The art of dabbing has taken hold of the cannabis society. The word ‘art’ here isn’t used loosely. Learning how to dab is, in fact, a skill that takes time to master.
And as the great Plato famously said, “All I know is that I know nothing.” It’s time to forget everything you’ve learned about dabs and rebuild the foundation. To become a concentrate sensei, we must retool your understanding of extracts and the optimal way to take a dab.
Many will attempt, some will fail, but those that complete this training will wield the knowledge to teach the masses.
Now, it’s time to take the first steps to learn how to dab like a master.
Before starting your training, we must go over dabbing etiquette. It would be informal not to teach the proper manners first. Like a dinner party, there are rules to adhere to before sitting at the dinner table.
1. Wash your hands
Don’t take this for granted. Washing your hands before starting a session isn’t common sense, it’s polite. Germs and grime are everywhere. You’ll be handling pieces of glass that will be touching other people’s mouths.
Out of common courtesy, for the love of all things beautiful, wash your hands.
2. Clear the dab rig surface
Inviting friends over for a dabathon and having a messy area is never a good idea. If there’s a giant mess on the table and looking for utensils is like finding a needle in a haystack, it’s time to organize your area.
Not only will your friends appreciate the cleanliness, but the situation also becomes less stressful. As they say, cleanliness is next to Godliness.
Speaking of cleanliness, the table shouldn’t be the only thing clean.
3. Clean the dab rig and utensils
Clean the damn dab rig. It’s crazy how many times people will let their equipment dirty to the point of being black. The Creature from the Black Lagoon would love to be a tenant in that environment.
A clean dab rig isn’t just visually appealing, tastes better, and it prevents any potential health hazards. Mould and bacteria will grow if a rig or bong is not clean. Inhaling these contaminants into your lungs is dangerous.
Keep yourself and your friends safe by cleaning the piece regularly.
4. Use or buy a dab mat
If you’re starting to get an idea of where this list is going, then good, nobody likes a messy and dirty stoner. Using a dab mat goes a long way to keep your surface clean. Concentrates become a pain to clean once they’ve hardened. Avoid this step altogether by using a dab mat under the rig.
5. Know your concentrate and serve appropriately
Knowledge is power. And to know your concentrate’s potency is ultimate strength. OK maybe not that intense, but you want to make sure others are aware of the shatter or wax potency. It’s best to serve out the first dabs to your friends. Let them get the hang of what they’re dealing with.
Going straight into a monster dab the first time is not the way to handle things. Slowly but surely said the tortoise to the hare.
6. Don’t leave vapor in the rig
If the dab did happen to be bigger than expected, don’t rush anyone to finish. Wait for the person to gain their composure and let them resume their turn. There’s no need to make them feel like they have to get it all down in 10 seconds.
Let them clear the water from their eyes, cough their fit, then go on and finish the dab.
7. Reheat the nail for the next person and set the timer
A goal in life is to leave the world as it was or better. Make the session a better experience by heating the nail for the user and setting the time for them. It’ll keep the operation flowing smoothly.
It also never hurts to lend a helping hand.
The etiquette of dabbing isn’t hard to grasp. Be clean, know your concentrates and ready the process for the next person.
With this knowledge and wisdom now implanted, it’s time to put on your robe and step into the dojo.
You may feel that you already know how to dab, and the truth is you probably already do. But you may also know how to paint. It doesn’t mean that you can sit down and create the Mona Lisa.
The little nuances of dabbing will grow you from Joe to Pro, Novice to Master, and from caterpillar to Monarch Butterfly.
Step 1: Collect your equipment
To take a proper dab, well, you need a dab rig and the other utensils. A complete dab set will include the following.
- Dab rig
- Dab nail (quartz and titanium are the best available)
- Torch (disregard if using an electric nail)
- Dome piece (only if nail requires one)
- Dab mat
- Favourite concentrates
Step 2: Heat the nail
Using the torch, heat the nail. As mentioned, if using an electric nail, this won’t be necessary. With electric nails, raise the temperature to between 250 and 320 °F (121°C to 160°C).
At these temperatures, it would be what’s called a “low temp dab.” Taking a low temp has several benefits. For one, the terpene profile will remain intact. Too high of a temperature will burn and evaporate the cannabinoids. Thus wasting the tasty and medicinal effects of the concentrate.
As well, low-temperature dabs produce cooler vapour, thus making it easier on the lungs.
Low-temperature dabbing does require a bit more time. But, all good things come with patience young grasshopper.
Step 3. Set your timer and let the dab nail cool
As soon as the nail is glowing red and hot, place the dab on it. NOT! For a low-temp dab, the nail must first cool. A quartz nail takes about 10 seconds to cool, while a titanium one takes roughly 45 seconds.
The timer on any phone works perfectly.
Step 4. Ration dab size and place on nail
Knowing your concentrate strength is essential for this step, especially when having a session with friends. Using a smaller dab size on low-temperatures is beneficial to the process. The low-temperature will cool off faster than blasting it at 1000°F. Due to the lower temperature, residue may be left behind on the nail. Avoid this by taking smaller dabs.
After determining the size of the dab, use the pick to scrape it and place it on the nail. Move it around the surface gently to get even vaporization. If your nail has a dome, put it on top once the concentrate has disappeared.
Step 5. Inhale the vapor
There’s no need to try and suck the water out of the rig. Use a controlled, even breath and inhale the vapour. Doing so will help you take in the whole dab at once. Try and pull too hard, and you may throw out a lung.
You may have seen videos of people trying to hold in the dab for as long as possible. This is not necessary. Our bodies absorb 98 percent of the cannabinoids within the first second. Casually inhale and release.
Step 6. Give the nail a clean
Take the Q-Tip and give the nail a gentle clean. It’s much easier to do so while the rig is hot. Cleaning the nail prevents residue build-up, as well it helps the next dab maintain the flavour profile.
After the nail is nice and clean, repeat step 2 and get the rig ready for the next person!
Now You Know How to Dab! Time to Collect Your Black Belt
The hard part is over. You’ve completed the training and are now a concentrate blackbelt. With this, you will be the master server of all sessions and ready to pass on the knowledge.
Taking a master’s dab isn’t calculus or landing a Falcon Heavy on Mars. That’s not a negative; it means that perfection is obtainable. But the practice is first required. Now that you know, it’s time to “practice.”
We’re sure you’ll be able to manage. Check out the Herb Approach shop to stock up on supplies.