It’s one of the trendiest ways to use marijuana, but just what is dabbing, and how do you make dabs? Let’s find out.
Cannabis has been around for a very, very long time. And in that time, the most innovative and curious among us have found new and interesting ways of using it.
From the tried-and-tested method of smoking to topical treatments and edible treats, boundaries have been pushed and experiments undertaken. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a new and trendy means of consuming cannabis: dabbing.
What is Dabbing?
Dabbing is the practice of using a small dab of potent and concentrated resin that is extracted from marijuana. It’s often smoked or vaporized, and it can also be ingested.
The effects are typically stronger and longer-lasting when compared to other forms of cannabis use. Many dabs are made with high concentrations of THC, making them more attractive to recreational marijuana users. When smoked, less is inhaled, while still producing a prolonged and intense high.
You may have already come across dabbing without realizing it, as it’s referred to by a multitude of names, including wax oil, hash oil, honey oil, shatter, and simply wax. In this guide, we’ll clear up the differences and explain how to make and use your own dabs.
Popular Types of Dabs
As we mentioned above, there are a number of different names attached to the practice of dabbing, with a range of dabs available to purchase or make at home. Each type has its own unique set of properties, advantages, and disadvantages.
Here we take a look at 8 of the most popular:
Referring to a number of glass-like concentrates, it’s easy to see how shatter got its name. Although all types of shatter are breakable, some are sticky to the touch, while others can be smooth. Shatter is very popular thanks to its reputation for purity and quality.
To store shatter, carefully wrap it in parchment paper.
With the driest consistency of all the concentrates on this list, crumble certainly suits its name. (Are you sensing a theme?) And this consistency makes it a little easier to both handle and use when compared to other dabs.
When storing crumble, opt for a glass or silicone container with a lid.
Given that it boasts a consistency similar to that of peanut butter, budder is remarkably simple to use and also a terrific pun. It’s made by whipping resin or heating shatter into a smooth substance.
Budder can be stored in a sealed container or wrapped in parchment.
Unsurprisingly, wax dabs are sticky and should only be handled with a clean dab tool. If you don’t heed this warning and try to use the wax with your hands, you will end up with a sticky mess. Although shatter is typically considered to be the purest dab around, the sappier wax can contain high levels of THC or CBD.
As with budder, you can store wax in both a sealed container or parchment.
With many different methods of extraction, some concentrates are available as oils, as opposed to a solid form. These oils are typically available in a syringe for simple and practical applications, and they generally taste differently due to the way the oil has been extracted.
Oil dabs should be stored in a syringe or a sealed silicone container.
Resin is essentially the sticky trichomes (1) found on the flowers and leaves of mature female marijuana plants. Also known as ‘sap’, resin is made by drying out and curing the trichomes. It’s a naturally formed substance, used as a means of defense from predators that might eat the plant before it reproduces.
Resin can be stored in parchment or a sealed container.
7. Live Resin
Requiring a laboratory and trained technicians, live resin isn’t something you can produce in your kitchen. A relatively new type of concentrate, it involves a long and complicated process of cryogenically freezing freshly harvested cannabis plants. Live resin is preferred by those seeking the potential medicinal benefits of marijuana. However, thanks to the technical production process, it’s typically more expensive than the others on this list.
Produced by drying and curing cannabis flowers, before using pressure and heat to release resin packed with THC, rosin is a safe and easy-to-produce concentrate. Unlike live resin, you can make rosin in your kitchen, as it doesn’t require solvents and is cheap to produce.
Comparison of Shatter, Wax, and Rosin
Of the concentrates listed above, shatter, wax, and rosin are by far the most popular among dabbers. The main differences between shatter and wax are:
- Wax will generally degrade at a much faster rate than shatter.
- Wax tends to be more potent than shatter.
- Shatter is often purer than wax, but it’s harder to produce.
- Shatter is very brittle and difficult to accurately measure.
Where rosin differs is in the ease of its production, making it incredibly safe to make at home. Speaking of which …
How to Make Dabs at Home
Making dabs can range from easy to incredibly complicated. For beginners, it’s recommended that you purchase ready-made dabs before attempting any DIY methods.
Identical to shatter in many ways, rosin differs in one key area; it does not need nor contain a solvent. This results in a better taste. And the fact that it’s solventless means it’s nowhere near as risky to produce as other methods.
Here’s What You Need
Chances are you have some of the materials required lying around your house already. To make rosin dabs, you’ll need the following:
- Parchment paper
- Hair straightener/flat iron
- Collection tool, such as a dabber
Here’s How You Do It
- First, turn on the hair straightener to a low or medium setting. If you can control the temperature on your device, aim for somewhere between 250 to 300°F. Leave it to heat up, and start on step 2.
- Next, place the cannabis onto the parchment paper. The amount you use should not exceed the width of the straightener, as you’ll be pressing the weed to extract the dabs via heat. Make sure that you’ve left enough paper on either side of the cannabis to collect the rosin.
- Now, fold the paper in half so that the parchment covers the weed. Place the straightener so that it lines up over the weed that’s under the paper. Squeeze down until you hear a slight sizzle. After around 5 seconds, carefully set the paper down and place your straightener to the side.
- You’re now ready to collect the rosin. Slowly open the parchment and behold. Next to the squashed weed, you should see some yellow rosin. Using your dabber, collect the rosin and dispense it into a container.
- Typically, you’ll then be able to repeat steps 1-4 and squeeze a little more out of the weed. Simply refold, press, and extract two or three more times. Take care not to char the cannabis. Trial and error is your best bet as you perfect your technique.
How to Use Dabs
There are a number of options when it comes to using cannabis dabs. You can either choose to smoke them using something called an ‘oil rig’, or you can forgo the specialist pipe in favor of a more traditional method.
Let’s take a look at both approaches:
With an Oil Rig
An oil rig – sometimes simply shortened to ‘rig’ – is the most popular way to dab. Similar in appearance to a bong, it’s a small, glass pipe with a vertical chamber, a mouthpiece, and a small nail made from glass or titanium.
To use a rig, you first fill it with water. Then you heat the glass nail until it’s red hot, before applying your chosen concentrate to the nail by using a dabber (a glass, metal, or ceramic tool used to apply a dab). This transforms the concentrate into smoke, which is then inhaled.
Without a Rig
If you don’t have access to a rig, you can still use dabs by employing one of the following methods:
- In a Bowl
If using a bowl to smoke your selected concentrate, first pack it half full with cannabis. Next, drop the dab onto the weed, before packing the rest of the bowl. This prevents the dab from coming into contact with the flame, therefore degrading it.
- In a Joint
You can also roll a joint as you would normally, taking care to fully enclose the dab within the weed. You should also ensure the concentrate is kept from the end that you plan on lighting, so as to limit its exposure to the flame.
- With a Vape Pen
With the right model, you’ll be able to vape your chosen concentrate using a vape pen. You’ll need to access the atomizer (the heating element), so make sure you have a pen with a separate atomizer.
Using a metal dabber, collect a small dab of concentrate. Dab it onto the unheated coil of the atomizer, taking care not to touch it with the dabber. Switch on the battery chamber of your vape pen, then connect the atomizer. Next, attach the mouthpiece, press the button, and hold. Finally, put your lips to the mouthpiece and slowly inhale.
The Pros and Cons of Dabs
As with all other methods of cannabis use, care should be taken when dabbing. Here are just some of the pros and cons associated with dabs:
- Owing to its potency, the highs from dabs can be very intense. It’s therefore wise to pace yourself and only use small amounts at a time.
- Solvent extraction is very dangerous. If you’re not an experienced chemist, it’s probably best to purchase ready-made concentrates or to use the rosin method.
- Solvents can be harmful to the throat and lungs.
- The strength of the concentrates has made them very popular with medical users as an effective painkiller.
- Recreational users report a stronger, more prolonged high.
- You don’t need a large amount. A small dab of concentrate can potentially treat aches and pains over a longer period of time when compared to other methods.
Are You Ready to Dab?
Dabbing is an interesting, effective, and exciting way of consuming cannabis.
With the variety available – and the relative safety and simplicity of the rosin method of extraction – you’re sure to find a dab that you enjoy and one that ensures you receive all the potential benefits of cannabis in an easy-to-use concentrate.
Have you tried dabbing? Leave a comment below and share your best dabbing advice with our readers.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you consume dabs?
Dabbing is remarkably simple with the right tools. Using a glass pipe called an oil rig or dab rig, you first heat the glass nail until it’s red hot, before using a glass, metal, or ceramic tool called a dabber to place a small amount of concentrate onto the hot nail, and then inhale.
At what temperature do you press rosin?
Press rosin at around 250°F-300°F for a more flavorful material. However, this results in a lower yield. If you’re prepared to overlook taste in favor of producing more material, you can choose to press at a temperature between 300°F and 335°F.
What is rosin wax?
Initially a method used to create a product to lubricate violin bows, in the context of cannabis, rosin is a versatile and easy-to-make concentrate. The resulting product is similar to shatter but with a better taste due to the solventless extraction method.
What does a rosin press do?
Answer. It presses cannabis and, by using heat, extracts the cannabinoid-rich resin. An ordinary hair straightener or flat iron can be used to create rosin.
How much is rosin?
Rosin can retail for more than $60 per gram, and concentrates, in general, can range anywhere between $30 and $90 per gram.
What is hash rosin?
Rosin hash is a simple-to-make cannabis concentrate that can be obtained by separating the resin from the plant matter via heat and pressure.