Beginner’s Guide to Dabbing: What is Dabbing and How Do You Do it?

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Dabbing has exploded as a popular method of cannabis consumption. But why?

Maybe you’ve heard of dabbing, but what is it exactly? There’s a whole sub-culture of dabbers for good reason.

Want to know why dabbing is so popular? What are the benefits of dabbing and how do you do it?

Let’s take a deep dive into everything you need to know about dabbing for beginners.

What is dabbing?

Dabbing is a popular style of smoking weed. However, since dabbing allows you to vape your weed without causing combustion (no smoke and no fire), it’s technically a form of vaping cannabis – not smoking it.

When taking a dab, it typically involves vaping cannabis concentrates like wax and live resin by using a dab rig or water pipe along with a heated surface such as a nail or a banger. 

Dabs are cannabis concentrates like wax.

The nail or banger acts as the bowl piece which is heated with a butane torch or other heat source (such as a battery-powered e-rig or e-nail), then a dab of wax is applied to the hot surface where it is instantly vaporized.

Many marijuana enthusiasts enjoy dabbing because of its hard hitting effects and ability to produce really clean highs and tasty vapors. The cannabis extracts that are dabbed are often high in concentrated THC levels and terpene-rich flavors that give dabbing it’s appeal.

You might hear the phrase “dab pen” or “wax pen” being used, but this typically refers to a portable vaporizer like a handheld vape pen – not what a classic dabber would consider to be a “real dab”.

Portable wax pen

While these portable dabbing devices are able to vape the same type cannabis extracts and mimic a similar style, taking a proper dab is quite different.

What Are the Benefits of Dabbing?

While learning to dab takes some practice and requires more tools than other forms of consuming cannabis, dabbing comes with many benefits.

Hardcore dabbers love dabbing because they enjoy the hard hitting effects and wildly delicious flavors from a perfect dab. Most cannabis extract products, such as those made from butane hash oil or rosin press, are extremely potent and can reach the 70-90% THC ranges. 

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Dabs are considerably more potent when contrasted against high THC flower falling in the 20-30% THC range. A lot of the active compounds are also lost during combustion when you spark up some flower. You’re also burning a lot of wasted plant material that doesn’t get you high when you smoke weed. This is not the case with dabbing.

Just a tiny dab can go a long way, making dabbing extremely effective.

Dabbing is also one of the best ways to maximize the tasty flavors from terpene-rich cannabis extracts.

As with dabbing, not only are there specific cannabis strains to choose from, but there’s also a staggering variety of the different types of THC concentrate products that you can take dabs of.

In contrast to cannabis flower, which typically varies by strain, dabs or extracts can vary in strain as well as terpene-profile and extraction method. 

Because of the extraction method alone, there’s an endless variety of dabble products such as live resin, badder, diamonds, live sugar, crumble or other cannabis oil. Each type of concentrate will give a unique dabbing experience.

What Do You Need to Start Dabbing?

Ready to try dabbing for yourself?

For taking a traditional dab, basically all you need to get started is a dab rig, a quartz banger (or a nail – think of this as the bowl piece), a torch and a dab tool to for transferring your cannabis concentrate.

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Eyce Spark dab rig includes a banger and dab tool.

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You can find a dab rig like the Eyce Spark at Puff it UP the online retailer and many other dabbing rigs and accessories at Smoke Cartel.

Although it’s optional, you should also use a carb cap that fits your banger/nail. The carb cap will restrict airflow and also agitate the melting wax which helps to evenly heat the dab and condense it for a better hit.

Once you have the basics of your dab rig setup, you’ll need a good cannabis concentrate like wax or oil. You can pick up dab products from your local dispensary.

If the idea of using a torch to smoke weed freaks you out, we totally get it. Not everyone is into the whole torch style of dabbing. In this case, you can pick up one of these new school e-rigs, also known as an electronic dab rigs, which are battery-powered instead.

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Dr. Dabber Boost EVO is a torchless, battery-powered e-rig.

The Dr. Dabber Boost EVO and the Dr. Dabber SWITCH vaporizers are two of the leading e-rigs for torchless dabbing.

The Puffco Peak vaporizer is another extremely popular one. If you want something a bit more budget-friendly, go with something like the the G Pen Connect dab kit. The Connect attaches to any water pipe or bong with compatible joints.

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Because these e-rig vaporizers are battery-powered and don’t require the use of a torch, they’re a lot safer for beginners and have less of a learning curve.

To recap, you’ll need the following equipment for dabbing:

  • Dab rig
  • Banger
  • Torch
  • Dab tool
  • Carb cap (optional, but highly recommended)
  • Quartz Bangers and e-Nails

Now that you have all your necessary dabbing equipment and cannabis dab product on hand, let’s take a look at the process of actually taking a dab.

How Do You Take a Dab?

Once you have your dab rig water pipe filled with water and your banger in place, the first step will be to heat your banger.

There’s different ways to heat the banger. How you heat up the banger will depend on several factors including the material of your banger, the type of torch you’re using, and ultimately personal preference of dab temperature. 

While there’s lots of debate as to whether low versus high temp dabs are better, if you’re starting out, you should go for a low temperature dab, a medium one, or something in the middle.

The easiest way to heat your banger is to aim the torch around the base of the banger. Rotate the flame around the banger to heat it as evenly as possible. Once the banger starts to glow slightly, turn off the torch.

Higher Standards Blazer Big Shot Butane Torch
Butane torch for dabbing with a banger

Give the banger a few seconds to cool off. You will have to experiment with how long to let the banger cool down to get just the right temp. This is the most challenging part of learning to take the perfect dab.

After the banger has had some time to cool down, use your dab tool to scoop some wax on the edge of the tool. Immediately transfer that dab into the heated banger. Start inhaling through the mouthpiece of your just as would take a hit from a bong.

At the perfect temp, your dab will completely boil off, leaving very little residue in the banger. If you get the temp just right, the dab should taste good, produce lots of vapor on the exhale, and be smooth on the throat. If it’s too harsh, that usually means that the temperature was way too high.

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JB is the founder and chief editor at Cannabis Vape Reviews. Having worked in the cannabis industry for several years, he helped manage one of the leading tech-based cannabis delivery services in Los Angeles and is a vaporizer enthusiast.

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