Are you looking for a powerful high and a flavor-filled experience? If so, a dab rig may be for you.
A dab is a dose of cannabis concentrate. Concentrates are made by extracting cannabinoids and terpenes from plant matter, making dabs incredibly potent and fast-acting. To smoke concentrates, called “dabbing,” you use a dab rig, which is essentially a dab bong or dab pipe, to vaporize the dab.
In this post, we’ll explain how to use a dab rig, so you can decide if it’s something you want to try.
Benefits of Smoking Dabs
How you choose to smoke is, of course, totally up to you. It’s all about preference. But there are certain benefits of dabbing that people tend to enjoy. Three common benefits of smoking dabs are the taste, fewer carcinogens, and maximum potency.
1. Better Tasting
A dab rig doesn’t produce any chemicals. Therefore, it adds nothing to the concentrate. This purity means the vapor created when dabbing weed tastes better, making it more enjoyable for many people.
2. Fewer Carcinogens
Since a dab rig doesn’t create smoke or add extra materials, it produces fewer carcinogens. Many people consider the vapor healthier to inhale. Also, extracts contain a lot less plant material, so you’re inhaling more cannabinoids and less resin. But it’s important to note that this is only true if done correctly. If you dab at too high of a temperature, you can produce some bad stuff. So, you want to make sure your process is right.
3. Maximum Potency
The concentrates you use for dabbing are a lot more potent than a flower. Bud usually is between 15-25% THC, but concentrates are 50-80%.
Dab Dosage: How to Portion Your Dabs
Because concentrates are much more potent than bud, you have to be careful about portioning dabs. And, of course, different extracts have varying THC concentrations. You want to know how potent your concentrate is before dabbing it. Regardless, it’s a good idea to start with the tiniest dab your tool will allow and build from there. There’s a reason dab tools are so small. Yes, it may look like a crumb, but it’s intense. You want to be careful until you learn how your body will respond.
Essentials for a Great Dab Rig Setup
To smoke this unique type of cannabis, you’ll need a special rig. So, what is a dab rig? It’s a glass smoking device that kinda looks like a bong. The difference is that your rig is for smoking oils or wax concentrates.
For dabbing, you’ll need:
- Dab Rig. As we explained above, a dab rig is a water pipe, a lot like a bong. But because you use it for smoking concentrates, it has a fitting for a nail or quartz banger. Dab rig kits come in various shapes, sizes, and designs, just like bongs.
- Banger/Nail. A banger, otherwise known as a “nail,” is a dab bowl. It’s where you put the concentrate. A nail usually comes with the rig, but trading it out for a quartz banger (described below) will help your rig maintain heat and avoid breaking.
- Carb Cap. You typically buy a carb cap separately from your dab rig setup. You don’t have to have one, but we recommend it because it helps you capture more wax vapor to inhale.
- Dabber/Pick. A dabber, also known as a “pick,” is the dab tool you use to put the concentrate in the nail. They are metal, glass, or ceramic and come in various shapes and styles. Typically you choose a shape based on the consistency of the concentrate you’re dabbing.
- Torch. You can’t just use a lighter to heat your rig. You need a butane torch. If you like dabbing, you’ll use your torch relatively quickly, so we advise you to get a refillable one.
You also can use these dabbing accessories:
- E-Nail. If you don’t want to use a torch and wait for your wax to heat up, you can use an e-Nail. Depending on your concentrate, it lets you set the right temperature. Then it electronically heats the nail to that point.
- Quartz Banger. You can add a quartz insert to help you get the most out of low-temperature dabs. Using a quartz banger offers the best flavor from your concentrate.
Step-by-Step: How to Use a Dab Rig
If you’ve got your rig and you’re ready to try smoking dabs, here are your step-by-step directions on how to dab. Dab smoking may seem a little intimidating at first, but don’t worry. We’ve got you!
Add water to your dab rig’s chamber. Test the waterline by inhaling with no banger in the downstem. If water backsplashes into your mouth, you have too much water in the rig. You need to pour some out.
Use your torch to heat the banger until it gets red because it’s so hot. You want to apply the torch to the outside and bottom because that’s where you’ll load the concentrate.
If you’re using an e-Nail, set it between 311-388 degrees, depending on the type of cannabis you’re smoking.
Once the banger is hot, wait 30-45 seconds for it to cool down. If it is too hot, it will scorch your concentrate, and that’s not how you do dabs. You can buy a terp timer to use on this step of the process to maximize flavor, but you can also use your watch or phone.
Apply the wax onto the banger with your dabber, then slowly inhale it through the mouthpiece. Rotate the dabber tip on the hot banger to avoid wasting any wax stuck on it. Use a long, slow inhale because most of the concentrate doesn’t vaporize instantly.
Cover the dab with a carb cap and finish inhaling. The cap helps regulate the airflow and gives you a better hit.
Exhale the vapor and repeat the process. Remember to be cautious when you first begin dabbing. You don’t want to over-consume the concentrate and green out. It’s easy to do when dabs are so potent.
How to Clean Your Dab Rig
Now that you know how to take a dab, you’ll want to clean your wax oil rig between uses. How you clean a dab rig is a lot like cleaning a bong. In addition to cleaning the glass rig as a unit, you need to clean the banger separately. This is because carbon, reclaimed oil, and particulates can build up there when you smoke.
Some people clean their rig’s banger after each hit. You don’t have to do that, but you should at least clean it after each session.
To clean your dab rig’s banger:
- Use a Torch. The easiest way to clean your dab banger is to heat it with your torch. This method will burn off any residual carbon or reclaim. After the banger gets hot and the residue looks gone, let it cool down completely, then scrape it.
- Swab It. If the banger doesn’t have a ton of buildup, you can use cotton swab that has been dipped in alcohol to quickly remove any fresh resins.
- Soak It. You also can clean your dab banger by soaking it in 91% isopropyl alcohol for 10 minutes. Then rinse off any residue with warm water and clean hard to reach parts with a cotton swab.
Final Advice for Using Dab Rigs
Dab rigs may have more moving parts than you’re accustomed to, but there’s no reason to let them intimidate you. Consider using a dab rig for a stronger, better tasting, healthier smoke experience. Just be careful the first few times about concentrate amounts. You don’t want to overdo it, just ask me about that story some time. Adjust your dab as you determine what you can handle. Ready to give dabbing a try? Check out 420 Science for all of your dab rigs and related tools.