How to Use a Dab Rig for Concentrates
Posted by Tom Richardson on
Looking to learn how to use a dab rig?
Before you can even think about learning how to dab, you need to understand how your rig works.
Well, today, we’re going to make it easy for you.
First things first...
What is a dab?
Dabs and dabbing have a few distinct, but closely associated, meanings. A dab can represent any cannabis concentrate. This includes wax, shatter, budder, crumble, sauce, or any other concentrate.
The word ‘dab’ can also refer to an actual dose of concentrates, while dabbing refers to the process of consuming a dab by vaporizing it and inhaling the vapor.
Today, we'll go over the basics and show you how to use a dab rig in 7 simple steps.
How do dabs work?
Dabbing is one of the most popular consumption methods today.
Mainly due to the potent highs and flavorful vapor that dabbing provides.
To create dabs, cannabinoids and terpenes are extracted from plant matter to create cannabis concentrates.
This extremely condensed and potent form of cannabis is what gives dabs their quick-hitting and potent impact.
What is a dab rig?
A dab rig (also known as an oil rig) resembles a glass water pipe in appearance and design. The main difference between the two is that dab rigs are made specifically for the use of oils.
Basic parts of a dab rig
For most dab rigs, there are three main parts: the glass rig itself, a nail or banger, and the torch. Some dab rigs come with a torch, but you will need to buy one separately in most cases.
You may find dab rig sets available in head shops or online.
These kits usually include extra accessories like a dabber, which is a small tool used to apply your concentrates to the dab rig nail.
Many dabbing enthusiasts prefer to mix-and-match their dab rig with different accessories to create a setup that fits their style.
A big part of dabbing is adding your own personal taste to your setup, but for beginners, we recommend finding a dab rig set that includes all the tools and accessories you need.
How to use a dab rig
For anyone new to dabs, the upfront expenses, variety of dab accessories, and seemingly complex dabbing techniques can feel overwhelming.
Once you learn how to dab, using dab rigs can be a simple and effective way to consume cannabis.
Follow these 7 steps and you’ll be on your way to dabbing in no time:
Step 1: Add water
To start, fill the chamber of your dab rig with water. Make sure you’ve added enough water by blowing into your dab rig’s downstem.
If you can make the water bubble, you’re ready to move to the next step. If the water bubbles and splashes you in the mouth, pour some out until it doesn’t.
Adding too much water can cause splash back while dabbing, and too little water will make it difficult to inhale the vapor.
Step 2: Season your dab nail
Before you can use a dab rig, you need to heat your nail.
Use your torch to heat up the nail on your dab rig until it’s red hot. This burns away any small particles that may be on the nail and allows you to begin dabbing at the hottest temperature possible.
For e-nails, use the interface on your device to set the desired temperature and wait for it to heat up.
If you’re using a quartz banger or nail for the first time, it needs to be seasoned to remove any natural minerals. Leaving your dab nail unseasoned can lead to a metallic taste when dabbing.
Step 3: Let your dab nail cool
After you heat the nail, give your hot nail time to cool. This will prevent your concentrates getting scorched.
The amount of time needed to cool will vary depending on the material of your dab rig nail and how thick it is.
Generally, the best temperature for dabs ranges from 300 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. This extracts the maximum flavor from your concentrates.
Your nail will usually cool to the desired temperature within 30-60 seconds. To get the exact amount of time needed for your nail to cool, consider using a dab timer or infrared thermometer.
For e-nails, you don’t have to wait for your nail to cool down. E-nails heat to the specific temperature you set.
Step 4: Add your cannabis concentrate
Place your concentrate on the surface of the nail using your dabber and slowly inhale the vapor.
Dabs are different from traditional bong hits in that they require longer inhales.
This is due to the fact that most of your concentrate does not get vaporized right away.
Step 5: Use a carb cap
To help vaporize your concentrate, place a carb cap on the nail. Carb cabs trap the heat inside of the nail to expedite the dabbing process.
If your dab rig didn't come with carb caps, you can find plenty online.
When you’re ready to inhale all of the vapor, lift the carb cap.
Step 6: Exhale
After lifting the carb cap and inhaling the vapor, immediately exhale as you enjoy the flavor profile of your concentrate.
Congratulations! You’ve successfully dabbed.
Step 7: Clean your rig and nail
Cleaning your dab rig is an important step in the dabbing process. It helps prevent residue from altering the taste of your vapor and extends the life of your rig.
To clean your nail, allow it time to cool after use then clean the inside of the nail with a cotton swab.
For a deeper cleaning, dip the cotton swab in isopropyl alcohol.
If your dab rig or nail requires an even deeper clean, be sure to check out our step-by-step guide on how to clean a dab rig.
Tips for your first dab
Taking dabs is in the highest tier of potency when it comes to consumption methods for cannabis. As such, it should be approached with caution. If you’re new to dabbing, start with small dabs and slowly increase your dab size over time.
Remember, you can always take a second dab!
Don’t get too high
While you don’t need to worry about a cannabis overdose, it’s still important to pace yourself as an inexperienced dabber.
If you take one too many dabs, your experience can go from enjoyable to stressful rather quickly.
Some easy ways to remedy a high that’s too intense are lying down, sleeping, drinking water, or taking a shower.
Certain foods are known to help reduce the effects of cannabis as well. Peppercorns and lemon peels are recommended as home remedies when you’re feeling too high.
The high you experience from a dab will usually last 1 or 2 hours, so plan accordingly.
Watch your torch and nail carefully
When preparing to dab, your nail can reach up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit with a torch. Temperatures this high can cause third degree burns, so it’s of the utmost importance to keep your nail away from any flammable surfaces and skin. You can never be too careful when it comes to using torches and extremely hot dab nails.
A dab rig provides a unique and potent experience when used properly. Don’t let the intricate design or array of dab accessories keep you from trying out this consumption method.
Remember to start slow and follow the steps outlined in this post as you prepare your first dabs.
Extreme caution is needed when dealing with hot nails and torches, but with this guide you’ll be taking dabs safely in no time!
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