In the modern age of cannabis, concentrated collections of cannabinoids in an oil form – or dabs – have become the a convenient way to enjoy a strong dose of cannabinoids in a shorter amount of time. While the extraction method may differ, the consumption method will still be the same. In this article, we will discuss the gear you'll need and the steps taken to enjoy your first – of hopefully many – dab hits.
Typically concentrate dabs are consumed using a setup of a dab rig, a banger, a torch, a dabber, and a carb cap. This may seem like a lot of accouterments for getting stoned, but adding up the number of items for a traditional joint or bong rip is close to the same amount. A dab rig is traditionally smaller than most water pipes and contains a low level of water filtration; vapor will recondense on the sides of a larger tube used for dry herb.
A banger is customarily a quartz "bucket" that slides into your rig's downstem. The banger is heated where the dab is applied to be turned into the vapor-hit you'll be inhaling. There are also variations of the banger known as nails, but the use of a titanium nail is quickly fading, as quartz bangers preserve the flavor of concentrates better over time and are inexpensive.
Grab a Dab
Unlike traditional bowls, concentrate dabs require much less material to consume. We do not recommend trying to take a massive dab hit like those seen in YouTube videos for your first experience. Using a titanium or quartz dabber, collect a small amount of concentrate on the end and set aside until the nail is heated to the appropriate temperature. Just remember, the larger the dab, the more intense the initial high will be. The initial rush can be overwhelming.
Heat & Wait
To take a dab, first, a butane torch is used to heat the banger. We know the idea of switching to a high-powered torch is daunting at first, but over time, it becomes second nature. If the concept of torch flames is too much to deal with, consider switching to an e-nail, which provides a consistent temperature through a coil attached to a nail or banger that is plugged into the wall. The only concern would be tripping over the cord.
Unless an e-nail is being used, there is no "exact temperature" that a concentrate dab should be taken at. Most people who dab believe that lower temperatures provide a better flavor, so it is wise to heat your quartz banger or titanium nail with a butane torch for 20-45sec (depending on the size/thickness of the banger), or until a faint red glow appears. Lower temp dabs deliver fuller flavor and are just as effective so its worth going through the trial and error to get it right. Use the timer on your phone to get an idea of where your particular setup’s sweet spot is
Once the surface of the banger has come to an "appropriate" temperature, touch the dabber loaded with concentrate to the bottom corner of the heated banger/nail. You’ll see your dabs start to melt and boil, so be sure to begin inhaling the moment you apply the dabber. Proceed to let the oil melt off of the dabber; clear quartz is particularly helpful to see how much concentrate is still within the bucket. Remove the dabber and place a carb cap on top of the banger, and the concentrate will continue to vaporize. A carb cap helps ensure all material is consumed by reducing the air pressure inside the banger which raises the temperature and allows you to direct the flow of air where you need.
The entire process of taking a dab may sound drawn out from start to finish, but it shouldn't take longer than a minute once you get the hang of it. If taking a dab from a rig seems like a hassle, sidestep the entire rig setup and go for a concentrate pen like the Puffco Plus, which has a conveniently built-in dabber (and adjustable temp settings) to allow for quick loading and enjoyment.