It’s a brave new cannabis world. Once upon a time, marijuana flower was the only option available to most people interested in weed. Occasionally, hash would show up, but it was a product that was rare and exotic. Today, you can walk into a Phoenix dispensary for cannabis products that range from dozens of flower strains to edibles and concentrates.
One of the products that has been getting more and more attention are dabs. These are extracts that contain a higher level of THC than is found in regular flower. But, how is it made, and what is the best way to consume it?
What Are Dabs?
Dabs are a highly concentrated form of butane hash oil (BHO). They are made through a chemical process that extracts the cannabinoid-laden oils from cannabis flower. You may also see dabs referred to as wax, shatter, honeycomb, or amber. While those are technically different kinds of dabs, you often see the terms used interchangeably.
Dabs are extremely powerful, with some testing at around 80% THC. Just for comparison, most flower contains around 10 to 15%.
Dabs are not a new product. However, widespread legal dispensaries have made them more well-known.
Because of how dabs are consumed, the high is rapid and intense. It comes on all at once rather than over time the way an edible would.
What Is the Process for Making Dabs?
Dabs are made by forcing butane, a solvent, through a container of ground marijuana bud. This solvent separates the essential oils of the marijuana plant from the remaining plant matter.
The essential oils contain the terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids that give cannabis its heady effects.
After extraction, the butane is allowed to completely evaporate from the solution. This is vital, as butane is a toxic substance. After the butane has been removed, what is left behind is a concentrated and powerful cannabis product.
Butane extraction can be tricky at home. Amateurs may not know when they’ve removed all solvent. Additionally, butane is highly flammable. Since heat is part of the process, this introduces risk, as well.
There are recipes online for making alcohol or ice water extractions at home. However, it’s easier to leave the work to the pros. When you go to the dispensary, you’ll find many dab options, including blends and single-bud extractions.
How Are Dabs Consumed?
Dabbing marijuana requires the use of a special apparatus known as a dabbing rig. Because of its waxy, sticky nature and the small amount consumed each time, a regular bowl won’t work.
Dabbing rigs can be found at many head shops and dispensaries. Most are glass, and some of them use colorful, artistic design. Talk to dispensary workers about their favorite rigs and why they like them.
While some people use dab in vape pens, this is generally not recommended. Dab can sometimes clog vape pens, leading to off flavors and poor operation.
When using an oil rig, you use an oil or dab rig that is equipped with a nail to hold the dab. Apply extremely high heat with a torch lighter. This will create a vapor that you can inhale.
The effects of dabbing are felt immediately.
What Should You Know Before You Try Dabs?
Dabs are a far more intense cannabis experience than smoking even good flower. Take it easy when you are new to them.
It’s also a good idea to avoid mixing dabs with other cannabis products such as edibles. This is because taking a slow-acting marijuana product, then adding a fast-acting one on top can lead to unpleasant levels of intoxication.
Instead, enjoy the ritual of setting up a dab, inhale, then sit back and enjoy. Wait to see how you feel. Lean into the relaxation.
Keep a nice, cool beverage nearby and maybe listen to some music. Since dabs are stronger than cannabis flower, you don’t consume several inhalations in a row.
As with any cannabis product, the folks at your dispensary can help you decide which ones are right for you. Try a few different kinds to see which you like best. Some have different terpene blends, which gives an entourage effect when combined with cannabinoids like THC.
Over time, you’ll figure out which dab products give you the sorts of effects you like best. Or, you may find that dabs are not for you at all.
By experimenting safely and cautiously, you can learn about your preferences and take advantage of the new and innovative cannabis products that are becoming more available every day.