Decisions, decisions, decisions. As in all transactions, the educated consumer is best served. What you ingest should be lab-tested. Demand quality. The world of concentrates is a complicated place. The dab material you purchase comes in a number of different forms: shatter, wax, budder, oil, crumble, to name a few—and they’re produced via varying methods of extraction that entail the use of CO2, butane, propane, water, alcohol and heat. Do a little research and find out which product and method of extraction tickles your fancy. You can buy a gram or half-gram to start out. Don’t fret over your small purchase. It may not look like much, but the average dabber can make a gram last a couple weeks or more. Prices vary depending on the potency of the product.
Smoking a joint requires cannabis, rolling papers and a flame. Dabbing is a bit more complicated. Make sure you’ve got all the necessary gear because any component that’s missing will impede your enjoyment. Start off with the choice of concentrate that you’ll be dabbing and a solid, well-constructed waterpipe. Dabbing waterpipes are commonly known as a “rigs” among dabbers. Then you’ll need the nail. The nail is placed where the bowl of a bong is normally situated. It’s made of quartz or ceramic, but a titanium nail is widely preferred. You’ll need a dabber to apply your concentrate to the nail, once it’s heated. Concentrates can be stick or gooey, so you wanna keep your pinkies out of the equation. A dabber can be metal, ceramic or glass. Many glass artists now create dabbers. So how do you heat your nail? Not with an ordinary lighter. You’ll need a torch designed for dabbing. Thankfully, manufacturers have responded to the marketplace and a lively torch industry has blossomed to service the dabbing crowd. Lastly, you’ll need a dome, which you place over the nail; it captures the vapor before it’s inhaled.
The Proper Dose
When you’re hungry as a horse, do you often over-order at the restaurant? It’s not uncommon. Everything looks so good! Don’t make the same mistake with a dab. You don’t need much. Let’s repeat that: you don’t need much! If you’ve ever heard the expression “coughing up a lung,” you’ll experience the sensation firsthand if you over-dab. Start slow and find out what works for you. Try just a speck at first. See how you feel. If you want to increase the amount you dab, do so conservatively. Remember, dabbing isn’t a competition. Dab according to your own needs.
Using The Torch
Like we said earlier, a torch ain’t no Bic lighter. So be careful! Every torch seems to work a bit differently. Some have a trigger that turns off the torch as soon as your finger disengages from the torch. Others don’t—and that’s where problems can literally fire up. We’ve heard of more than a few incidents wherein eager dabbers put their torch aside on a table or handed it to a friend while the flame was still active. The results weren’t pretty. Use your torch with caution. Know where the flame is directed. Make sure no pets or companions are in the direct line of fire.
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Heating The Nail
We should mention that a torch isn’t absolutely necessary for dabbing success. Once again, the cannabis industry has generated new opportunities for manufacturers. Electronic nails are now available that render both torches and domes unnecessary. Still, many dabbers prefer the hands-on approach. Here are a few guidelines. Heat up your nail, then let it cool off. Place the dome over it. Allow a titanium nail to cool off for about 10 seconds; metal and quartz should cool for up to 45 seconds. If your nail is too hot, you’ll burn off the psychoactive compounds of the concentrate. It won’t taste real good either.
Your dabber is your conduit to bliss. Naturally, you want your concentrate to be clean and healthy. Same goes for your rig and the water inside of it. Unfortunately, those who dab often aren’t as rigorous about their dabber. It gets sticky with use. It can pick up dust or hair or be cruddy from the last dab. You can burn any residue off your dabber with the flame. But if you’re putting it aside for a moment, use a rubber dab mat (widely available), so it remains untouched by foreign objects. When you do touch your dabber to the nail, roll the dabber around the nail inside the dome to make sure you burn off the entire dosage.
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Don’t Believe The Propaganda
As concentrates became more popular and their high THC content was noted, an opportunity was presented for cannabis naysayers and drug warriors to demonize dabbing. They weren’t subtle either, calling dabs “hippie crack.” Basically, they were implying that the high THC content of concentrates causes addiction and criminally, anti-social behavior. The fact is concentrates have tremendous benefits for medical patients. THC is a demonstrably beneficial cannabinoid for any number of ailments, especially depression, PTSD and severe pain or injury. Also, the potency of dabs requires less ingestion. When produced with care and safety, the active ingredients of cannabis can be evenly distributed in a standardized manner to allow consumers to know exactly what they’re taking in to their bodies.