A Guide to Your First Marijuana Dab

As with tequila, there are newbies and experienced drinkers…everyone has their own journey. In the cannabis world, there are people who microdose gummies and those who want a deeper, more potent experience from dabbing. Dabbing is believed to produce a stronger high than smoking marijuana. Compared to other marijuana consumption methods, dabbing produces one of the fastest highs. It also tends to result in a stronger high because the THC is more concentrated. Here are instructions for your first marijuana dab.

Educate yourself

Dabbing is nothing more than smoking a joint. It requires an entirely new set of tools. The cannabis is in a completely different form. The psychoactive effects are exponentially more intense. And the rush will last longer.

Essentially, a dab is a small dose of highly concentrated cannabis that is heated on a hot surface and then inhaled. Focus on the word “concentrate” – and fully understand the meaning. Cannabis concentrates are exactly what they sound like: take the herb and extract as much THC from it as possible. The extreme THC content in the concentrate means you only need very little (just a dab) to get the psychoactive effects.

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Dabs are concentrated doses — typically about the size of a Tic-Tac breath mint — of marijuana. Dabs are made by extracting THC, most commonly using a solvent like butane. The end product is a potent oil often referred to as wax, honey, shatter, budder, crumble, or butane hash oil (BHO).

Typical marijuana flowers contain about 15 to 25 percent THC; Concentrates typically range between 65 and 85 percent THC, depending on the type and quality of the product.

Find a dab buddy

For the first few attempts, it is not advisable to dab it alone. Find a friend who is willing to experiment with you – or at least be your supervisor if you do it yourself. Ideally, you know someone who has not only tried it, but can also bring their own dab kit – the set of tools needed to dab properly.

RELATED: 8 Ways to Enjoy Weed Without Smoking It

Why a dab buddy? Just as a precaution in case you feel weak or paranoid. Other possible side effects include heart palpitations and hallucinations. If you experience any of these symptoms, drink plenty of fluids, lie down, and close your eyes.

Remember that cannabis, including dabbing, cannot cause a fatal overdose. But you can hurt yourself if you fall. Your dad, buddy, is there for insurance in case things get nasty.

Photo by Flickr user Andres Rodriguez

What you need

Dabbing technology is changing rapidly, and more and more additional products promise more effectiveness, more ease or lower costs. But basically, if you want to dab regularly, you'll need to purchase some new tools:

  • The concentrate: Whether wax, honey, shatter, budder, crumble or BHO, this is the THC-rich product. It is highly recommended to purchase the concentrate from a licensed and verified dealer. There is a lot of black market wax that is full of residual contaminants from processing. The raw material must be of high quality – which does not mean that it contains a lot of THC, but that it is well processed. Start small. A small dose looks no bigger than a crumb. If you need more, use a second swab. However, caution is advised when dosing.
  • Dabber: The dabber looks like a small poker. Typically, the swab is made of metal, glass, or ceramic and is used to apply the concentrate to the nail. Use the dabber to take a small amount of the concentrate and hold it on the tip of the dabber.
  • Dab rig: Dab rigs, also known as oil rigs, are basically glass water pipes (bongs) used for vaping extracts, oils, and concentrates. Like bongs found in head shops, they come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. You use the device to inhale the vapors after lighting the nail.
  • Nail: The nail fits into the gauge of your rig (or water pipe). Most experts swear by high-quality titanium nails, but there are also ceramic nails and quartz nails. Glass nails do exist, but they are a bit tricky.
  • A dome (or carburetor cap): There are some “domeless nails” on the market that do not require a carburetor cap, but most standard nails require a dome to trap the vapor. Essentially, the dome simply limits the airflow within the facility, allowing the vapor to be inhaled instead of dissolving into thin air.
  • A torch: Have you ever used a creme brulee torch? Well, if yes, then you can use a dab flashlight. A butane cigar lighter or similar simply isn't powerful enough for a dab. The torch is used to heat the nail to extreme temperatures. The goal is a glowing nail in a short time.
  • Butane: You will need butane to refill the burner.

step by step

  1. Sit down: Dabbing is best done while sitting. Make yourself comfortable on a couch or chair. Have all tools ready.
  2. Heat nail: Turn on the butane torch. Once you've got the flame right, heat the nail until it starts to turn a medium or red shade.
  3. Dome It: Once the nail is red hot, turn off the flashlight—the last thing you need is to accidentally start a fire. It is important to turn off the flashlight. Now the nail is finished. Place the carburetor cap or dome over the nail.
  4. Turn off your flashlight and place the glass dome over the nail. It is recommended to allow titanium nails to cool for about 10 seconds and quartz nails for about 45 seconds to prevent the surface temperature from becoming too high.
  5. Apply dabbing: After the nail is arched or covered, count to 1o to allow the nail to cool slightly. Take the dabber in your dominant hand and touch the dabber to the hot nail. You will see white steam (it looks like smoke but is really steam) collecting in the dome. Breathe in slowly. Rotate the tip of the swab on the nail until the concentrate disappears.
  6. Exhale: Sit for a few minutes. Drink a glass of water. Enjoy the experience. And thank your buddy,

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