How to smoke concentrates: A beginner's guide to dabbing & more
With 710 Day (or Oil Day) finally here, we’re ready to celebrate! However, not everyone understands their options on how to smoke concentrates or what type of equipment you need to do so.
If you’re confused or simply want to learn more during the big concentrate holiday, don’t sweat. We’ve already broken down the various types of cannabis concentrates in this guide, but now many want to know, how do you smoke concentrates?
Just as there are several types of concentrates, there are many ways to smoke, consume, and ultimately enjoy them too. So, without further ado, let’s talk about what you need and the most common ways to smoke concentrates:
A blanket term for a variety of cannabis products, concentrates are literally concentrated forms of cannabis flower. While standard cannabis flower typically offers between 15% to 20% THC levels, concentrates boast 80% or more.
These highly concentrated forms of cannabis are some of the most potent products, which means they’re typically not recommended for those new to cannabis. But many patients and consumers believe concentrates deliver a smoother hit and don’t produce as strong of an odor as flower.
The most common forms of concentrates to dab include:
How to smoke dabs
The most popular method of concentrate consumption is dabbing, where a small amount of concentrate is placed on a heated surface to produce vapor. Unlike flower, a little bit of concentrate can go a long way, which is why it’s always recommended to start low and go slow. But if you’re looking into how to smoke concentrates, you’ll first need to know what type of equipment to use:
Perhaps the easiest and most cost-effective way to dab is by using a honey straw. This simple device can be used by heating the smaller tip of the straw with a hand-held (or mini) torch lighter for 10-15 seconds or until the tip begins to hold a glow.
Then you can gently place the tip of the heated straw into the glass container holding the concentrate. Once your honey straw touches and heats the concentrate, gently inhale at the larger end.
It’s recommended to store cannabis concentrates in glass containers–especially if you use a heated straw. Always operate this device with caution as the tip of the straw will stay hot for a short period of time.
A dab rig is a water pipe specifically designed for concentrates. This piece of equipment consists of a nail, dome, and holder.
To smoke out of a dab rig, you first add water to the chamber and then place the concentrate into the holder. Heat the nail with a mini torch lighter until it’s red hot and wait 45 seconds before you touch the nail to the concentrate.
Once the heated nail touches the concentrate, inhale through the dab rig mouthpiece. Remember, that hotter nails tend to produce harsher vapors and overall flavor when you inhale.
On the flip side, lower temperatures create lighter vapor clouds, which typically have a cleaner flavor.
Other dab tools you might need Dab rigs on their own are a handy piece of equipment to smoke concentrates, but there are actually additional tools that significantly help you use a rig. Let’s go through some of the most common tools:
Dabber (dabbing tool)
A dabber is a tool used to transfer the concentrate to the nail. Concentrates are typically very sticky, so using this tool is essential for those wanting less mess. Additionally, dabbers come in the shape of a pen, needle, paddle or spoon–depending on the consistency of your concentrate.
Another tool that helps you prevent messes with concentrates is a dab pad. This pad or mat is helpful to place under your dab rig and concentrate container so you avoid sticky messes and have a place to set your dabber tools.
Mini torch (hand-held torch)
When you hear the word torch and dabbing, this does not mean a standard blow torch. Instead, dabbing is much safer using a mini or hand-held torch that can easily produce enough heat without going too hot, but not as low as a traditional lighter.
Like what is pictured above from Shatter Box Enail, an enail is an electronic tool you can use to light your concentrate. While these electronic devices are rather pricey, enails are growing in popularity because you can easily plug them in, push a button, and heat your nail to an exact temperature. This lets you fine-tune your heat consistency and cuts out the need for a torch.
A common dabbing tool is a carb cap, which creates convection by limiting the airflow and trapping heat, so you can dab at a lower temperature. Again, the lower heat tends to allow more flavor compared to the high temperatures that can destroy the terpenes in a concentrate.
While most dab rigs come with a nail, some have a banger or the ability to use your own banger with a rig (like what's pictured above). Essentially, a banger is an attachment to your dab rig that’s made out of quartz but looks like glass. They’re made to fit into your dab rig so you have a “glass-on-glass joint fitting,” which lets you use this material to withstand higher heats without melting and to heat up faster. Bangers are also popular for being easier to clean.
One of the quick and easy ways to smoke concentrates is through a process called twaxing or T-waxing. This is the simple method of adding cannabis concentrate on top of a traditional joint, whether it’s putting the concentrate directly on the flower or around the paper of the joint.
The most common method is to use your dabbing tool to place a snake-like line of concentrate down the middle of the joint before rolling it. Again, concentrates are traditionally very sticky, so you’ll want to use a dabbing tool or wash your hands before rolling.
While this method is easy, it does tend to waste a bit of concentrate compared to other methods.
For those who prefer to vape their cannabis, there is the option to vape a concentrate. While there are two forms of vapes in desktop and portable, many experts recommend using portable because wax and other concentrates do not work well in desktop vapes.
To vape a concentrate, you need a portable vape pen that lets you access the cartridge. You can add a small amount of concentrate to the oil cartridge–specifically on the coil, close the cartridge and press the heating button to inhale.
Start low and go slow when smoking concentrates
As we recommended earlier, when it comes to dabs, start low and go slow. Cannabis concentrates are much more potent and the same goes for any way you smoke them.
It’s good to have options and many of the concentrates mentioned here are available at your local dispensary. See what’s available on Verilife’s recreational and medical cannabis menus today to see what types of concentrates we offer!
Remember that specific state laws determine what dispensaries are able to sell to recreational customers or medical patients. This means not all of the products or potencies mentioned in this article are available at all Verilife locations, and that smoking is not allowed in all jurisdictions.