How to properly use a dab rig

9 mins read

There are various ways you can take concentrates or dabs, and in this article, we will take a look at how to use a dab rig to maximise your results.

A dab rig is a glass device explicitly used for natural plant extracts like CBD and THC concentrates, rather than for buds themselves. If you want to get the most out of what you paid for, a dab rig will give you the following: 

  • Better vapour production and taste 
  • A full punch of flavour from concentrates 
  • Significantly fewer carcinogens and no smoke 
  • No smoke odour (dabs smell terpy)

Dabbing is a method of getting high that is growing in popularity for newbies and experienced users alike. Concentrates are growing popular as companies target various types of consumers and other legal markets have these products on offer. 

As well as the multitude of flavour profiles extract can offer, dabbing can make you feel good with less than if you used a pipe or bong due to the strong potency of extracts compared to flower.

Know Your Tools 

A dab rig requires several tools to function correctly, and any online head shop worth their salt in 2021 will sell dab rigs and the other tools you need such as nails, carb caps, and more. The best online headshops should have lots of choices for you. 

If you’re a beginner, you best know the required tools or components used with a dab rig:

  • Dab Rig: the main bit is your device for consuming dabs or concentrates. Available at headshops ranging from standard to high-end, or directly through Glass Artists.
  • Banger or Nail: can be made of titanium, glass, quartz, or ceramic, and are heat-resistant. Some dab rigs can be purchased already equipped with these included, but these tend to be starter/cheaper sets and bangers are typically purchased separately. Make sure you familiarise yourself with sizings here: 10mm, 14mm and 18mm are all available, as are male and female connections (hint: male plugs into female), and you even find dab rigs split between 45 and 90-degree connections.
  • Dabber or Wand: generally made of glass, stainless steel or titanium, these are for picking up and placing the dab on your nail.  
  • Carb Cap: A must for cloudy, consistent dabs – capping your banger with a carb cap (normally made from glass) adds pressure into the mix, allowing your extract to be vaporised at a lower temperature. A carb cap also prevents vapour from escaping. 
  • Blow Torch: used for heating your banger. 

 Steps to Using a Dab Rig 

Dabbing with cannabis extracts is not as hard as you think. When you have the proper tools, it’s just a simple step-by-step process that you won’t get lost in. Just keep in mind to properly handle the torch and exercise patience. You’ll get the result you want in no time.

Prepare Your Rig 

Ensure that your dab rig is properly set up to avoid risk of breaking it (its made of glass!) and to benefit from the dab fully. Secure the nail onto the rig and make sure that it doesn’t wobble.  

Make sure your rig is filled with water above the holes in your downstem, so it bubbles when you inhale through it.

Heat the Nail 

Prepare the torch with either Butane or Propane depending on torch instructions. Keep in mind that a propane torch burns hotter than butane.

, How to properly use a dab rig, ISMOKE

This is the sciencey bit: you are looking to heat the banger to a hot enough temperature that it cools down after a set period to the correct temperature for dabbing. This isn’t as difficult as it may seem. 

Heat your banger with the torch for 30 seconds, moving the flame around a bit so it is not just covering one small area on the banger. The torch should be strong enough to heat it up considerably; pocket torches do not do a good job with this.

Wait 60 seconds (use your phone as a timer) for the banger to cool down.

(Follow these steps to adjust the temperature: If the dab feels too intense (quickly dissipating and burnt rubbery kind of flavour) or doesn’t work so well (not much vapour, liquid left in banger) then you hit it either too hot or too cold. Adjust accordingly by reducing or increasing either heating or waiting time.)

Eg. you might try heating up for 25 seconds and cooling for 1 minute if your first dab was too hot, or heating up for 30 seconds and cooling for 45 seconds if your first dab was too cold.

Take a Dab 

Grab your preferred dab using a dabber or dab wand to transfer it to the banger. Remember this is concentrated, and thus, a little will go a long way. Once your extract has left your dab tool is in the banner use your carb cap to cover the banger with the dab in it.   

Inhale Carefully 

Place the mouthpiece onto your lips and inhale. It will melt and release the vapuor automatically, which you should inhale in a calm, measured manner – not so quickly that you run out of breath with most of the dab left. Then exhale your cloud of vapour into the air around you. 

If you coughed at first inhale, consider it may be too hot and follow the steps above for your next dab. If the banger was the correct temperature (300 – 330 celcius or 572 – 626 f), your inhale will likely feel more smooth and is less likely to induce coughing.

Clean the dab tool and Nail 

To clean your dab tool, you can either momentarily heat the tip to melt any residual wax (and use any rag to remove it) or use a swab with alcohol (pre-injection swabs work). If you allow the extract to cool on the dab tool, it becomes sticky and requires isopropyl found in the alcohol swab as a solvent to remove it. 

To clean a regular glass nail:

  • Important: Before it cools completely, use a cotton bud to wipe away any residue
  • You can use a cotton bud soaked with alcohol or DC Cleaner to remove residue.
  • Multiple cotton buds may be needed for this step.

The Bottomline 

A dab rig helps users experience a quick hit of cannabinoids efficiently, making it great for medical patients who need the effects right away. It requires heat in the form of a blow torch, so while the usage is easy, you must still take care not to burn yourself. If you think you may struggle with this, there are E-nails available which take the heating aspect out of the picture.