By: Chad Davis


‘Dabbing’ can get you faded faster than chugging a double IPA can get you buzzed. Dabs — the latest trend among stoners — are considered to be one of the most efficient methods for consuming marijuana concentrates. Dabbing has been around for more than a decade; however, the craft of extracting concentrates from the cannabis plant is finally taking off as a result of the exploding marijuana market. This new niche of marijuana brings a wide variety of cannabis-infused products and accessories. While vaporizers are traditionally used for concentrate consumption — such as vape pens with disposable hash oil cartridges — dabs deliver an extremely potent alternative to electronic smoking devices.


The term “concentrates” applies to any marijuana-infused product procured with some form of the extraction process. When it comes to choosing the right concentrate for dabbing, you have a few options available; Shatter, hash, oil and wax are sold at most marijuana dispensaries and work well with a ‘dab rig.’

Dab Rigs

Dab Ring

“Brontosaurus Dab Rig” by Steven Schwartz via Creative Commons

Before you dabble in the world of dabbing, you’re going to need the right equipment. The term ‘dab’ generally refers to the small amount of concentrate you’re heating up before consumption. Dab rigs are specifically manufactured for taking dabs of concentrate. These devices resemble glass bongs — or water pipes — with intake attachments for ‘dunking’ your dabs.


If you already own a glass bong, you can purchase dab attachments at dispensaries and headshops to create your own dab rig. A ‘skillet’ or pad replaces your bong’s original bowl and is typically made of quartz or titanium. Special dab tools, which resemble long, thin metal ‘pokers,’ help you scoop up your concentrates to dab onto the skillet.


Hash nails are another common heating element you can use for dabbing. Depending on your setup, you may also need a ‘dome’ attachment for your rig. The dome fits over the nail with a very small hole on top which contains the vapor inside the water pipe.


The final tool required for dabbing is a torch. It is important that you operate a torch in a safe environment and eliminate any risk of fire or injury. You can purchase smaller handheld torch’s with safety switches at most headshops.


To prepare for dabbing, carefully ignite the torch and point it directly on your rig’s heating element — such as a skillet or nail — for at least ten seconds. Turn off the torch, dab the concentrate onto the heating element with your dab tool and then immediately inhale the smoke through the water pipe.


Make no mistake — the process of concentrate extraction is not only tricky but also dangerous. According to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, in Colorado last year there were “32 butane explosions involving hash oil — nearly three times the number reported throughout 2013.” As of July 1st, 2015, it is a felony to extract concentrates at home with “inherently hazardous substances.” Fortunately, you can purchase concentrates at most dispensaries to avoid blowing up your basement of craft beer. While Butane Hash Oil — or BHO — is one of the most popular and potent types of concentrate, the use of butane raises many health concerns. And of course the torch isn’t the safest thing to use in your living room. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself higher than you have ever been the first time you take a dab.