Marijuana 101: What Is Dabbing?

Pop culture and the world of cannabis often intersect, but there’s one common term that’s been causing mass confusion for quite a while now. Dabbing is the name of a popular dance move, and is also a method for consuming cannabis extracts–but rest assured, the two have nothing to do with each other.



If you’re interested in the cannabis category of dabbing, this is the article for you. We’ll cover what dabbing is, how you do it, and give you a short overview of how to try it out yourself.

What Are Dabs?

taking a dab

So now that we’ve determined we’re talking about cannabis, what exactly is a “dab”? Well, as an item, it’s a tiny serving of marijuana concentrate that you vaporize through direct exposure to high heat.

The moniker “dabbing” comes from the fact that a little dab will do you when it comes to marijuana concentrates. While most strains of flower will contain an average of around 19% THC–marijuana’s main psychoactive ingredient–these concentrates often contain 60% to 90% THC.

If you didn’t know before, all that should tell you that dabs are a form of marijuana that aren’t for everyone!

What Do I Need?

dab nail

While dabbing can seem intimidating if you’ve never done it before, it’s really a simple process. Here’s everything you’ll need to get started:

  • Water Pipe: A standard bong will work just fine as a dab rig. Just remove the bowl piece from the stem, and replace it with a nail attachment.
  • Nail: This is the attachment you’ll swap out for your water pipe’s glass bowl. For simplicity, we recommend getting a domeless nail as standard nails need an extra globe piece and the extra step of trapping the vapor before you inhale it.
  • Cannabis Concentrate: Choose a concentrate that is not alcohol-based, such as a CO2 or BHO extract.
  • Torch: While you can use a mini torch for this, it isn’t very efficient. We recommend a standard kitchen torch that you can attach to a can of butane fuel.
  • Dabber: This is what you’ll use to dose your concentrate and apply your dab to the nail.

Once you’ve got it all together, ensure you have a clear space in which to wield your blowtorch and allow the hot nail to cool without burning anything. And a last note: You’re probably going to want to sit down for this, since the effects of a dab can be sudden and jarring to those who are more used to flower.

How Do I Dab?

torch for dabbing

Once you have your rig set up with the nail in place of the glass bowl on your water pipe, the first thing to do is get your concentrate onto the dabber. This can be a unique experience due to the sheer variety in textures of concentrates, but be sure to start with a tiny dose, the size of a crumb, and then work your way up from there. Now without further ado, the simple steps to dabbing:

  1. Fire up the torch and aim the flame right at your nail. Hold it there until you see the nail beginning to turn red hot, then turn the torch off.
  2. Now that your nail is hot, let it cool for around ten seconds to ensure the surface temperature isn’t too hot for your dab. A too-hot nail will waste the terpenes in the concentrate and destroy the subtle qualities of your high. If you end up with a burnt-tasting dab, try letting your nail cool longer next time.
  3. After the short cooling period, apply your dabber directly to the nail and begin inhaling–slowly!

And that’s it! One thing to consider is that if your dabber is curved at the end you may end up with residual concentrate stuck to it. To avoid this, rotate the dabber tip as you apply it to the nail.

Pros of Dabbing

wax in a nail

Aside from the fact that it’s a simple way to get a heavy hit of THC, why else should you consider this form of cannabis consumption? Here are three things to weigh when thinking about dabbing:

  • Smell: Frequent cannabis users may get tired of that lingering weed smell in the spaces where they smoke. Since dabbing is a form of vaporization, the smell emitted is much less pungent upon consumption, and dissipates much more quickly than smoke.
  • Clarity: During the refinement process, all plant matter is removed from marijuana concentrates. Many dabbers report that this results in a “clearer” high, as the product is primarily THC and should be without most of the different impurities that can be ingested through smoking flower.
  • Micro-dosing: One new dabbing trend consists of taking very small amounts of concentrate in an effort to boost creativity or change your state of mind during day-to-day life. This is known as micro-dosing.

No matter your reason for choosing dabs, you’ll find a variety of ways to customize your experience. Whether you choose a quartz nail over a titanium one, or a CO2 extract over a BHO concentrate, you’ll be able to mix and match until you hit the perfect high. Welcome to the world of dabbing!

If you’re ready to get DABBING and are looking for the best deals on concentrates, head to Leafbuyer to get the best prices!