What are CBD Dabs? [All You Need to Know]
On first reading the word “dab”, you might immediately assume it refers to the dance move quickly becoming obsolete and somehow old-fashioned among the world’s teenagers.
Well, no, it’s something… rather different.
A dab refers to a concentrate of CBD or THC, sold in a huge variety of different forms that allows you to get access to extremely high doses of your cannabinoid of choice in a quick and potent manner.
Why does dabbing share a name with the dance move? No one’s really sure. It’s possible it’s to do with the fact that it resembles the action of sneezing into your inner elbow, something commonly done by inexperienced dab users, due to a mild irritation of their nose from the vaporizing oils. The term “dab” to describe the cannabinoid concentrate comes from the practice of just grabbing a dab, or a tiny amount, of the concentrate on the wand when dabbing with a water rig.
However, what is a dab, exactly, and how do you even do one?
What is a Dab?
As mentioned, a dab is simply any form of extremely concentrated, potent cannabinoids. Available in high-THC form, high-CBD form, or an even 1:1 ratio, dabs exist to provide a simple way to imbibe a large quantity of a particular cannabinoid very quickly.
Dabs actually come in a variety of different types, each with their own distinct manufacturing methods and physical qualities. Here are a few examples, though there are far too many to name completely:
- Wax: Wax dabs are often described as “firm”, with an unmalleable texture usually containing around 65% concentrate of cannabinoids.
- Shatter: This type of dab is usually considered the strongest type of dab available. Shatter resembles a piece of dirty glass and, true to its name, will shatter very easily if you exert pressure onto it. This is what you want if you’re looking for the highest possible dose.
- Sugar: This is a form of dab that often resembles powdered sugar. This generally describes dabs that have been ground into a more usable powder, allowing you to add it to your meals or use it as an ingredient in any number of ways.
Regardless of its particular type, a dab generally looks like a sticky, somewhat solid piece of resin.
As attractive as that description sounds, these resinous looking substances are actually a near-pure concentrate of either CBD or THC. The usually brown/yellow color comes from the process of extraction and refining cannabis into a dab. In inferior processes, the substance might look even darker and have a particularly tacky look and feel – this would be indicative of the dab having too much butane still suspended within in it, a common industrial error.
Dabs are a convenient way to ingest, and not just because of intense concentration of substances. Due to the fact that they are so refined and concentrated, they keep extremely well, allowing you to hold it in the wrapped paper that it usually comes in for several weeks. If you preserve dab material in an airtight container, you can actually hold onto it for months at a time.
The actual process of hitting a dab is somewhat more complicated than when imbibing cannabis in other ways, however.
How Do You Do a Dab?
Dabs can be taken in a variety of different ways, but the two most common are using a dabbing rig, which is a sort of water pipe similar to a bong, or through vaporization.
If you use a vaporizer, the dab is vaporized at extremely high temperatures within the vaporizer, and then it is mixed with water vapor, allowing you to inhale the concentrate through cool temperature water vapor.
If you want to use the more complicated, but slightly more practical option, then opt for a water pipe.
A water pipe is essentially a bong with a few extra steps. To start with, you need to heat up your nail, which the part of the dabbing device that holds your concentrate.
Using a butane torch or other heating implement, heat the nail until the bottom section of it glows red hot. When it glows red, it means that it has reached 800˚C. Once it’s there, leave it for just under a minute to cool down slightly – you’re looking for it to reach roughly 650˚C. This is important because you need to ensure you don’t burn the concentrate, or yourself, when taking a dab. You may be vaporizing it, but you don’t want to burn (combust) it!
Once it’s heated, use your dabber (dab wand) – the tool used to measure out the concentrate – to take the amount you desire and insert it inside the nail.
Upon touching the surface of the nail, the concentrate will vaporize completely, allowing you to inhale at the breathing end.
Make sure you inhale slowly and steadily, as well as capping it after it has completely vaporized. That way, you ensure you get a good, clean vapor without any outside interference and avoid choking or sputtering.
The whole process might seem a bit complicated, but it isn’t too far from using a normal bong. However, a bong has the infamous reputation of causing you to collapse in a fit of violent coughing due to the overheated air flowing too quickly into your respiratory system.
With dabs and water pipes, you don’t have to subject yourself to the pain of coughing fits, instead enjoying the smooth pull of the water pipe and the almost immediate effect of the concentrate.
CBD Dabs vs. CBD Oil vs. CBD Edible
Dabs might seem rather strange and alien when considered by a newer user. Why go through all the hassle of the process of heating the nail and buying all the equipment and various necessities when you can just use a CBD oil or eat a CBD edible?
Well, dabs are easily the fastest way to get the effects of the cannabinoids into your system, without having to smoke the marijuana directly.
When you dab, you are vaporizing a pure concentrate, likely containing anywhere from 65%-95% pure CBD or THC. Upon vaporization, it is inhaled directly into your lungs, allowing your bloodstream to immediately access it and carry it to your brain and throughout your body.
It is not impossible to begin feeling the effects of the dab in under a minute from inhalation. Alongside this, cannabinoid concentrates are made from pure extracts of CBD or THC, which means they contain absolutely no plant matter whatsoever. As the plant matter is the substance in marijuana that burns, it means you can avoid the inherent problems of smoking a plant and prevent unwanted substances from ending up in your system.
When you compare this to the time delay inherent in CBD oils or edibles, it starts to make a lot more sense. Dabbing is by far the best way to get a huge amount of CBD or THC into your system extremely quickly.
Using a dab also allows you to get the best of both worlds; when you smoke marijuana, you get to enjoy the distinctive taste inherent in the smoke, but you also have to deal with the acrid, burning vaporized plant matter.
When you ingest oils or edibles, you don’t get the satisfaction of smoking, as well as having to deal with the sometimes awful taste of cannabinoid oil.
With dabs, you get the joy of smoking weed without the acrid taste or burning of smoking the plant, while still getting the ease-of-use that oils or edibles provide.
Alongside this, you get to enjoy the benefits of using a bong, without the combustion. One of the principal complaints from bong users when smoking marijuana is the hot, acrid smoke that comes through with the vapor, causing intense coughing and sputtering fits. This is due to the aforementioned plant matter inherent within marijuana, so being able to avoid that when using dabs is a massive benefit.
And lastly, due to the nature of vaporization, you won’t get any of that unpleasantness, as there is no plant matter to burn within concentrates. This leads to a smooth, even dab with no hot air or otherwise unpleasant burning. All you get is the effect of the cannabinoid concentrate.
What are CBD Dabs? Final Thoughts
Dabbing is an easy, convenient way to imbibe CBD without having to deal with the inherent negatives of smoking or taking CBD oils or edibles.
With concentrates, you can safely and easily vaporize them using a vaporizer or a water pipe, allowing for fast, effective doses of CBD or THC to enter your system.
Though its reputation might be maligned by its association with the awkward, thankfully dying dance move, dabbing is a fantastic way to consume potent amounts of cannabinoids.
While it does require a bit more setup and knowledge than smoking regular, high-CBD cannabis or purchasing CBD oils, CBD dabs are quick and easy, as well as being incredibly potent.
For those that are looking for a way to imbibe as strong a CBD dose as possible, while avoiding the acrid tang of smoke or the poor taste of oils, CBD dabs are the answer.