The Cutting Edge of Cannabis: 6 Things You Should Know About Dabbing
To understand dabbing, you’ve got to know a thing or two about cannabis concentrates.
Concentrates are extracts from the cannabis plant that offer a potent dose of cannabinoids and terpenes with less plant material.
While these concentrates come in different forms or consistencies, they can all be vaporized and consumed through dabbing.
When most people think of dabbing, they picture some millennial on YouTube, heating their dabs with a blowtorch.
The blowtorch method is definitely one way to get it done, and it sets off a red flag for many people whose curiosity often stops there.
As with most other things in the cannabis world, there are plenty of nuances and misconceptions around dabbing. And it’s also helpful to remember that most cannabis consumers have never even had the opportunity to try concentrates.
When used mindfully, cannabis concentrates or extracts are a valuable, healthy medicine that add a lot of value.
1.) Dabbing offers therapeutic benefits
While many gravitate towards dabbing as a form of play and relaxation, others are drawn to it for pure relief.
In a recent interview with Green Flower, cancer survivor Randy Robertson told us how dabbing had been part of the cannabis regimen that saved his life.
Chemotherapy had given him terrible spasms in his diaphragm. Spasms so strong that he could barely breathe.
A couple dabs later and he was finally able to relax, sleep comfortably, and let his body heal.
The cannabis concentrate had done its job, delivering a potent dose of medicine to Randy’s system.
The point is that dabs offer instantaneous relief for people who are suffering from a wide range of ailments and illnesses.
Crohn’s patients, quadriplegics, and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) sufferers have all shared eye-opening experiences around the medicinal advantages of dabbing.
For some people – dabbing is the only way they’re able to receive the necessary amount of medicine their bodies need.
It would be very difficult to smoke or vape enough cannabis flower to equal the strength of one dab.
2.) More than one way to dab
One of the earliest methods of dabbing involved heating two butter knives on a stovetop and then using the hot blades to vaporize your concentrate (you can also do this with cannabis flower).
And then people started using a special water pipe and a blowtorch to supply the necessary heat. Great for some; a huge turn off for others.
Now we have different options for dabbing that are a lot more user-friendly such as the Herbalizer or the Evo from VapeXhale.
Although these devices are not cheap, they come with very real advantages from a medical perspective.
Unlike the traditional method of heating by conduction, vaporizers such as VapeXhale’s Evo rely on heating by convection – a healthier alternative.
“By using hot air to generate heat inside the vaporizer’s heating chamber, convection turns a concentrate from a solid into a gas,” says Seibo Shen, founder and CEO of VapeXhale – and a dabbing expert in his own right.
“Convection is a much gentler, more efficient, and more thorough option,” he adds.
So while the initial price tag may be intimidating, if you know you want to incorporate cannabis concentrates into your regimen, you will want to do some extra research to find the device that’s right for you.
3.) Variety of concentrates to choose from for dabbing
The quality of concentrate is an essential aspect of the dabbing experience.
These substances generally have a THC concentration of 70-90%, which is great if your body needs that much THC.
But there are also non-psychoactive CBD-rich concentrates, which people have been turning to for anxiety, mood elevation, and pain relief.
Whatever your preference might be, one of the biggest known risks with dabbing isn’t so much the high dosage of cannabinoids but the extraction process itself.
Producing these extracts often involves some sort of solvent like butane, ether, or propane.
The process can be dangerous to try at home, and extracts that are poorly done will likely contain residuals of whatever solvent was used.
The last thing your body wants is a shot of butane with your medicine!
Seibo Shen advises consumers to ensure their extraction artist knows his or her stuff when dealing with concentrates like wax or shatter.
However, a newer form of concentrate that Shen and others are turning to – called rosin – doesn’t involve any solvents at all.
This extraction process basically involves applying enough pressure and heat to squeeze the resinous sap from the plant material.
4.) Dabs are actually loaded with flavor
Did you know dabs provide one of the purest forms of flavor, especially in comparison to smoking cannabis?
When heated at the correct temperature, quality concentrates deliver more terpene content.
In fact, terpene-rich concentrates are becoming a popular choice amongst cannabis connoisseurs for that very reason.
However, it’s also important to keep in mind not all concentrates are created equally.
“Many times when they are purging the concentrate, not only are they pulling out all the impurities, but they’re also pulling out the terpenes,” says Shen.
So how do you objectively evaluate the quality of a concentrate before making your purchase?
“Going off of personal recommendations does not always ensure you a 100% quality product, but looking at the lab results, the empirical data, typically will,” Shen says.
“Always ask questions – make sure you’re actually getting the concentrate you want,” he adds.
So whether you consider yourself to be a “flavor hunter” or not, don’t hesitate in finding the answers you need.
5.) Better to start small and build gradually when dabbing
After all, too large of a dab can be a recipe for disaster.
Even for long-time cannabis consumers, dabbing can be an intense, uncomfortable experience if they take too much.
“It’s a crawl, walk, run kind of methodology,” says Shen.
So if you’re considering dabbling into the world of dabbing (no pun intended) here are 3 three things to consider beforehand:
a.) Assess level of THC or CBD in concentrate
Before consuming, assess the total concentration of THC or CBD present. Levels can vary widely depending on the extraction process along with the properties of the actual cannabis strain.
If you are acquiring your concentrates from a dispensary, request to see lab-test results if you want to be 100% certain about what you’re consuming.
b.) Take a micro-dose initially
Unless otherwise advised, it’s wise to take a single dosage when dabbing. The potency can be overwhelming initially, so start out small and increase over time if necessary.
How small? When measuring out your concentrate, a good starter dose will be about the size of a grain of rice. Maybe smaller.
c.) Monitor reaction over time
What are the long-term risks of dabbing? We still don’t know.
One of the first scientific studies on dabbing found that in the short-term it was just as safe compared to cannabis flower.
Although the researchers did point out issues with THC tolerance or even withdrawal symptoms as a potential risk.
As we all know, too much of anything comes with its own risks.
6.) Dabbing may not be right for everyone
Dabbing has become a true life-enhancer for a lot of people. Some of them depend on these ultra-high doses, and others simply prefer the experience of concentrates over cannabis flower.
Whatever your opinion might be about dabbing, we have to remember that a lot of cannabis consumers have never experienced concentrates.
The important thing here is to raise awareness about dabbing and clear away the misconceptions so that people can make informed decisions about whether or not it’s for them.
Let us know if you have any thoughts or questions about dabbing in the comment section below!