What is Dabbing?

What is Dabbing?

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The phrase "dabbing" might initially bring to mind the dance move popularized by Atlanta rappers, yet within the realm of cannabis culture, dabbing signifies a method of consuming highly potent cannabis extracts — including favorites like delta 8 dabs renowned for their powerful effects. But what exactly does dabbing involve?

Dabbing has an intriguing history and has seen a notable increase in popularity recently, making it one of the most enigmatic techniques for cannabis intake. Our goal is to demystify dabbing, providing a comprehensive guide on what it is, how to engage in it, and the advantages associated with it. You're in the perfect place if you're seeking insights on dabbing.


What Exactly Are Dabs?

Simply put, dabs are highly concentrated versions of cannabis. More accurately, they are concentrated forms of butane hash oil, boasting significantly high levels of THC.

The production of dabs involves a chemical method that utilizes butane oil to extract cannabis oils. Presently, dabs are believed to contain a THC concentration of around 80%, starkly higher than the 10-15% found in traditional cannabis products. Indeed, dabs possess potency at least four times greater than that of a standard joint.

But how does butane play a role in creating dabs? Butane is applied to cannabis, initiating a process that extracts THC from the plant and dissolves it into the butane, resulting in a somewhat solid, gummy substance laden with extraordinary amounts of THC.


What Is Dabbing?

Dabs, the concentrated essence of cannabis, are enjoyed with devices such as a dab rig, e-rig, or dab pen. In essence, dabbing involves placing a tiny quantity of this extract on a heated surface to vaporize it. This technique delivers the intense potency and rich flavor of the cannabis extract in its purest form, making it significantly more powerful than traditional smoking, vaping, or consuming cannabis in other forms.

Ingesting cannabis can be done in various ways, but dabbing stands out due to its need for high temperatures. Specifically, the process of instantly vaporizing dabs necessitates temperatures ranging from 400-600°F, in contrast to the 350°F required for smoking the plant in its flower form.

Among the methods for dabbing, the most prevalent tool is the dab rig. Also known as an oil rig, this device combines a glass pipe and water chamber, bearing a strong resemblance to a conventional bong. The primary distinction lies in its use of a nail designed for dabs instead of a bowl for flowers. Typically, the nail is heated with a torch and cooled to an optimal temperature before the dab is applied. Given the high temperatures needed for dabbing, a standard lighter simply won't suffice.

Electric dab rigs, or e rigs, represent a modern alternative to the traditional dab rig, offering precise temperature control for the dabs. This feature is particularly beneficial for certain cannabis concentrates with high levels of terpenes.

 The dab pens stand as the most convenient option for dabbing anywhere. These devices come equipped with an oven or bowl that automatically heats the concentrate.


Advantages of Dabbing


Dabbing garners popularity primarily for its strength. Whether due to a higher tolerance or the desire for a more intense cannabis experience, some users prefer the potency of dabs. Others appreciate the process as a unique ritual.



Dabs are renowned for their rich flavor, often described as being rich in terpenes or "terpy." High-quality concentrates maintain the taste and scent of the original plant, carrying these elements through the extraction process to the final dabbing experience.


When produced correctly, extracts can be cleaner and purer, providing a gentler experience on the lungs. Unlike traditional smoking, which can release resin and harsh smoke from burning plant material, extracts remove most unwanted substances while still offering essential cannabinoids, terpenes, and other beneficial compounds.

Rapid Effects

For individuals dealing with severe or chronic pain, or intense nausea, dabbing cannabis extracts is reported to offer swift and potent relief.


Safety in Dabbing

Dabbing stands apart from smoking, vaping, or edible consumption and comes with unique considerations. It's crucial to recognize that comprehensive research into the long-term impacts of dabbing cannabis concentrates is still lacking. Here are some safety aspects to consider when dabbing.


How Are Dabs Made?

The process of creating cannabis concentrates, commonly known as dabs, involves several techniques aimed at extracting trichomes—the precious carriers of cannabinoids and terpenes—from the cannabis plant. This results in a potent and concentrated substance.

Several factors influence the final product's texture, strength, and taste, including:

- The type and quality of the cannabis used for extraction, such as trim, buds, entire plants, hash, etc.

- The extraction method, which can be either with a solvent or solvent-free.

- Refinement procedures post-extraction, like dewaxing, winterization, and whipping.

Starting Material

Dabs typically originate from either cannabis trim or flowers. After harvesting, the smaller leaves and other parts of the plant are trimmed away from the buds, known as trim. A concentrate produced from trim is referred to as a trim run.

A nug run, on the other hand, uses only flowers to create a batch of concentrates, resulting in a higher-quality product due to the abundance of trichomes on the buds.

Another technique involves harvesting cannabis plants and immediately freezing them. These frozen plants are then extracted, producing what is known as live resin or live rosin, labeled 'live' due to the use of fresh plant material. This method is not only cost-effective but also less labor-intensive since it bypasses the need for trimming, drying, and curing plants.


Solvent Extractions

Commercial extractors typically produce dabs in large quantities. This involves mixing cannabis plant material with a solvent (like butane or propane) in a closed-loop system for several hours. This process separates the trichomes from the plant material, creating a concentrated mixture.

Afterward, the solvent is removed, and the cannabis concentrate is extracted from the machine. Solvent extractions are further refined to enhance their purity and quality.

Butane hash oil (BHO) is a common product of solvent extractions, due to butane being a widely used solvent. This category also includes products like shatter, wax, live resin, and others. While solvent extractions are generally more affordable and simpler to produce than solventless methods, they involve chemical solvents.

Historically, open extraction systems were employed but are now deemed unsafe due to their highly flammable nature. Modern legal cannabis production mandates the use of closed-loop systems by certified professionals to ensure safety.


Solventless Extractions

These extractions leverage temperature changes and physical manipulation to detach trichomes from the plant material without the use of chemicals. Techniques include making bubble hash by agitating plant material in ice water, dry-sift hash by sifting through screens, and rosin by pressing cannabis between heated plates.

Solventless extraction methods, some of which date back thousands of years, are considered natural and cleaner because they avoid chemical solvents. Though more labor-intensive and thus more expensive, they can be produced at home.


Post-Extraction Refinement

Solventless extractions are typically ready for consumption immediately. However, solvent-based extractions undergo further refining to remove solvents, fats, and waxes, improving the concentrate's flavor and appearance.

Additional steps like whipping the concentrate can enhance its aroma and flavor by causing THCA and terpenes to separate and crystallize. Vacuum ovens may also be used to safely eliminate any residual solvents, ensuring a pure and safe final product.


Is Dabbing Suitable for You

The decision to dab is personal and should be made based on individual preferences and needs.

Dabbing offers a quicker and more powerful experience than other consumption methods. Those in search of rapid relief or a potent high might find dabbing to be the optimal choice.

If you're open to exploring various consumption techniques and enjoy experimentation, dabbing could be an appealing option.

It typically offers a smoother inhale compared to smoking flowers or using vaporizers.

Dabbing can be particularly beneficial for medical patients who notice an increased tolerance to cannabis, making it challenging to achieve desired effects, or recreational users seeking an experience more intense than what flowers or traditional vaping can offer. Since concentrates preserve the properties of their source strains, dabbing provides a wide array of effects. For guidance on suitable products for your needs, consider consulting with knowledgeable dispensary staff, who can share their insight and expertise.

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