This subject is probably quite familiar to our American friends, but this method of consuming cannabis is relatively new to the UK, and has not yet gained popularity like it has in the US.
So what is dabbing? Dabbing is when you take your cannabis extract and heat it up using a blowtorch, inhaling the smoke/vapour through what is basically a specialised bong/pipe.
Note: Dabbing pure extract is considered to be closer to ‘vaping’ than ‘smoking’ as pure extract doesn’t tend to combust like plant material. There is conflicting information about this online, but dabbing is considered a healthier alternative to smoking cannabis. We encourage you to do your own research before picking which method of cannabis consumption works best for you.
The effects are strong and the taste is clean and pure, providing you do it right. Here’s our guide to dabbing:
What You’ll need:
There are several things you will need to do a dab:
Rig – The rig can be bought online from a headshop, often made from glass and is designed for taking dab hits. Glass oil rigs are specialised bongs designed for oil concentrates and wax. They’re typically more compact and portable than most glass bongs yet they still deliver a smooth, powerful hit.
Nail – The nail sits on the rig and is the part you heat up before burning your cannabis extract – glass nails can be also bought that fit on to bongs to adapt them for dabbing.
Dabbing Tool (Known as a Wand in the US) – Not to be confused with the nail! The dabbing tool is what you attach your bit of cannabis extract to – then hold to the nail to burn the extract
Blowtorch – The heats we require here are above what a normal lighter can muster. You need a blowtorch to be able to heat the nail until just before it starts glowing
Tongs – You’re going to be dealing with hot metal. It’d be a good idea to have tongs so you dont need to touch any of it!
Shatter/BHO/Rosin Oil or another form of cannabis extract – To heat and inhale! See our guide to cannabis concentrates for more info about cannabis extracts.
Also recommended for clean dabbing: Alcohol wipes and a cloth
You can now buy e-nails online which are an electronic bit of kit designed specifically for dabbing, but they are quite expensive. What they do is heat to just the right temperature for the best hits without wasting the extract by getting too hot.
How to do a dab
So, the part you’ve been waiting for: The first step is to clean your nail, especially if it is new. This is called ‘seasoning it’ and involves putting it in place on the rig before heating it with the torch until it glows red, and then dousing it in water. Remove the hot nail using the tongs and place in a bowl of water, then do it again several times. This will ensure that you aren’t inhaling any polish or anything else on the nail.
Once your nail is clean you are ready to take your dab hit! Place the nail in the rig, and heat with the blowtorch until just before it is about to start glowing.
Note from an experienced dabber on Reddit: “firing up a blow-torch and heating a nail until it glows red and then dabbing onto that is going to produce a really harsh hit and waste the extract (a good clue to if you’re doing it wrong is if the concentrate crackles and spits when it hits the nail).”
Put one dose worth of extract on the wand and touch this to the hot nail just as you begin inhaling. Keep inhaling until the residue is gone and the smoke has cleared from the chamber!
That’s it! Dab as and when needed for a tasty alternative to smoking joints. Be sure to burn off any residue with the blowtorch that remains on your nail to ensure it is clean for next time, and clean using the wet cloth for safe measure.
For visual learners, here is an excellent two-and-a-half minute video from High Times that explains how to dab your extract:
Here is a documentary on dabbing and cannabis extract:
As always, stay safe. Making cannabis extract using solvents can be dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing as the solvents are extremely flammable. Making your own Rosin oil can be a safer alternative and creates a pure extract that is great for dabbing, but the purities and taste of different extract will vary, so be sure to do your research before deciding which is right for you!