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Monday April 27, 2020

By Andrew Ward


It may be difficult to imagine today, but dabbing used to be a fringe aspect of cannabis. Relegated to an outcast subculture distinction at one point, the marijuana consumption method is now as popular, if not more than, some tried and true methods like edibles and smoking a joint. In 2018, one survey confirmed that dabbing is on the rise over flower. However, it wasn't because of potency but rather due to customer experimentation. Regardless of the finding’s validity, it is clear that more people are dabbing.

With varying risks associated with the practice, many consumption methods have come to the forefront. Thanks to tech advancements in the space, some older ways have received an update in recent years. One of these is the cold start dab. Some even think it could spark a revolution in smoking hash oil and other concentrates.

What is a Cold Start Dab?

Cold start dabbing usually involves the typical low-temp dabbing process, just at a lower heat and a slightly different method than traditional torch dabbing. In traditional methods that most of us are familiar with, the nail is pre-heated before the concentrate is put onto the nail and vaporized. With cold start dabbing, the concentrate is placed on the nail, ideally a quartz banger, before any heating. From there, the nail is heated for a short period.

Example of a quartz insert.

Additionally, some concentrate consumers use what is called a quartz insert (basically a small quartz bucket) to load their dab into. In this case, the banger is heated traditionally and the cold insert is placed/removed into the banger via tweezers.

While the idea of heating cold nails with concentrates is far from new, it has been updated thanks to modern equipment. Below, we’ll delve into why quartz, in particular, has evolved cold start methods. But first, let’s expand on how a cold start dab is achieved.

The Benefits of Cold Start Dabbing

Cold start dabbing is much more than just a hot, new thing in dabbing. Quite a few benefits exist. They range from increased flavor to enhanced efficiency. By keeping the temperature low, the concentrate's terpene profile is not going to degrade as it would at other temperatures. By avoiding these heat levels, the flavor of the product should remain intact. However, heating your dab directly can be tricky at times and without careful observation dabs can be burned easily.

Additionally, cold start dabbing allows for cooling down to shrink drastically. Instead of waiting around a minute and a half, cold starts typically only call for a ten-second wait.

Meanwhile, the cleanup also cuts down on time. By only allowing for minor melting, the cleaning afterward should be simple enough while minimizing the risk that your quartz gets caked with any hard to clean residue. More flavor, shorter wait times and less of a cleanup. That’s a win-win-win.

How to Do a Cold Start Dab

The above does detail the general overview of how a cold start dab is created. However, there are intricacies that can make or break the process. Before we start, let’s talk bangers. While any nail can work, a quartz banger is your ideal choice. Quartz is the preferred choice by many. Some opt for it as it gives consumers a full flavor experience without any of the mess. Others cite its ability to distribute and retain heat across its surface better than any other nail – which is that much more important when starting cold.

That said, the general cold start dab process is as follows:

Cold Start Dabbing Process

  • Place the concentrates onto the clean quartz banger
  • Torch the banger for 5-8 seconds, or until the concentrate begins to melt. Do not heat past this point or risk losing the quality of the concentrate
  • Cap your banger with its carb cap
  • Rotate the cap (f yours has directional airflow) and inhale

If the flavor is off or tastes burnt, then consider heating the concentrates less the next time. Instead of looking for melting, stop torching with the concentrate begins to bubble and show signs of vapor. With enhanced flavor, less of a wait and easier cleanup, it is no wonder that cold start dabbing has become a preferred method for concentrate enthusiasts all over.

Thanks to quartz bangers, cold start dabbing has taken off to levels that it hadn’t been able previously. In turn, dabbing can enter the cannabis mainstream even further. Now, the once former side activity in cannabis is right at the forefront of the movement. With methods like cold start dabbing, safety concerns are lessened while consumption experiences are heightened.

A cold start dab being heated up via butane torch.

To learn more about dabbing, be sure to read up on the importance of low-temperature dabbing. Then, check out the latest news on the potential risks of dabbing at too high of temperatures. With all that information to work with, cold start dabbing might be that much more appealing. Whatever method you choose, consume responsibly!

Have you ever tried cold start dabbing? What was your experience like? Share your stories in the comments below.


Andrew Ward Andrew Ward

Andrew Ward is a Brooklyn-based cannabis writer and creative. His work has appeared on Benzinga, High Times, PROHBTD and several other publications and brand blogs. He has covered the cannabis space for over three years, and has written professionally since 2011. His first book, "Cannabis Jobs," was released in October 2019. Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn to stay up to date.

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