Using cannabis concentrates is commonly known as “dabbing” and has been around for at least 10 years. The legalization of marijuana has increased the interest in marijuana and the benefits it can offer.

What is dabbing all about? 

Dabbing is basically using some form of cannabis concentrate instead of just consuming the bud.  It takes its name from the fact that you only need a small drop, or dab, of cannabis concentrate to get the same effect as a much larger quantity of bud. 

While the traditional benefit has been the fact that cannabis concentrates tend to get to work much more quickly. These days, the element of convenience can also be a factor in a person’s decision to opt for dabbin,g over conventional smoking or vaping. Cannabis concentrates need less storage space than the equivalent amount of bud. 

How to dab cannabis concentrates 

"Dabbing” itself just means using dabs of concentrate due to it's extreme strength.

The most common way to do this is through a dab rig, which is essentially a bong with a nail or/and a  bowl. 

You heat the nail and then put your dab on to it.  You then put the nail into your dab pipe and inhale as usual.  

Obviously you want to use a fairly long nail so that the heat stays at one end of it and you can handle it comfortably with the other. 

dabbing cannabis

You also want to use a small blow torch, like the sort used for caramelizing sugar (look for handheld blow torch or cook’s blow torch) rather than the sort used for DIY and industrial purposes. 

Obviously, in order to do dabbing, you need a dab and realistically you probably want to buy cannabis concentrates rather than trying to make them at home due to the dangers.

There are only two forms of cannabis concentrate which could be safely made at home by the average person. One is cannabutter, which is only cannabis concentrate in its very loosest sense. Tthe other is cannabis rosin, which you can extract by wrapping your bud in parchment paper and then a towel and running a warm iron over it.  The sticky residue which will form is called rosin and is a very basic form of cannabis concentrate. But again, it’s not all that concentrated. 

Real cannabis concentrates have to be extracted using either solvents or carbon dioxide.  Solvents are by far the more common method.. While the end product is perfectly safe to use, the process by which it is created is rather danegrous.  Solvents are highly flammable. Butane for example, is commonly used for camping stoves. In simple terms, using the butane extraction method safely requires special and expensive equipment and a certain degree of knowledge and skill.  The carbon dioxide method is much safer and  cleaner, since CO2 is not considered a solvent,. However, it is a lot more expensive. 

Risks of dabbing

Leaving aside the risks involved in making dabs themselves, there are some risks involved in the practice of dabbing. 

It is really important that any solvents are removed completely from the extracted cannabis concentrates.  This is yet another reason why it’s crucial to buy your cannabis concentrates from a reputable source.


Secondly, you need to handle dab pipes and the associated blow torches with a bit of care.  At the risk of stating the obvious, dab pipes are made of glass, the nails get hot and blow torches are powerful, naked flames.  Treat them with respect. 

Thirdly, concentrates, by definition, are a whole lot more potent than the bud from which they are extracted.  To put this into perspective, strains with around 30% THC are considered super-potent. But cannabis concentrates can have up to 90% THC.  This means you need to dose with extreme care. While there are no known records of anybody dying from either of these, there are all kinds of reasons why they are best avoided.  Standard advice to new cannabis users is to start low and go slow. Those new to cannabis concentrates and dabbing are strongly advised to remember this,. Even if they’re experienced with marijuana buds. 

What are the benefits of dabbing? 

With all that said, dabbing has become popular for a reason.  In fact, it’s become popular for several reasons. It’s quick and effective and offers super-fast pain relief or an instant boost to your mood. 

If you need to medicate in a shared space, then dabbing has the benefit of being practically odour-free.  Finally, even though cannabis concentrates are much more potent than bud, they are more gentle on the lungs. So why not buy some strains to dab!