Dabbing FAQs

Published Apr 26, 2022 09:00 a.m. ET
iStock / Roman Budnyi

Dabbing is quickly becoming a preferred method of consuming cannabis, but there are still a lot of people who don’t know enough about it to start or to get the most out of the experience. With that in mind, we’d like to introduce you to a simple explanation of what dabbing is, followed by ten common dabbing FAQs and answers.

What is dabbing?

Dabbing is the process of inhaling highly concentrated dabs through a vaporizer or dab rig.

1. What do I need to start dabbing?

Dabbing can happen with little more than a dab accessory and a compatible bong, but if you want to do it right, then you’re going to need a few handy essentials, including:

  • Dab rig, vaporizers, or similar device
  • Carb cap
  • Nail (made out of quartz, ceramic, or titanium) or electric nail
  • Butane torch
  • Dab mat
  • Timer
  • Cotton swabs
  • Dab tool
  • Cannabis concentrate (dabs)

2. Is dabbing the same as smoking?

Dabbing is not the same as smoking when it’s done right, in a way that produces vapour rather than smoke. However, at high temperatures, dabbing can be just as bad as smoking because combustion releases many more carcinogens.

3. Are cold start dabs wasteful?

Cold start dabs are notorious for leaving a small amount of cannabis concentrate behind, but whether or not that is wasteful is a matter of opinion because most would agree that it’s a small price to pay to avoid some of the hazards of smoking. Combustion might ensure that no dabs go to waste, but it’s much harsher on the lungs.

4. What is the best temperature for dabbing?

The ideal temperature for dabbing depends on a few things, like your personal preference and the kind of dabs you’re using. However, in general, dabbing should be done in the range of 545°F – 570°F.

5. Is dabbing expensive?

Dabbing can be expensive, especially in the beginning when you have to buy all of the essentials to get started, but over time, this method choice does tend to pay for itself. With skilled hands, you’ll be able to spend less on concentrates because what you have will go further with effects that typically last much longer than smoking.


6. How can I make my dabs go further?

If you find your dabbing habit is costing a bit more than you’d like, one good way to make them go further is by cold starting and investing in tools that make applying smaller amounts of cannabis concentrate easier.

7. Why do my dabbing accessories always look dirty?

You’ve probably watched one of the millions of YouTube videos showing dabbers with rigs that look pristine, and it doesn’t take long before it makes you wonder whether or not you’re doing it right, but this problem is really easy to fix. Make sure to clean your dab rig between each sesh and wipe the nail with a cotton swab between each hit. You’ll be so glad you did!

8. How to reverse dab?

Reverse dabbing isn’t nearly as difficult as it might sound. Place a carb cap over the nail, spark up a butane torch, and then hold the flame a few inches away from the banger until your dabs start to bubble. Now put down the heat and take the hit! It’s that easy.

9. What are all the different types of dabs?

Dabs aren’t some mystical cannabis products separate from all of the rest, so much as they’re a category of cannabis concentrates that are smokable. Flower isn’t a dab, nor is cannabis-infused coconut oil because it’s only made for topical use, but shatter, wax, oil, terp juice, THC diamonds, crumble, and flan are all incredible dab worthy opponents.

10. How do you heat a dab nail without a torch

Your good old Bic lighter isn’t going to be strong enough to hold up to this challenge, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dab without a torch on hand. In fact, all you need is a gas or electric stove that can be used to heat up the nail. From there, tongs might be necessary to avoid burns. Still, this hack works almost as well as a torch, just with a bit more juggling involved.

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