Friday December 11, 2015

By Tyler Terps

420 Culture

Concentrates are still fairly foreign to a lot of cannabis users, and that’s totally understandable. Those of us who need a few joints to get our day going know that a dab isn’t going to kill us, but we might not know how to go about taking them. If you’re new, or just looking for tips to step your game up, check out these six tips and reminders for when you dab.

(For those who don’t know what dabbing is at all, read more on our blog, here.)


Proper Torch Safety

Using a torch requires all of the attention that you have available, especially as it’s an integral part of the dabbing process as the nail must be heated up to a certain temperature. A lot of problems people have with the act of dabbing revolve around the use of a butane torch indoors while getting high. When you’re loading up your torch with butane, make sure that the nozzle and your torch’s plug are compatible to prevent butane from leaking, causing a flammable hazard. Prior to starting up the torch, make sure that anything flammable that’s in the area of your glass and nail is removed to prevent any accidents while you are medicating.

Many torches come with auto locking features that provide convenience when you don’t want to constantly hold down the button. Although it’s a brilliant idea for the lazy stoner, it’s definitely not safe to do often. A torch isn’t too hard to knock over and the last thing you’d want is to set your surroundings ablaze.

Dosing: Start Small, Get Larger


Dabs of concentrates are called ‘dabs’ for a reason, because if they were meant to be taken in large portions, then we would only know them as globs or chunks! Keep in mind that for your first encounter with concentrates, you’ll want to start small to assess your tolerance for dabbing concentrates. For some, the high is too intense to take anything larger than what most people call a “baby dab.” Others have no limit to the size of the dabs they take, but you’ll learn that it often takes some tolerance buildup.

The ideal size to start with is just enough to cover the end of your dabber, then start building up to larger amounts until you find the right amount that works for you. If you’re having a hard time gauging your dabbing capabilities, try breaking your dab into a few different pieces to add to the dish of the nail as you take your hit.


Low Temperature

Taking a low temperature dab will help you enjoy all of the benefits from concentrates like smoothness, taste, and effect. The proper way to find consistency with the use of a nail and torch is to understand the material and style of nail that you’re working with.

For anything besides glass, get the nail red hot until it is glowing. As it cools down, place your hand right over it and wait until it’s just bearable to hover right above. For thicker quartz and titanium you’ll want to wait on the longer side since these two examples often retain heat better.

When the time is right and with your carb cap in tow, put the dab on the heated nail and apply the cover for your nail to get a good pull and taste that everyone desires.

Clean Your Dabber Between Hits

No matter the type of dabber that you have, you’ll have hair and unwanted pieces of who-knows-what covering it if you leave it lying around. To keep your tools clean, invest in a rubber dab mat to place them on which will keep everything from rolling off of table edges and away from areas where pets may roam nearby. This way, no hair gets attached and you can keep your dab attached or near your dabber when you get interrupted and need to put it down during a hit.

Aside from keeping it away from the ground or dirty surfaces, be sure to heat your tool a little bit and wipe it off between hits for guaranteed cleanliness. No one wants to breathe in anything besides cannabis! If your last dab was a huge hit of reclaim and you go to hit your live resin with the same tool, you might find that the remnants ruin your taste of the fresh terps.


Beware of the Nail

The leading cause of injury while dabbing is the dreaded nail burn. If you don’t know, count your blessings, because brushing your arm against your setup could ruin your day. To avoid pain, try using a long dabber so that you can move your hand as far away from the nail as possible. Dab tools that have carb caps on one side are ideal because they’re usually long enough to remove the risk of catching your hand on the heated surface.

If you’re using an electric nail, keep the coil wrapped around your dish with it facing away from you so that you don’t catch it as you lower your arm. Since it’s always hot when turned on, you should be cautious at all times, unlike a normal nail which cools down within a few minutes.

Keep your glass away from the edge of the table so that you don’t knock it over and force yourself to potentially grab it by the joint. This is a sure way to put your hand out of comission for some time and leave you with an enormous scar.

Think Small With Little Percolation

Small Dab Rig
Small Dab Rig
Small Dab Rig
Small Dab Rig

When you’re seeking out glass that you plan on using for concentrates, avoid huge diffusers and crazy percolators that will send your vapor through a lot of unneeded filtration. Because we’re talking about concentrated cannabinoids and terpenes, there isn’t much of a reason to try and cut back on the full package that is made available.

Instead, look for small pieces of glass that will serve as great flavor-savors when you want to taste those high end dabs. The less time that it takes for the vapor to get to your mouth the better, as more water and glass will only take away from the enjoyment.

Photo Credit: (license)

PotGuide Tyler Terps

Tyler is a cannabis journalist and enthusiast that seeks to educate his readers to continue to reveal the benefits, uses, innocence, and overall power of the cannabis. Starting as a music journalist, Tyler contributed to websites like,,, and Now he continues to contribute as a freelance writer, covering cannabis for publications like High Times,, and Massroots. When he's not writing, Tyler likes to book DIY shows and play drums in his band.

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