A Guide To Essential Dab Tech
If concentrates are your favorite way to enjoy your medical cannabis products, there are a handful of products that you should be familiar with. Each one can help elevate your concentrate experience, promoting better flavors, better doses, and less clean-up. Whether you're new to dabbing or just familiarizing yourself with new technology, this guide will tell you everything you need to know.
Before we jump in, it's worth noting that there is a bit of a negative stigma around dabbing, as the essential basic set-up tends to be a little complicated. Between the torch and the nail, the timing, and the mess, many medical patients avoid dabbing altogether, mostly because dabbing looks a bit scary. To the untrained eye or to newbie dabbers, the dabbing process looks a lot like doing hard drugs. This is an unfortunate issue that can only be addressed with desensitization and education. In fact, dabbing concentrates is one of the best ways to enjoy medical marijuana. Since these concentrates contain higher levels of THC, they can provide a clearer high, longer-lasting effects, and more powerful relief from a variety of medical conditions that can be relieved with THC. In a lot of ways, concentrates are stronger than cannabis flower alone. If you, like many of our medical patients, have a lot of treatment-resistant ailments like severe chronic pain or depression, concentrates are the best way to medicate. If you've been afraid of concentrates, they're still very much worth a try, so try to jump in with that in mind.
How to Dab
Dabbing is a lot more straightforward than it looks. To dab, you'll apply heat to a surface (like a dab nail or banger) using a torch and then apply the concentrate into the banger so that it heats thoroughly with the indirect heat. Once the concentrate vaporizes within the banger, you'll cap the banger so that you can pull vapor from the nail into your lungs via the dab rig. When you're finished, you'll clean the nail. That's essentially the gist of it.
If you're new to dabbing entirely, there are a few products you'll need to get the best flavors and effects out of your favorite concentrates. The products in this category are the basics required for getting started. However, in the next few sections, you'll find other products that can take your dab set-up a step further.
Dab rig Your dab rig is the most important component for dabbing concentrates. A dab rig is similar to a bong, though they tend to be smaller in size and are fitted with a nail or banger bucket designed for heating up concentrates. They come in all shapes and sizes and can be found at most headshops. You can also order them online. Depending on the features of the design, they can cost anywhere from $50 to $1000. We suggest using scientific glass to help avoid breakage. There are all sorts of creative custom designs out there too, so just pick a rig that you find visually appealing with a sturdy design.
Quartz nail (banger) Quartz is one of the best materials for dabbing concentrates since they retain heat pretty well and are more difficult to chaz than other materials. Dab nails come in all shapes and sizes with a variety of features and range from $20 to $200, and each design has its own unique set of pros and cons. You can get a standard bucket design that retains heat and indirectly warms your concentrates for dabbing. We recommend quartz over aluminum or titanium since these hard metals can be toxic if they get damaged. You can also use a ceramic nail to avoid chazzing your banger altogether, though these require additional maintenance.
Carb cap In order to dab your concentrates effectively, you'll need a carb cap. Carb caps also come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and designs. Their purpose is to concentrate airflow as you pull on your rig to move the concentrates within the banger and distribute the concentrates and heat evenly. The cap also allows you to get better hits from your rig by trapping the vapor in the banger, concentrating the smoke as you pull on the rig. The most popular carb caps are disc caps and bubble caps. Some are designed with cyclone or spiral features that further assist in airflow. They range from $5-$100 on average.
Dab tool A dab tool is essentially a heat resistant piece of metal or glass. They come in a variety of different designs so that you can dab any type of concentrate at any consistency with ease. Some have a shovel, pick, scoop, or spatula attachment that makes it easier to transfer your favorite concentrates from your gram into your banger, reducing waste and allowing you to get the best dose out of your concentrates. They are available at most headshops from $5 to $50.
Torch Your torch is a butane or propane lighter that is used to heat up the banger or nail, allowing you to combust the concentrates and dab the vapors. You can use just about anything that allows for a concentrated beam of fire to heat up your nail for the dabbing process. You can also find these at headshops, along with butane gas refills. Our favorite torches are Blazer torches, which have a long fuel life and come with a warranty.
Concentrates Concentrates are the most important part of your dab set up. In order to dab, you need concentrates to vaporize. The concentrates made by the lab at The Epic Remedy are made using our own house-grown flower for quality assurance. In fact, we're one of the only dispensaries in Colorado Springs licensed and capable of manufacturing our own concentrates. Learn more about how our concentrates are made here.
Rig Hygiene Items In order to get the best flavors and effects out of your concentrates, you have to take care of your banger. That means meticulous cleaning with q-tips and rubbing alcohol after each and every use. Rubbing alcohol should be 91% or higher to help break down the sticky resinous material left behind after a dab. If that resinous material stays on there, you'll chaz your banger the next time you heat it up and get some nasty flavors. It's pretty easy once you get in the habit of it. Simply dab a q-tip in rubbing alcohol and rub the inside of your banger until it's clean. You can also soak your banger in rubbing alcohol overnight for tough jobs.
Dab Accessories That Can Improve Flavor, Reduce Mess, and Promote Better Hits
Terp pearls Terp pearls are usually small marble-like balls that are made from quartz or rubies. They are normally added to your banger pre-dab and heated up with the nail to create more surfaces for heat retention. Once heated, you drop the concentrate into the banger and cap it with the carb cap. The airflow created by the carb cap swirls the concentrate and terp pearls around. The extra heat provided by the terp pearls evenly distributes heat within the banger and concentrates, allowing you to take bigger dabs and promote better flavors with longer-lasting hits.
Quartz inserts If you want to avoid the mess and consequential clean up involved with dabbing, invest in quartz inserts. Quartz inserts are dish-shaped quartz buckets that can be dropped into your banger. You can add your concentrate directly to the insert and drop it into a pre-heated nail to get a flavorful, terpene-rich dab without having to clean your banger. With the mess being contained to the insert, you'll simply remove it with a pair of tweezers and soak it in alcohol, leaving your banger mess-free. Quartz inserts are also compatible with most terp pearls and carb caps, reducing the mess and improving the flavors of large dabs.
e-Nails If you don't want to deal with using a torch and possibly over or under-heating your banger, invest in an e-nail. e-nails can be set to any desired temperature, eliminating the need for a torch. You'll simply attach the heating coil to your banger and power the device on to begin heating your nail. Once the sensor registers that the banger hit the temperature you set, your rig is ready for a dab. Make sure to turn it off after each use and clean your nail when you're done.
Temperature Guage If you prefer to dab the traditional way using a torch, a silicon temperature guage can help you determine when your rig is ready for dabbing. The dabbing process requires a lot of heating and cooling, so it can take a bit of time to figure out the exact timing when you're using trial and error. A temperature guage makes it easy to tell when your nail is the optimal temperature for dabbing, eliminating all of the waiting and ensuring you get a perfect dab every time. Our favorite is the Terpometer.
Best Products for Dabbing on the Go
If you love dabbing but hate keeping track of so many different pieces, you can always shoot for something easier and more portable. There are a lot of different designs floating around that give you the full amount of flavor with easier clean up and less things to keep track of. Try these products if you want to get into dabbing but don't want to keep track of and regularly clean or carry around 10+ different pieces. Check out the full list of these products here.
Puffco Peak The Puffco Peak is a fully portable dab rig with a built-in atomizer. You hit it like you'd hit any other dab rig, though it's convenient design and pre-determined temperature settings make it easy to get a big, flavorful hit every time. It comes with a carb cab that can be attached to the rig as well as a dab tool. We gave one of these bad boys away in our July giveaway.
Pax 3 Dual-Use Vaporizer This vaporizer is capable of dabbing concentrates of any consistency as well as flower. The device is bluetooth enabled giving you full control over your temperature settings, allowing for bigger, more flavorful hits from a small, discreet device. We currently have one up for grabs in this month's giveaway.
Yocan Evolve Plus XL Vaporizer The Yocan XL is a great budget option for dabbing more stable concentrates like shatter or wax. It's discreet, portable pen design allows you to load your favorite concentrate into the chamber and puff as you go about your business. While it doesn't offer fancy temperature controls, it's a great choice for dabbing on the go and at a great price point.