Learning how to smoke dabs may seem daunting at first, but it’ll comes easily once you read about it. To help ensure your first time goes smoothly, this resource will teach you how to take a dab.
Unsurprisingly, wax dabs are sticky and should only be handled with a clean dab tool. If you don’t heed this warning and try to use the wax with your hands, you will end up with a sticky mess. Although shatter is typically considered to be the purest dab around, the sappier wax can contain high levels of THC or CBD.
Essentially, dabbing is the flash vaporization of cannabis concentrates, once they are applied to a hot surface and inhaled. These concentrates (you’ve maybe heard of shatter, wax, BHO, oil, etc.) are a lot more potent.
Cannabis dab wax is a soft, opaque oil that lacks transparency after being extracted from the cannabis plant. Its molecules crystalize due to the results of prior agitation. Also, its irregular molecular density does not allow light to travel thus leaving a more solid and non-transparent oil.
Wax may vary in consistency, depending on heat, texture of the oil and moisture. The oil is key on making wax, as for runny oils often compose the known “Budder wax” while more dense and gooier oils are used to make “Crumble” and “Honeycomb”.
Marijuana “dabs” or wax are highly concentrated and potent, not advisable for novice users. Many of those who look to get their hands on this particular product tend to smoke or vaporize it, sometimes it may be ingested.
To smoke wax, a water pipe or vaporizer would be ideal if homemade. However, if purchased in a store a simple bong would do just fine.
Dabbing is one of the preferred methods to consume wax. Typically, with a blow torch, glass pipe, and a nail (a small metal plate connected to the bang of the pipe). The torch heats the nail before placing the amount of wax to be “dabbed” or inhaled. This creates a combination of vapor and smoke of concentrated THC.
Note that wax should be consumed in moderate amounts to reduce potential negative side effects.
DIY Wax – the Solvent-Free Way
Look at these few tips on how to make wax at home. The basic idea behind making any sort of rosin in this manner is the application of heat and pressure. If you are lucky enough to have a proper rosin press, then lucky you, and you needn’t follow the below method!
The ideal amount of cannabis to prepare your own cannabis wax in this manner is 2 grams (some would recommend about 5 – 7 g in a rosin press). You’ll need a flat iron, oven mittens, a razor blade and an unsticky parchment paper (aka baking or bakery paper) in half. You may use Hair straighteners for this, but flat irons can be easier to handle.
- Heat the flat iron to a temperature of between 250 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit (121-149 degrees Celsius).
- Split the 2 grams into 4 nuggets and flatten them for better results.
- Fold your unsticky parchment in half and place your bud in the middle.
- Use the mitten and iron to press on the nugget for 3 seconds approx.
- Repeat this same process with all nuggets.
- There should be a resin stain on the parchment, collect them with the razor blade.
- You can use the leftover buds in an edible or to make canna oil. (And no need to decarboxylate it, either – just literally leave the leftover buds in some coconut or olive oil for a week or two, strain out the plant matter and voilà! A simple canna oil.)
You can also use kief to make a similar style of rosin/hash as above. All you need to do is:
- Place kief on the parchment. Roll up the parchment so it’s flat.
- Roll up the parchment into a newspaper.
- Wet the newspaper strip a little bit (damp rather than soaking).
- Using an iron on a low setting, press and heat the rolled up parchment-newspaper.
- Turn the strip of parchment-newspaper, heating and pressing with an iron for a few minutes on each side. Do this until the newspaper is dry.
- Once the newspaper is dry, unroll the newspaper and parchment paper, and you will be left with a piece of rosin.
What dab tools are needed?
When learning how to use a dab rig, keep in mind that dabbing technology is evolving. The traditional setup includes the following items:
- Dab rig. This water pipe is like a bong except it will have a fitting for a nail.
- Nail. This is like the bowl for your bong and where you will put the concentrate. The standard today is a quartz banger, which has a bucket shape. Ceramic and titanium are other options, and e-nails are becoming more common. Be sure to get the correct joint size, where the nail slides into the dab rig: If your rig has a 14mm stem, you need a 14mm nail. Nails can be male and female as well—you need a male nail for a female rig, and vice versa.
- Dabber. Use this tool to apply the concentrate to the nail. They can be metal, glass, or ceramic, and have many shapes: ballpoint, needlepoint, scoop, spoon, paddle, etc. Pick a shape depending on the texture and consistency of the concentrate you’re dabbing.
- Carb cap. Although not necessary, we highly recommend one of these to help regulate airflow. Combination dabber/carb caps are increasingly popular.
- Torch. Mini-torches used for crème brulee are commonly used, but you’ll have to stock up on propane for them. Again, e-nails are increasingly common (but expensive) and cut out the need for a torch.
- Cannabis extract. These come in a variety of forms, but the most common ones used for dabbing are shatter, wax, BHO, and solventless extracts like rosin.
- (Optional): Dab mat. To keep your dabbing surface clean and not sticky.
- (Optional): Timer. To ensure you heat your nail up consistently dab after dab.
IS WAX SUPERIOR TO OTHER DABS?
No one type of cannabis extract is entirely superior over another, however, wax does represent the best middle ground when taking into consideration flavour, ease of use, consistency, and potency. Many of the other options start to tip the scale too far in one direction. Wax, on the other hand, can be produced at home, is easier to handle than cannabis oil, and therefore significantly more approachable for dabbing newbies.
Although mainstream media like to focus exclusively on concentrate creation disasters, making cannabis wax carries a very low risk of danger. The most significant hazard in producing homemade cannabis wax is the isopropyl alcohol. Refrain from drinking it or handling it near an open flame, and you will be just fine.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE WEED WAX
- 1l of isopropyl alcohol
- 3x freezer-proof container
- Fine metal sieve
- Unbleached coffee filters
- Medium-sized pan
- 2.5 grams of marijuana (strain choice is a matter of personal preference)
- Ovenproof dish
- Small mason jar
Break the buds apart by hand before placing in an ovenproof dish. Place the dish in the oven at 93°C/200°F for 20 minutes.
Transfer the lightly baked buds to one of the freezer-proof containers, and along with the bottle of isopropyl alcohol, place both in the freezer for five hours.
Once five hours have passed, remove both items from the freezer. Pour the 100% proof alcohol over the buds while gently swirling for 20 seconds to ensure they are sufficiently submerged. The liquid should be roughly 3cm higher than the tops of your buds.
Using a second freezer-proof container, strain the alcohol/marijuana mixture through a fine metal sieve. The plant matter can be discarded. The liquid is now our primary focus.
Using the third container, strain the liquid again. This time through unbleached coffee filters. Using a funnel in conjunction with the coffee filters simplifies the process. Wring out the coffee filters into the container afterwards—we don’t want to waste any of the cannabinoid-infused alcohol.
Now we need to remove the alcohol to leave behind our potent cannabis extract. There are three options for doing so, listed in order of how time-consuming they are from longest to shortest.
- Leave the container (with a coffee filter over the top) and wait for the alcohol to evaporate naturally.
- Submerge the container in a shallow pan of warm water, thus speeding up the evaporation process.
- Follow the guidance directly above, except this time heat the shallow pan on medium heat until the alcohol evaporates. Ensure the alcohol does not boil.
Once the alcohol has evaporated, scrape the remaining wax into a small, airtight mason jar. You are now the proud owner of cannabis extract.