Being a Colorado resident, I have the privilege to experience all the newest and greatest things to come out in the marijuana world. However, I realize that many of my readers live in places where they might not have access to such things. Today, I will be going over the various concentrates that exist.
Yabba dabbing do.
What is dabbing? Put simply, dabbing is the process of smoking a concentrate through an “oil rig”. It is called dabbing because you use a very small amount of your concentration of choice, and with a metal or glass tool, dab it onto an ultraheated unit. This can include skillets, or nails, and a dome or bell piece. I’ll go into further detail of these rigs later on.
A concentrate, in this specific application, is a concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol. This is what your glorious greens contain that gives you the lovely mellow you hold so dear. Dabs, or concetrates, are exactly that. A concentration of the THC.
How do we get the concentrate? Well, the actual process is a whole different article, but the basics are simple. You take whatever you have, trim stems whatever, and you extract the THC from it. Again, the process is not something I will be going over today. Be on the lookout for future articles regarding this topic.
There are so many kinds of concentrates. You’ll hear a plethora of terms, which will most likely just leave you confused. I’m here to clear up the hubbub that you have been exposed to, and unveil the simplicity of it all.
Keif: The collection of crystals on your bud. Also known as trichomes, this is the shiny dust you love to top your favorite bowl pack with, or sprinkle into a fat blunt. Many popular grinders have a “keif catcher” which collects the keif from when you grind up your greens. This is the most popular and common concentrate, and the one you are probably already familiar with.
Hash: There are many many many kinds of hash. Hash is usually the word that most confuses people. Full melt, whipped, bubble, ice. All of these are the same thing. It is a basic process of using water and agitation to pull out the trichomes from parts of the plant that are otherwise not utilized. It can range in color and quality, depending on the process used, and quality of the plant to start. Hash can look like damp keif, or a tootsie roll. It’s all the same, and it’s all wonderful.
Wax: Wax(including earwax) is simply the highest quality of hash. It is moist and crumbly, or thick and sticky. It various in texture and consistency, but is all the same product; potent concentrated THC.
Oil: Oil is made by using a solvent to extract the THC. There are various processes to do this, most of them are simple, but can lean on the risky side because of the chemicals needed to produce it. Oils are the purest form of THC, and are therefore the most potent concentrate that you can get.[/tab]
Budder Budder: This is just oil that has been whipped to give it a more manageable texture, and make it easier to use with dabbing rigs.
Shatter: You can always tell shatter by its texture. It breaks like thick sugar, a lollipop so to speak. It’s usually very transparent, and hard to the touch. This is my personal favorite concentrate.
Tincture: Tincture is a glycerin concentrate. It is made very similarly to how cannabutter is, however, it is tasteless and can be mixed into anything. I love to add tincture to my tea in the morning, ensuring that I have a mellow day. Tincture, in general, is ingested, rather than smoked.
Identify the different types(hover for answer)
So, pick your favorite! If you live in place with dispensaries, they will have different kinds and potencies, and will be more than willing to walk you through each kind. If you don’t, most of these are pretty easy to make, with some science and a little common sense. I will post in the future on how to make hash, at the very least.
Oil Rigs…..like….a boat?
No. Not at all. An oil rig is usually what you will hear people talking about using, to smoke concentrates. You might also hear things like nails, skillets, dabbers, domes, bells. All of these refer to attachments to a bong, or a separate unit entirely. The most common way to dab is using a nail and dome. Here are a couple examples of that.
The nails can be made of three different materials. Titanium, glass, and quartz.
Titanium: This is a very popular thing to make the dabbing nails out of. Being made of metal, it cannot break from extreme heat, and the concentrate will burn right off of it, leaving very little sticky residue. However, I have one main issue with titanium. Though almost everyone will tell you that even at the highest temperatures, titanium does not release any kind of toxic or carcinogenic fumes, I don’t believe this to be true. The temperature in which you must get your nail to vape the concentrate, it turns the titanium molten red. Being a silversmith myself, I know the dangers of inhaling metal fumes. It is just not a chance that I myself am willing to take, but feel free to be the judge and try it out for yourself. As I said, most resources assure you that it isn’t dangerous. I’m just a skeptical stoner.
Glass: The second best option. The cheapest. And a pretty clean option, if you ask me. Glass nails will cool quicker than titanium, so you will have to reheat it each time you dab. I don’t mind this, knowing that the glass is definitely safe. The one problem I do have with glass nails – they break. All the freaking time. If you’re heating it hot enough to get some proper dabs in, your glass nail probably won’t last you longer than a month or two. It will start with a small crack, especially if the temperature of the room is cold because of winter or air conditioning. Eventually that small crack will lead to a pop, and your nail is done for. I’ve also shattered a couple of domes from the shrapnel of the broken nail. Those are sad times.
Quartz: My favorite! If you have ten extra bucks, seriously, invest in a quartz nail. The natural stone retains the heat MUCH longer, than even titanium. It’s also very hard, and almost never cracks or breaks. I highly recommend using a quartz nail for all of your dabbing duties.
Skillet: This is not a nail. This is a titanium plate that is super heated and swung under a bell. While it provides much more surface area for your concentrate, and maintains heat quite well….it is still titanium. I’ll be honest, I’ve smoked some seriously sick skillets in my time. I just try to stay away from smoking out of metal, these days.
Domes and bells: These are the glass pieces that are places over your nail/skillet in order to direct the smoke into your bong or bowl. The dome, sometimes also called a globe, is a round clear “hat” that fits over your nail rig. It has a large hole on the side, or on the top, where you insert whatever instrument you have chosen to hold the concentrate. Bells are used mainly for skillets, and are just facing a different direction. They do not need a hole, as the skillet swings under them. Here is a picture of a nail and dome rig. And one of a skillet and bell set up.
Nab that dab!
Now you may be plucking your Bic off your Bowl Band and thinking you’re ready for some dabs, right? Super wrong! Dabbing requires intense heat, and the only kind of thing that can bring that heat? A blowtorch. That’s right. A bitchin’, fire spewing, blow torch. You can get anything from a kitchen torch used for crème brule, to a serious business torch that could melt things to other things. Just please, for the love of all that is good in the world, do NOT light you, your cat, your girlfriend, or your house on fire. I will not be held responsible for irresponsible actions! Here is a picture of a good size torch to use for your dabbing. Almost all torches take butane, something easily attained at your local smoke shop.
Dabs are taking over the nation, and quickly becoming a way of getting what I call “high school high”. Remember when you first started smoking weed? When you could hear your dry mouth, and lights were ALL too bright? When ramen omelets were invented, and cruise rides felt like you were in a dream? Yes, it’s possible to get like that again! Without smoking an entire ounce in a day! Concentrates are a wonderful way to conserve your weed, and get nice and toasty with just a couple rips. So now that you’re armed with some sweet knowledge, go forth, and dab!
A special thanks goes out to all the people who contributed photos to this article. Without your up close shots of concentrates and rigs, my dabbing data could be lost in the ether! All accounts are from Instagram, and you can find and follow these people there. Check out their feeds for some other awesome shots. (@h0ly_smokes, @austinpowers_,@nicoleriverox3, @dabstumblr, @oh_breanne, @lifeandchef, @lifluv, @420photography)
And don’t forget to follow me on also @sonoluminescence
-Mellow Dee, your local Cannaisseur.