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Cannabis Column | June 21, 2022

How to dab: step-by-step guide to use dab rig

Would you like to learn how to dab? If you’ve ever taken a dab or if you want to learn how to do dabs, how to smoke sugar wax, live resin, or shatter – look no further! This article will teach you everything you need to know about how to take a dab of wax.

What does dab mean?

Dabbing is a relatively new way of consuming cannabis. Doing a dab, smoking dabs, or “dabbing” is when you apply extreme heat to cannabis concentrates, typically THC wax, and inhale a super potent hit from a bong-like device called a "rig."

The word "dab" can refer to the cannabis concentrate itself: i.e. bring your dabs. It can refer to a single hit of a concentrate through a dab rig: i.e. do you want a dab? Or it can refer to the overall process of taking dabs: i.e. do you dab?

Dabbing provides nearly instantaneous effects just like smoking or vaporizing. While dabs can be taken at low heat and vaporized, taking a dab has similar health risks to smoking.

How to use a dab rig to smoke wax

A rig often has a “banger” or “nail,” which is a ceramic, quartz, or titanium nail-like piece that is heated with a butane torch.

Once the nail is heated up, you scoop a bit of concentrate onto a small tool called a “dabber,” “wand," or "dab stick," which is then placed near the heated nail to vaporize the concentrate.

Dabbing is a skill that takes a little practice to master, but here are some tips to help your first dabbing experience go smoothly:

  • If you hold the dabber too close to the hot nail, it can create a dab that is “too hot,” which means it is harsh and lacks the flavor of dabs taken at a lower temperature.
  • Some dab rigs come with a small accessory called a “carb cap” that allows you to cover the nail during your dab. Carb caps allow you to inhale more of your concentrate, as they create a barrier of hot air around the nail that prevents the vapor from disappearing as side stream smoke.
  • Dabs can be harsh and hot, so expect to cough after a dab.
  • Dabs are especially good for those with a high tolerance. If you rarely or never use cannabis, you may get extremely intoxicated after taking a dab. While dabs have much more THC than flower, studies show that dabs don't get you higher than flower.
  • Dabs are very potent, so if you experience anxiety from high doses of cannabis, there may be other products that are better suited to your goals.

How to take a dab

Taking a dab is a little different than smoking flower, but that's why we wrote this helpful guide to explain how to take dab.

To take a dab, you’ll need a butane torch, a rig, and a cannabis concentrate.

When you are taking a dab, you need to time it correctly. Cannabis concentrates evaporate rapidly at high heat, so if you put the wax on the banger and then start telling your friend a story, your dab will evaporate before you have a chance to smoke it.

Once the nail has been heated, drop your wax into the nail or put your dabber near the hot nail, and inhale.

The inhalation takes some skill to master: if you inhale too slowly, the smoke will rise as side stream smoke. If you inhale too quickly, you may suck the concentrate past the hot nail and your wax will end up in the water chamber.

Step-by-step guide for how to use a dab rig

  1. Take a small amount of wax (or another concentrate) and place on some parchment paper with your dabbing tool.
  2. Use your butane torch to heat up the nail (bowl of the dab rig)
  3. Place the dome over the nail
  4. Use your dabbing tool to place your concentrate into the nail, cover it with the dome and inhale evenly.

Due to the blowtorch, dabbing can be dangerous if not done correctly. Additionally, smoking is harmful to health. To reduce coughing, it is best to take low heat dabs.

How to smoke shatter

Now that we have explained how to smoke wax in a dab rig, you may be wondering how to smoke wax or other types of concentrates. Below we’ll go over how to smoke shatter and how to smoke sugar resin.

Shatter is easy to work with and you can often break off a corner to drop directly onto the hot nail. Or just use your dab stick and smoke it just like wax.

Here’s how to smoke (dab) shatter:

  1. Break off a crumb of the shatter your using (yes, that’s really all you need)
  2. Use your butane torch to heat up the shatter like you would a dab
  3. Use your dabbing tool to place your shatter into the nail
  4. Slide the dome (covering) over the nail (bowl of the dab rig)
  5. Inhale and with the dome covering the nail and enjoy!

How to smoke sugar resin and live resin

Are you wondering “how do you smoke sugar wax?” When cannabis concentrates have a slightly moist, crumbly quality like brown sugar, they are called sugar wax, sugar resin, or crumble.

To smoke sugar resin or crumble, use your dab stick to scoop up a small bit of sugar wax and take it like a regular dab. Depending on the consistency, you may be able to pick up crumbs and drop them directly onto the hot nail of your dab rig. Many people like to sprinkle a little bit of sugar resin on top of bowls.

As we noted above dabs can be extremely potent. While a normal joint contains around 20% THC concentration, studies show that dabs can have around four times that amount, coming in at a whopping 80% or even 90% THC.

Get Started on Your Cannabis Wellness Journey

Have you started your cannabis wellness journey? Jointly is a new cannabis wellness app that helps you discover purposeful cannabis consumption so you can achieve your wellness goals with cannabis and CBD. On the Jointly app, you can find new cannabis products, rate products based on how well they helped you achieve your goals, and track and optimize 15 factors that can impact your cannabis experience. These 15 factors include your dose, the environment in which you consume cannabis, who you are with when you ingest, how hydrated you are, the quality of your diet, how much sleep you got last night, and more. Download the Jointly app on the App Store or the Google Play Store to get started on your cannabis wellness journey.

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