What Does "Dab" Mean?

July 7, 2023
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What does dab mean?

Whether you’re new to cannabis or an experienced consumer, understanding weed dabs can be the first step to unlocking a world of incredible potency and flavor.

In this post, we’ll provide a cannabis dab definition before explaining the different types of cannabis dabs on the market today, including how they’re made and how they’re best consumed.

Marijuana dabs explained

In the context of the cannabis community, “dabbing weed” or “taking a dab” refers to consuming a cannabis concentrate. Dabs come in a huge variety of distinct types, all of which are concentrates. We’ll dig into the different types in just a moment. 

The main draw of dabs is their ability to deliver a high dose of cannabinoids in an instant. Many cannabis concentrates used for dabbing have a THC content as high as 95%, according to a study examining adult use of cannabis concentrates published in 2023.

This makes dabs a preferred product for consumers seeking the therapeutic benefits of a higher dose of THC or CBD as part of a wellness routine. This could be a good option for pain management, according to a 2017 survey published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence

More than 60% of the survey respondents “reported ever using marijuana concentrates for therapeutic purposes (including help with sleeppainappetite, control nausea, quit other drugs, and help deal with problems),” the survey’s authors state.

The 2023 study also found that dabs are becoming increasingly popular, especially in states where cannabis is medically or recreationally legal. 

Seeking a higher level of subjective intoxication, longer duration of effects, and needing to take fewer hits to achieve the desired effects have all been cited by consumers as motivations for consuming dabs, according to an earlier article referenced in the 2023 study.

Popular cannabis concentrates for dabbing

There are several types of cannabis concentrates popular for dabbing, all made using different methods that result in unique end products. 

One of the oldest of these is hash or hashish, which is traditionally made by rolling cannabis flower buds between your palms to remove and isolate the sticky resin before gathering it into a ball or block. This type of handmade hash is technically called charas, and more modern hash-making methods can involve more efficient methods for removing and gathering the resin.

Live resin is a different type of concentrate. Live resin is, as Jointly has previously written, produced by “freezing freshly harvested cannabis flowers. The cannabis is then passed through solvents to extract the plant's trichomes.”

Resin is not to be confused with rosin, which can have a similar appearance but is made without using solvents. Instead, rosin is made using a combination of pressure and heat to extract the cannabinoid and terpene rich oil from cannabis flower. According to vaporizer and concentrate manufacturer Pax, rosin is typically higher in potency than resin.

Cannabis oil is a type of concentrate that has been diluted into a carrier oil and is typically vaporized using a dab pen or diluted further to the right viscosity for administration using a medicine dropper.

Another major category of cannabis concentrates is wax, which is made from hash oil that was extracted using butane as the solvent. 

According to Precision Extraction Solutions, a division of major cannabis manufacturing company Agrify, the main difference between the subcategories of wax — budder and crumble — is the result of how the wax is further processed.

“Budder is a catch-all term covering the stickier end of waxes, including budder wax, badder, BHO budder, cake badder, and a variety of other product terms,” the company writes, adding that budder is “whipped” after its solvents have been purged and that budder is often made with wax that has a higher concentration of terpenes.

Crumble is made in a similar way, though it is typically made from wax with lower terpene content and “whipped” less than budder.

Shatter is another type of cannabis wax. As the name might suggest, shatter is a firm, dense wax with a nearly-translucent or glasslike appearance that can be broken or “shattered” to separate smaller pieces for consumption.

Consumption methods for cannabis concentrate dabbing

Unless you’re looking to use them to make edibles, there are three main ways to dab cannabis concentrates. 

The simplest way to take a dab is to use a dab pen — a device involving a cartridge of cannabis concentrate attached to a (typically portable) battery. 

Dab pens are a great option for consumers looking for a high-potency dose that’s perfect for easy, discreet use on-the-go.

Another popular method is to use a dab rig, which is a type of water pipe similar to a bong but designed specifically for dabbing concentrates. Most of the concentrates we covered in the last section can be consumed using a dab rig.

What sets dab rigs apart from bongs is the use of a quartz, ceramic, or titanium “banger” built to withstand the high heat necessary for dabbing instead of a glass bowl. 

Dab rigs also tend to be smaller than bongs. This is because dab rigs are intended to be used for vaporizing concentrates rather than combusting flower. The latter consumption style produces a higher volume of smoke relative to the volume of vapor created by dabbing and benefits from a bigger vessel to match.

The lower water volume and reduced distance for the vapor to travel helps to preserve potency and flavor by minimizing the chance your concentrate will cool down and condense again before it reaches your mouth.

Lastly, you can consume cannabis concentrates by adding them to other cannabis products. 

For example, you could add a small dab of resin or a light sprinkling of sugar on top of the flower in a joint or bowl. 

Doing so will increase the potency of that joint or bowl, but your overall consumption experience may be less immediate and less intense in its effect than if you were to consume a full dose of the concentrate on its own.

Find top-rated products for your goals 

Jointly is the cannabis discovery app that makes it easy to find and shop the best cannabis and CBD products for your goals. Your matches are calculated from the real product ratings and experiences from hundreds of thousands of people using the Jointly app.

If you're ready to discover new products and reach your goals, download the Jointly app today on the App Store or Google Play, or shop your matches on the Jointly website.   

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Whether you want to improve sleep, relieve daily stress, or just relax and refresh, Jointly can help you reach your goals with cannabis.  

With Jointly, you can shop your top-rated products, and save lists of your favorites to share and bring to your local dispensary to help guide your shopping experience.  

The Jointly app also helps you improve your cannabis experiences by uncovering what’s working and what’s not with reflections and personalized insights. In fact, the quality of your diet, how much you slept, who you’re with, and the time of day are just some of the factors that can impact your cannabis experience.  

So if you're ready to find your best products and enjoy your perfect cannabis experience, download the Jointly app today on the App Store or Google Play, or shop your matches on the Jointly website. Discovery awaits.

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