Smoking Concentrates

Dabbing 101

How to Smoke Concentrates

By Ethan Bresner

In this post, we’re talking advanced stoner stuff. If you’re a casual weed smoker, you might want to go ahead and skip this one. If, on the other hand, you’re trying to get so high that you forget how to chew food, please continue.

Dabbing is kind of weird. I’ll admit it. It looks and feels kinda’ like doing real drugs. I mean, anything that involves a butane blow torch is kind of going to give off that vibe. That being said, just empirically, concentrates are your best bet at getting realllllllllllly high. Not to mention, it’s a pretty cheap way to do it. Even if you buy more expensive concentrates, at least until your tolerance goes up, dabbing is much cheaper than smoking flower.

Tip: Tolerance breaks become important if you’re a concentrate smoker

Dab Interstellar Concentrates Live Resin

Dab setup basics

So how do you smoke concentrates? Well, you’re going to need some stuff. The startup costs with smoking concentrates are a little bit higher than with other forms of weed smoking. You’ll need a torch, a can of butane, a dab rig, and a pokey tool (I don’t really know what actually to call a ‘pokey tool’ but ‘thingy’ also works and is used extensively in my household). My suggestion for just getting started is to try small and build up. You can always buy more high quality and hardcore setups as you go piece-meal, but before you go full-hog, make sure you like it. Honestly, dabbing isn’t for everyone. I’m an occasional dabber myself, and a regular flower smoker. Most people who make the switch to concentrates in my experience smoke exclusively concentrates, but I think for me, I enjoy the sort of romantic quality that you get from rolling a joint and smoking it with friends.

So how do you dab?

Well, first, you’re going to need to heat your nail. There are lots of different types, sizes, and materials that you can use for a nail. My personal preference is to use one that is made out of quartz. They’re a little bit more expensive than glass or metal, but I find the heating and cooling is a little more regulated. The metal ones get a little too hot too quick for me, and I found that the cheap Chinese-made glass ones carbonize and get dirty. How thick or thin you want the quartz to be depends on what type of dabs you like to do. Want to be doing hot ones that will hit you hard and be real harsh, kinda like a shot of high proof liquor? Get something a little on the thinner side. They’ll heat up easier and quicker.

DNA Gardens - Live Resin-1

High temps or low temps?

I tend to like doing lower temperature dabs, and if you want to get really advanced with it, you can buy e-nails that will allow you to set those temperatures precisely as you see fit. E-nails are pretty spendy, though. So my move was to use what’s called a thermal cap. It’s like a circle with two tubes sticking out on either end. They work best with thicker glass. My strategy for doing low-temperature dabs is to get the nail super-hot. It burns off any residue and gets it evenly heated. Then I set a timer on my phone (for my setup, it’s about a minute, but every setup will be different). Wait for the nail to cool down. Drop a little bit of resin in the bowl and immediately cap it with the thermal cap. You want to rotate the cap so that the air-flow circulates around the bowl. I was an English major, so I won’t even attempt to explain why this works. Something to do with gravity, but the specifics are honestly beyond me. When you inhale, be careful not to take sharp hard inhalations — nice and easy ones from your chest. I like to stand up when I do dabs so that my lungs are a little more fully expanded.

Dabbing is, for sure, a super harsh way to smoke weed. The low-temp dabs help a little bit, but even then, you’re likely to cough for a loooooong time until you get used to it.

So what’s the difference between smoking flower and dabbing?

When I smoke flower, it makes me feel hazy. I like that. My vision is a little bit affected, my head is in the clouds, etc. I find that the high from concentrates is a much more clean feeling. If you’re smoking a super euphoric strain – you feel euphoric. Sleepytime strain – you’re going to sleep. The flavors of concentrates, especially when you’re doing low temp dabs, are honestly just better. The flavors themselves are so clean that once you get past the point where you cough until you think you’re going to die, you’ll be smacking your lips after doing a dab like you’re at a pretentious wine tasting. The high with dabs in my experience hits you really hard. There’s no real buildup like there is with flower — no creepers in the world of dabbing. You’re just super high all of a sudden. I also find the high fades out much more quickly and completely with flower too. There isn’t as much linger for me.

Nice and Neat

Now these are all anecdotal reactions. I can’t say that it’s the same for everyone, but with most people that I know, these are pretty consistently held opinions when it comes to concentrates.

If a joint is a cocktail, a dab is a fine whiskey served neat. If you go on youtube, you’ll see a bunch of ridiculous people doing ridiculous dabs. Nothing wrong with that if you feel like tossing 35$ into a bowl, inhaling some of it, mostly wasting it, and being probably about the same amount of high you would have been otherwise. But huge dabs do lead to huge tolerance increases. So while you’re getting used to it, try to do the tiniest ones you can. A gram of concentrate will last you forever. No need to be a wacko about it when you’re just getting started – a little dab will do you.

For more on dabbing check out this posts: Dabs 101: Concentrates and Consistencies

Ethan Bresner

Ethan Bresner

Cannabis Culture

Ethan Bresner is a bartender and freelance writer living in Seattle, Washington. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst with a degree in Literature, Ethan decided to pursue his passion for cooking, eventually returning to school to get a degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales. After many years working in kitchens on both coasts, he transitioned to bartending. When he isn’t working, he spends most of his time exploring with his dog, ‘The Lady Dogmeat’ whether that means checking out a Mexican restaurant an hour away or exploring some of the beauty that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

*All information, content, and material of this website is for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.

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