What Is a Dab? A Guide to Marijuana Dabs & Concentrates

Experienced and novice cannabis users alike have probably heard of dabbing. No, not the popular dance move that young people are doing everywhere. Instead, we are talking about dabbing as part of the cannabis industry.

Though the words “dab” or “dabbing” are frequently heard, knowing what they are can be confusing. After all, two meanings can go with it. Confusing huh?

Defining a Dab

The word “dab” is suitable for use both as a noun and a verb (didn’t know you’d be getting a vocabulary lesson, did you?).

First, as a noun, dab is a blanket term for cannabis concentrate. There are many different types of concentrates, but people most often use the word dab to refer to:

Second, as a verb, dab refers to inhaling cannabis concentrates using specific equipment (a dab rig).   

So, you can dab some dab with friends.

Your Guide to Dab Concentrates

Now that we know what dab means, what are cannabis concentrates to which it refers?

The production of cannabis concentrates involves extracting the most desirable parts of a marijuana plant. They are typically created by putting cannabis flowers in a solvent, allowing makers to gather the material they want.

The final product can be made into different forms and have different textures. This is what sets each type of concentrate apart. For example, shatter is a thin, brittle substance that will break apart when handled. One places the dab pieces on a nail to dab.

Wax, on the other hand, is a stickier substance. It can’t be broken up, but instead, small amounts can be scooped out of the container and used to dab.

Not all concentrates have to be inhaled via dabbing. Sometimes, users smoke concentrates, like kief. Others can be used in vape pens. Other times, users may choose to break up their concentrate (like shatter) and sprinkle it onto a joint or onto food and eat it independently. For many concentrates, dabbing is the most effective way to consume them and reap their benefits.

The Benefits of Cannabis Concentrates

The Benefits of Cannabis Concentrates

Cannabis concentrates have become increasingly popular for many reasons:

  • They are potent, so a little goes a long way. Cannabis buds tend to range between 15 percent and 25 percent THC (with 25 being considered high). But concentrates will generally have between 50 percent and 80 percent THC, allowing users to get a powerful high with just a tiny amount of product.
  • They are more flavourful. The process cannabis flowers go through to get to you, then the process they go through when you burn them to smoke them can damage their terpene profile, which dictates the bud’s flavour and aroma. The making of the concentrates preserves the bud’s terpene profile, leaving users with a more flavourful product.
  • They are fast-acting. Because of the high THC concentration and the way concentrates are inhaled, users can experience almost near-immediate effects. Other cannabis products, like edibles, can take 30 minutes or longer to take effect.

With their potency, flavourful experience, and ability to offer immediate effects, it’s no wonder concentrates are quickly becoming the product of choice for many marijuana users.

Dabbing Isn’t for Everyone

Before you purchase cannabis concentrates to dab, it’s essential to take time to think about whether or not dabbing is the best option for you.

As discussed earlier, dabs are very potent and contain high THC levels (though some non-intoxicating versions, like CBD ones, are available). Because they are so powerful, they may not be the best consumption method for novice cannabis users. Instead, start with less-powerful products like cannabis flowers or even some edibles.

Dabbing also requires specific equipment. To dab, you’ll need:

  • A dab rig
  • A dab tool
  • A concentrate
  • A nail
  • A torch
  • A carb cap (optional, but recommended)

If you don’t have all this or have the funds to buy it all, you might not be able to use your dab, and it might go to waste.

Dabbing is also more complicated to do than just smoking a joint or using a vape pen. It can take a few tries to get the hang of it. Because of this, beginners may want to try other methods then build up to dabbing.

Experienced users looking for a new way to use cannabis or want more potent effects may find dabbing an excellent option. Just remember that concentrates are potent. You should still plan to start with a smaller dose and can increase it (in small amounts) as needed to get the effects that you desire.

Dabbing Isn’t for Everyone

Storing Dab and Concentrates

As we’ve said, dab concentrates are potent, so you likely won’t use your entire stash in one session. Properly storing your dabs is essential in helping them maintain their flavour and potency.

When it comes to storing dab concentrates, you’ll want to keep them in a cool, dark, and dry place. Light, high temperatures, and moisture can impact your product and cause it to break down over time.

How exactly you’ll want to store your dab depends on the type of concentrate you have. Wax, for example, should be spread on parchment paper, rolled up, and placed in an airtight container. You can put the others in an airtight container.

Don’t hesitate to ask your dispensary how best to store your product between uses.

Final Thoughts

Dabbing refers to types of cannabis concentrates and the method many people use to consume them.

Dab concentrates are becoming more popular, thanks to their potency and the robust flavour they offer users. With different types of concentrates on the market, users can try to see which consistency they prefer and works best.

Finally, dabbing isn’t for everyone. Novice cannabis users may find concentrates too potent and dabbing too complicated to do on their first try. Instead, start with a less-potent product. Experienced users should also be aware of the potency of dab concentrates and adjust their use to match their tolerance level.

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