New to Dabs? Read This Guide to Dabbing on Some Fire to the Fourth
Dabs are, by far, one of the most popular trends in the cannabis world right now.
Unlike smoking marijuana flower, dabbing lets you quickly vaporize cannabis concentrates, also called extracts.
And, WOW, are they potent!
Concentrates (dabs) are made via various processes that involve stripping out all of the cannabinoids from the cannabis plants. And, because these concentrates tend to have THC levels as high as 95% (and sometimes higher!), dabbing is one of the best ways to get a seriously intense high – – or a big dose of medicine.
So, if you’re ready to light the fire of dabbing, and you’ve got all the right equipment, it’s time to figure out just what exactly you’re doing.
Much like the other beginner’s guides we’ve done, this post is going to walk you through every single aspect of dabbing you would possibly need to know. That way, when you get a chance to try it or see it firsthand, you’ll understand why everyone is getting so hype about it.
The Ultimate Guide to Dabs
First things first:
Dabs are highly concentrated forms of cannabis that can either be smoked or vaporized, one dose at a time. Dabs, also known as concentrates or extracts are known by eight different names, all correlating to their appearance, the physical properties of the concentrate, and process used to produce it.
Popular Types of Dabs & Extraction Processes
Concentrates, usually referred to as Dabs, generally come in any one of eight different categories:
- Shatter, also called sheets or slabs, is a thin and translucent sheet of cannabis concentrate that typically is amber or golden glass. As for production, shatter is a solvent-based extract that is a typo of BHO. This means butane is used to separate the trichomes from the plant matter, and then separates the cannabinoids and terpenes. Then, that purged mixture is left to sit and chill, so it can settle into a thin sheet of that amber or golden glass.
- Budder, also sometimes called “whipped wax”, is extremely similar to peanut butter in both texture and appearance. It’s highly malleable, despite its firm texture. In coloration, budder tends to be yellow, golden-brown, or yellow-beige.
- Honey oil is the slang term for hash oil, called such because of its amber color that looks a lot like (surprise) honey. Now, weed is pretty great on its own and you’ll typically smoke around 20-30% THC. That’s plenty to get you high as a kite. But, take that same weed and then put it through an extraction process, and you can produce honey oil with 80% and higher THC concentration. With its high potency, honey oil is used to make shatter and wax. You can also smear it on for a hit, using a dab tool. The honey oil is pretty much the transition phase between the bud you smoke and the concentrate you dab. If it were allowed to cool and dry, it would become shatter and wax. It’s just the heated version of those.
- Butane Hash Oil, or BHO, looks like raw cookie dough before heat is applied. After it’s been heated, the BHO looks like warm caramel, syrup, or honey. BHO is generally created by hitting cannabis with butane, which is then extracted. These THC concentrations can reach anywhere from 70% to 90%, and sometimes even higher.
- Sugar is what is produced when shatter has not been allowed to completely dry out. It looks like wet sugar or sand. By not being allowed to dry out, the natural separation of the volatile components (such as the butane and the terpenes) from the components that are non-volatile gives it that form. Furthermore, different strains have different concentrations of various terpenes & non-volatile molecules. This is why some cannabis strains take on more of a sugar-esque appearance than other cannabis strains.
- Wax, the opposite of shatter, is dry and crumbly in both texture and in consistency, which is why it’s also referred to as “honeycomb.” The wax is produced via the use of a solvent (usually butane) and vacuum purging process. Through this process, the wax is purged for longer and at higher temperatures than shatter. This produces a much drier, much more “completely purged” product that contains significantly less residual butane.
- Live Resin and BHO are both produced in similar ways. The only difference here is that live resin is produced with the use of fresh bud that was flash frozen, as opposed to the BHO using cannabis bud that was previously dried and cured.
- Rosin is named for the extraction process that was used to produce it. This process involves a combination of heat and pressure in order to instantly squeeze resinous sap from the original cannabis buds.
- Resin is the collective term for the gooey, sticky trichomes that produce all of the psychoactive effects of the weed. When these trichomes are dried and cured before collection, they are (as a whole) referred to as “kief.” Resin is the source of all of the cannabis plant’s terpenes and cannabinoids, and really packs more of a punch than you’d expect. As a matter of fact, more than 400 different chemicals are present in a single sample of resin, and extractions of the resin yield even higher concentrations. Additionally, resin is also the term for the black or brown tar that builds up in a pipe and bong. There are some people who smoke that type of resin, but you really shouldn’t expect it to taste good.
- CO2 + PHO + Cold H20 are all extraction methods that result in the products they are named for. With CO2 extraction (hypercritical carbon dioxide extraction), a certain amount of pressure is applied to carbon dioxide as a way to cause the gas to shift into the liquid phase. This liquid CO2 is used as a very safe, almost totally inert, liquid solvent.
Next, PHO is created through propane-based extraction, and is referred as Propane Hash Oil. There are some other consistencies PHO could take, but it’s virtually always your typical budder. The process of the propane extraction is pretty much the same as with BHO, but swap out butane for propane.
Finally, cold water extraction is one of the most common ways to produce high-quality, solvent-free hash. The primary objective and main concept behind the cold water extraction method is to totally isolate the heads of the trichomes, which contain all of the cannabis plant’s essential oils and psychoactive elements. The purpose is to isolate those trichome heads from the stalks and the rest of the plant matter, since they have pretty much no medicinal value.
Ice water and ethanol are two solvents that are able to be used to strip the cannabis plant of its cannabinoid-laden trichomes in a more effective way. Now, this won’t produce anything as potent as BHO or some other dabs, but hash still remains a figurehead in cannabis culture for its all-natural, solvent-free, totally clean extraction process.
Dabbing Equipment for Beginners
When it comes to dabbing, you’ve got lots of options to choose from. Some types of dabs, such as wax, can be sprinkled directly onto the top of a bowl of dry herb, and then smoked as per usual. However, when it comes to dabbing, most people prefer to use a dab rig that was specifically designed to optimize delivery.
Some dabbing accessories:
- Oil rigs are the #1 most common dabbing equipment. These are essentially water pipes that have additional facets that enable the use of concentrates, or dabs. Normal setup for dabbing includes a nail, a dome, and a holder. The dabs go inside the holder, the nail is heated until red-hot with a torch, the dome is set into place, and then the now heated nail is touched to the concentrate to create vapor that you inhale.
- Atom bomb rigs combine the best of both worlds: A vaporizer and a water pipe. Load up some dabs into the atomizer, which uses a battery as power to heat the dabs. The atomb bomb rig acts like a water pipe, but functions as a vaporizer, which makes it perfect for a beginner dabber to try some water-vaped dabbing.
- Vaporizers or vape pens are a lot alike in terms of appearance and function to e-cigarettes or nicotine vape mods. They have an internal element that heats the dabs to the right temperature, so you don’t have to play that guessing game. The vape pens work best with oil, shatter, or wax, depending on the pen and its design. However, it’s best to avoid using budders.
- Dabbing pens look a lot like a syringe. They have a little dish that holds the dabs, and then a “pen” with a tip that is heated up and then dipped into the concentrate. It’s almost like you’re using a straw to drink a dank dab milkshake – – except you’re inhaling! (These are also called nectar collectors.)
- Domeless nails are your one-stop-shop for oil rigs, and they’re designed to facilitate dabbing by cutting out the need to remove and replace the dome. Instead, you just go ahead and heat the nail, and then you just apply the dabs directly onto the nail.
In addition to those common types of dabbing equipment, there are some existing bongs and water pipes that can be used for dabbing with an attachment or nail that uses dabs. For that, there are numerous options available, including custom and luxury “designer” nails. As dabbing continues to spread and flourish in popularity, new dabbing equipment accessories are starting to frequently appear on the market.
Where Did Dabbing Come From?
With its constant rise in popularity, it may seem as though dabbing is relatively new.
However, the practice of concentrating medicinal herbs into a more practical and effective form dates back to centuries. In fact, the earliest extraction methods and equipment quite often produced concentrates that were highly inconsistent in both purity and potency.
For instance, this was the case back in the 1960s, when cannabis oil and other forms of concentrated cannabis were considered illegal drugs. Most of them were, to be fair, prepared in unregulated labs and sold out on the streets, which made it pretty much impossible to know how safe and consistent the dabs you purchased were going to be.
Today, modern dabs are created with techniques and practices that have only just recently been developed. There are some cannabis industry experts who maintain dabs were on the scene as early as 2005, while others say 2010 was the year for the first real dabs.
Either way, dabs (or concentrates) that are produced, purchased, and consumed today are a true development of the 21st century.
Now, depending on who you talk to, dabs either came from a glass blower in California who developed new extraction methods, or the growers of some medicinal herbs in Colorado or California.
That being said, the earliest dabs could actually predate documented history because they didn’t even become well-known and insanely popular until these most recent years. Furthermore, the manufacturing process had finally become widely known within the cannabis industry and was practically standard utilization by 2012.
With the legalization of recreational cannabis following after, the dabbing trend in Washington (and elsewhere) has only continued to grow exponentially in popularity during the intervening years.
Why is Dabbing So Popular?
At this point, you may find yourself wondering why dabbing is so ridiculously popular. Well, there are several reasons for that and we’re going to take a look at all of them.
Benefits of dabbing:
- Precise dosage: Dabs provide a way for you to have exact and precise control over the dosage. This affords you the chance to effectively budget your dabs over time, as well as to control how much you consume during a smoke sesh or circle with your friends, by yourself, or just during any given day.
- Highly potent: Because dabs are so highly concentrated, they tend to be a lot more potent than other types of cannabis products.
- Alternative to smoking: People can actually build up a tolerance to the THC and other cannabinoids, so they may require ever-increasing dosages in order to produce the desired and expected effects. For those who have developed a tolerance to dry herb, dabs allow an excellent substitute while you’re taking a tolerance break from the bud.
- Immediate effects: Dabbing gives you your effects right away, making it the perfect choice for people who are looking for the ultimate and quick chill and body relaxation.
- Flavors of the strain: Depending on the strain, the type of dabs, and the extraction process used to make them, some dabs have that distinct smell reminiscent of the strain it was made from. Some strains, on the other hand, give no aroma to their dabs at all. In fact, most dabs have little to no aroma at all until they’re burned. There are ways to get the smell of weed out of your house, but they can be a hassle. If you’re looking for discretion, dabs are going to be far more subtle than dry herb.
Tips for First-Time Dabbers
As dabbing continues to become the Big Man on Campus, more people are checking out dabs and dabbing for the first time after consuming their weed in other ways for years.
Dabbing is a bit more hands-on and involved than traditional methods of marijuana consumption, so there are somethings beginners are going to want to keep in mind.
Here are some of the best tips for first-time dabbers:
✔ ALWAYS buy from reputable sources. And we’re not just talking about a friend of your buddy. Concentrates can vary in extraction methods, purity, potency, and consistency. If you purchase something from an unreputable source, or that doesn’t state how the products were tested, you may end up taking some pretty bad or even toxic dabs. Stick to reputable retailers – – like us!
✔ Keep your equipment clean. Make sure you clean the dabber after every hit. If you don’t, residue tends to build up. Not only will this make it a pain to clean, but it will also change the taste of your dabs. In fact, it can even make them taste downright nasty! After taking your hit, just clean it with some isopropyl alcohol. This is a highly effective cleaning agent for dabbers, as long as you rinse them off thoroughly and let them dry before using them. (Remember: Alcohol is flammable!)
✔ Store your dabs properly: The packaging for different types of dabs should give storage recommendations. These instructions ensure the best taste, potency, and shelf-life. Additionally, they ensure the least risk of contamination to your dabs.
✔ Start small, go slow: Dabbing isn’t a race, and you’re probably not going to be competing in any competitions right away. So, don’t worry about showing off or trying to see how much you lungs can take. Start off with a small dosage, and then build up from there as you get more experience and more tolerance. If the experience (or effect) you’re going for hasn’t quite hit yet, try adding your dab to a bowl of dry herb that you then smoke in a traditional way. Or, clean your dabber and take a little bit more.
Give It A Try With Some
Fire for the Fourth!
Granddaddy Purple Shatter by Cannabis NW
Granddaddy Purple shatter is an indica dominant hybrid produced by the heavy-hitting genetics of Purple Urkle x Big Bud. This powerful combination makes this the perfect choice when you’re looking for some powerful relaxation and a blissful, serene cerebral high.
There’s a slight herb aroma before the Granddaddy Purple shatter is burned, one that builds – though still subtle – as you take the dab. The full, smooth smoke carries purple grape and berries, with some herb undertones that linger long after the hit is done.
Hold this potent shatter up to the light, and the radiant amber extract shines like a candle left in the window. Granddaddy Purple is there to help you de-stress and kick back.
Granddaddy Purple shatter is definitely on the potent side, with a 75.26 % TOTAL THC and strong sedative effects. If you’re going to be dabbing on this shatter for the fourth, make sure you’re not going to far from home. Take a few hits, cuddle up with your partner on the couch, and watch the fireworks burst overhead as the slightly earthy-kush aroma fills the room.
“I took only one hit of this, and I was ready to just lay down on the couch and go right to sleep. The munchies are something fierce, but totally enhances your relaxed body high. I was so chill, and it was like my horrible day never really happened. There’s nothing better for relaxation and blissful peace than this Granddaddy Purple shatter by Cannabis NW. “
What better way to chill out and relax on Independence Day than with some true fire for the Fourth?
We’ve got Granddaddy Purple shatter by Cannabis NW for:
Be sure to stock up for the holiday!
If you’re looking for some other options, we also recommend dabbing on some Pink Lemonade by Cannabis NW.
Pink Lemonade BHO by Cannabis NW
Like a cool glass of the beverage it’s named for, Pink Lemonade BHO by Cannabis NW takes after its namesake in both aroma and flavors. There’s a fruity, almost menthol-tea flavor that gives way to tart lemons and pink grapefruit with each exhalation.
When in the container, or on the paper, the Pink Lemonade BHO has a dark green coloration to it, and looks like melted wax that’s cooled on a table. Hold it up to the light, and a beautiful jade-green sheen comes through the translucent extract.
The Pink Lemonade BHO by Cannabis NW boasts a 67.26% THC level, and is a sativa dominant hybrid that immediately settles a calming warmth over the body. A smoky haze washes over your mind, but instantly perks up your creativity, energy, and overall mood. Perfect for socializing with friends and family for the fourth!
“This Pink Lemonade BHO is such a great sativa strain! Absolutely delicious, and really helped me kick off my day right. That was a great Wake ‘n’ Bake. The effects are really productive and energetic mentally, but a more mellow energy in terms of physical high. I definitely need more.”
Stock up on some fire for the fourth, and pour a nice glass of some refreshing Pink Lemonade BHO by Cannabis NW.
We’ve got it available for:
Come on by and stock up for the Fourth!
Your Turn to Try Some Fire for the Fourth This Year!
Dabbing has been rapidly growing in popularity over the past several decades, and it’s likely to continue to keep following that trends. Dabs, concentrates, or extracts (they are all the same thing) offer a nearly immediate, highly potent, and very flavorful way of consuming all your favorite strains. Sometimes, you just need a switch from the usual dry herb, and dabs are there for you when you need exactly that. Because there are so many types of dabs available, you’ll get to mix and match and try different dabs to determine if you like waxes, butters, or oils the most.
Want to learn more?
Check out how to pick the best dabs or the best cannabis flavors of Summer 2018!