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How to Take the Perfect Dab

by Angel Ferrer 5 min read


Tips For Hitting The Right Dab

Dabs, as you may very well know, are those concentrated doses of cannabis derived by utilizing a solvent to extract THC as well as other cannabinoids into a concentrated (often sticky or gooey) oil.

Referred to by many names depending on its consistency and method of preparation, dabs may be called: budder, shatter, wax, and butane hash oil (BHO) among others.

These dabs are heated at usually extreme temperatures on small “nails” made from glass, quartz or other materials, and then inhaled using a dab rig.

What makes them so special is their potency and purity. Unlike smoking dry herb, dabs extract only the active compounds in cannabis, those that elicit desired effects such as euphoria, pain relief and more. Further, dabbing hits the user fast, making it a favorite among the medicinal community for those needing immediate relief.

Regardless of whether or not you are just starting out with dabbing and need some advice, or if you’re a moderate user looking for some tips on how to be more efficient with your dabs, this guide will help you achieve the perfect dab every time you kick back for a sesh with your favorite concentrate.

Learning how to take the perfect dab will not only increase the enjoyment of smoking concentrates, it will help your concentrate last longer and provide you with a pure and intense experience. Learning to efficiently dab offers many benefits. Read on and become a dabbing pro in no time…

1) Make Sure You Have the Right Tools

Everyone should invest in a proper dabbing set and rig. These tools will help you get the most out of your dab, and while you don’t need to invest a fortune, buying a quality set will leave you well-prepared for years if you take care of it right.

Each kit should include:

  • A dab rig or water pipe with a nail – find one with a low volume
  • A butane torch for heating – you should be able to find this at a smoke shop, but a crème brulee torch from Walmart will also work
  • A dabbing tool for moving concentrate from its location to the pipe/rig – while some people may suggest ‘homemade’ alternatives, it is best to get a tool specifically suited for dabbing
  • The concentrate itself

Most smokers take a few small hits over large ones when dabbing.

2) Watch the Size of Your Prize

When you measure out your concentrate, start small. It is called a “concentrate” for a reason…it is stronger than dry herbs or other mediums. So if you’re new or if this is your first time, or even first time with a new product, take it easy. Being high is fun, being too high is exactly the opposite.

Try to get a few small crystals on your tool, resembling a crumb, instead of one big chunk.

As time goes on, and your tolerance goes up, you can take bigger dabs. Not to mention starting small will help your lungs to adjust to this type of smoke so you don’t end up coughing for the next 20 minutes post hit.

3) Warm Up to Dabbing

Perhaps the part of dabbing that comes with the worst learning curve is temperature. Each nail has different heating recommendations, and each torch has different levels of output. Temperature can affect everything from flavor, to intensity of the experience as well as volume of smoke produced. While some experimentation will no doubt be needed as you test new concentrates, rigs and torches, below are a few tips to help you get started.

Heating Tips for your Dab:

  • Make sure the torch is pointed away from people, flammable materials, and concentrates. Torch negligence is the cause of many accidents.
  • Heat the nail until it begins to turn red.
  • Allow the nail to cool for 30 to 45 seconds.
  • Apply the dab tool directly inside the nail and inhale.
  • BE SURE that the nail has cooled first, or the hit will not be pleasant!

Even though it can be difficult to figure out temperature at first, there are a few things that will help (more on that in #4).

4) Invest in an E-Nail

Embrace technology, the rest of the world has. E-nails allow for digital monitoring of temperature, a major benefit over analog nails. This can make heating up your dab more of an exact science as opposed to relying on visual cues.  Take note of which temperatures produce the desired effect you’ll looking for with each type of concentrate. Sometimes keeping a journal with notes is ideal if you plan to smoke a range of various concentrates from different brands.

E-nails are comprised of:

  • A dabbing surface made of titanium, quartz, or ceramic
  • A heater coil that resides under the dish or bucket to retain heat
  • A wall plug to provide electric power to your e-nail
  • A digital temperature display that offers incremental temperature adjustment

E-nailsdohave their downsides, such as being restricted to a power outlet or being an expensive investment, but they are great for monitoring temperature and worth looking into if you’re serious about dabbing.

5) Phone a Friend

Not just useful on your favorite game show, friends who dab can help you learn the more intuitive side through demonstration. The best way to learn is by observation and repetition. Grab a buddy who dabs and let them show you the ropes in person.

You can also watch informative videos on YouTube to learn more about dabbing. This will provide you with a visual reference that you can pause and go back to as needed.

6) Be Cautious

While you are learning to dab, keep these safety tips in mind:

  1. Never touch a hot nail.
  2. Give the nail time to properly cool before taking a hit.
  3. Never get comfortable enough with the torch that you ignore basic safety.
  4. Lay out all of your tools ahead of time so you are relaxed and prepared.

By observing basic safety, you can make your smoking experience more enjoyable.

Time is the Best Teacher

You can learn a few things by reading articles, watching videos, and learning from friends, but some lessons only come with time. As you continue to dab, you’ll become more comfortable with the process.

When you monitor your temperature, you create more efficient dabs. Start practicing today, and see where you are in a week!

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