How to Dab: Four Ways to Consume Cannabis Concentrate

How to Dab: Four Ways to Consume Cannabis Concentrate

What is a Dab?

Dabs are a highly concentrated form of marijuana, ranging between 70% and 99% THC. These products are made using carbon dioxide or butane as solvents to extract the cannabinoids. The concentrates are known by different names depending on the consistency. Examples include shatter wax and BHO. The concentrates are usually heated on a hot nail and inhaled through a dab-rig.

Dabbing is too powerful for most new smokers or casual MMJ users. But for medical marijuana patients with a high tolerance to THC, it can provide fast and powerful relief.

How Strong are Dabs in Comparison to Smoking Flower?

Dabs are stronger than marijuana flower, which is around 15% to 25%. They range from 70 to 90%. The milder high from marijuana flower is usually achieved by smoking or vaporizing the flower. This lasts between 90 minutes and 3 hours.

Dabs are concentrated marijuana extracts. They can be found in many different forms.

  • Shatter,
  • Crumble,
  • Wax or
  • Oil.

Dabs, which are usually between 70% and 90% THC in general, are not suitable for novice users. The effects are strong, fast and peak between 30 minutes and 45 minutes. Some people have reported getting "couch-locked" or falling asleep quickly when they dab for the first time.

What Tools Do You Need to Dab Cannabis?

As more people use this method, dabbing tools continue to improve. You'll generally need the following:

Dab Rig- A dab Rig looks similar to a bong but has a fitting that holds a nail instead of the bowl.

Nail This is a smaller version of a bong bowl. It can be made from quartz, ceramics or metal. Electric nails do not require a torch to heat up.

Dabbing Tool - This tool, often made of glass or ceramic, features a specially shaped end designed to dab the concentrate and then heat the nail. The end of the dab tool can be shaped as a spoon or paddle, tailored to fit the concentrate, and can be found at your local Ann Arbor cannabis dispensary.

Torch- If you do not have an electric nail you will need a Dab Torch to heat up the nail.

Some good concentrate – Life is too short to waste it on bad concentrate

How to Dab with a Dab Rig

Dabbing can be done in many ways, but the most popular is using a dab-rig. The basic rig involves three steps:

  1. Prepare your concentration.
  2. Heat your nails.
  3. Inhale the concentrated product after applying it to the nail.

Only dab with a rig if 1) you have a high tolerance and 2) you know what you are doing. Find someone who knows what they're doing if you don't. A single hit on a monster rig can be equivalent to smoking a whole blunt at once.

What is this "dab-rig"? You can see the custom rig being used with a handheld blowtorch below. Pictured are the four major components of a dab rig. They include an oil rig (also called a dabber tool), a torch, a nail and a wand.

1. Apply Marijuana Concentrate To Your Dab Tool

The amount you put on the tool will determine how high you feel. If it's your very first time using a dab tool, start with a small amount. It should be about the size of a pinhead. You will be surprised by the potency.

2. Heat the Nail

Then, turn on the blow torch to heat the nail directly with the flame. After a few moments, it will turn red. Many people suggest waiting 8-10 seconds before continuing to the next stage, to allow the nail to cool down a bit. Turn off the blow torch BEFORE inhaling.

Warning! DO NOT LEAVE your torch ON.

3. Dab Your Concentrate

Inhale slowly, after touching your very small piece of concentrate to the nail. Do not go too fast, as the size of your rig will affect how quickly the vapor cools down before it reaches your lungs. Inhaling the vapor when it is too hot could cause damage to your lungs. Once you get a feel of your rig, you can adjust the pull.

You can save your concentrate by rotating the dab tool as you inhale. Do not touch the nail as it is still very hot.

Sit down and don't inhale too much. This can be a very quick hit and catch the user off guard. It's been reported that inexperienced users can pass out or get light-headed after a big dab. So, it is absolutely necessary to have someone around you when you first dab. Sit in a place that is safe and free of sharp edges that could harm you. Also, make sure your blow torch has been turned off before inhaling.

Dabbing Cannabis in Other Ways

Here are three more ways to dab concentrates. It's a personal choice which method you choose. You might prefer a certain method because it is easier, more convenient or has a mellower action than using a rig. If you are a new user, it is important to begin slowly and work your way up.

Safety is paramount. Remember:

  • Do not use concentrates that haven't been tested. Untested concentrates can contain dangerous contaminants.
  • If you are a new user, ask an experienced friend to assist.
  • Sit down before you inhale.
  • Never Leave your torch on.
  • Take a small dose of the concentrate, and then wait before you take more.

Electric Nail

Electric nails or e-nails replace the blow torch that is traditionally used in a dab rig.

The electric nail will work for you if a blowtorch is too much of a maniac for you. It's similar to a dab rig except that instead of blowtorching, the "nail" is already plugged in!

You can control the temperature, which will help you to ensure you are vaporizing instead of burning your concentrates.

Health Stone

A health stone is basically a porous piece of rock that you slip into your bowl. This method is different from using an e-nail or nail. Instead, you must place your marijuana concentrate on the health stone. You don't need a dab-tool!

You'll still need a torch. This method of dabbing is great because you don't have to use shatter or other densely packed concentrates. It is easier to dab with shatter with a rig and nail, as it adheres to the dab tool. But using a healthstone allows you to experiment with other cannabis concentrates such as crumble.


It's easy to mix the concentrate you prefer with dry herb and consume super-potent marijuana. The quality of the hit may be less effective and flavorful for experienced users when compared with an oil rig.

Addition of concentrates is an excellent way to enhance the smoking experience. When smoked with flowers, concentrates such as shatter, crumbles, wax, or oil will often burn more slowly, so you may need to take more puffs.

This article does not cover all the ways of dabbing. However, these are the most common and are a good place to start for those who are new to dabbing. All it comes down to is personal preference.

You'll also need to choose the type of cannabis concentrate that you will dab.

How to Clean a Dab Rig

It's essential to clean your dab rig after you've finished using it. Cleaning your dab rig ensures that you get the most flavor from your concentrates, and that it will work properly each time you use it.

Basic Method

If there is not much buildup, you can usually get away with a simple cleaning. You can use water and a kettle or stove.

Warm up two cups of water, but not too hot that it hurts your hands.

  • Your rig will benefit from soaking in water.
  • Rub the gunk away with a Q tip or pipe cleaner.
  • Rinse and Repeat

Alcohol and salt

Alcohol and salt can be used if soaking the piece in warm water doesn't work. This method requires a container that has a tight-fitting lid, isopropyl and salt.

Put the lid on (tightly) and shake. Plastic containers are better than glass because you can shake them vigorously without damaging the container or dab rig.

With a little elbow grease, you can restore it to its original condition. After soaking your rig in alcohol and salt, thoroughly rinse it with clean water. Let it dry completely before you use it. Be sure to remove ALL the salt and alcohol from your rig prior to using it. Any residue can irritate your lung.

This article, and any images or charts included in it, are intended solely for educational purposes. This information does not replace professional legal advice, medical diagnosis or treatment. You should consult a licensed professional if you have questions or concerns about the law, regulations or your health.