Falling somewhere between smoking a bong and vaporizing, using a dab rig is a relatively easy and smooth way of taking in a cannabis concentrate. Typically, if you know somebody who has a rig for dabs, inviting them to talk about it means you’re probably going to get your ear filled with an avalanche of what sounds like technobabble, leaving you more confused than you were at the start.
The good news is that dabbing doesn’t require a master’s degree in weed wizardry – It does require both the right equipment and a little technique, but that just takes some money to blow and a bit of practice. If you’ve heard about dabbing before but haven’t been able to make your way through the mountain of (often overwhelming and wrong) information available then this is the article you need. Keep reading below for our beginner’s guide on how to get your dab on!
What is a Dab?
A dab is a piece of cannabis concentrate that vaporizes on a hot surface in a piece of dabbing equipment, and is then inhaled.
1. Drop it in a bowl
To smoke wax using a bowl – whether a bong, a bubbler, or a spoon – you first want to pack the bowl half-full with flower. Collect a dab of wax with a metal dabber, and drop the dab onto the weed. Then, pack the rest of the bowl.
Why drop the dab halfway in? Because touching the wax with an open flame can degrade its quality and incinerate some of the THC you would otherwise inhale. By half-packing, dabbing, and then packing the rest of the bowl, you can light a cherry that burns the wax without igniting it completely.
The great thing about this method is that it’s incredibly simple. As long as you have access to good wax, good weed, and a half-decent bowl, you’re good to go. And even if your weed isn’t all that great, well, at least you’ve got the wax to smoke.
2. Roll it in a joint
All you need is the wax, some weed, rolling papers, and a crutch.
First, lay out your rolling paper and crutch. Next, spread some flower on the paper, as you would with any regular J. Then dab some wax onto the weed. This step will vary based on the type of concentrate you’re working with. If you’ve got crumble or shatter you can break it into pieces and sprinkle it down the inside of the joint. Or, roll the extract into a thin snake-like piece and place it in the middle of your joint. Be sure to wash your hands after handling the concentrate and before rolling the joint!
Finally, roll your joint. This can be a bit difficult, as wax is extremely sticky, but if you use caution and care, you should be able to get the job done. Now get a good cherry going and you’ll be set.
3. Load it into a vape pen
Vaping dabs is another option. If you’re looking to use a vape pen, you’ll need a battery and a cartridge.
Catridges sold in dispensaries are all-in-ones and include a mouthpiece and atomizer. Super convenient. All you need to do is screw the cartridge into the battery and take a hit.
If you want to vape your own wax instead of purchasing a pre-filled cartridge, you’ll need a pen that comes with a detachable atomizer that you can access.”Atomizer” is just a fancy word for the heating element, typically a metal coil warmed by the battery.
Once you have the right pen, here’s how to load your own wax:
- Gather a dab of wax on the end of a metal dabber. Keep it small.
- Disconnect the atomizer from the battery chamber and dab the wax onto the unheated coil. Try not to let the dabber make direct contact with the coil.
- Turn on the battery chamber by clicking the button until a flashing light signals the pen is on.
- Connect the atomizer to the battery chamber.
- Attach the mouthpiece to the atomizer.
- Press the button and hold. Place your lips on the mouthpiece and draw slowly. Inhaling too fast lowers the heat and delivers less vapor.
4. Use a healthstone
A healthstone is a special type of glass with a porous consistency similar to volcanic rock designed for smoking wax with a standard bong or pipe. The stone is placed in the bowl area of the pipe – this can be inside the bowl itself, or some people attest to placing the healthstone inside the bottom part of their titanium nail. Either way, the aim is to position the healthstone so that all smoke is channeled through to the mouthpiece. Small round healthstones are easy to find online.
Now place a bit of wax on top of the healthstone. Superheat the insert with a butane torch, and then toke as you would with an oil rig. And remember, even with a bong, the idea is to sip, not rip. Wax hits are best taken in moderation.
5. Use a bong as a dab rig
Whether your sans dab rig due to an accidental drop or you’re thinking about investing in your first piece, you can repurpose your bong into a sort of homemade dab rig when times are tight. Unfortunately, your six-foot-tall bong won’t give you a proper dab hit. Anything over 15 inches can be too long for the vapor to travel upward on a single inhalation. Instead, use a small bong for dabs.
All you need is a dab nail that has the right-sized ground joint. Since many bongs are female-jointed, you’ll need to buy a male-jointed dab nail that can fit. If you have a female-jointed dab nail, you’ll have to invest in a male-to-male adapter to provide the perfect fit. Universal dab nails also come with both male and female functionality.
Avoid using bongs with percolator since they can end up filtering your terpenes and reduce the overall flavor and aroma of your extract. You’ll still need the torch, carb cap, and dabber to dab effectively, but using a bong can provide you with a short-term fix if you are aching for some potent concentrate.
6. Hot knives
This is the simplest way to enjoy wax, and everyone has the tools required to do it. It’s great for late nights when you don’t have access to a torch or a vape pen or literally anything else that can be used to smoke hash oil with ease.
The idea is to heat a butter knife with your stove, whether gas or electric, and dab some wax onto it. The wax will immediately vaporize, at which point you inhale the smoke.
This can be a pretty wasteful, however, since it will quickly dissipate in the open air. You can deal with this by inhaling the smoke through a straw, a funnel, or the top half of a plastic soda bottle.