Interested in dabbing, but not sure where to start? 

Whether you opt to dab weed using a traditional rig or you use a vape pen for your dabs, this is a potent way to enjoy your cannabis concentrates. Dabbing is less widespread than just smoking the flower using a bong or in a joint, it also tends to have a much more immediate effect – something that can be preferable if you’re using cannabis to deal with anxiety, as an appetite inducer or for pain relief. Because of its high potency and higher price point, you’ll definitely want to do your research before you jump into the wonderful world of dabbing. 

So, what is dabbing? What’s a dab pen, and how do dab rigs work? You’ve got burning questions, and we’ve got the answers you need before you start burning up your fancy dab concentrate. If you’ve been interested in dabbing, but haven’t been sure where to start, allow us to give you some pointers in this beginner’s introduction to all things dab. 

What is dabbing?

First things first, let’s define what dabbing is. A ‘dab’ is literally just that – it’s a dab of marijuana concentrate with a very strong THC content that you can use to get a really intense high. Dabbing is the way you heat up and smoke or otherwise inhale these dabs of concentrate. 

There are a few ways to do this, but the most popular include:

  • Dab rigs
  • Dab pens
  • Adding dabs to other traditional smoking methods like joints

It’s worth noting that dabbing with concentrates can offer a much more potent high, and that’s also why it’s more expensive than just buying flower to smoke. If you’re trying dabbing for the first time, it’s worth being aware of this, and thinking about which route you want to take in order to get the most out of the product. 

Dab rigs and dab vapes heat the concentrate up to a higher heat and give you a more intense effect when you inhale, so they give you more bang for your buck than sprinkling dab concentrate in your joint. 

On the other hand, it’s important not to overdo it when it comes to dabbing – a little goes a long way. Dab rigs and vape pens will help you heat the cannabis up to the right heat to get the full effect of all that super concentrated THC, but they also pack a punch, so learning how much you’ll need to use compared to normal weed is definitely a factor in getting used to dabbing and really enjoying it. 

What is dab weed?

As we’ve mentioned, dabs are not normal weed – they’re way stronger, and they cost more because of their higher THC content. Dab weed is created by superheating cannabis flower using butane and extracting the cannabinoids and other compounds from the plant material, creating a highly concentrated oil called butane hash oil (BHO) – think of it like an essential oil made from marijuana flower. 

Once that oil is cooled, depending on the method of extraction, it forms what can be a sticky or crumbly textured substance that can look like amber, honeycomb or butter. Dab weed is also called rosin, shatter, wax, crumble and sauce. 

Dab concentrates have a much higher concentration of THC – anywhere from 60% and close to 100% depending on the strain – than marijuana flower, which generally contains around 30% THC content. They also enhance the natural flavor and aroma profile of different strains, thanks to the isolation of different terpenes and flavonoids, the compounds responsible for how weed smells and tastes.

How do you dab using a rig?

Dabbing using a dab or oil rig is a process that uses a device similar to a bong, which is made of glass. Using a dabber, an amount of weed wax is placed on the rig nail, which is similar to the bowl of a bong. Then, a small torch is used to heat up the dab, and you can inhale the resulting smoke for a potent, hard hitting high. 

As you might imagine, with a process that deals with high heat, naked flames and glass, dab rigs might not be the easiest option for someone who is new to the process and wanting to try out dabbing for the first time. You’ll need to manage high temperatures, carefully regulating the airflow on the device and inhaling at just the right time. Dab too much with this method, and you might end up feeling way more high than you were planning. With practice and a cautious approach to how much concentrate you load onto your rig nail, this can be a really effective and fun way to enjoy your weed concentrates. 

What is a dab pen?

Not only can you use a vape pen to smoke weed flower, but you can also vape concentrated weed wax – hence, dab pens. While the basic technology is the same, a dab pen isn’t the same as one used to smoke weed – so don’t go putting flower in your dab pen, or concentrate in your weed pen, unless you want to break the device. 

You might prefer a dab pen to a rig for a few reasons. Firstly, there’s no open flame, no messy set up, and it’s way more portable than a glass dab rig – they’re not exactly built to travel. By contrast, a dab vape uses a heating element to produce vapor from your concentrate, which you inhale through the mouthpiece much like you would any other vape pen. You’ll only need a hit or two to get a very potent high, and the whole process of heating up the dab and inhaling takes just seconds. 

Thanks to the heating element, dab pens create the release of vapor at a lower temperature than dab rigs, which helps to better preserve the flavor and scent profile of your concentrate. If you really like getting the most out of your weed products by tasting each strain, it’s a good way to go. Although, you’ll need to remember to charge your device and occasionally spring for the cost of replacement parts.   

Is dabbing better than smoking weed?

This is a complicated question, and there isn’t really a straightforward answer. Both dabbing and smoking weed produce different results, and they’re good for different things. 

Many people find that they prefer dabbing if: 

  • They have a high tolerance to THC
  • They want to experience a more immediate high
  • They use weed to medicate for pain, appetite, or other medical conditions
  • They can afford the more costly dab weed concentrates and want to explore different flavor profiles

 On the other hand, you might prefer smoking or vaping flower if: 

  • You have a low tolerance to THC
  • You don’t want to spend money on a premium weed concentrate product
  • You like your high to come on ‘low and slow’ 
  • You’re worried about getting too high 
  • You don’t have the equipment to dab yet

Finally, there’s always the option of sprinkling some weed shatter into the joints you smoke, in order to get a bit of a ‘best of both worlds’ effect. The choice is really up to you. 

Whatever you decide to go for with your weed smoking or dabbing, Shango has a huge range of strains, equipment and friendly staff who can help you choose the perfect option for your needs. Come in and see us in store, and we’ll talk you through the process of choosing your first dab concentrate.