What are dabs

What are Dabs and How to Do Them Properly

  • Dabbing is the process of smoking cannabis concentrates.
  • Some companies sell concentrates under the name “dabs.”
  • There are a handful of different types of dabs.
  • There are several ways to consume dabs including specialized dab rigs

First, What are Dabs?

Dabs are a relatively new product in the legal cannabis industry and are gaining popularity in both medical and recreational dispensaries across the country. The term dabbing refers to smoking cannabis concentrates. Some companies sell these concentrates under the name “dabs.” The term “dab” can refer to several forms of cannabis concentrates such as shatter, wax, rosin, and crumble

Dabs may be sticky, fluffy, crumbly, or glasslike, depending on the extraction and manufacturing processes used. Depending on the plant used to make dabs, they can contain as much as 90 percent cannabinoids — usually THC or CBD.

Cannabis concentrates have been smoked for centuries, originating in Eastern Asia before finding their way to India, Nepal, and regions of the Himalayas in 100 AD. 

Honey oil, one of the earliest versions of the dab in America. Honey oil was popularized in the 1960s by a Californian fringe group called the Brotherhood of Eternal Love. Honey Oil was also known as hash oil. Back in the ’60s, the amber-hued gooey extract was merely smeared on rolling papers and rolled with tobacco or cannabis or smoked off the end of a pin.

Nowadays, there are “dabbing rigs” available for purchase, designed specifically for the consumption of cannabis concentrates. These sophisticated contraptions first made an appearance back in 2010. 

Dabs are swiftly gaining notoriety for their potency, rich flavors, and smooth delivery. These extracts are enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of cannabis aficionados across the nation and are universally renowned for their extra-high THC content. This high THC percentage (often between 70-90%) delivers rapid relief from pain as well as inducing a euphoric sensation by targeting the dopamine center of the brain. 

Dabs are possibly the best cannabis-derived product for individuals suffering from chronic pain as the effect is both instantaneous and powerful. Additionally, only minuscule amounts of concentrates are required due to their extreme potency, making them an economical option. 

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Cannabis concentrates

What Are The Different Types of dabs

Here are a few versions of “dabs” or cannabis concentrates available in dispensaries and online.


Shatter has a delicate glass-like consistency because its molecules are stacked in straight rows, one on top of another. This undisturbed molecular alignment allows light to penetrate the extract, giving the substance its glass-like consistency and appearance. 

This esthetically pleasing amber-colored concentrate may have cannabinoid levels of anywhere from 70-80 percent. It can be enjoyed using a dabbing rig. It can also be rolled into a joint or smoked in a bowl with flower. Some vape pens are available and designed specifically for these products. Shatter can also be crushed and sprinkled into your favorite recipe or beverage. More on Shatter Here


Unlike some other concentrates that tend to have a more viscous texture, crumble is dry, and crumbly. The color of the crumble may change over time from a pale yellow to golden amber. Crumble is also known for its unusually high cannabinoid content (up to 90 percent). 

Crumble can be smoked in a dabbing rig, sprinkled into a joint with some dried bud, placed in a bowl with some flower, vaped in some specifically designed pens, or sprinkled on your favorite dish or in a beverage. More on Crumble Here


Wax is very similar to shatter. This product is gaining popularity due to its unique flavor, potency, and versatility. Unlike shatter, wax is opaque in color with a malleable, easy-to-manipulate, clay-like consistency. Wax offers a THC content of 60-80 percent. 

Wax can be smoked in a dabbing rig, rolled into a joint, added to a bowl or bong, or stirred into your favorite dish or beverage. Additionally, there are some vape pens on the market with chambers to accommodate wax. More on Wax Here


Due to its soft consistency, rosin is alternatively known as “budder.” Referred to as whole-plant extraction, rosin retains the cannabis plants’ full profile of cannabinoids and terpenes. Rosin may have various consistencies and appearances depending on the original plant matter and the extraction methods used. Rosin is also popular due to its high terpene content. 

Rosin can be enjoyed using a dabbing rig, rolled in a joint, added to a bowl of cannabis, vaped in a specially designed pen, or added to any dish or beverage. More on Rosin Here

How are dabs made?

Shatter, wax, and crumble are all made using similar extraction techniques. Cannabinoids such as TCH, CBD, and various terpenes are extracted by flooding soaking marijuana in butane or other hydrocarbons. Butane extracts are also called BHO, short for “butane hash oil.” Butane is not the only solvent used for extraction. Some extractions use CO2, isopropyl alcohol, and high-proof drinking alcohol. However, butane is the most common solvent for making wax and shatter.

After the extraction process, the remaining oil is collected by a process known as “purging.” Additionally, a vacuum chamber is utilized to further refine the product and remove all traces of solvents. Finally, the oil is “winterized,” basically a process that separates the lipids and fats from the oil. 

Wax and crumble are then “whipped,” meaning their molecules are agitated resulting in a more pliable, softer consistency. Shatter, however,  maintains a glass-like, harder consistency because there is no molecular agitation in the final stages.

Rosin is the only concentrate that isn’t extracted using solvents. The plant material is ground up and sifted through a cloth or a metal screen. That material is then heated and pressed to create the extract. There are also hand-held rosin tools that can extract rosin from whole flower.

When heat is applied, the resins in the flower are temporarily transformed into a liquid state, then pressure pushes the liquid concentrate out from the flower material. Generally speaking, the amount of heat for this process is very low, so as not to destroy the terpene profile of the original flower. Conversely when applying pressure during the extraction, the greater the pressure, the higher the yield.

What do you use to take dabs properly?

The process of dabbing can be as simple as dropping some dabs in a pipe and sparking up. It can also be more complicated and use expensive pieces of gear called dabbing rigs.


Standard dabbing rigs

Most dabbing rigs consist of a chamber of a glass pipe connected to a flat glass or metal surface called a nail or “banger.” This nail takes the place of a typical “bowl” found on traditional bongs. 

The nail is heated with a torch, then a “dab” of concentrate is placed on the nail, producing a vapor that is inhaled. This method ensures that none of the precious extract is wasted, and the dabber doesn’t end up with a sticky mess. 

How to use a Dab Rig

To use a dab rig, first heat the nail with a torch until it’s glowing. Turn off the torch and put it down. Then place a “dab” of concentrate on the nail. It will immediately begin to vaporize, so be prepared to inhale. Inhale until the vapor stops. Slowly let out the hit. There’s no solid evidence that holding the hit in longer gets you higher, so there’s no need to hold your breath.

Oil Rigs

Oil rigs are water pipes specifically designed for concentrate use. They consist of a nail, dome, and holder. You place the concentrate in the holder, heat the nail with a torch, and set the dome in place. Once the red-hot nail makes contact with the concentrate, vapor is created, which is then inhaled.

There are also all-in-one oil rigs known as domeless nails, which are essentially the same as typical rigs, the main difference being that you don’t have to remove or replace the dome.


There are various types of vaporizers that can be used in dabbing. These range from expensive desktop models to cheaper vape pens. Regardless of the type of vaporizer, they all have a heating element that heats the concentrate to the correct temperature for vaporization of the bab. They are best used with wax, shatter, or oil.

Dab Rig

Atom Bomb Rigs

These are designed to combine the benefits of water pipes and vaporizers. You load the dab in an atomizer and the battery-heated device warms the concentrate to the point where it gets vaporized. Then, you inhale the vapor like you would from a water pipe.


As the legalization of cannabis spreads across the U.S., we’re seeing more and more unique cannabis-derived products and paraphernalia on the market. 

Dabs are swiftly becoming a popular item for cannabis consumers due to their purity, high THC content, and instantaneous effects. 

Dabs are highly potent, non-invasive, and can be administered in powerful micro-doses, making them an economical option. 

For individuals not accustomed to dabbing, it’s wise to start slow and keep the doses low. Remember: A little dab’ll do ya!

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