Flight Log 710: Dabbling with Dabs

Whether new to the cannabis community or a long-time connoisseur, dabbing can seem pretty intimidating. Between the thought of operating a torch, having an open flame in your living room, all the tools, not to mention the potency--it's normal to feel apprehensive about taking your first dab.

We're here to show you it's not as scary as it looks or sounds; join us as we walk through the terminology, tools, and steps for a successful dab session, whether it's your first or fifteenth time!

What's a Dab?

The short answer is: a highly concentrated dose of a cannabis extract, which is heated to a very high temperature and inhaled.

More specifically, “dabbing” refers to consuming highly concentrated cannabis extract by vaporizing it, then inhaling the vapor. Cannabis extract can be vaporized in various ways; -- so we'll list our top three below and give you a step-by-step guide on how to get started with each!

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The Water Rig

Arguably the most popular technique is a water rig. A water rig is a bong with a quartz or titanium nail in place of a glass bowl (pictured to the left!). These usually look somewhat like a bucket (but can be other shapes); quartz and titanium can be heated to high temperatures and repeatedly cooled without cracking, unlike glass, which is why this piece should be a different material than the rest of the rig.

Now that you have a rig and nail, the nail needs to be heated to an extremely high temperature. That's where your torch or e-nail comes in. You can find a torch at any smoke shop or kitchen supplies store (a flambe torch is perfect for small rigs-- you're welcome); however, an e-nail will be easier to operate. E-nails are more expensive, but a safer option without an open flame, so research and decide what’s best for you in your space.

Lastly, you'll need a carb cap. A carb cap is usually a smaller piece of glass or flat piece of metal and comes in many shapes and sizes. A carb cap's purpose is the same as the hole on a pipe: to create a vacuum that raises the temperature as you vaporize your oil (or smoke your flowers). We've gone through the essential supplies & vocabulary; let's dive into the steps for a successful dab on a water rig!

Step 1: Make sure your nail is clean, and there is water in your rig! Use the torch or e-nail to heat your nail until it is almost glowing red.

Step 2: Stop & wait! Let your nail cool down a little- taking dabs at a lower temperature preserves volatile terpenes and cannabinoids that you would otherwise be missing! (ideal temperature is between 500-600 degrees)

Step 3: Place a small amount of oil into the center of the bucket on your nail. 

Step 4: Place the carb cap on top of the opening of the nail. 

Step 5: Inhale, exhale, enjoy.

Step 6: Clean your nail using 90%+ alcohol and a q-tip to remove any remaining oil or char to ensure your next dab is as tasty as your last!

The Electronic Rig

As technology advances and stoners continue to innovate, newer and more portable replacements for the traditional water rig have become available such as the Puffco Peak, Peak Pro (pictured to the left), or Proxy (pictured below). These rigs make dabbing accessible to anyone with user-friendly, sleek, portable designs and, best of all, no open flames! To dab using a Puffco Peak, Pro, or Proxy, the steps are simple:

Step 1: Place a small dose into the atomizer chamber. 

Step 2: Press the button twice to preheat and wait for the device to buzz.

Step 3: Inhale, exhale, enjoy.

Step 4: Clean your chamber using 90%+ alcohol and a q-tip to remove any remaining oil or char to ensure your next dab is as tasty as your last!

The Dab Pen

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Our third and most portable method is the dab pen. No water or glass attachments are necessary for this method, dab pens will have an empty chamber to add your oil and have a heating element inside just like a vape pen. The Puffco Plus is our favorite dab pen, with a replaceable ceramic chamber and built-in dab tool, this is our #1 choice for a dab on the go. Here are the steps to a successful dab with a Puffco Plus dab pen:

Step 1: Place a small dab into the atomizer chamber. Use a smaller dab than you would in a Peak or water rig. The chamber in a dab pen is smaller and can get messy. 

Step 2: Press the button twice to preheat and wait for the button to blink for session mode, or press and hold the button while you inhale for a single dab.

Step 3: Inhale, exhale, enjoy.

Step 4: Clean your chamber using 90%+ alcohol and a q-tip to remove any remaining oil or char to ensure your next dab is as tasty as your last!