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10 Tips to achieve the ultimate dabbing experience

Published Jul 17, 2022 01:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Roman Budnyi

Dabbing is an art form enjoyed by millions of enthusiasts from around the world, and some say it’s the best way to indulge. Without excess plant materials, dabs deliver a highly potent hit of cannabinoids well suited to experienced consumers and medical patients. There’s no doubt about it, dabbing is pretty fantastic, but if you want to get the most out of this experience, then we highly suggest trying these ten tips and tricks.

1. Invest in an electric nail or portable dabber

Old school dabbing with a torch and nail is how most enthusiasts start out because it’s more affordable than investing in a high-quality automatic rig, but once you’ve decided this is for you, we highly recommend making the switch to something a little more modern like an electric nail or portable dab tool. With these tools you’ll never again have to guess the temperature, nor will you have to wait so long for the piece to warm up, making the whole process easier, and less stressful.

2. Use only pure dabs

Most dabs like wax, budder or shatter should leave behind no residue, assuming your temperatures are correct and you’re not overloading the nail. However, some, like BHO are sure to tarnish a dab rig, in some cases rendering them unusable without a heavy-duty clean. Though they may be more affordable, it’s best to steer clear of dirty concentrates as they might cause you and your rigs too many problems to be worth it.

3. Experiment to find the best temperature

There are safe ranges to stay within when it comes to dabbing, to avoid the harshness that comes from taking things a step too far and creating combustion or having nothing happen at all, but there is quite a lot of room in between and every enthusiast seems to have a slightly different preference. Some love cold dabbing, while others like it hot, so play the field a bit until you find one that delivers the hit you crave, without too much fuss.

4. Always use a dab tool

A stoner's ingenuity knows no bounds, so it’s not uncommon to find dabbers using everything from bobby pins to old keys to scrape up and drop concentrates without getting burned, but there’s nothing better for this job than a good old-fashioned dab tool. They leave plenty of room between your fingers and the heat and come in a multitude of shapes making it easier to direct and manipulate each dab without losing it to the heat. Yes, it’s another thing to buy, and remember on the go. However, the difference is arguable more than worth the hassle.

5. Choose your containers wisely

Cannabis concentrates often come in containers that aren’t necessarily the best for those who want to use them for dabbing, as this method requires breaking, scooping, and grabbing just the right amount, which forces the user to warm the container with the heat of their hand, resulting in a sticky mess that spreads around the container, making it really hard to gather and grab it all. For this reason, we highly recommend silicone containers, as they really help to cut down on the about of waste that’s left clinging to the packaging.

6. Keep alcohol on hand at all times for cleaning

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Dabbing is fun, but it can also get messy, and once a single drop of that powerful cannabis concentrate hits a surface it can be really difficult to remove, especially if it’s left to sit and harden. For that reason, it’s a good idea to keep alcohol wipes on hand, as they will help to break up the gooeyness, making it fast and effortless to wipe up small splatters as soon as they happen.

7. Don’t forget that reclaim

It’s not uncommon to see dabbers wipe off the nail between each use, keeping it clean and ready for the next hit, but if you notice a significant amount of buildup, then don’t be afraid to get in there with that dab tool we mentioned earlier to scoop up this reclaim. The colour may be slightly off. Still, it’s the same fantastic concentrate you paid for, so don’t waste it, and get another hit or two instead. This will ensure you utilize every single drop of that high-quality product, stretching your stash and making it feel so much more worth it for the price.

8. Clean your nail between each dab

A resinous film between the freshly dropped dab and a hot nail will interfere with contact, making it more difficult to vaporize all of the delicious extracts, without turning up the heat. Adding a few more degrees may work for a while. Still, it won’t take long before you’ll be combusting the dabs rather than vaporizing them, making each inhale stronger, harsher, and a bit rougher on your lungs. Skip that mess, by keeping alcohol-soaked cotton swabs nearby, which make frequent cleaning a breeze.

9. Take only as much as you need

It’s easy to go overboard with dabbing, and difficult to measure precise hits of concentrate, but it’s important to pay close attention until you find the right about for you because taking any more than that will only leave you coughing. Too much, and you probably won’t even be able to inhale it all, leaving the expensive cannabinoids to go up in literal smoke. It’s not a competition, and there’s no need to make yourself uncomfortable in the name of taking a bigger hit than someone else, so take it easy, and use only as much as you need.

10. Protect your workspace with a dab mat

When all of the fun is said and done, you’ll want to be able to pack everything away, so you can utilize the surface for something else, and that’s going to be difficult to do if it’s covered in sticky goo from wax or melted shatter, which can be insanely difficult to clean without turning to abrasive chemicals and cleaners. So don’t forget to protect your workspace before diving right in, to minimize the potential for damage to furniture.

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