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The Ultimate Guide to Dabbing: What You Need To Know

Mastering the Art of Dabbing: A Comprehensive Guide



Dabbing, the next level of cannabis consumption has gained popularity due to its ability to deliver a powerful experience compared to regular flower smoking. It's like making cold-pressed juice from oranges straight off the tree, but instead of oranges, it involves the flash vaporization of a super-strong concentrate, known as dabs, off a specialized piece called a rig. Although dabbing is not new to the cannabis scene, its adoption can seem intimidating to newcomers. This guide will demystify the dabbing process and give you all the information needed to start with this unique spin on an old classic.


What is Dabbing?

Imagine the potency of multiple bong rips packed into one sweet-tasting, good-smelling hit of clean vapor. That's what dabbing feels like. Dabs are concentrated extracts from dry herbs vaporized on a hot nail to produce a flavorful, fragrant, and potent vapor. The extraction process can yield different types of products, each with unique properties and effects.

The History of Dabbing

Contrary to popular belief, dabbing isn't a recent phenomenon. Concentrated forms of cannabis have been around since ancient times in India, Persia, and China. The technique gained global popularity in the 18th century and has become even more widespread.

Different Types of Dabs

Dabs come in various forms and consistencies. Each type offers a distinct flavor, potency, and dabbing experience. Here are the most common types:


Shatter is a semi-transparent extract created using a lengthy purification process that gives it a glass-like consistency. It's less flavorful than live resin but is affordable and easy to find.


Wax is softer and more pliable, making it easier to handle than shatter. Despite its softness, it remains just as potent and affordable.


Budder looks and feels like actual butter. It's a soft, spreadable concentrate that's easy to manipulate and handle.

Live Resin

Live Resin is rich in terpenes and created with fresh flower, which are flash-frozen immediately after harvest. The freezing process preserves the taste and fragrance profile of the bud, making live resin the best option for some enthusiasts.

Live Rosin

Like live resin but without solvents, live rosin is produced by applying heat and pressure to remove trichomes from the frozen flower.

Terp Sauce

Terp sauce is a thick, syrupy "sauce" with high potency. It's one of the most potent extracts around.

Essential Dab Tools and Accessories

You must equip yourself with several tools and accessories to dab efficiently. Here are the must-haves:

Dab Rig

Also known as oil rigs or concentrate rigs, dab rigs are water pipes or bubblers designed explicitly for vaporizing concentrates.

Nail or Banger

This rig part gets heated with the torch, and the dab is placed directly on top. Dab nails can be made of glass, quartz, titanium, or ceramic.


A banger is a nail resembling a small, circular bowl or bucket. Bangers provide a larger surface for dabbing and more airflow into your rig.

Dab Tool

A small wand is used to manipulate, break off, and hold the dab.

Dab Torch

A dab torch is used to heat the nail or banger on your rig.

Carb Cap

Carb caps preserve the potency and flavor of the dab, reduce waste, and make the hot hit a little easier on your lungs.

Dab Mat

A dab mat is a non-stick surface placed underneath your rig to protect your table from anything that drips.


A timer helps ensure that you heat your nail to the correct length.

The Process: How to Dab in 7 Steps

Now that we've covered the basics, let's dive into the step-by-step process of how to dab.

1. Get a Dab Rig

A dab rig, specifically designed for concentrates, is the first thing you'll need. Alternatively, you can convert a bong into a dab rig by replacing the bowl with a nail.

2. Choose a Nail

Nails come in various types, each with its pros and cons. Choose one that suits your preferences and needs.

3. Add Water

Like any water pipe, add water to your rig. When you pull from the pipe, the water should bubble without reaching your mouth.

4. Prepare Your Dab

Use your dabber tool to scrape up a small amount of concentrate. It's best to have the dab ready before you heat your nail.

5. Heat the Nail

Heat your nail for 30–45 seconds until it takes on a soft orange glow. After heating, let it cool for about 10 seconds before dabbing.

6. Apply the Dab

Using the dabber tool you just loaded up, apply the dab directly to the top of the nail. Use your carb cap now if you have one.

7. Inhale and Exhale

While the dab is touching the hot nail, inhale the vapor. Go slow, as dabs are hotter and more potent than a hit of smoke from the flower. Prepare to cough and lift off.

Dab Dosage: How Much is Enough?

A crucial aspect of dabbing is understanding the right size of a dab to take. Dabs range in potency but can be as high as 80%. A good rule of thumb is to start with a small dab (about half the size of a grain of rice) and work your way up as you get more comfortable.

Controlling the dab temperature

Once you've taken your first few dabs, you may notice it takes some finessing to get the proper heat and flavor. There are low-temperature dabs (450-600 F or 232-315 C), high-temperature dabs (600-900 F or 315-482 C), and cold start dabs to consider.

Dabbing Tips

To ensure a smooth and enjoyable dabbing experience, here are some tips:

  • Use high-quality concentrates from trusted retailers only.
  • Start with a low dosage and work your way up.
  • Timing and temperature are everything. Play around with your settings to see what you like best.
  • Keep your equipment clean. Alcohol and cotton swabs are critical.
  • Store your dabs properly to extend their lifespan.
  • Find a suitable, chill environment to dab with a solid surface to rest your rig.

With the information above, you can now embark on your dabbing journey. Remember to take it slow, respect the potency of dabs, and, most importantly, enjoy the experience!

Now that you understand the basics of dabbing, it's important to note the safety precautions associated with dabbing. First, always use a rig with a nail designed explicitly for concentrates. Ensure your nail is made of a material that can withstand high temperatures, such as quartz or titanium. Additionally, never leave your rig unattended while it's heated or in use; this could potentially be dangerous and lead to an accident. Furthermore, if you're using a torch to heat your nail, keep it away from flammable materials and allow it to cool before putting it away. Finally, always use a carb cap when dabbing; this will ensure that all the vapor is inhaled instead of wasted. These simple steps can help ensure your safety during each dab session and help make your experience more enjoyable!

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