dabbing for beginners

Dabbing For Dummies

A definitive guide for those curious about smoking concentrates and how to do so properly.

By: Gazette Staff

Dabs are by far one of the most popular trends in the world of cannabis right now. As opposed to smoking cannabis flowers, dabbing lets you quickly vaporize cannabis concentrates. Sometimes called extracts, concentrates are made through a process of stripping out all the cannabinoids from cannabis plants. And because concentrates can have THC levels as high as 80%, dabbing can be one of the best ways to get an ultra-intense high or a powerful dose of medicine.

To tap into the power of dabbing you’ve got to have the right equipment and you’ve got to know what you’re doing. Just like our other beginner’s guides, this will walk you through everything you need to know about dabbing so you can see firsthand what all the hype is about.

What You’ll Need…

1. Cannabis concentrate: Wax, Shatter, oil, BHO, CO2, or solventless extracts like rosin will all work.

2. Water pipe: For dabbing, you’ll remove the glass bowl you usually use when you’re smoking and replace it with the nail.

3. Dabbing nail: Nails are typically ceramic, quartz, or titanium. Be sure you use one that fits your water pipe. Some nails require the use of a dome to trap the vapor before you inhale it. Other nails have holes in them that allow the vapor to move directly into the pipe.

4. Dome: Depending on how you’re dabbing, you might need a dome. This is usually a glass piece that slides over the top of the nail.

5. Blowtorch: A regular kitchen torch should do the job, but there’s nothing wrong with using a bigger, more powerful torch either.

6. Dabber or Wand: This is the tool that you use to actually pick up your concentrate and place it on the hot nail. They’re typically either glass, metal, or ceramic.

Shatter is what is referred to as very stable and glass like concentrates that more than likely will break into many pieces when dropped on a hard surface. Some shatter has some adhesive properties to it, while other kinds will be smooth to the touch.

Crumble has the driest consistency of all concentrates. Depending on how much it has been broken down, crumble should be able to break into desirable sized dabs before a session. Try to avoid using parchment paper and instead keep your crumble in a silicone or glass container with a lid.

Budder takes on the space between wax and crumble with a consistency that resembles peanut butter. Shatter eventually breaks down into budder with time and a little bit of heat. Budder can represent an abundance of terpenes, but can also mean that the material wasn’t purged enough.

Sometimes you’ll get concentrates that are are made with CO2 instead of Butane. This usually gives way to a slightly runny oil that tends to come in a syringe to guarantee practical application. You’ll probably want to keep oil in the syringe or a silicone container that you have lying around.

“We have been seeing an emergence of dabs over the last three years,” said John Stogner, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, who co-authored a paper on the subject. He added, “At a minimum, dabs are four times as strong as a joint, and the high is administered all at once.”

Most marijuana joints have about 15 percent THC, while most hash oils have a concentration of 60 to 90 percent. In November 2014, the Los Angeles Division of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reported 49 explosions related to marijuana administration processes like dabbing.

One of the biggest concerns regarding BHO is that inhaling butane might be unhealthy but the fact is, Butane is used in so many things we buy. From hairspray, cooking spray, e-cigarettes, flavor extracts … so it’s everywhere. Even so, the fact that butane is present in a number of consumer products doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s safe.

Bob Melamede, Ph.D. An associate professor of biology at the University of Colorado and the president/CEO of Cannabis Science Inc., Dr. Melamede is one of the world’s few experts on the human endocannabinoid system. “I looked through the National Library of Medicine database on this, and there isn’t any evidence that inhaling residual hydrocarbons like butane are dangerous – at least in small amounts,” says Dr. Melamede. “It’s an irritant, but that’s about it.”

But if we eliminate butane as a risk, are there other dangers involved in using BHO? “There’s very good evidence that smoking marijuana doesn’t harm the lungs, and I’m quite sure that smoking concentrates doesn’t either,” says Dr. Shackelford, Amarimed of Colorado, MD,. “The only real negative would be overdosing, which might make you uncomfortable for a while, maybe a little anxious or paranoid … but as far as a long-lasting physiological danger? I don’t think so.”

But, in fact, we know of at least one serious problem that has been reported: Last year, a young woman named Jessi was “blowing nails” of BHO when her throat suddenly swelled up, making it difficult to breathe. She was rushed to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with chemical epiglottitis, a condition in which the epiglott – the flap of skin that separates the esophagus from your trachea – becomes inflamed by an irritant (i.e. infection, heat, chemicals) and blocks off the windpipe. Luckily, Jessi was treated in time; if she hadn’t been, the condition could have been fatal. So if this is a possible consequence of dabbing – even one experienced by only a tiny percentage of users –
people need to be aware of it. But what actually caused this reaction?

“I very much doubt it was the butane or concentrate at all, but some other factor,” Dr. Shackelford says. “The volatile evaporative temperature of butane is extremely low – so if you’re heating it up, that butane is pretty much gone; any residual wouldn’t be a problem. There are a lot of different things it could’ve been … maybe it was just the temperature. You can actually get epiglottitis from hot coffee if you swallow it incorrectly.”

“I’d say the least likely of all was that it had anything to do with the butane,” Dr. Melamede concurs. “It could’ve been contaminants in the product … she might’ve had an allergy to something else that was concentrated.”

Dabbing For Dummies A definitive guide for those curious about smoking concentrates and how to do so properly. By: Gazette Staff Dabs are by far one of the most popular trends in the world

5 Dabbing Tips For Beginners

If you’ve never dabbed before, the process can seem a bit intimidating. But have no fear, dabbing can be a safe experience. Not to mention, it will give you a high that’s far more superior than the buzz you get off a bowl pack or bong. With that said, don’t let a little fire discourage you from dabbing. Dabbing is one of the most popular ways to consume cannabis for a reason. And by learning our dabbing tips for beginners, you’ll lose that rookie status in no time.

So, what exactly is a dab? To explain in definition, dabs are highly concentrated doses of cannabis. Also known as wax, shatter, butane hash oil (BHO), and budder, dabs are made by extracting THC and additional cannabinoids using butane or carbon dioxide. As a result, you have a lovely, sticky oil, which is practically semi-liquid gold.

Now that you know what a dab is, it’s time to cover the process of dabbing. In short, dabbing is heating a dose of concentrate on a hot surface, typically by using a nail, and inhaling it through an oil rig. It sounds simple, however, it just so happens to be one of the more dangerous ways to consume cannabis.

Although dabbing isn’t the safest way to consume cannabis, it can very well be a pleasant experience, if you know what you’re doing. Of course, when you involve fire of any sort, there’s always risks involved. Ultimately, though, anyone can dab, including you. And rest assured, you won’t be disappointed. By keeping these five helpful tips in mind, you’ll wonder why you didn’t try dabbing sooner.


When consuming cannabis in general, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids. Dabbing, however, can make your throat burn like no other, especially if you’re taking ginormous hits. Moreover, the nail itself is frequently heated to roughly 482 degrees Celsius.

Aside from dabbing being a rather hot method, keeping water nearby is highly recommended for other reasons as well. In fact, it can save you some embarrassment when it comes to taking your first hit. Of course, you’ll probably cough, but that doesn’t mean you have to choke up a lung. You may be a rookie, but you don’t have to flaunt it so.


Because dabbing can be a somewhat scary experience when you’re new to it all, it’s important to make certain that you’re comfortable when attempting to try it for the first time. Not only will this prevent you from feeling too overwhelmed or anxious, but it will also make the experience more pleasant overall.

Ultimately, cannabis concentrates have a high THC content, with many containing over 60%. Therefore, the high potency can cause some feelings of anxiety, especially for those that experience anxiousness when consuming cannabis in general. But by creating a relaxing and comfortable setting, you can alleviate all the negative vibes.


To enjoy the goodness that comes with dabbing, you need to make sure you don’t overdo it. People love dabbing for a reason, and you should be able to love it too. Not only do dabs provide a euphoric high like no other, but the flavors and aromas of the concentrates themselves are amazing. Equally important, dabbing provides quick and powerful relief. However, you cannot enjoy all of these benefits if you go too extreme when you’re a beginner.

Being that you’re a beginner, you need to start off slow by using a small dose. Again, dabbing can provide a compelling high, which may overwhelm a beginner. Therefore, starting with microdoses of concentrates is best. This way, you can get a feel for how much you need, and you can work your way up to higher doses over time.


Starting off with small doses can do wonders, however, you’ll still be pretty high when you dab for the first time; especially if you’re working with a sativa concentrate, which can be intense in general. And if you just so happen to consume too much, you’ll likely be glued to your couch for some time.

Your first-time experience is going to be a coin toss. You may be just fine, but on the other hand, you might want to do absolutely nothing. Therefore, picking a chill day with little to no plans would be ideal for your first-time dabbing. Not to mention, the high can last for hours, so you’ll need to spend some time winding down. So grab yourself some snacks, throw in a video game or movie, chill out, and enjoy your high.


If you’re a visual learner that needs one-on-one instructions, taking pointers from a pro may be what you need. Not only can they show you how to hit it, but they can more than likely provide you with tips on how to avoid burning yourself. Moreover, it will help you feel less confused about the process.

Equally important is the fact that beginners may waste oil. If you’re looking to get high, you want to make that oil last as much as you can. With this in mind, finding a friend to help you will save you a lot of trouble. Moreover, it will allow you to get a more stellar high.


All in all, dabbing is a terrific way to consume cannabis. Not only is it trending amongst cannabis consumers, but it also provides an out of this world high. However, it can be dangerous and scary when you are new to the world of dabs. But we all were once a rookie, and anyone can work their way up to pro status. By keeping these five helpful tips in mind, you can avoid a first-time bad experience.

Although dabbing isn't the safest way to consume cannabis, it can very well be a pleasant experience, if you know what you're doing. ]]>