What is Dabbing? Benefits? What are Dabs?


a man dabbing with a glass dba rig

In recent years, the world of cannabis consumption has been revolutionized by dabbing, a potent and fast-acting method that has garnered both curiosity and concern.

Since dabbing involves consuming concentrated forms of cannabis, the high you get from dabbing is typically stronger than the one you get from smoking flower.

Embarking on the journey of dabbing can be both exciting and a bit overwhelming, especially for those new to the world of cannabis.

As you delve into this method of consumption, it’s essential to understand what dabbing is and how to do it safely and effectively.

In this guide, we will dissect the science and process behind the increasingly popular method of cannabis consumption called “dabbing.”

Whether you’re new or simply looking to enhance your understanding, this extensive primer is will help you to become a pro.

What is dabbing?

heating and useing a dab rig

Dabbing is the term used to describe the act of vaporizing cannabis concentrates for consumption on a heated surface.

Users inhale or smoke the vapors from the concentrate, which produces an intense high.

This method allows for a more potent and immediate effect, making it a preferred choice for patients seeking rapid relief from their symptoms.

Dabbing involves very high heat that quickly turns dabs into vapor, and this happens at temperatures between 400-600°F. In comparison, burning regular cannabis (flower) occurs at around 350°F.

It requires specific tools and a bit of know-how. Still, once mastered, it provides a potent and fast-acting way to enjoy the benefits of cannabis.

History of Dabbing

Originating in the early 2000s, dabbing quickly gained momentum due to the potency and fast onset of its effects.

It’s now one of the more popular methods of consuming cannabis for connoisseurs looking for increased strength and flavor.

What are dabs?

four different types of dabs

Dabs are concentrated forms of cannabis that come in a variety of textures. This is the resin of the Cannabis Sativa plant.

The resin is gathered from the trichomes of the flowers and leaves of the plant during harvest.

The trichomes are crystalized molecules and hairs that contain the majority of the tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC.

Butane, propane, ethanol or CO2 is used as a solvent to extract the THC oils from the marijuana plant.

The different types are categorized based on consistency and extraction method: wax, shatter, crumble, honey oil, Live Resin, or budder.

Different Types of Cannabis Dabs

The world of dabs is diverse, with various types of concentrates available.

This variety allows for a wider range of experiences, catering to individual preferences in terms of flavor, texture and effects.

Here are some of the most popular:

1. Shatter

As the name suggests, shatter is a solid, translucent concentrate that resembles amber-colored glass. It’s one of the purest forms of dab and can be quite potent.

2. Wax

This concentrate has a consistency similar to ear wax or honey. It’s easier to handle than shatter and is often preferred by beginners.

3. Budder

Budder has a creamy texture, making it one of the easiest concentrates to work with. It’s made by whipping the extract while purging it of solvents.

4. Crumble

This is a drier form of budder, which, as the name suggests, crumbles easily. It’s perfect for sprinkling over a bowl or adding to a joint.

5. Live Resin

This concentrate is made from fresh, frozen cannabis flowers rather than dried ones. The process captures more terpenes, resulting in a more flavorful and aromatic dab.

6. Rosin

Unlike other dabs, rosin is made without solvents. Instead, heat and pressure are applied to cannabis flower, producing a sap-like concentrate.

What are the Benefits of Dabbing? Compared to Smoking Weed?

a woman vaping

Some potential benefits of dabbing cannabis concentrates include:

1. Highly potent

Dabbing offers a more concentrated form of cannabis, making it highly potent and effective, especially for those seeking significant effects.

Dab concentrates have a much higher concentration of THC – anywhere from 60% and close to 100% depending on the strain – than marijuana flower, which generally contains around 30% THC content.

2. Efficiency

The quick onset of dabbing is also attractive. The effects of dabbing are known to be felt rapidly, providing people with a quick and powerful high.

This can be appealing to those looking for immediate relief or a fast-acting experience.

3. Flavorful

The purity of concentrates allows for a cleaner, more distinct flavor profile, highlighting the unique terpenes of each strain.

Not only does this make the hits taste better, but the well-documented “entourage effect” between cannabinoids and terpenes makes for a more complex and precise high.

As a result, dabbing can offer you a more flavorful and aromatic experience compared to smoking.

4. Healthier

Different from smoking, dabbing involves vaporization rather than combustion (burning).

That means you’re avoiding all the tar, carcinogens, and other combustion by-products that make smoking harmful to your lungs.

5. Discreet

Dabbing can produce less noticeable odors than smoking, making it a more discreet option if you're concerned about the smell associated with cannabis use.

What are the Risks of Dabbing?

woman sat at a table with coffe cup

Is dabbing bad? Yes, marijuana dabbing has many dangerous physical and mental effects.

Some of the potential risks include:

1. Health risks

Comparing to other methods of consumption, dabbing offers an intense high but comes with increased risk of addiction and side effects, which are similar to those associated with any type of overconsumption of THC.

These may include a rapid heartbeat, paranoia, hallucinations, numbness or crawling sensations under the skin, anxiety, panic attacks, shaking, and other symptoms of psychosis.

2. Increased Tolerance

Regular use of high-potency concentrates can lead to an increased tolerance to THC.

As a result, larger and larger amounts of cannabis may be needed to achieve the desired effects, which can lead to taking too much.

Furthermore, Chronic use of high-potency cannabis concentrates can potentially lead to dependency or addiction.

3. Risk of burns

Dabbing involves heating the concentrate and tools to high temperatures, which presents inherent risks.

Always follow safety precautions and use appropriate tools and equipment when dabbing.

4. Respiratory Health

Heating the nail to extremely high temperatures can produce potentially harmful byproducts in the form of vapors. These can irritate the respiratory system.

While it’s generally considered less harmful to the lungs than smoking cannabis flower, frequent and heavy use still carries a risk of causing breathing issues.

5. Risk of impurities

If your cannabis concentrate is not produced using proper extraction techniques and quality control measures, you could be exposed to impurities such as residual solvents, pesticides, or contaminants.

Make sure to source your concentrates from reputable and trustworthy suppliers.

What equipment is used for Dabbing?

People use dabs or concentrates in a dab rig, e-rig (which means electronic dab rig), nectar collector (or dab straw), or a dab pen (also called a wax pen).

1. Dab Rig

a dab rig

A typical dab rig looks a bit like a bong. It’s made of glass or silicone and has a chamber section for water filtration.

But instead of a bowl like you have for cannabis flower, there’s a nail made of metal, quartz or glass.

Since dabbing needs such high heat, the nail is usually heated using a torch and then allowed to cool to the right temperature before adding the concentrate.

2. e-rig

an electric dab rig device

An e-rig, short for "electronic dab rig," is a portable, electronic vaporization device designed for consuming cannabis concentrates with water filtration.

An e-rig operates and heats a nail with a battery rather than a butane torch.

Additionally, e-rig allows the user to control the temperature of the dab via buttons.

3. Manual Nectar Collector

a glass nectar collector

Nectar collectors work like dab rigs but are a more direct and accurate way of vaporizing your concentrates.

Nectar collectors have a vertical design that looks like a straw.

The body is made of glass or silicone, and the tip is made of titanium or quartz, which is heated with a torch, and then used to inhale vapor of concentrate.

4. Electric Nectar Collector

electronic nectar collector

Electric nectar collector replaces the manual heating element with a battery-powered one. All that you need to do is turn the device on and wait for the element to heat.

5. Dab Pen

a wax vape pen

dab pen, also known as a wax pen, concentrate pen, and even wax vaporizer, is a portable vaporizer designed specifically for consuming cannabis concentrates.

Compared to a dab rig, dab pens provide you with a more portable cannabis experience while keeping everything discreet, producing less odor, and drawing less attention.


Everyone has a favorite way to consume cannabis. Joints, blunts, and bongs have all had their time to reign as the trendiest way to get high. But today, it’s all about dabbing.

Dabbing is a fun and flavorful way to enjoy the versatility of marijuana, with many benefits and very few risks.

If you’re interested in trying it for yourself, buy a classic dab rig or an electric evaporator and some concentrates to get started!

In addition, While dabbing offers potent effects, it’s essential to approach it with caution, especially if you’re new to the world of cannabis concentrates.

The high THC content can be overwhelming for some, so it’s recommended to start with a small amount and see how your body reacts.

Lastly, ensure you’re using clean and tested products to avoid any contaminants.

Happy dabbing!