cannabis leaf on a chopping board

Dabbing cannabis: how dabbing marijuana works – and why try it?

Dabbing cannabis. Unless, you’re in-the-know, it’s a fairly oblique term:

In this article, we’ll find out what dabbing marijuana involves, who does it…

And why they prefer to take cannabis this way rather than any of the other methods currently available.

What is dabbing?

A “dab” is a very small amount of something. It follows then, that dabbing is the term used to refer to a particular method of taking cannabis which focuses on doing less to get more. Dabbing involves vaporizing cannabis concentrates in order to get a stronger effect in less time than you would from imbibing the raw plant. In order to do a “dab”, you will need a certain amount of a cannabis concentrate as well as some pieces of equipment.

What are cannabis concentrates?

cannabis leaf closeup

Cannabis concentrates are currently a huge growth sector of the legal cannabis and cannabis-derived product market. A concentrate is a cannabis extract created by passing a solvent like carbon dioxide, alcohol or – most popularly – propane or butane through a quantity of cannabis. The solvent strips away the contaminants and other unwanted parts of the raw cannabis plant, leaving only certain desirable chemical compounds behind. Prominent among these are some of the more than 113 cannabinoid compounds found in marijuana:

  • THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) – this is the psychoactive part of the plant. THC is not currently medically approved, but there is research going into its potential use for medical purposes.
  • CBD (Cannabidiol) – this is a cannabinoid which has some research behind it pointing to beneficial medical effects. Currently it’s only officially approved for treating two types of epilepsy in the US. But further research into its potential uses continues.

Cannabis concentrates go by a huge variety of names which refer to the consistency of the final concentrate or the method used in its production.

If you’ve ever heard the names THC oil, CBD oil, budder, badder, shatter, BHO (Butane Hash Oil), Rick Simpson Oil, CO2 oil or any of a hundred others, you have heard of cannabis concentrates.

What equipment is required for dabbing cannabis oil?

As the cannabis industry has become more legalized and increasingly mainstream, the older methods of dabbing cannabis oil have started to fall by the way side. That might be a good thing. Because some of the old school “dab rigs” looked a little like high-school chemistry sets. The oldest way of doing a dab of cannabis was with a hot knife. These days, you’re much more likely to see a dabbing enthusiast with a vape pen, portable vaporizer or in a “dab bar” at an industry event using an automated device called an “e-nail” to set an advanced rig’s temperature.

circle made out of cannabis leaves

Why try a dab?

With all of the complexity and equipment which used to be required for dabbing marijuana, there must be a reason people keep doing it.

Here are just a couple:

1) You get more for doing less

The concentration of THC you might find in the strongest possible marijuana may reach as high as 30%. High-quality cannabis concentrates – and, at this point, there is rarely a need to settle for anything less – regularly clock in at 80-90%+. The very best can be as much as 99% pure. This means that you need to do far less of it to get the same, and often a much greater, effect.

2) No (or much fewer) contaminants

The marijuana plant contains more than 113 cannabinoid compounds, chlorophyll and a number of other contaminants. Smoking all of these when you only really want the effects which only one or two will give you is, in a sense, wasted effort. It’s also much worse for your health.

3) With a vaporizer, there is no smoke and usually no odor

For all that cannabis is becoming increasingly legalized across America and around the world, not everyone likes to advertise the fact that they are doing it. Other people may be happy to be dab in public but not wish to cause any inconvenience to those around them. For both of these groups, dabbing hash oil using a vaporizer or e-cigarette-type device offers the ideal solution. Usually smoke and odor-free, they are making the practice of dabbing much more commonplace than you might expect.

Where do cannabis concentrates and dabbing equipment come from?

One thing which is very important to point out regarding dabbing cannabis and marijuana concentrates is the fact that producing the latter is not something for the amateur. Despite needing specialist equipment and high-quality marijuana to make it happen, the relative ease with which the process can be described leads many people to imagine they can make it at home. Unfortunately, some of the components required by the process can be dangerous – even explosive – and have led to injuries and blown up homes!

This means it is always worth sourcing your cannabis concentrates and any equipment required for dabbing marijuana from a licensed supplier or dispensary.

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