Guide to Dabbing Concentrates

Beginner’s Guide to Dabbing Concentrates

The ever-growing cannabis industry is quick to evolve with new products, technology, and ways to get high. Although dabbing weed might not be a new concept, there are plenty of ways to try out this practice for those interested. First, it’s essential to know what to expect from these highly concentrated forms of cannabis, and second—what is dabbing? Here’s what you need to know.

What Is Dabbing?

Dabbing is the process of taking a dab. Okay, so what’s a dab?

The term itself encompasses many types of cannabis extracts. Shatter, budder, crumble, live resin, wax, and diamonds are all types of extracts. A dab describes how you’ll intend to use it. For example, you can vape various types of extracts, but they are labeled as a dab when the intention is to vaporize the extract without using a heating coil and glass chamber powered by a battery.

So, dabbing is how you take a dab. It usually involves a dab rig, though you can also use a dab pen, which is like a hybrid version of dab rig meets vape pen. Dabbing uses extremely high heat to flash vaporize the cannabis oil, allowing you to inhale pure vapor as opposed to smoke. As you might imagine, this is a delicious way to experience the terpene profile of any given strain.

Effects of Dabbing

The concentrated cannabis oils that you dab are incredibly potent. The average cannabis bud contains anywhere from 10-30% THC. However, dabs contain anywhere from 40% all the way up to more than 90% THC. So, even just one hit, or “dab,” can get you incredibly stoned. Ask someone about their first dab, and they will likely have a story about how high they got from just one hit.

Dabs are preferred for many reasons. For example, cannabis connoisseurs appreciate the ritual involved with dabbing. From selecting choice dabs to collecting a dab rig and kit, they enjoy using and sharing with friends. It’s also a win for anyone who enjoys smoking but would prefer the cleaner vaping experience. The flavor profile is also unparalleled, filling your senses with the terpene-rich vapor.

Because of their high potency and quick onset time, dabs are also ideal for medical marijuana patients who may have a higher tolerance or need quick relief from symptoms.

Ways to Dab

There is more than one way to take a dab. Check out the multiple ways you can experience dabbing and start building out your dab kit.

Using a Dab Rig

A dab rig is a water bong that is very similar to the same kind used for smoking weed. The primary difference is that the downstem in a normal bong is replaced by a slightly different apparatus. Instead of a bowl at the end of the stem, a “nail” is inserted into this side piece. Nails vary and are made of glass, stainless steel, quartz, or ceramic.

To use a dab rig, you have to use a torch to heat up the bottom of the nail. Once it reaches ideal temperature, you place the dab inside the bucket, where it will be instantly vaporized. At the same time you are inhaling on the mouthpiece, drawing the vapor through the water bong and up into your lungs. Dab rigs are slightly more involved than bongs, but offer tons of variability in temperature setting, dosage control, and aesthetics.

Electric Dab Rig (E-Rig)

An open flame can be an obnoxious part of dabbing, and fortunately, there’s a solution that still offers the dabbing experience but without using a handheld torch. An E-Rig is very similar to a classic dab rig but runs on electricity instead of heat from an open flame. Plug in the device and adjust the controls to meet your desired temperature before placing your dab on the nail. It will automatically begin to vaporize as you inhale. E-Rigs are portable and provide super smooth easy hits.

Dab Pen

A dab pen is similar to a vape pen, except you load it yourself. It still uses an atomizer and is battery powered, but you have to place the oil into the heating chamber. Dab pens feature all of the convenience and discretion of a vape pen but with the versatility of choosing your own dabs. You can alternate however often you like, and if taken care of, your dab pen can last for years.

Dab Tools

Cannabis extracts are sticky. They are so sticky that they will adhere to just about every surface, leaving behind a gooey trail. You can avoid this with dab tools. For starters, invest in a dab mat to place underneath your rig. These are best when made from silicone because they prevent your rig from slipping and sliding around, and they are super easy to clean and remove globs of oil.

Other tools include dabber tools like spoons, shovels, or scoops that you use to grab the dab from its container and place it onto the hot nail. You definitely don’t want to use your hands, and when choosing a dab tool, opt for stainless steel or glass. Both are safe for high heat and are easily clean with isopropyl alcohol.

Dabbing vs. Smoking

If you’re trying to decide which is the better choice for you, consider each of the following factors. You might discover that there’s a time and place for both weed and dabs.


Dabbing is absolutely the more potent of the two. If you want to get high on less, consider dabs over smoking weed. Speaking of pricing, premium dabs cost a pretty penny. However, because they are so potent, a little bit goes a long way. As they say, “a dab’ll do ya.”


Excessive smoking or vaping is not really recommended. However, many folks love dabbing because the effects of vaporizing feel less cumbersome for the lungs. Smoking expands the bronchial pathways and may cause more irritation for some people, hence the preference for dabs.


There’s no way to avoid the smoky notes of burning one down. It just comes with the territory of smoking weed. Yet, dabbing doesn’t deal with burning, so it’s just the pure, unadulterated flavor of the terpene profile. If enjoying premier flavor is your goal, dabbing is the best choice.


A dab rig isn’t the most convenient way to get high. It requires all kinds of tools and a water bong, so this isn’t the on-the-go stoner’s choice. However, a dab pen is a great way to enjoy the convenience of dabbing. Just load it up before you head out, and you’ll be dabbing all day.

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