The rise of Dabbing

Liz Filmer
01 Oct 2021

These days cannabis comes in lots of different variants. Gone are the days of just Flower or hash that you smoke or flower/hash that you make into edibles. There are now concentrates and extracts of all strengths and effects. The more popular ones being Shatter, Wax and Budder. As for consumption methods, the most popular by far has got to be dabbing via a dab rig.

The practice of Dabbing has been gaining popularity due to how convenient and effective it is. Dabbing is a way of consuming high amounts of cannabis extracts very quickly. The immediate high is massively increased. One pull on an average size dab (about .2 grams of good Shatter) is the equivalent of about a one gram pure spliff, maybe more, as a percentage of the THC is burnt off/lost in a spliff. If you can imagine taking that amount in one breath, then that, my friends, is dabbing!
So, what is a dab rig? 
The foundation of a dab rig is a glass water pipe that is connected to a "nail" or "banger".  A Banger or a Nail is where concentrates are vaporized. There are different styles to change the vaporization rate and how much concentrate can be dabbed at once. Bangers can be glass, quartz, titanium, and ceramic. Some bangers have a vacuum-sealed jacket allowing them to retain heat for longer. 

A Carb Cap is a glass, titanium, quartz, or ceramic cap with a small hole covering the top of the nail. A carb cap's job is to lower the pressure in the nail or banger, trapping heat and reducing the vaporization temperature. A Dabber is a tool for moving the dab to the nail or banger for vaporization. A butane hand torch is then used to heat the nail.
How to use a dab rig
Heat the nail until it's visibly red hot, then let it cool so as not to scorch your dab. (30-60 secs) The perfect temperature is 300-450F (149-232C) to achieve the best flavours. To work out how long it takes for your nail to cool to the desired temperature, use an infrared thermometer and a dab timer (smartphone app). Alternatively, use an E-nail. An E-nail lets you set a temperature and then electronically heats the nail to the exact temperature; no torch needed!

 You can also control the temperature to personal preference. The general rule is that the hotter it is, the stronger the THC will be, but the lower the terpene level. Vice-versa, the lower the temperature, the higher the terpene profile but, the lower the THC strength. It's all about finding out what works for you.

Place your concentrate on the nail and inhale slowly. Unlike a bong hit, dabs need a long, slow inhale as the majority of the concentrate does not vaporize instantaneously. Put the carb cap on the nail or banger for better vaporization while inhaling. The carb cap will trap all the heat for the best experience.  Finally, lift the carb cap to release any vapour from the rig and then exhale immediately.

If you're just starting out Dabbing, I would suggest going slow and low at first. I have lost count of the number of people who regularly smoke then hit the rig once only to whitey and pass straight out. It's strong stuff and not for everyone.

Personally, however, I feel that it gives me something extra than just smoking a straight spliff. For me, it's a different high. I love being able to explore other forms of cannabis material, their terpene profiles and their effects. 

Dab rigs are beginning to create a real scene for themselves, too, not just with smokers but as pieces of art in their own right. The prices of top pieces can run into the thousands as they become more elaborate, technical, exclusive and beautiful. The rigs in the photos attached are courtesy of the awesome Hashashins Gallery, London's Premier Glass Gallery in Shoreditch London and feature work by the awesome Les Moor and Lu Glass.

les moor rig
Moorior rig by Les Moor, courtesy of Hashashins Gallery London.
tree rig
Bonsai Rig by Lu_glass courtesy of Hashashins Gallery London.
Liz Filmer