Before getting into the perfect temperature for dabbing, let’s talk about what dabbing is. Nothing like a joint, a dab is a small dose of highly concentrated cannabis heated on a hot surface and then inhaled.
According to The Fresh Toast‘s cannabis editor, Al Olson:
Focus on the word “concentrate” — and fully grasp the meaning. Cannabis concentrates are exactly what they sound like: Take the herb and extract all the THC out of it as you can. The extreme amount of THC in the concentrate means you will need very little (just a dab) to achieve the psychoactive effect.
These nailhead-sized concentrated doses are formed by extracting the THC, usually with the help of a solvent like butane. And according to Olson, “Typical marijuana bud contains roughly 15 to 25 percent THC; concentrates typically range between 65 to 85 percent THC, depending on the type and quality of the product.” It’s possible to overdose on dabbing, so make sure you have a “dab buddy” with you.
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Now, how to extract the THC. According to Key to Cannabis, the compounds found in cannabis, like THC, boil/vaporize from 315-440°F (157-227°C) — the minimum temperature required to fully vaporize the cannabinoids and terpenes in your concentrate. “With regards to dabbing, temperature should be looked as a continuum from too low to too high,” advises KTC.
When it comes to dabbing at both low and high temperatures, the publication recommends low temp dabbing for more flavor, and smoother and longer hits. You want high temp dabs if you want a thick smoke with intense effects. (They provide a nice chart examining temperature and effect).
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As for whether to use a torch or electric nail for dabbing:
Using a torch, you can heat your nail anywhere from 0-1,000+°F (0-538°C). The same holds true for electric nails, or e-nail, which uses an electric coil to heat the dabbing surface – most coils can be set to temperatures ranging from 0-900°F (0-482°C). The important thing to note with e-nails is that there is a disparity between the temperature setting on the unit and the actual dabbing surface temperature. Meaning that although the heating unit is set to 680°F, the dabbing surface may only be 600°F.
Vape pens also work. Today’s pens even allow you to adjust the heat for this very reason.
But before you start dabbing, make sure you’re not just canna-curious; dabbing is not for the marijuana newbie. Says Olson, “If you have an understanding of how your body reacts to cannabis, give it a try. It’s a different experience than smoking or vaping dried herb.” It’s also considered more addictive than smoking.