Bongs, pipes, and joints might be your tried and true methods for cannabis consumption, but it doesn’t hurt to expand your horizons to see what newer technologies are out there, especially if you’re looking to level up a bit. Like vaping, dabbing involves cannabis concentrates and specialized equipment, and the results are worth the extra effort—a clean, super-potent high that might just  leave your favorite pipe gathering dust.

What is dabbing?

Basically, dabbing works by dropping small amounts of cannabis concentrate on a hot surface and allowing it to vaporize—it’s the same technology used in vape pens, but the concentrates you can use aren’t limited to oils. You can dab wax, shatter, budder, sauce, crumble, live resin, or distillate, all of which typically contain anywhere from 50% to 95% THC, depending on the type of extraction method used. When the concentrate of your choice is placed on a hot surface, it will bubble away and create a flavorful and potent vapor for you to inhale.

What equipment do you need to dab?

There are two main ways to dab: using a dab nail or a dab bowl. Dab nails are made of metal or glass, which you heat up with a handheld blowtorch—the kind that’s used in kitchens to make crème brûlée. You also have the option of using electronic nails (enails) that eliminate the need for a torch and provide precise temperature control. Once the nail is heated up, apply the concentrate to the nail and allow the vapor to move through the dab rig (a specialized glass pipe) to inhale.

You can also use a dab bowl, which is a specialized glass piece that fits in most bong stems like a regular bowl. You’ll still need a handheld torch to heat the bowl before adding the concentrate, then inhale through the bong like you normally would.

What is a dab pen?

Dab pens are essentially the same thing as vape pens, but instead of using preloaded oil cartridges, you can add your own concentrate (typically wax) into the heating chamber for a customized cannabis experience on the go.

What are the benefits of dabbing?

Dabbing is a cleaner way to consume cannabis, eliminating the plant matter and related carcinogens that make smoking cannabis a less than healthy enterprise. Also, dabbing offers a faster onset of effects compared to smoking, and if you use it for medical purposes, studies show that dabbing provides almost immediate relief for pain and nausea.

What are the downsides to dabbing?

When you smoke dabs, the high-potency high might take you by surprise. Many first-timers have made the mistake of using a nug-sized portion of concentrate to start. The worst that can happen if you dab too much is a case of the spins and a long, unplanned nap, but it’s still important to start with a tiny amount and see how it goes.

Another drawback to dabbing is dealing with unverified concentrates. If you’ve already forgotten the widely-publicized vaping deaths reported in the last few years, the main culprit was unregulated cannabis concentrates filled with unhealthy additives. If you’re going to dab, make sure you’re only consuming pre-packaged, lab-verified product from a reputable dispensary.

The biggest danger related to dabbing is the danger of making your own concentrates. Not only does making homemade concentrates require specialized equipment, chemical solvents and flammable gases, but it also requires extensive knowledge and skills that most amateur “weed scientists” do not possess. For most of us, it’s best to stick to buying concentrates instead.

Ready to dabble in the world of dabbing?

If you’re looking for a cleaner way to consume cannabis or you just want to level-up in the potency department, dabbing might be the answer. At Balboa Ave. Cooperative, we can answer all your questions about dabbing and concentrates and help you select the best product for your needs.