How to Make Dabs at Home: Step-by-Step Guide
If you've found your way to a blog about making dabs at home, then we assume you know what dabs are, but to be sure, let's refresh your memory. Dabs are the concentrated cannabis product that extracts cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant. These isolated concentrates are full of THC and terpenes, which are highly potent. Not everyone has easy access to cannabis concentrates, so it makes sense that many people are out there wondering how to make dabs. In this article, we're going to explain all the wrong ways and the few right ways of making your dabs.
What is Dabbing?
Dabbing is getting super-crazy high. Doing a dab is vaporizing an amount of cannabis concentrate and inhaling it through some devices like a dab rig or nectar collector. Dabbing is more effective than combustion smoking because of the potency of cannabis concentrates and the efficiency of the vaporization process. You inhale almost pure THC and other cannabinoids when you take a dab. In order to dab you need cannabis concentrate, a dab rig, vaporizer, or nectar collector.
Different Type of Dabs
Depending on the concentration process, dabs will have different colors, textures, and ratios of THC to terpenes. Another aspect that changes dabs is how much moisture is close to room temperature. Lower moisture levels can make dabs stick together less and have a more coarse texture. Here are some common types of dabs. Depending on the dabs you make, you'll want to have a specialized dab tool to be able to manipulate them.
Shatter gets its name from the glassy and broken appearance it has. These dabs resemble flat shards of amber glass. Shatter is often made with butane extractions, and the dabs are laid out of flat sheets to cool and evaporate moisture and solvents. The result is a brittle and amber-colored concentrated THC with some terpene flavors.
These types of dabs are made with a solvent extraction method. The light yellow to green color signifies rich in THC and some terpenes. These dabs have very little moisture and are best picked up with a shovel or scoop-type dabber. Crumble has a low moisture content.
This type of dabs is made by isolating terpenes from a cannabis plant. Terpenes are collected from the plant by submerging them in solvents like ethanol and are then removed from the bath after several hours. The solvent is completely evaporated, and the remaining substance is pure terpenes from the plant. This terpene oil is rich in flavor and aroma, and therapeutic effects.
Resin is often one of the most coveted types of cannabis concentrate. Live resins are made with complicated multistage equipment. This method used frozen plant material and a closed-loop system to extract a high amount of THC and terpene oils from the plant.
Rosin is the opaque and buttery concentrate made when using heat and pressure to extract THC and terpenes from raw cannabis buds. The buds are used whole and pressed with an industrial press that applies high heat to the cannabis. This heating process melts cannabinoids and pushes them out of the plant for collection with pressure.
How to Make Dabs at Home With Butane
Don't - this is a bad idea.
When dabs first became a thing, it was not uncommon to hear someone make them at home using a butane extraction method. It was also common to hear stories about people's garages exploding because they were doing this in an unsafe or even dangerous way. We don't advise using butane yourself to extract THC from cannabis for many reasons.
This is probably a bad idea because there is no way of knowing how many residual solvents are still trapped in the extraction. Butane evaporates at room temperature, and there are many commercially available methods of extraction that pull the solvents out of the dabs like a vacuum purge oven. However, the best equipment still doesn't make up for you not being a trained chemist and using solvents, and them smoking the stuff you made with the solvents later might not be the best choice for your health.
Most people who try this method at home take a large amount of ground cannabis and pack it into a metal pipe with an intake on one side for the butane to flow through. The butane is blasted through the cannabis-filled tube and strips the weed of THC, terpenes, and all other chemical residues, so are sure your weed is high quality. The residue collects on a glass surface, and the butane is left to evaporate and typically slow heated to remove any remaining solvents. So this method is unsafe and may be unhealthy when not done under safe laboratory conditions. There are better ways of making your dabs, though.
How to Make Dabs With Ice Water
If messing with flammable materials isn't your thing, then you can use insanely cold water to make good dabs. This process takes quite a while and is labor-intensive, but it is low risk and easy. Essentially, you are freezing off the trichomes that contain the THC and other cannabinoids and filtering them through the mesh until what you have left is pure dabs. This is more like kief hash as it will still have some plant material depending on how finely it is strained.
What You'll Need:
- An ounce or more of weed
- A bucket
- Regular and Dry Ice
- Micron straining sheets
- Rubber gloves
Steps for Making Dabs at Home with Ice Water
- Dump all the ice and water into the bucket and let it get as cold as you can before adding the cannabis. The dry ice will help lower the temperature below freezing. The water should ideally be kept as cold as possible the entire time.
- Ideally, your cannabis should be pre-frozen before adding it to the rice mixture, and the whole buds should be slightly broken up but not ground. Cannabis is added to the bucket containing the micron liners and agitated.
- Stir the cannabis and ice to keep the mixture moving, and make sure to break off as many frozen trichomes as possible from the nugs. As the THC breaks off, it will collect at the bottom of the different micron bags. Smaller micron filters yield more pure trichomes with less plant material.
- Remove the bag with the ice and loose material, then examine the lower bags. Strain out the water and collect the green-yellow substance in the bottom of each bag. This is hash.
- Lay the hash slurry on non-stick sheets of parchment paper and allow the water to evaporate from them over a few days until all that is left is the dried and collected THC particles.
There are many ways to use hash, although it's not quite the same as dabs because it has more plant material in it. Hash is best used sprinkled on top of a bong or pipe bowl. Some people like to roll their hash into a ball. You can place it in the middle of a bowl, while others enjoy adding it as a long thin line in a joint.
How to Make Dabs with Alcohol Extraction
If you want to extract cannabis oil using alcohol, you need weed, heat-safe glass dishes, a filter of some sort, something to mix with, a heating device, and of course, some quality high-proof grain alcohol.
Grain alcohol is used to extract because the chemical nature of the alcohol works very well as a solvent to pull the cannabinoids from the weed. Once the cannabinoids are removed from the nugs, the alcohol is left to evaporate, and you're left with the sticky, ultra-potent residue of cannabis concentrate.
Here is a list of the items you will need to make dabs with an alcohol extract.
What You'll Need:
- Cannabis flower
- Food grade alcohol (190-proof Everclear),
- Oven-safe glass bowl (Pyrex dish)
- A mesh, micron, or wire strainer
- Unbleached coffee filters
- A non-open flame heat source (hot pad, rice cooker, etc.)
If you have all these items, you can make your dabs using an alcohol bath. But let's be sure to note that this method still comes with some risks, and you should be extremely careful when using high-proof alcohol and heating elements. That being said, here is a rundown of how to make dabs with grain alcohol.
Steps for Making Dabs with Alcohol
- Break your cannabis into relatively small pieces by hand and remove the stems. You want to separate the nugs into just the flower parts but not grind them. Also, make sure your buds are well dried out and free of any moisture.
- Place the nugs into a glass jar and pour enough alcohol overtop so that they are entirely immersed. Stir slowly but deliberately for about 10 minutes so that the grain alcohol can thoroughly soak into the nugs and begin to extract the cannabinoids.
- After stirring, put your strainer over the top of a clean glass dish and pour the Everclear/cannabis mixture into the filter. You should be left with a lovely bright green liquid in the clean container. Please don't get rid of the nugs, and they can be extracted again.
- Now for the most crucial and essential step. It's time to heat your alcohol extraction mixture to evaporate the alcohol and separate it from the cannabinoids. Pour the mixture into a rice cooker and sit on low heat for several hours. You can also use a boiling water bath by filling a pan with a couple of inches of water and placing the jar into the water to slowly and evenly heat it.
- Once all the alcohol is evaporated, if the process goes correctly, you should be left with a sticky and yellowish-green cannabis concentrate substance that has little to no alcohol left.
- Please test a small amount of the dabs by putting them on the end of a dab tool and lighting it with a lighter. If it sparks or flames up aggressively, it still needs to evaporate more.
- Collect the cannabis extract onto non-stick parchment paper and store it in the fridge or freezer.
Although your first run will probably be the purest and richest one, you can repeat these steps with the previously extracted cannabis to see if there are any remaining cannabinoids.
How to Make Dabs with the Rosin Press Method
To be sure, the best way to make dabs at home is to use the Rosin method. Rosin is not only accessible but uses no solvents and only takes a few minutes. Honestly, making Rosin with cannabis is almost too good to be true, but it is.
All you need to make Rosin is weed, parchment paper, and a flat iron. This extraction method is better with very fresh nugs that are sticky and may even have some moisture left in them. Fresh buds with visible trichomes are the best for making Rosin.
The list for making Rosin at home is pretty short.
What You'll Need:
- Fresh cannabis nugs
- Parchment paper
- A flat iron
- A clamp
Making Rosin is deceptively simple, but it can go wrong, and you may need to waste a few nugs to get the hang of this subtle art of making dabs. Rosin is made a little at a time, so be ready to churn out one day or two at a slow rate. Some prefer the slow method of rosin pressing because you can make just a few dabs whenever you want.
Steps for Making Rosin Dabs
- Find a large and juicy nug and break off any protruding stem from it. Remove as much of the stem as you can while leaving the whole nug intact.
- Cut a piece of parchment paper about 4x4 inches and fold it in half, placing the nug in the middle of the parchment.
- Without turning it on, set the folded parchment with the nug inside in the middle of the flat iron and smash the nug as flat as you can with your hands and then place the clamp on the outside to hold the iron shut.
- Turn on the flat iron to a low setting. You will begin to hear the nug sizzle, and the dabs will melt out of it and onto the parchment. Be sure to cut off the flat iron quickly enough to extract the cannabinoids but not accidentally vaporize them. If you see smoke or vapor rise from the parchment, you've applied too much heat.
- Remove the parchment and open it to see the extracted dabs around the flattened nug. The nug can be discarded, and the dabs can be used whenever you want!
Final Advice for Making Dabs Safely at Home
Making dabs at home can be a rewarding experience and comes with risks and challenges. If you can get dabs from a dispensary, those will always be the purest and best you can acquire. If going to the local weed store is not an option for you, then maybe making dabs at home is the way to go, but be sure that safety is your top priority. We recommend the rosin press method for the least risk to the highest reward.
If you have more questions about dabs, dab rigs, or just what kind of new pipe you should get, send us a message, and we will be more than happy to help you find the perfect way to enhance your smoke sessions.