Taking a dab can be intimidating! The tools are bewildering, and the process can be confusing for inexperienced dabbers. Most people need help doing their first dab. Still, not everyone has access to friends or family with cannabis experience. Not everyone feels comfortable asking these questions in person. So, we’re going to highlight everything you need to know about dabbing before you walk into a dispensary.

Dabbing Cliff Notes

Dabbing is all about high potency and rapid onset. Whether you’re an enthusiast who prefers a potent experience or a medical patient who needs powerful, reliable, and fast-acting relief, dabs are the golden goop that gets you high. That is why we use the term “dab” because the cannabis oil is so concentrated, you only need a tiny amount.

The cannabis concentrates you use for dabbing are available in many different potencies, forms, and textures. The strength of the THC concentrate comes down to the way it was processed. BHO (Butane Hash Oil ) tends to be more cost-effective but less potent than live resin or live rosin.

Either way, if you’re shopping for weed concentrates, you’re going to have a choice of textures, including oil, wax, shatter, budder, sugar, crumble, kief, and hash. Depending on the tools you want to use, some textures will be better than others. But, at the end of the day, the choice comes down to personal preference; you can’t really go wrong with any of them.

Read more about how we achieve different concentrate textures on our blog, “Different Textures of BHO (Sugar, Shatter and Wax).

When shopping for dabs in a dispensary, the most important things to consider are:

  1. The dabbing method or dab tools you want to use.
  2. The cannabis flavors and aromas you prefer.
  3. The cannabis sensations you prefer.

In this article, we are focusing on dabbing tools, methods, and best practices. But TCS budtenders are pros at helping customers find strains they’ll love on our ever-changing dispensary menu. Follow the links to see which brands and strains we have available at each of our dispensary locations.

4 Best Ways to Take a Dab

Each dabbing method has its own ideal process and difficulty level. Some of the dab tools (ex: butane torch) are dangerous and need to be used responsibly. So we want you to consider your experience and comfort level when shopping for them. Here, they are ordered from easiest to most difficult.

  1. THC Vape Pen or ‘Cart’
  2. Dab Pen
  3. Nectar Collector
  4. Oil Rig

THC Vape Pen or ‘Cart’

Although not technically dabbing, using a cannabis cartridge is the easiest and most convenient way to consume THC concentrates. THC vape pens come in two parts. (1) a cartridge filled with cannabis oil, (2) a battery that may or may not have an on/off button. To take a hit, you pull and inhale on the mouthpiece. Pens are great because you get all the delicious terpene flavors. Still, the potency won’t be as powerful without sacrificing taste.

Using a THC Cart Steps

  1. Attach the cartridge to your battery. Make sure it’s snug but be careful not to over-twist and strip the threads.
  2. If your pen has a button, click it 5x to turn it on. Look for the blinking light to confirm that it’s begun to warm up.
  3. Press the button down and inhale for 2-5 seconds. Vape pens can have dry hits so take it easy when you pull. Anything longer than a few seconds can be an intense experience.

Dab Pen

Dab pens, also known as wax vaporizers, are electronic devices that require you to load your THC concentrates onto a coil that heats up and vaporizes your concentrate. They’re a little more complicated to use than the ready-to-toke cartridge pens. There is an upside, though! Dab pens allow you to dab a range of cannabis concentrate textures like sugar, wax, and hash. They’re also much more portable than a dab rig, making them very popular with our customers. Find TCS oil vape pens.

Using a Dab Pen Steps:

  1. Turn it on. A dab pen will have a button somewhere near the base; press it 5 times to turn it on and 5 times again to turn it off. A blinking light will let you know it’s on and the coil is heating up.
  2. Load the dab pen with concentrate. Use a dab tool to scoop up a bit of your concentrate and gently tap it onto the coil.
  3. Prime the wick. Before taking a hit from the mouthpiece, hold the button for two seconds. It will begin to melt your dab a bit which prevents a dry hit.
  4. Take a hit by holding down the power button and inhaling the vapor through your pen’s mouthpiece.

Nectar Collector

Nectar Collectors or dab straws are used by heating up the tip and touching it to a dab of concentrate while inhaling through the straw. Both the pull and flavor will be intense because nectar collectors are so direct to the concentrate. They can be made from metal, silicone, or blown glass (which yields the best flavor, in our opinion). A traditional nectar collector requires you to use a butane torch. Still, you can also find electronic dab straws that heat up on their own. Nectar collectors are better for experienced dabbers because dosing is more difficult to control. First-time dabbers can quickly go beyond their limits without realizing it.

Using a Nectar Collector Steps:

  1. Portion your dab onto a clean, heat-resistant surface. An empty concentrate pot or honey pot will work.
  2. Heat the tip. Depending on the kind of dab straw you use, you’ll either turn the device on or heat it up with a butane torch.
  3. Position the tip near the oil. Instead of placing the tip directly on the concentrate, touch it with the sides to maximize your dab.
  4. Pull through the straw. Like the way you would use a straw for drinking a milkshake, pull firm and slow to get the most out of your hit.

Dabbing Rig

Like a bong, dab rigs filter concentrate vapor through water before it’s inhaled. Many people use their flower bong as the base, then add a quartz, ceramic, or titanium banger, which is used to hold the wax. The process for taking a dab using an oil rig can be overwhelming. Because it requires using a butane torch, the process calls for special safety considerations. If you do not want to use a torch, consider an “e-nail.” An E-nail is an electronic heating element that attaches to your dab rig, which saves you the risk of lighting your eyebrows on fire.

Using a Dab Rig Steps:

  1. Collect your tools. Timing is essential, so you want to make sure you have everything you need within your arm’s reach. Grab your banger, butane torch, concentrate, and dab tool. Set up the dab rig by putting the banger into your water pipe.
  2. Heat the banger using a butane torch. Lite your torch and plate its flame directly on the banger so that the blue interior flame is barely grazing the bowl. Hold the flame there until your banger is red hot (about 30 seconds), and then remove the flame and turn off your torch.
  3. Wait for the banger to cool to temperature. The bowl is way too hot right after you remove the flame, so wait 15-30 seconds before dropping in your concentrate.
    Scoop up your THC concentrate. The 20-ish seconds of cooling time you need is just the right amount to grab your dab tool and scoop up your dose of wax.
  4. Drop the wax into your banger and inhale on the mouthpiece of your bong. Moving the dab tool around inside the banger will help you melt off the sticky residue that can get stuck at the end.
  5. Top your banger off with your terp pearl, which helps to move air around the banger. Swirl the terp ball around your banger while you inhale to make sure you get every bit of concentrate.
  6. Clean your banger with isopropyl alcohol and a q-tip. One of the main benefits of vaporizing concentrates is the vibrant terpene flavor. A dirty banger will yield burnt and bitter flavors.

Dabbing Responsibly

  • Safely Using a Butane Torch
    A butane torch is essentially a flame thrower and can be very dangerous if used carelessly. Stay alert while you’re using the torch and make sure that no flammable materials are in your area. Never point the torch towards any part of your body.
  • Don’t Touch a Hot Banger
    The banger will remain hot for several minutes after you remove the flame. Avoid touching it until you’re sure that it has cooled off.
  • Dose Mindfully
    Regardless of the type of concentrate, dabs are an extremely potent way to consume cannabis. It’s easy to go way beyond your limits very quickly. So we recommend a conservative scoop. It should be smaller than a grain of rice.

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