To dab or not to dab, that is the question. Many people find the process of dabbing to be intimidating, but there is more than one way to access the concentrated benefits of cannabis extracts. In honor of 710 Day, let us help you find the best method for you!
Getting Started: Concentrates 101
For an overview of cannabis concentrates as a whole, check out last year’s 710 Day blog post, Guide to Concentrates. Concentrates come in many forms — including basic hash (compressed kief), rosin (made without solvent), resin (made with solvent), and THCA diamonds — all of which have different consumer appeal. The main benefit of extracts overall is that they have a much higher potency than flower, with a faster, more efficient delivery.
Dipping into the world of dabbing can seem daunting, but the great news for novices is that there are how-to videos available for every type of device, so once you decide how to proceed, there will always be resources to help guide you.
Dabbing is the most common method for consuming concentrates, so much so you’ll often hear concentrates called dabs. The main barrier to trying out dabs is the various tools involved. A traditional setup will include a dab rig, which is essentially a bong with
a specialized bowl called a “nail” or “banger” where you put the product. There are many different styles, the most common of which is a quartz banger with a bucket shape.
Concentrates require higher temperatures than can be produced with a standard lighter, so the nail/banger is typically heated with a butane hand-torch. There are also Enails now available that electronically heat to a set desired temperature.
Once the nail/banger is heated, you’ll need to let it cool down a bit so you don’t burn your product. The perfect temperature is a matter of debate – you want to be sure it’s hot enough to vaporize the various cannabinoids and terpenes, but not so hot that you lose flavor. General consensus for a low-temp dab is somewhere between 300-450°F, while many prefer the more powerful hit that comes from a range of 500-700°F.
(Concentrate connoisseurs can get really specific with their approach to temperature – check out this article to learn more about temp settings, terpene boiling points, and ways to gauge the temp of your nail.)
Once your nail/banger has cooled (about 30-60 seconds) you scoop up your concentrates in a dabber tool and put it into the nail/banger, where the high temps vaporize it. Slowly inhale the vapor through the mouthpiece of the rig. At this point you can use a carb cap on top of the nail/banger to trap heat and get the most efficient hit.
Exhale immediately – do not hold the hit in your lungs! Once the concentrates have vaporized, let the nail/banger cool off, and be sure to clean it after each session so that you don’t get resinous build-up.
A nectar collector is a type of portable dab rig sometimes referred to as a dab or honey straw. One end has a titanium or quartz tip which is heated like a dab nail, and then inserted into the concentrate and inhaled through like a straw. They’re popular with low-fuss users because they are discreet and easy to use and clean. The main thing to watch out for is to be sure that the concentrates are on a surface that can withstand the extreme heat of the collector tip. Silicone mats or silicone storage containers for concentrates are generally preferred for use with these devices.
Easy Electronic Devices
If dabbing sounds too complicated for you, vaporizers may be more your speed. Depending on your consumption style, there are tabletop versions for home use and portable vaporizers that can keep you medicated on the go with great ease. Here are a few of the top companies and devices that get stellar ratings:
Puffco has a powerful reputation in the dabbing community for both its home and portable devices. The Peak and The Peak Pro allow for dabbing without a learning curve, with easy temperature control settings and a fast heat-up time. The Pro even has an app that allows you to control settings from your phone. The Puffco Plus was the first pocket nail on the market, and has continued to get great reviews as a powerful portable dab pen.
G Pen makes portable vaporizers for both flower and concentrates. If you already have a water pipe, the G Pen Connect (available at our Lansing South location) is a great option because it’s basically an e-rig that can connect to the
joint piece of your glass pipe. It’s composed of three pieces — the Connect battery, an atomizer, and the glass pipe adaptor — that interconnect through snap-in magnets. G Pen Connect works with standard concentrates, as well as with Element Connect Tanks filled with Pure Live Oil, essentially turning it into a vape pen for your bong.
Another option is the G Pen Roam, their all-in-one portable vaporizer for concentrates, which allows for water-filtered vaporization through a spill-proof, self-contained glass hydrotube within the unit. Digital temperature control ranges from 400-800°F with a strong battery and a quartz tank suitable for any type of concentrate.
Yocan has options for both home and travel use, starting with the newest edition Yocan Torch XL Enail, which allows for use of a dab rig without the need for a hand-torch. It’s equipped with a powerful 2200mAh battery and three temperature settings.
Yocan also has two popular pen devices that are easy and discreet. The Yocan Magneto vaporizer has an extremely convenient design, with all the parts connecting through powerful magnets, making it easier to load and easier to clean compared with 510-threaded connections. It’s fully self-contained, including a silicone jar at its base that can hold your concentrates on the go. You simply load the pen, press the power button, and inhale.
The Yocan Evolve Maxxx 3 in 1 vaporizer takes the portable device to a whole new level, adapting to three different types of uses. In Dab Rig Mode you attach an included Water Pipe Adapter, which allows the pen to connect to standard water pipe or dab rig. Collector Mode converts the pen to a nectar collector, while the Vape Mode functions as a traditional dab pen, allowing for ultimate flexibility.