Dabbing is becoming a more common way to enjoy cannabis, especially in medical states such as Arizona and Maryland. We’ll explore what dabs are, the variety of ways patients dab their concentrates and some safety tips to ensure your dabbing experience is a positive one.
What Are Dabs?
Smoking dabs of cannabis concentrates has been around for 10 years. Cannabis consumers enjoy dabbing concentrates because they offer a higher THC potency (aka concentrate). The typical range for THC in cannabis concentrates is between 50 to 80%. Because of the higher potency, medical marijuana patients are advised to enjoy their dabbing experience low and slow to determine their tolerance level.
With such a high potency, you’re probably wondering how concentrates are made from the cannabis plant? Cannabis concentrates are created by extracting THC and other cannabinoids from cannabis plants using solvents such as butane or carbon dioxide, for example. The final product of the extraction process results in varying consistencies of concentrates such as diamonds, sauce, batter, wax and sugar. These products can then be consumed in a dabbing rig, dab pen or even by mixing the concentrate with cannabis flower. Let’s take a closer look on each consumption method and examine their pros and cons.
Ways to Dab
Just like consuming cannabis flower, there are numerous ways to enjoy your cannabis concentrates. Here are some examples of how you can enjoy your dabs:
Dab Rigs – also called oil rigs, are used to smoke a variety of cannabis concentrates. Dab rigs are typically constructed out of glass resembling a traditional bong. Instead of placing the cannabis concentrate in a bowl, it’s placed in a nail which is made of titanium, glass or quartz and is heated to temperatures ranging between 500-600 degrees using a hand-held torch. Once the nail is heated, the user inhales the vapor through the rig’s mouthpiece.
If heating a dab nail with a hand-held torch sounds intimidating, there is an option to use an e-nail with your dab rig. The e-nail or electronic nail is essentially a heating element that you place on top of the nail. One major benefit to using an e-nail with your dab rig is the ability to control the temperature to vaporize your concentrate. However, the cost of purchasing an e-nail can sometimes be outside of people’s budget.
While we are talking about temperature ranges and control, did you know your cannabis concentrate experience can vary depending on temperature? Let’s start with low temp dabs that range between 500 to 540°. If someone is looking to experience terpene profiles, the low temp range is where you want to be. This range is best for cannabis concentrates such as hash rosins. The high at these temperatures will be more gradual and less harsh.
If you enjoy consistencies like live resin, sugars, diamonds, shatters and crumbles, then 550-570° is the range for you! Patients using this range will enjoy a nice balance of flavor and effect without reaching combustion (which can be unhealthy with certain terpenes).
Looking for an immediate high? Temperatures 600° and higher will give you the immediate effect you are looking for, however, the experience will not be as long lasting or characteristic of the plant because terpenes and other compounds may be combusted at temperatures in this range compromising the intended effects. Be warned though, this range can lead to a burnt flavor and be a bit harsh to enjoy.
Overall, dab rig users would agree they provide a more efficient user experience as well as more bang for the buck since it doesn’t take much cannabis concentrates to feel its full effects. However, as previously mentioned, operating a hand-held torch might be intimidating to some. There is also the potential to experience burns if you accidentally handle a hot nail without letting it properly cool.
Dab Pens – also known as a wax pen, are pen-style vaporizers. A typical dab pen has a battery attached to a dab atomizer which is heated by a coil typically made from ceramic or coils. There are some dab pens on the market that offer users both options giving complete control over their medicating experience. Some additional added benefits for dab pen users include the ability to control the temperature settings, they’re compact and portable and rechargeable.
As with any consumer product, there are also some drawbacks to using a dab pen such as limited battery life, minimal maintenance could be required and components may need replacement depending on the age of the device.
Concentrates and Flower – This method to consume cannabis concentrates does not require extra equipment to purchase. However, it does require you to take the time to mix the concentrate with your cannabis flower when loading a bowl or a joint. Some smokers will wrap their joints with a concentrate that have a sap-like consistency. When a mixture of cannabis concentrates and flowers are consumed, patients will notice a heightened entourage effect, however, it takes a lot of concentrate mixed with the cannabis flower to feel the heightened effect resulting in a costly smoking session.
Dabbing Safety Tips
Now you know what dabs are and how you can enjoy them in the comfort of your own home. However, there are some safety concerns when dabbing. Here is a list of potential hazards when enjoying your cannabis concentrates that you should consider:
1. When using a dab rig, remember the dab nail and the glass can become very hot which can burn the skin if not allowed to properly cool. The same can also be said for dab pens which also heat the atomizer that holds the dab.
2. Clean equipment for a clean experience. You should clean your dabbing equipment after use to avoid mixing cannabis concentrate consistencies and strains. Using unclean equipment has the potential to produce varying side effects and entourage effects.
3. A little goes a long way. As with any cannabis product, always start low and slow to gauge your tolerance. Too much could create a negative experience for you.
Where to Buy Cannabis Concentrates
Health for Life Dispensaries, located in Arizona and Maryland, carry premium cannabis concentrates such as MPX (Melting Point Extracts). MPX offers a wide variety of dabbing consistencies such a wax, shatter, batter, sugar and resin (cured and live). If you have questions about cannabis concentrates, we encourage you to speak with your Patient Consultant at Health for Life.
Cannabis use can contribute to short-term and long-term adverse effect such as impaired memory, impaired motor ability, altered judgment and paranoia. Regular inhalation may be associated with inflammation of large airways, increase airway resistance and lung hyperinflation. There is also an increased risk of chronic psychosis disorders (including schizophrenia) in persons with a predisposition to such disorders. There is a small percentage of people who may develop a form of addiction to marijuana, particularly if consumed in large quantities daily. Marijuana should not be consumed if pregnant. For use only adults, 21 years of age or older. Keep out of the reach of children.
It is always recommended that when using cannabis, especially for a cannabis-naïve person:
START LOW, GO SLOW
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Leafly (2019). How to Dab Cannabis Concentrates. Retrieved from: https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101
Leafly (2019). What are cannabis concentrates, oils and extracts? Retrieved from: https://www.leafly.com/news
Maximum Yield (2019). Dab Rig. Retrieved from: https://www.maximumyield.com
Vaping 360 (2019). Best Dab Pens 2019. Retrieved from: https://vaping360.com
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