pipe’s gauge. Some are made of ceramic and quartz, but titanium is the most commonly used type.
- A dome. This is the glass hood placed around the nail. “Dome-less” nails (see below) don’t need a glass globe, but standard nails need something to trap the vapour before it’s inhaled.
- A torch. Mini-torches used for crème brulee will do the job, but some choose to upgrade to larger propane-fueled torches that heat nails faster. New flame-less methods of dabbing are becoming available, but most people still use the torch method due to the low-cost investment.
- A dabber. This is the glass, metal, or ceramic tool used to apply a dab.
Although not everyone embraces dabbing as a method of consuming cannabis, many people have been enthused by the many extracts that have stemmed from it.
Without any doubt, dabbing continues to push the limits of innovation in the cannabis industry.
While the dabbing trend has continued to grow, one surprising side-effect is emerging. The trend has created a huge interest in activism, especially in younger members of the cannabis community.
Cannabis extracts are the most popular products among young consumers.
Overall, despite the few dangers of dabbing, concentrates are emerging as beneficial to patients and cannabis consumers that wish to use a clean, pure and strong form of cannabis while enjoying a potent high.
Check out this great video from Dabtek Concentrates for more info on Dabbing for Beginners: