In short, dabbing is the inhalation of vapor of highly concentrated concoctions with cannabinoid levels of 75% (allegedly reaching the 90+ range in some cases) and a purity that "regular" concentrates such as hash can only dream of. The use of concentrates is not really something new, but there is a new hype forming around the new concentrates - the Dabs. These are commonly called oil, wax, budder, BHO or shatter. The interest in dabbing grows quickly in the cannabis community and if you live in a country or state in which the use of medical marijuana is legal, you probably already noticed that more and more dispensaries carry more and more sorts of concentrates.
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In 2012 the popularity of the concentrates skyrocketed and users of medical marijuana really started seeing shatters, budders, waxes, and oils appear on dispensary menus. Some say this is a quantum leap forward in stoner evolution or a miracle medicine and claim that dabbing is a healthier alternative to smoking a bowl or blunt because you don't inhale the butane from the lighter or smoke from the leafy material and likely enclosed tobacco, just the vapor of the concentrate.
But, with each passing month, the controversy about dabbing grows alike (more about the Dabbing Debate). Some admonishers point out the potential dangers of the new concentrates and mention the hazards involved in both making (some methods of making concentrates involve highly flammable chemical solvents such as butane) and ingesting it, as well as possible negative effects on the publics' (currently) increasingly favorable attitude toward marijuana which could change to a more negative attitude due to dabbing (the use of concentrates in combination with a torch makes some people think it is similar to crack). Others warn about the oxides of the metal nails or skillets, but those are usually made of titanium, which can be found in many food and cosmetic products and although it does oxidize, it is no real hazard because the water in the rig filters almost 100% of it (study: dabbing is safe).
So, what do you need to have a dab (read more in our dabbing guide)? You need what is commonly referred to as an "Oil Rig" or just "Rig", a "dabber", a blowtorch and a concentrate of course. A rig is simply a name for a smoking device that has been made particularly for taking a dab. These rigs come in two main styles: nail and skillet. A nail and globe rig utilizes a nail made of either titanium, quartz or glass and a glass sphere or tube to encase the nail and vapor. A skillet and dome rig consists of a small metal plate attached to a swing arm and a dome above, that leads to the down stem of the oil rig. The "dabber" is a small rod made of either metal or glass which is used to dab the concentrate on the hot nail or skillet you heated using the blowtorch. As soon as the concentrate or oil hits the hot surface it vaporizes quickly and the forming vapor is inhaled. Depending on the concentrate one long, hard hit can feel as if you have had FIVE blunts at once, which means dabbing is not for newbies and should be approached with precaution. A Sativa dominant extract will trigger an incredible head high and can prepare you to take on the day, whereas a dab of some strong Indica extract can send you to bed and make you sleep soundly in a short time.