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How to Use a Dab Pen Properly With Cannabis Concentrates

Dabs are a super potent way to get high, but having a whole dab rig to take care of isn’t for everyone. But if you don’t like dealing with dab rigs, there is a simple alternative that will have you getting high with cannabis concentrate in no time.

Dab pens provide the functionality of a dab rig with the convenience of portable vaporizers.

Keep reading to learn how to use a dab pen.

using a dab pen

How A Dab Pen Works

Dab pens work when you push a power button and heat up cannabis concentrates (like wax), turning them into vapor or smoke. The vapor or smoke is inhaled just like it would be from a dab rig.

But dab pens are much more compact and portable.

Since the heating chamber vaporizes the concentrate you don’t need a hot surface from a nail or blowtorch. You just need to carefully load it, turn it on, wait for it to heat up, and begin dabbing.

Vape and Dab Pens Compared

Dab and vape pens might sound similar at first, but there are some key differences you should be aware of.

Vape pens use cartridges, or “carts” that are filled with cannabis oil. But dab pens have a heating chamber where cannabis concentrates like wax can go directly.

Dab and vape pens don’t use the same forms of cannabis. This is one of the most important distinctions between the two different kinds of pens because concentrates are usually way more potent than cannabis oil.

If you accidentally hit a dab pen for the first time thinking you are hitting a vape pen, you could end up more stoned than ever before. But if you like to consume concentrates like wax on the go, then a dab pen is for you.

The two pens also use different heating methods. Vape pens use convection heating. This means the air is warmed up around the oil and there is no direct contact with the heat.

Dab pens use conduction heating. This means that the cannabis is placed directly on the atomizer and vaporized on contact.

pen for dabbing

Cleaning A Dab Pen

Vapes don’t often need cleaning, but when they do finally require one it can be a hassle.

Dab pens on the other hand are easy to clean. But they get dirty quickly. You might want to clean it every day to really keep your dab pen clean.

To clean a dab pen you need rubbing alcohol and a q tip or cotton swab. Soak the mouthpiece and the atomizer in the alcohol for a while before wiping the pieces with the q tip.

Read the instructions before giving your dab pen a cleaning as some parts may need soaking and other parts may just need to be wiped down.

Dab Pens

  • Conduction heated
  • The concentrate is placed directly on the heating element
  • Usually used to activate cannabis extracts with the highest level of potency

Vape Pens

  • Convection heated
  • Air is warmed around the oil to create vapor, with no direct contact with the heating element
  • Uses vape cartridges
  • Usually used to inhale distillate

How To Turn On Dab Pen

If it’s your first time dabbing take your time and read the instructions for your dab pen. There are many different types of weed pens available and instructions can vary.

Reading the manual will help you to figure out how to load the chamber, what temperature setting to use, and how to hit the pen.

The instructions will also tell you how to turn your dab pen on. This is usually done by either holding a power button for a few seconds or by rapidly pressing the power button a few times in a row.

Let your pen preheat before dabbing. That way the pen reaches the right temperature and the concentrates have time to fully heat up. This way the vapor will be rich. 

How To Use A Dab Pen

Whenever you have a question about dabbing it is best to go to the user manual and check the instructions. Each pen can have different settings. Learn how to use your dab pen like it is supposed to be used to have the best dabbing experience.

Charge Your Pen

Before dabbing with your new pen you want to give it a full charge out of the box. This can take up to three hours so plug it in right away.

Once your pen is showing a full charge you are ready to load it up for use. 

Place Cannabis Concentrate On The Atomizer

Lots of quality dab pens have removable mouthpiece that covers the heating chamber. In this case, you should remove the mouthpiece to carefully load wax or your choice of concentrate into the chamber.

This can take some practice before it feels easy. Some pens come with a dab tool for you to use to put the concentrate into the chamber. If you need a tool and you don’t have one, you can always use a paper clip.

how to use dabs

Screw On The Cap

Once you have the right amount of concentrate inside you can screw the mouthpiece back on. It only takes a tiny amount, like the size of a grain of rice, to make a nice full hit of vapor. 

Turn It On & Press To Inhale

Next, turn your pen on and let it preheat for a minute or two. After this, you can press the button (if your pen has a button) and draw vapor from the pen. Using a dab pen is that simple.

Then give it about 10 to 15 minutes to feel the high.

What Concentrate Can You Use In A Dab Pen?

There are a variety of different concentrates you can use when dabbing. Some of them include: 

  • bubble hash
  • budder
  • crumble
  • hash
  • live resin
  • kief
  • rosin
  • shatter
  • sugar wax

Just because you can use all of these concentrates doesn’t mean they are all easy to use. For example, hash will work but it may clog the coil in dab pens. Especially if the hash has been adulterated. 

And the same for dry herbs. Don’t try dabbing them. Use your pen for what it is meant for and enjoy concentrates. 

Don’t try to use oil or wax oil cartridges when dabbing. They only work with vape pens. Using a dab pen is best for people who enjoy concentrates. If you want to try carts or dry herb you may want to use a wax pen, wax vaporizer, or dry herb vaporizer instead.

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Tips When Hitting A Dab Pen For The First Time

High-quality dap pens come with temperature control settings which give you more control over your dabbing experience. Setting the temperature to a lower setting is the best way to preserve flavor and avoid wasting product.

Terps vaporize at lower temps than cannabinoids do. So if you use a high temperature you could degrade them and possibly even turn them into toxic byproducts. Keeping the pen temperature low helps you get a smooth and well-balanced hit.

Depending on the type of concentrate you are vaping this will make a big impact on the quality of the hit. Live extracts, for example, should always be dabbed at a lower temperature to preserve the terpenes.

Other concentrates need more heat-up time to have the best performance. For example, shatter needs to be preheated long enough to melt. But this is not necessary for distillate. 

When you are ready to consume concentrates, take a single inhalation and wait 5 minutes.

It is best to go slow when learning how to use a dab pen. Dabs are very strong. They are much more potent than edibles or hits from a joint or pipe.

A single gram of concentrates can contain more than 800 milligrams or more of THC. That’s why it is important to only put a small amount of concentrate in your dab pen and wait 5 minutes before inhaling any more vapor to see how high you get.