Thursday October 1, 2020
By Paul Barach
Whether your preference leans towards sativa, hybrid, or indica concentrates, there’s plenty of options to choose from when going for a nice, heady dab. When you’re looking for a potent deep high that comes on as fast and efficient as a Japanese bullet train, there is no better method of cannabis consumption out there.
But what if you’re not looking to get high? What if you’re looking to dab some CBD instead?
Dabbing CBD vs Eating CBD
Most cannabinoid consumers, and American consumers in general, are aware of CBD as a popular edible supplement. Walk the aisles of many health food stores, dispensaries – even some pharmacies – and you’ll find it for sale either in a pill or tincture form. These are derived from either CBD oil or isolate, and work great once they’re swallowed. Ingesting CBD is an effective way to experience its numerous health benefits, though it certainly isn’t the fastest.
Before the pain relief, stress relief, or anti-inflammatory effects can be felt, the cannabinoid has to take a long trip all the way to the small intestine, where it’s absorbed and delivered to the liver. From there, the liver has to break the cannabinoid down before releasing it into the bloodstream, where it can then attach to the body’s cannabinoid receptors. While the edible method can offer relief over longer periods of time, it offers little in the way of immediate relief.
As most consumers are aware, the lungs are the fastest avenue to the bloodstream when it comes to molecules like cannabinoids. This is why many consumers turn to CBD vapes for quicker onset, just as they do with THC. However, also like THC, anyone who has tried both a dab and a vape will tell you: vapes can come close (sometimes very close) to replicating the dab experience, but seem to never quite get there. Thus, for medical patients, or anyone seeking a quicker onset in higher doses, dabbing CBD is the best answer.
The good news is that dabbing CBD doesn’t require much (if any) new equipment for those already familiar with concentrates. A dab rig or wax pen will vaporize CBD concentrate the same way as with THC concentrate, and should require no need for additional equipment.
Different Types of CBD Concentrate
Below are some tips on what forms of CBD are best for dabbing, and how to dab each one.
CBD Oil and Tinctures
You can’t dab CBD oils or tinctures. It’s not effective at all and you’re just going to end up trying to scrape burnt coconut, olive, or some other oil off your dab nail. This can get confusing, as some CBD oil meant for edible consumption is labeled as “CBD extract,” which is also the term used for some CBD distillate and full-spectrum CBD extract preparations like sauce.
Be assured, what you’re dabbing should have nothing in it but cannabinoids and terpenes. If there’s anything else in there, that preparation should not be dabbed, and could lead to more serious health issues. Figured we should get that out of the way first.
This is similar to what you’ll find in a CBD vape pen, this term can cover a range of sauce-like CBD preparations. Much like viscous THC extracts, there are various methods of extraction, refinement and removal of impurities (such as plant matter and lipids, etc.). Winterizing and distillation are the most popular methods of creating these extracts, and some have terpenes re-introduced after refinement. Be careful to distinguish that what you have bought is explicitly made for dabbing. These extracts can be dabbed on a nail or in a pen similar to wax/shatter, which we cover more below.
Just like with THC concentrates, get your dab rig, your butane torch, your dab tool, your q-tips, and your CBD concentrate all set up and ready before you begin. As when dabbing THC, hit that nail with the torch for about twenty seconds until it's glowing red. You’re aiming for a temperature of roughly 800-900 degrees Fahrenheit.
Then, let it sit for around 60 seconds before touching your loaded dab tool to the nail. Of course, temperatures will vary based on the thickness of the dab nail and the materials it’s made from. Rotate the dab tool around the rim of the nail in order not to waste any remaining concentrate. Then, cover the carb with a carb cap and keep inhaling. This helps to regulate the air flow.
CBD begins to activate at about 20 degrees Fahrenheit higher than THC ( ~10 variation for Celsius). However, when dabbing CBD concentrate there is ideally little to no THC present, so this bit of scientific information might be moot aside from making sure that the temperature gets at least above 320 degrees Fahrenheit (140 Celsius), the point at which CBD starts to vaporize. However, most CBD waxes and shatters will be full-spectrum, thus adding a little more complexity to the dabbing equation.
If you’re dabbing some quality, full-spectrum CBD concentrate and want the full flavor profile, you’ll want to keep the dab at a lower temperature like 320-350 degrees Fahrenheit (160-177 degrees Celsius).
This gives you a smoother smoking experience, and vaporizes all those tasty and beneficial terpenes along with the CBD to create a full entourage effect. If you’re particular about flavors and effects, it might be wise to invest in an e-nail or a laser thermometer to ensure the temperature is exactly right.
If you’re looking for a big, billowing cloud that goes right to your dome and don’t care about the terpenes that come along for the ride, you can dab anywhere from 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit (177-205 degrees Celsius.) Dabbing above 400 degrees can result in fully combusting the dab, creating unwanted harsh compounds that may be detrimental. Just as with dabbing THC, be sure to clean out your nail after using it to prevent build up. Once the nail’s cooled down, rub the inside of it with a q-tip to clean off all the residue. You can even dip the q-tip in isopropyl alcohol to make it easier.
CBD Isolate Powder/Slab
While you’re much better off buying a CBD concentrate such as wax or shatter due to the full-spectrum benefits, you can certainly dab with either CBD isolate powder or CBD slab. Either will provide a mega-hit of CBD on their own, and also make a great addition to other concentrates if you’re looking to balance out some THC product.
Due to its consistency, isolate power can be a bit harder to manipulate with a traditional dab tool, so it is often suggested to use either a bucket insert on your dab rig or donut coil on your wax pen to contain it before dabbing. Regardless of how you administer the CBD to the heating element, be aware that powder is harder to manipulate. Aside from a narrower effect profile and consistency, the main difference you’ll notice with dabbing isolate and slab versus other CBD extracts is taste.
CBD slab is often the better option for dabbing of the two, since the slab is much easier to manipulate, and less messy than trying to sprinkle isolate into one place. Just pull off a piece of and put it onto the coil of your pen or hit it with the nail in your rig and inhale.
CBD isolate tends to have a flavor a bit like cherry cough syrup.
As mentioned above, since you don’t have to worry about losing terpenes to higher temperatures, you don’t need to be nearly as exact in your temperature range, and can go up to 400 degrees if that’s your preference. Any higher than that and you’re risking a harsher smoking experience.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to expand your dab repertoire and enjoy a quick and potent hit of CBD to cure whatever ails you. Overall, dabbing CBD is not too different from dabbing THC concentrates, but has some minor quirks to be aware of.
Do you enjoy dabbing CBD? Drop your impressions in the comments below.