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Dabbing: Everything You Need To Know

09 March 2023
Everything you need to know to take perfect dabs!
09 March 2023
12 min read
Dabbing: Everything You Need To Know

Read more
  • 1. What is a dab rig?
  • 2. Smoking vs dabbing
  • 3. What are the highest quality dabs?
  • 3. a. Rosin
  • 3. b. Live concentrates
  • 4. Parts of a dab rig
  • 4. a. Bong
  • 4. b. Nails
  • 4. c. Dabber tool
  • 4. d. Carb cap
  • 4. e. Torch
  • 4. f. E-nail
  • 4. g. Electric dab rig
  • 4. h. Silicon mat
  • 5. What can improve your dab session?
  • 6. How to dab the right way
  • 7. Cleaning
  • 8. The perfect dab: tips and tricks
  • 9. In conclusion

Dabbing is a new way of consuming cannabis and refers to the process of inhaling the vapor produced when heating the surface where the concentrate will heat up, but in order to do this, you’ll need a dab rig. Dabbing is a cleaner way of consuming concentrates, it basically consists of vaporizing your extracts and you only need a bong, a nail, and a torch!  As you’re probably aware, placing dried flowers into a bong, pipe, or blunt and lighting them on fire involves combustion. This process, which takes place at high temperatures, gives rise to a series of byproducts that aren’t good for human health. In contrast, because vaporization takes place at lower temps, it specifically targets the desirable phytochemicals, without volatilization of other molecules that are recreated and released during combustion.

Not only is it easier on the throat and lungs, but it tastes better too. If joints and bongs are small mallets, then dabs are sledgehammers! They deliver extremely high concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes into the lung at once, meaning it takes much less to feel the same effects. Instead of smoking an entire joint of mid-strength weed, you can simply hit up a small dab instead. Plus, they’ll satisfy you if your tolerance has reached the point where normal buds fail to get the job done. So if you're growing your own feminized seeds and are planning on making your own dabs at home, read along!


1. What Is A Dab Rig?

A dab rig is very similar to a bong used to vaporize cannabis concentrates, a dab rig filters the concentrates vapor through water and requires a nail or “banger” that is heated to hold the dabs and evaporate it. As you can see in the video below, our team had a small dab session at the 2019 edition of Spannabis, here you can see how a dab rig works and how to properly dab!



Dabs are basically any type of extract that can be smoked by placing it on a hot surface (nail, banger, or bowl), these dabs are basically budder, shatter, wax, or any other extraction that has a high THC concentration, these products are much more stronger than regular cannabis, for example, extractions can contain up to 90% THC while buds have about 10-15%.

There are several ways to make dabs but most of the methods are quite expensive, so if you cannot buy them at your local dispensary, you can learn how to make dabs with a hair straightener and other materials you probably have at home.

2. Smoking vs Dabbing

There are important differences between smoking and dabbing, now, there are right and wrong ways of dabbing but if you’re dabbing correctly you will be inhaling vapor instead of smoke like you would when smoking flower, this means that dabbing is a cleaner alternative.


Dabbing: smoking vs dabbing

Dabbing at the right temperature is a good way to consume cannabis without the dangers of smoking.

Also, when dabbing, you’ll be consuming around 95% of the cannabinoids present while smoking flower you are only inhaling 12%, and inhaling smoke so you are actually hurting your lungs, similar to the risks of smoking tobacco and this can be damaging to your lungs over time.

3. What Are The Highest Quality Dabs?

The start to the perfect dab is finding the most amazing concentrate! When you are looking through dispensary menus you will see so many concentrates that you can dab, it might be a little overwhelming. Here are a few tips to help you filter through the options at the store so you don't get stuck spending big bucks on some garbage concentrate.


Rosin might possibly be one of the harder concentrates to get your hands on in many markets. In places that have more established cannabis markets, you will find more options but in newer markets, it will be few and far between.  The biggest difference you will see with rosin is that there are no solvents being used during the extraction process. The way rosin is extracted is by heat and a whole lot of pressure. The machines used for the extraction process are called rosin presses. It is as simple as it sounds, the machines have two hot metal plates that are heated to the desired temperature of the extractor. The flower is placed in between the metal plates and then is pressed for a few minutes until the flower starts to ooze out delicious rosin.

Live Concentrates

When all else fails and you are not able to purchase any rosin then the next best concentrates would be any sort of live extract. Live extracts are made with fresh flowers that were flash-frozen before extraction. The reason for flash freezing the flower is to preserve all of the terpenes and cannabinoids inside of the flower. All live extracts will be significantly more flavorful and potent than any other concentrates on the market. Live concentrates are also extracted using Co2 which provides you with a cleaner and healthier alternative compared to other concentrates on the market. 

4. Parts of a dab rig

Dabbing has become known lately due to the legalization of cannabis, especially in the US.

Nowadays dabbing is super popular among avid consumers but even though it’s not super hard to do it, beginners need to know the different components to be able to use them properly.


A rig is a specialized pipe or bong that can be used for concentrates, the main difference between a bong and a dab rig being the nail which is the bowl used for dabbing.

Rigs come in different shape, sizes, and materials like silicon and glass, now, you will be able to dab in any rig but the best one depends on what it’s better suited for you and what you can afford. Remember if you are really looking to save money you can use the same bong for smoking flower. All you need to do is find the correct banger that will fit your glass stem on your bong. You should clean your bong in between switching from dabbing to flower to have the best flavor for both products.  


The nail is the most important part of the dab rig, this is the part you’ll heat in order to vaporize the extraction and then dab. 

Nails, bowls, or bangers need to withstand extremely high temperatures so you can find nails made out of different materials like quartz, glass, titanium, and ceramic, each one of them having its own pros and cons


Dabbing: parts of a dab rig

The parts of a rig.

  • Ceramic nails

Ceramic nails can’t withstand heating and cooling very well so they will eventually break and also take the longest to heat but is great at maintaining heat so you won’t have to heat it up as much as the other materials.

  • Quartz nails

Quartz nails have a good heat retention just like ceramic nails but it heats up really quickly so you don’t have to worry about heating it constantly but overheating can cause fractures so you have to be careful, also, quartz is super fragile so you will need to be careful not to drop it.

  • Titanium nails

For avid dabbers, titanium nails are the best type. Titanium is almost indestructible, so they won’t crack even if you drop them, they also heat up very quickly but it’s said that titanium nails can affect the flavor so it’s not the most recommended. Be careful when purchasing your titanium nail and make sure it is only made with titanium. Chinese titanium, aero space, and marine titanium are the things you want to avoid as best as you can. These contain other additives like iron, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen that may cause the titanium to become carcinogenic and dangerous. 

Dabber tool 

The dabber tool is a long tool that is used to pick up your concentrate and apply it to the heated surface (nail, banger, or bowl).

This tool also comes in different materials but there’s no big difference other than their durability, you can also find dab tools that come with a carb cap on one end, so you can cover the bowl as soon as you placed the concentrate in the bowl.


Dabbing: parts of a dab rig

The parts of a rig.

Carb cap 

The carb cap is an accessory that serves as a cap that regulates airflow and helps trap the heat on your nail, allowing you to inhale all the vapor.


The torch is needed to heat up the bowl, there are several models but they all work with butane, usually, when going to a smoke shop you’ll find refillable torches or a torch head that is attached directly to the butane refill.

Now, having a torch and a butane canister might seem dangerous but luckily for you, there are two alternatives: e-nails and electric dab rigs.


An e-nail is a tool that you place around your nail, this equipment goes directly in the power outlet and has a controller that lets, not only choose the temperature that better suits you but also maintain that temperature for as long as you want to.

Dabbing: e-nail vs electric dab rig

The differences between an e-nail and an electric rig.

Electric dab rig

An electric rig is similar to the e-nail with the main difference being that, while the electric rig is a complete dab rig that heats up electrically and comes with all the tools necessary to start dabbing right away, the e-nail is an accessory to improve your glass dab rig. If you are an avid dab smoker then you might want to invest in a nice quality electronic dab rig for the convenience of always getting the perfect dab to vaporize all the terpenes at the proper temperatures.

Silicon mat 

A silicon mat is no obligatory but it may make your life easier because, as you may know, dabs are quite sticky but the silicon mats are made with a special material that dabs won’t stick to, making it easier to manipulate your extracts.

5. What can improve your dab session?

If you’ve just started dabbing, you can use whatever you want as long as it works but if you’re looking to get serious about it, you should look for a rig designed for dabbing.

To help you choose the best one, here is what you should look for:


Size is an important factor to consider when buying a rig, you want as little distance from the nail to the mouthpiece (where the smoke comes out), this is because the longer the vapor travels, the more dab you lose and this happens because the vapor condenses on the walls of your dab rig, and you end up losing precious resin.


Dabbing: how to improve your dab session

The right size and proper filtration can improve the taste of your dabs!


Dab rigs can have percolators or filters that help cooling down the vapor but can also condense the vapor and you’ll end up losing part of your extract. 

Now, percolators and filters are good but you should look for percolators/filters with fewer holes and make sure the percolator also holds water so you don’t hurt your throat with the hot vapor.


Ice makes all the difference in the world when dabbing. Dropping an ice cube in your rig before taking a dab will offer you a cool, refreshing, flavorful hit saving you from those dreadful dab sweats. If your rig is too small to drop an ice cube you can leave it in the freezer for 20 minutes or so till some of the water starts to crystallize on the surface.

5. How to dab the right way

First of all, let's start by saying that even if you're a medicinal patient you can still dab, despite most concentrates having way more THC than CBD, by following the table below you are able to consume just the terpenes that you need to, benefiting from their therapeutic effects.


Terpene Temperature
Pinene 156°C
Myrcene 167°C
Caryophyllene 130°C 
 Limonene 176°C
Linalool 198°C


Taking a dab is not hard at all but due to the several tools, it’s harder than just rolling and smoking a joint.

One of the biggest challenges is to dab at the right temperature, so here are three basic steps to help you dab the right way!

  • Have all your tools ready

In order to dab, you need to have the blowtorch, dabber, rig, carb cap, and, obviously, your extraction ready so you can scop up the concentrate and take your dab right away.


Dabbing: dab the right way

The right temperature is one of the most important things when dabbing.

  • Go slow

Depending on the material, the heat emitted by your nail may heat up the rig and because it has water in it, can end up cracking so if you’re using a torch, it’s better to start heating the nail slowly until you reach the desired temperature.

  • Take your time

Once your nail is completely red, give it 1-1.5min to cool down so the vapor isn’t harsh on your throat, and then just place the dab on the nail and dab!

 Keep in mind that dabs are up to 5 times stronger than buds so you should be careful if you’re not an avid smoker.

6. Cleaning

Your rig should be cleaned thoroughly once every 1-2 weeks but water should be changed out daily for freshness. There is nothing that grows bacteria quicker than stagnant lukewarm water. Once you get into the routine of rinsing out your rig at the end of each night it will become like brushing your teeth. Rinsing daily can also save you some time on deep cleaning days. The nail or bowl should be cleaned after every dab because the leftover resin will burn if you heat it over and over, luckily for you, this is fairly simple.

After you’ve taken your dab, just use a q-tip to absorb the resin left in your nail or bowl, this will ensure you experience the proper flavor every time you dab.


Dabbing: cleaning

Material needed to clean your rig properly.

Now, after a couple of weeks of dabbing, you will see a lot of resin on the sides and percolator/filters and when this happens, it’s time to clean up the whole dab rig.

Cleaning your rig is fairly simple but takes a bit of time, to make it simpler we’ve come up with step-by-step instructions, you’ll need:

  • Salt
  • Alcohol
  • A large Ziploc bag

Step 1

Fill the Ziploc bag with rubbing alcohol and add around 4 tablespoons of salt.

Step 2

Put your dab rig in the bag, close it, and shake it for 1-2 mins.

Step 3

Check if your rig is clean, if there’s still some resin stuck to it just close the bag and shake it again.

Step 4

Rinse your dab rig with water to remove all the alcohol and salt, let it dry and it’s ready to be used again!

7. The perfect dab: tips and tricks

Tip 1

Use a silicone mat to prevent your dabs from sticking all over your table and also to keep your rig in place, a silicon mat serves as an anti-slip surface so you don’t risk dropping your dab rig.


Dabbing: tips and tricks

E-nails are a great way to dab at the right temperature and maintain it throughout your whole dab session.

Tip 2

Don’t overheat your nail, dabbing at just the right temperature ensure you don’t burn off the precious terpenes.

Tip 3

Always clean your nail after dabbing to prevent a buildup of burnt oil which will end up affecting how your dabs taste. 

You can use an infrared thermometer (Temp. gun) if you want to take dabbing to another level but most dabbers just wait for the nail to turn red and wait 1-2min, depending on the density of the smoke they desire.

8. In conclusion

Dabbing is one of the newer easy to consume cannabis, although dabbing is more popular amongst avid cannabis consumers, it’s a great way to smoke without actually carburating weed but remember that dabs are concentrates and can be overwhelming for beginners. It is important to note that since dabbing is so new in cannabis culture we have no real long-term studies on the effects of dabbing concentrates extracted with butane and other harsh chemicals. So make sure you do your research and decide if dabbing is right for you.

It doesn't matter if you dab oil, dab wax or you're dabbing shatter, if you’re an avid dabber, feel free to leave your tips and tricks to help fellow smokers, leave a comment in the comment section below!