Dabbing 101

When done safely, with clean and adequately tested products, patients and adult consumers alike find several advantages to dabbing. But first, what even are dabs? Extracts – also known as concentrates – are a highly concentrated version of cannabis bud/flower, resulting in sticky oil created from solvents like butane or carbon dioxide. Concentrates are all made from Butane Hash Oil (commonly called BHO) or CO2, gift highly potent effects that hit in just minutes. It is strongly advised to go slow and ask questions to prevent paranoia and enhance the overall experience.

Types of Concentrates


The name gives you an idea of the texture of this concentrate, making it an easy product to handle with your hands. Wax crumble is creamy and smooth, while its close sibling sugar crumble has a more crystallized, sticky surface.


Shatter typically has a glass-like consistency, with translucent amber color, and is one of the most popular forms of cannabis extracts. Don’t be wary if your shatter is sold on parchment paper. That’s normal since the consistency is brittle and fragile. WAX – Wax is a sappier form of cannabis concentrate. Unlike shatter, it’s highly malleable and easy to work with. Be warned that extracts with decarboxylated THC can be messy to handle without the proper dabbing tools.


Budder has an opaque taffy-like texture due to it containing more moisture. The budder process involves whipping while purging it, adding air for a more fluffy result. It is similar to wax as it is a form of Butane Hash Oil (BHO). Many people love budder because it is so smooth and creamy.

What You’ll Need

Dab Rig or Water Pipe

What differs between the two? The short answer is that a dab rig is a concentrate-specific version of a water pipe. Water pipes have a long-standing history in the smoking community, while dab rigs are a more recent trend, modernizing how people consume.


One of the essential stoner tools that you might have in your kitchen already. You can opt for a touch-less experience by using e-nails or saving some cash using a mini butane torch.


A dab nail typically made of titanium, ceramic, or quartz – is where you place your extract. If you’re using it on your water pipe, be sure to check that the nail fits its gauge. For those using a dab rig, simply place the nail into the joint of your dab rig.


When smoking concentrates, the dome is used to ensure all vapor is utilized. Picture a small glass globe that is placed around the nail to gather all the vapor before it’s inhaled. There are domeless nail options, and most dab rigs have a built-in dome to make things easier.


A dabber is a hood that helps gather the concentrate from the box and onto the nail. Dabblers are generally made of metal, glass, or ceramic.

Cannabis Extract

You will have to experiment with the various extract options to see which suits you best. When in doubt, you can ask your local budtender for more information and guidance.

The Process to Properly Dab

Now that you know what you need to consume concentrates, let’s see how it’s done! Keep your tools handy and within reach before starting the process, and make sure you’re sitting down or have a trusted someone nearby. The first hit can be pretty intense. Once seated, take your concentrate of choice and start using the dabber to scoop a tiny amount of concentrate. It’s essential to understand the different ratios of cannabinoids and how they affect everyone differently. Consumers report the average dab size to be around the size of the tip of a nail or ballpoint pen. Don’t be shy to get a reference point by taking the tiniest dab your tool will collect.

Next, take out the torch and heat the nail until you see it glowing red. Timing depends on the size of the nail, the room temperature, and what material the nail is made of. After reaching the desired temperature, turn off the torch and wait for approximately 10 seconds to avoid burning your concentrate. Then delicately place the dome across the heated nail to vaporize it. With the assistance of the dabber, place the previously scooped concentrate onto the nail and inhale! Make sure you drag the smoke slowly instead of inhaling harshly. Remember to enjoy the process and not rush through it! The world of dabbing is a vast one but fruitful once you get into it.

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