How to Take the Perfect Dab
What makes a perfect dab? For us, it’s all about timing, temperature, and technique. Other essential ingredients for properly taking dabs include quality concentrates and a clean banger. But don’t worry, friends, you’ll know it when you experience it — and we’re here to help you get there. Here’s everything we’ve learned about how to dab properly.
How to take a dab like a concentrate connoisseur
When taking a dab, there are a few essentials we need to get right to achieve the best, more flavorful hits.
1. Stick to high-quality concentrates
Before we start thinking about how to take dabs, the first thing we need to do is ensure we have quality concentrates to begin with. Just like we wouldn’t smoke some moldy bud, we shouldn’t dab low-quality extracts. Unfortunately, the quality of concentrates is notoriously hard to assess. To avoid second-rate concentrates, we should buy our extracts from a licensed dispensary, not some sketchy guy who might blow his house up next week thanks to his shoddy blasting technique.
Sure, we might be able to score some shatter at a bargain, but is saving a few bucks worth more than our health? Not to mention the undetermined effects from long-term consumption of concentrates riddled with solvents, pesticides, heavy metals, and other contaminants.
Now that we’ve scared ourselves straight, let’s look for high-quality concentrates that have been lab-tested by a third party. If necessary, we can ask for lab results from a dispensary or the brand. Concentrate quality varies based on the extracts starting material, the extraction process, and storage methods.
For the ultimate dabbing experience, we should look for high-terpene full-spectrum extracts (HTFSE) or, if none are available, traditional full-spectrum extracts (FSE) from a solid company are a safe bet.
Full-spectrum extracts are the gold standard. Not only do they contain a high amount of cannabinoids, the therapeutic building blocks of marijuana, but are also rich in terpenes, the aromatic compounds that sting and delight our noses all at once with a bouquet of sweet, sour, earthy, skunky, or gassy aromas.
Some research suggests that whole-flower products — that is, products containing the strain’s entire, original chemical profile — contain compounds that work synergistically to elevate the health benefits of cannabis.
Solvent-based concentrates aren’t the only high-quality dabs in town. Solventless concentrates are some of the terpiest and tastiest dabs around.
2. Make sure we’re equipped with the right dab tools
Now that we know which concentrates to scope out at our local dispensary, it’s time to talk about what type of dabbing tools we need to get the job done. Essentials include a dab rig, nail, carb cap, and dabber.
Dab Rig and Nail
For optimal flavor, a small rig with a quartz nail is our best bet. Giant bongs are great for cooling and filtering smoke when we’re ripping some flower, but dabbing is all about milky vapor — and we want to taste it. Click here for a complete rundown of how to use a dab rig.
Concentrates are expensive and notoriously hard to handle. Pro tip: don’t touch, use a dabber. We can choose from shovel, scoop, pick, spatula, and other dabber tips designed to handle all the different consistencies of concentrates. Choosing the right dabber can prevent us from dropping crumble by mistakenly using a pick-style instead of a shovel tip.
Advanced accessories such as eNails let us maintain a consistent temperature without fumbling around with a blowtorch and braving the learning curve of heating our nail. eNails may cost a pretty penny, but they’re more than worth the upfront investment because they eliminate the trickiest element in perfecting our dab session.
A carb cap is an essential dabbing tool. We shouldn’t sleep on it, and don’t try to pass off our Gatorade cap, that won’t cut it. We can choose a simple flat top carb cap, but ideally, we’ll want to buy a directional carb cap or bubble carb cap to guide the airflow within our nail chamber and help us obtain a solid session at the lowest possible temperature.
So, these aren’t essential but they’ll definitely help us on our quest to perfection. Some of our favorite dab accessories include terp pearls and quartz inserts. Terp pearls swirl in the bucket of our banger, distributing heat evenly for efficient consumption of our concentrates. With terp pearls, we can dab every last drop of our concentrate without leaving a puddle in those hard-to-reach places. A perfect dab is definitely a low-temperature dab, and terp pearls will help us reach an effective but low temp.
Quartz inserts create a barrier between the wax and banger, making hot temperatures much more forgiving. If we are still perfecting our heat-up and cool-down times, an insert is a huge help. They are also a must for cold-start dabs. Plus, they keep our banger like new and are super easy to deep clean.
3. Understand the ideal dabbing temperature
Speaking of temperatures, achieving the perfect temperature for our dab is the holy grail. Low-temperature dabs are the most beneficial because they preserve terpenes and are gentle on our lungs.
Being familiar with the dimensions (bowl size and wall thickness) of our nail can help us determine how to heat it just right. We delve into detail on the different heat-up and cool-down times for various bangers here. It certainly takes some trial and error, but nobody reaches perfection without practice.
If we don’t want to mess around with a blowtorch, a timer, and a thermometer gun, investing in an eNail for complete temperature precision is a good idea. We simply set our eNail to the desired temperature and let the device do the rest. All we need to do is avoid burning ourselves with the hot coil.
4. Clean our dab tools regularly
We hate to sound like a nag, but there’s absolutely no way we can take the perfect dab with a dirty setup. Everyday maintenance is the best (and easiest) way to keep our tools clean. We should simply swab our nail out after each use with a q-tip. This will ensure a tasty dab every time.
How often we clean our rig depends on how often we use it, but a monthly deep-clean should get the job done. Cleaning our dab rig ensures we inhale the pure flavor and aroma of our concentrate without any whiff of reclaim.
5. Master advanced dabbing techniques
There are some techniques for advanced users that go beyond simply how to do a dab. Cold-start dabs, for example, are when we add the dabs into the nail first and use the tip of the torch flame to gently heat the bottom of the nail until our extract starts to bubble and condense into vapor.
As mentioned before, dabbing tools such as quartz inserts and terp pearls can elevate our dabbing game to the big leagues. Learning how to use these takes time and practice. If practicing means more dabs, we’re not complaining. Let our guides on terp pearls and quartz inserts help us conquer the learning curve.
6. Learn to control our inhalation
Controlling our inhalation is essential when taking a perfect dab. We should inhale slowly and steadily to ensure we’re getting the most out of our concentrates. Inhaling too quickly can cause harshness and even waste some of the precious vapor. It’s also important to remember not to hold our breath for too long, as this can lead to coughing and discomfort.
7. Experiment with different concentrates and rigs
Just like with other aspects of life, our dabbing preferences may evolve over time. Experimenting with different types of concentrates, such as shatter, wax, or live resin, can help us find the perfect combination for our taste buds and desired effects. Likewise, trying out various dab rigs and nails can help us discover the best setup for our needs. It’s all about finding what works best for us and enjoying the process along the way.
8. Don’t rush the process
Patience is key when it comes to dabbing. We shouldn’t rush the heating, cooling, or inhaling process. Taking the time to properly heat our nail, let it cool to the ideal temperature, and inhale at the right pace will ensure a smooth, enjoyable dabbing experience. Remember, practice makes perfect, and with time, we’ll become dabbing experts.
Mastering the art of taking the perfect dab involves understanding the importance of high-quality concentrates, using the right tools, knowing the optimal temperature, keeping our tools clean, and learning advanced techniques. It also includes controlling our inhalation, experimenting with different concentrates and rigs, and having patience throughout the process. With dedication and practice, we can elevate our dabbing game and enjoy a truly exceptional experience.