Cold-Start Dabbing
3 min

How To Reverse Or Cold-Start Dab

3 min

Dabbing is one of the hottest trends in the cannabis community, but most people don't know that you can dab in more than one way. Reverse dabbing, otherwise known as cold-start dabbing, is a method that lets users enjoy more of the terpenes and other compounds in their concentrates.

Dabbing has taken the cannabis world by storm, and it looks like it’s here to stay. But did you know that there’s more than one way to dab?

Typically, concentrates are dabbed at high temperatures to produce a strong euphoric effect. But there are also benefits to dabbing concentrates at lower temperatures. Reverse dabbing is an alternative method that allows users to enjoy more of the flavour and therapeutic benefits of their concentrates. Keep reading to find out why you should try hitting your next dab in reverse!



Most people have come to know dabbing concentrates as a way to get really high, really fast. But few people know that, if done in reverse, dabs can also be incredibly flavourful and even medicinal.

Reverse dabs, also known as "cold-start" dabs, are, as the name suggests, dabs done in reverse. Cold-start dabs effectively reverse the heating process. Instead of searing concentrate on a hot nail, reverse dabbing means gradually heating up concentrate on a room-temp nail so that all chemical constituents can hit their boiling points, allowing them to be fully enjoyed.



The primary benefit of reverse dabbing is that it maintains much more of a concentrate’s terpene profile. Cold-start dabs are simply much more terpene-friendly than regular dabs.

Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in plants that are responsible for giving fruits and vegetables (or cannabis) the delightful smells and tastes we love. When it comes to cannabis, terpenes found inside of buds compose the skunky, sweet aromas that typically characterise cannabis.

However, recent research indicates that terpenes may actually do much more than just provide flavour. Terpenes have been found to act synergistically with cannabinoids like CBD and THC to produce more profound effects than cannabinoids could on their own. Furthermore, individual terpenes are believed to be associated with specific therapeutic uses. For instance, the terpene linalool is known to produce relaxing effects, while the terpene limonene is known to stimulate and elevate a person’s mood.

The reason cold-start dabs are so much more terpene-friendly than regular dabs is because terpenes boil off and produce their effects at different, usually much lower, temperatures. With regular, "hot" dabs, the extreme temperatures that terpenes are exposed to results in many of them being immediately burned away without producing their effects. However, "cold" dabs work their way up through each terpene’s boiling point, allowing you to actually enjoy them instead of just scorching them.

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This means that while hot dabs may succeed in getting you really high, they also leave behind some of the flavour and therapeutic potential contained in your concentrate. By comparison, cold-start dabs allow you to maximise the potential of your concentrate.

Moreover, reverse dabbing is great for moments when you may not have enough time to fully heat up your dab rig. Reverse dabs take about half the time as regular dabs. This is because, instead of torching a nail or banger until it’s hot, cold-start dabs can be performed with minimal heating. Next time you’re in a rush, consider doing a reverse dab instead.

In addition, cold-start dabs can prevent your glass rig from taking heat damage over time. Taking too many exceptionally hot dabs will turn your glass rig an opaque and hazy colour in a process sometimes referred to as "chazzing". Most of the time, the effects of chazzing can still be seen even after intense cleaning. Therefore, doing a reverse dab every once in a while may be just as enjoyable for your rig as it is for you.



Reverse dabs may not be for first-timers or inexperienced dabbers simply because of execution. Some people may have difficulty “nailing” down the process, and it may take them a while to really get comfortable with it.

If the concentrate is not heated up enough, you may be left with a pool of leftover oil that can still be dabbed, but will not have the same well-defined flavour as it could. Additionally, if nails are not properly cleaned after cold-start dabs, they may leave behind charred residue.

As such, cold-start dabs will probably take a little bit of practice to really get used to. That said, the tamer, more flavourful features of cold-start dabs make them ideal for new dabbers looking to ease into the psychoactive experience. So don’t let the beginner’s learning curve put you off. The long-term benefits of enjoying cold-start dabs is well worth it.

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How To Do Cold-Start Dabs

  1. Place your concentrate or extract onto your room-temperature quartz nail/banger and screw on its carb cap.

  2. Heat the banger up until your concentrate begins to melt and bubble (usually 6–8 seconds). Be careful to keep your torch a few centimetres away to avoid burning your concentrate.

  3. Once your extract has melted, inhale your dab through the rig’s mouthpiece. Rotate the bubble or directional cap during your hit to heat the concentrate evenly and produce more vapor.

  4. Take another hit! Cold-start dabs tend to produce a couple of pulls. Use your torch to reheat the quartz for 2–3 seconds at a time.

  5. Use a cotton swab to wipe away any residue while the banger is still warm. Leaving it to dry will make it harder to clean.

And there you have it, the art of dabbing in reverse!

Luke Sholl
Luke Sholl
Luke Sholl has been writing about cannabis, the wellness potential of cannabinoids, and the positive influence of nature for over a decade. Working with several cannabinoid-centric publications, he publishes a variety of digital content, supported by strong technical knowledge and thorough research.
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