Dabbing Basics: Getting Started

    Posted by Diane Campbell on Jun 24, 2015 1:18:49 PM

    A Wealth of Cannabis Choices

    Marijuana legalization has resulted in a great deal of innovation and new products in the industry. Cannabis enthusiasts are no longer just bud smokers and brownie bakers; we can enjoy a wide range of edibles and drinks, tinctures, topicals, and extracts. We also have a lot more options in how we consume our favorite marijuana products; in addition to old-fashioned joints, pipes, and bongs, we now can choose to vape or dab our highly concentrated extracts.

    How Do I Get Started Dabbing? 

    oil_dabFor longtime ganja smokers, this new bounty of products can be somewhat dizzying. Marijuana concentrates sound great, but what kind should you get (wax? shatter? honey oil?), and how should you consume it? If you’re new to concentrates, first check out our post, “What You Need to Know about Cannabis Extracts,” to help you settle on the variety you want to try. The next step is figure out how you’re going to get it into your system. While any decarboxylated concentrate (one that has been heated to activate the THC) can be eaten for full effect, it is more popular to either dab or vaporize them. The concept of dabbing is not new, although most of current methods are. If you’ve ever seen anyone hot-knife hash, it’s essentially the same idea, only with the potential to be much cleaner and safer than it was with common kitchen equipment. If you’re going to dab, invest in some proper equipment; depending on their composition, kitchen knives could release nasty gasses into your sweet marijuana vapor, which would defeat the purpose of using such a pure form of cannabis.

    Dabbing Equipment 

    Vaporizer Pens

    Vape pens are the most conveniently portable way to consume concentrates. While the technology is still relatively new, some brands have established good reputations for providing solid products that their customers love. Many vape pens can accommodate the full range of concentrates, but others are more limited. First, be sure that the model you choose is appropriate for the type of concentrate you intend to consume. Then check out current product reviews to stay on top of the latest industry leaders. Since High Times has recently released its top 5 concentrate pens for 2015, that would be a great place to start.


    Nails and Adapters

    If you want to try dabbing through your current bong, a variety of adapters are available to help you do so. The essential element is the nail, which can be composed of glass, ceramic, quartz, or titanium. Glass nails are inexpensive and very common, but they break easily with repeated use and have the potential to cause injury when they do so. Ceramic is also quite fragile, and it takes the longest to heat. Quartz can also break after repeated intense heating, but it’s more durable than ceramic or glass, and it delivers a nice, clean hit that lets you savor the flavorful terpenes in your dab. Titanium is unbreakable, heats quickly, and reportedly quite safe (provided you don’t burn yourself on it), but it’s more expensive and may require seasoning to get the flavor you want out of it. All in all, titanium may be overkill for your first time out.

    You may also wish to purchase a drop down adapter. These slide into your bong where the bowl would normally go and put some space between your bong and the nail. This is important if your bong contains a rubber grommet, which will melt in a very unpleasant way if it gets too hot.


    Oil Rigs

    An oil rig is basically like a bong that is built for use with concentrates. They generally come with a glass nail.


    Health Stones

    A health stone is a porous stone made of inert ceramic that fits into its own glass bowl or one of your choosing. Concentrate is applied to the stone, absorbs the oil until it becomes hot enough to vaporize. Although it’s ceramic, it is less prone to breakage than a ceramic nail because it can be used effectively at lower temperatures. You should still use a torch rather than a lighter when using a health stone, but you can get away with a less powerful one.


    This is only a basic sampling of the many products that are available for dabbing aficionados, but it’s enough for an introduction. After you get comfortable with the basic process, you can start exploring other cool dabbing tools, which are being developed all the time.


    Ready to get started? Stop by and check out our selection of concentrates, vape pens, oil rigs, and torch lighters. Nature’s Gift Shop is a recreational marijuana dispensary in Pueblo West providing discounts to all Colorado Red Card holders and veterans as well as specials for everyone every day. Click below to take advantage of our bring-a-friend discount! Download two coupons redeemable when you bring a friend into Nature’s Gift Shop.

    Bring a friend special from Nature's Gift Shop

    Photo credit: Andres Rodriguez


    Topics: concentrates