Dabbing, dabs and dab might all sound related to the popularised dance routine, but what is it? All these phrases refer to the use of cannabinoid concentrates at high temperature via inhalation.
Concentrates are a fast developing segment within the cannabis market and are in particular demand in jurisdictions where the legalisation of marijuana has permitted innovation to flourish.
And, It’s not just THC either, CBD concentrates are booming globally, and other potent forms of isolated minor cannabinoids such as CBG are rapidly emerging as the next ‘big thing’ in cannabis and are often dabbed.
Dabbing meaning: In respect to cannabis, it means to use a concentrated form of cannabis at an extremely high temperature for inhalation; examples include wax, crumble, shatter, isolate crystals. Dabbing can consist of a butane torch for manual heating or an electronic display to set the temperature on electric dab rigs.
In relation to anything else outside of cannabis: The meaning of dabbed is a reference to doing a dance with one either arm pointing in the same direction above your head…You might have even seen MP Tom Watson conducting the dance at the houses of parliament on TV!
Cannabis dabs meaning: Refers to using the concentrates aforementioned above. These substances often exceed 80% potency and can reach over 99%, so a little goes a long way.
Dabbing was initially popularised in the US and is often used by medicinal cannabis patients due to its swift onset and the sheer potency of the products used by dabbing.
Dabs are isolated, or multiple concentrated cannabinoids extracted from cannabis. Often including using solvents such as butane or via fractional distillation, and are slightly different from usual vaping as the cannabinoid output per inhalation is much (i.e stronger) higher. Users only require a puff or two and feel the desired effect(s) promptly and without a need to re-dose frequently.
By the nature of distillation, cannabinoids can be isolated at a molecular level and combined, maintaining purity and an ability to control for no THC where required. Concentrates are frequently combined with terpenes to provide flavour, and effect by working in synergy with cannabinoids.
CBD dabs are simply concentrated forms of CBD used by the way of dabbing.
So how do you dab?
For years, dabbing has relied on heavy and clunky devices which resembled bongs called manual dab rigs.
Where Instead of a glass bowl to hold the weed, a titanium or quartz nail is heated with a butane torch until red hot, and the concentrate is then dropped onto the nail where it is instantly vapourised and inhaled.
Electronic dab devices are incredibly accurate at controlling temperature, meaning the dab is precisely the same on each hit. Which is excellent for both flavour/cloud chases in addition to avoiding combustion.
Manual dab rigs can go for hundreds of dollars, simply because of the design aesthetics rather than any technological advancements. These sort of dab rigs go for a high-end premium look, with premium materials.
The use of electronic dab nails, also known as an e-nail, while still extremely niche, is increasing in popularity.
Medicinally and for canna enthusiasts desiring a controlled, high dose and efficient way to consume cannabinoids frequently dab nails are a common go too.
E-Nails regulate temperature, ensuring the device maintains a pre-set temperature, displayed on a digital screen on the device.
A concentrate is dropped onto the nail and inhaled through a plastic or glass pipe and is often filtered by water to cool the hit. This method avoids the possibility of the user burning themselves on a red hot e-nail, as the digitised version uses an e-nail protected with another material and is often uses a doughnut style ceramic bowl for flavourful hits.
Dab nails, in particular, can be harsh on the throat to hit, so go slow if it’s your first time using one!
Dab pens operate a similar way to vape pens used for traditional vape juice, but they work at a higher temperature and use different coils.
Dab pens are economical, portable, and unlike an e-nail require little upkeep. The coils which heat the dab are contained in the CBD cartridge, and the entire cart is easily replaceable while being friendly to use.
The atomiser in the device will either use a type of metal as a coil or a ceramic bowl for indirect heat.
To use, remove the mouthpiece, add an (ideally measured) dab into the see-through section above the coil, put the pen back together and turn it on!
If you’re looking for a recommendation as to what dab pen to use, we would suggest checking out the Utilian 5 – it’s more or less a portable e-dab rig and has an add on to filter your dab through water on the go!
Some (pricey) vape pens, such as Pax 3, offer the ability to add a concentrates section on to a vape usually used for flower. These multi-use devices provide the same functionality as a dab pen while being a traditional flower vape too.
Dabbing marijuana itself hasn’t been around for long, and if using a THC concentrate, the effects are often potent. Too much can be debilitating and exercising caution on the dose, and product quality are critical. Nonetheless, these two points also apply to any form of cannabinoid-based concentrates such as hash oil or CBG Isolate.
Dabbing can be dangerous if the extract is of poor quality, especially if it has been obtained using solvents and not appropriately cleansed, leaving behind residual solvents.
Using cannabis concentrates which have been extracted without solvents, completely avoids this issue. However, this doesn’t mean you should discount any products obtained using a solvent-based extraction. It’s just extra care needs to be taken to ensure the supplier has done their homework via third party testing.
Old school dab rigs can also result in overheating. While dabbing using manual rigs is still extremely popular in the states, the lack of precise temperature control can lead to overheating and combustion. It’s important to note this experience doesn’t occur on electronic dab rigs, due to their ability to control the temperature to a single degree (C/F).
If you’ve never dabbed but are interested in giving it a shot, just take one inhalation before giving it a few minutes to assess if you want more!
Pay particular care when using THC concentrates in particular, dabbing is much more potent than any other way to consume cannabinoid concentrates, do don’t overdo it!
We stock broad-spectrum CBD crumble, extracted using (solventless) fractional distillation. Available Infused via a range of terpenes to add flavour, but also available without terpenes – with nothing but 97% CBD crumble!
Disclaimer: Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Nature & Bloom and its staff. This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention for any disease. Nature & Bloom products have not been evaluated by the MHRA.