Dabbing Explained: Nails, Bangers, and Rigs, Oh My!

Dabbing Explained: Nails, Bangers, and Rigs, Oh My!

After traditional smoking, dabbing is arguably the fastest-growing method of consuming cannabis. And it’s not hard to see why. Because you are inhaling concentrated marijuana, dabbing allows you to feel the strong effects of THC very quickly, which is especially helpful if you’re seeking rapid relief from significant pain or extreme nausea.*

“Dabs” — the concentrated doses of cannabis used in dabbing — are also very affordable, flavorful, easy to store, and emit very little odor. And since all flower material is removed when marijuana concentrates are created, dabbing can also be a much cleaner way of smoking cannabis.

Let’s take a closer look at this powerful and popular method.

“Dabs” are concentrated cannabis.

Marijuana concentrates are created by passing a solvent through — or applying heat and pressure to — finely ground cannabis or fresh flower material in order to isolate and extract THC and other desired chemical compounds.

The resulting varieties of concentrates are typically given names according to their texture. Varieties of dabs include wax, shatter, sugar, budder, badder, sauce, crystalline, live resin, rosin, honey oil, and butane hash oil (BHO).

Dab Rigs are similar to bongs.

Dabbing involves the use of a glass pipe (called a “dab rig”) and the extreme heating of a dab with a small, butane hand torch or electronic nail (or enail).

Instead of a bowl, however, the dab rig features a metal or quartz “nail” or “banger” attachment, which is heated up. Once it reaches the desired heat, you use a “dabber tool” to place the dab on it. As the concentrate burns away, you inhale the vapor through the glass pipe. A “carb cap” covers the top of the nail, trapping the heat and lowering the pressure and vaporization temperature of all the cannabinoids and terpenes.

There are many different styles of bangers that can adjust how fast dabs are vaporized, as well as how many pieces can be dabbed at one time.

If you are a first-time dabber, or if using a dab rig is overwhelming, dab pens are also an option. Similar to e-cigarettes or vape pens, dab pens let you take single hits of solid concentrates, and are portable and discreet.

A little dab’ll do ya.

Not only is dabbing cleaner than traditional smoking, but the THC potency of dabs are typically much higher (between 50-90%) than flower (between 10-25%). This potency can cause you to feel the effects of the THC very quickly — often as soon as the vapor leaves your lungs.

In other words, it doesn’t take much for a dab to make you extremely high. (Some compare the effect to smoking as many as a dozen joints at one time.)

Start with a very small dab at the lowest possible temperature to ensure you have a safe and positive experience.

Read before you dab.

While dabbing is very popular among experienced cannabis users, it is arguably the most complicated consumption method. Due to the intense heat involved, dabbing can be dangerous and care must be taken.

We should also mention that poorly made concentrates can include unwanted and unhealthy levels of solvents, mold, and pesticides. Before you try dabbing, make sure you have a reliable and consistent source of safe and quality concentrates. Ask an experienced user or budtender for suggestions.

LivWell makes no claims regarding the health and medical benefits of cannabis.

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