Are Dabs Bad for You? Side Effects of Dabbing Cannabis Concentrates

Cannabis concentrates have come under scrutiny over the past few years, mainly due to their rapid increase in popularity among enthusiasts. What was once a relatively unknown niche in an ever-growing legal market has since become a cultural phenomenon, generating an entire subculture in its wake. Many believe that concentrates will soon surpass the sales volume of traditional cannabis flower marketwide.

Compare Cannabis Concentrates

Unfortunately, the mainstream media has taken a click-bait approach to coverage of dabbing, focusing less on discussion of the practice and far more on hysterical descriptions of its alleged dangers. Some outlets have gone so far as to deem dabs “the crack of marijuana.” Yet even with dozens of articles addressing the topic, the question of whether dabbing is safe has yet to be answered in full.

Are Dabs Dangerous or Safe?

Are Dabs Bad for You? Side Effects of Dabbing Cannabis Concentrates

“Dabbing” is used as a catchall term to refer to the practice of melting a cannabis concentrate over a heat source and inhaling the subsequent vapor. The question of its safety can be broken down and answered by addressing five major misconceptions.

The first misconception is the most frustrating, because it confuses the dangers of illegal amateur extraction with the dangers of extracts themselves. Cannabis extracts that are manufactured with light hydrocarbons such as butane or propane require the use of closed-loop systems and extreme safety measures. Manufacturing concentrates illegally by resorting to the use of open-source extraction techniques (i.e. “open blasting”) is highly dangerous and potentially lethal.

What is Dabbing and How Do Dabs Work?

The fact that amateurs have attempted to undertake this process at home has resulted in explosions, serious injury, and occasionally death. This has led to news articles stigmatizing this entire culture, with headlines such as “Dabbing: A New Explosive Trend.” Professionally made concentrates are neither explosive nor lethal, and there is never an excuse for extracts to be made otherwise.

The second misconception with dabbing is that the practice necessitates dangerous tools, most notably blow torches. There are numerous ways to heat a dab, including e-nails, which omit the necessity of using a torch and help prevent injury.

That said, when using a standard nail (one of the most popular surfaces to dab on), a torch is generally used to heat the nail. Torches do require a degree of mindfulness and can be mildly dangerous if used irresponsibly. However, any person who is capable of using a cooking stove should be able to use a torch without harming themselves. Hot nails can cause burns, but the same can be said of any stovetop burner in a kitchen. In this way, torches and nails are no more or less dangerous than cooking dinner.

Are Some Cannabis Concentrates Safer Than Others?

Are Dabs Bad for You? Side Effects of Dabbing

Image Source: Black Rock Originals

The third misconception lies in the idea that all concentrates are created equal. “Dabs,” an umbrella term for all cannabis concentrates, can refer to a number of cannabis-derived substances that have been mechanically separated (such as kief or dry sift, cold water hash, and rosin), as well as cannabis extracts, which use a chemical solvent (such as butane, propane, CO2, or even ethanol winterization) to strip active biomolecules and essential oils from cannabis.

In short, not all concentrates are extracts, and not all extracts contain meaningful amounts of potentially dangerous chemicals. To understand dabbing safety, it’s essential to recognize that the only concentrates that pose a health threat are those that not only employ chemicals for the purpose of extraction, but that also retain high levels of those chemical compounds when the extraction process is complete. Generally speaking, the only concentrates that fall into this category are those that are made cheaply, improperly, or by amateur extractors.

Are Dabs Bad for You and Your Physical Health?

Are Dabs Bad for You? Side Effects of Dabbing Cannabis Concentrates

The fourth misconception surrounding dabbing revolves around the safety of inhaling the vapor from the cannabis concentrates themselves. The question of whether or not dabs are harmful to one’s health has been heavily scrutinized, yet it’s still frustratingly difficult for newcomers to find accurate information.

In order to address concerns like “is dabbing bad for my lungs” or “is dabbing bad for my brain,” a few things must be noted. First and foremost, all concentrates contain cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes. These have never been proven to negatively impact brain or lung function in adult users.

Will New Technology Make Dabbing Approachable to Older Generations?

In addition to these three components, some concentrates also contain a very low (below about 500 PPM) concentration of residual hydrocarbons (depending on the extraction method). According to states including Washington, Oregon, and Colorado, concentrates testing below this threshold for residual hydrocarbon content are deemed safe for consumption. While the number 500 might sound worrisome out of context, to put the safety concerns of 500 PPM into perspective, your lungs receive about that much butane when lighting a joint with a butane lighter.

Furthermore, states that permit the sale of recreational cannabis concentrates require lab analyses for every product sold through a legal vendor, and anything showing up in a lab test containing other foreign contaminants is rejected for sale. Dabbing is safe so long as you are buying a concentrate that has been tested clean and that comes from a reputable licensed vendor.

How Much Stronger are Cannabis Concentrates Than Flower?

Are Dabs Bad for You? Side Effects of Dabbing Cannabis Concentrates

The final concern around dabbing is that concentrates are significantly stronger than cannabis flowers. This is absolutely true. Alleviating this concern is as easy as understanding that inexperienced dabbers should dose much smaller amounts when trying concentrates for the first time; cannabis concentrates are to dry herb as hard liquor is to beer.

That said, the side effects of dabbing overconsumption are far less dire than those linked to overconsumption of hard alcohol. In fact, they’re not so different from the effects of eating too much sugar – lethargy and mild nausea, occasionally accompanied by a brief period of paranoia.

5 Differences Between Cannabis Concentrates and Flower

Proper dosing can be a little tricky due to the high THC density of concentrates, but consulting with your budtender or an experienced dabber beforehand can help avoid the undesirable experience of consuming too much.

How to Dab Safely

To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience while dabbing cannabis concentrates, take note of the following dabbing tips:

  • Avoid low-quality products. Only purchase lab-tested cannabis concentrates from reputable sources, and ask your budtender about testing results and recommendations.
  • Learn to use a dab rig properly. This includes understanding the tools involved, being mindful of heating devices and hot surfaces, and investing in a dab rig you feel comfortable with.
  • Never attempt to perform chemical extraction at home. If you’re interested in experimenting with concentrates safely, try making your own rosin.
  • Dose your concentrates responsibly. Start with less: a tiny dab can be much stronger than a full bowl of flower. The good news with dabs: you don’t have to consume as much to feel the same effects!
How to Dab Cannabis Concentrates


Marijuana ‘Dabbing’ Is ‘Exploding onto the Drug-Use Scene’

Young people who use marijuana and are looking for a new way to get high may be increasingly turning to “dabbing,” a new paper suggests.

Dabbing is inhaling the vapors from a concentrated form of marijuana made by an extraction method that uses butane gas. Dabs, also known as butane hash oil (BHO) — which are sometimes called “budder,” “honeycomb” or “earwax” — are more potent than conventional forms of marijuana because they have much higher concentrations of the psychoactive chemical tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, than is found in regular cannabis, according to the paper.

“We have been seeing an emergence of dabs over the last three years,” said John Stogner, co-author of the new paper and an assistant professor of criminal justice and criminology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. “It is really exploding onto the drug-use scene.”

Some substance users are drawn to whatever the newest trend may be. But besides novelty, the appeal of dabbing is that it’s considered “a stronger, faster high,” said Stogner, who studies emerging drug-use trends.

“At a minimum, dabs are four times as strong as a joint, and the high is administered all at once,” he said.

In the paper, published online today (June 15) in the journal Pediatrics, the authors discuss this emerging trend.

There are no firm numbers on how common the practice of dabbing is, Stogner told Live Science. In states where marijuana is legal, some surveys of regular marijuana users suggest many of them may have tried it at least once, he said.

Although estimates of dabbing’s popularity are lacking, Stogner suspects the people experimenting with it may likely mirror the age range and demographic breakdown associated with marijuana use.

Amateur production

Dabbing isn’t new. It’s been around since the 1970s and has been done by a small number of people in the drug-use community, Stogner noted. But in recent years, dabbing has made the move from obscurity to the general drug-using population.

Stogner said dabbing’s rise in popularity can be attributed to the commercial development of medical marijuana and the legalization of potin a few states. Both of these factors have facilitated the spread of information about dabbing on social media and in instructional videos on YouTube, he said.

In states with medical-marijuana laws or where marijuana is legal, it’s possible to purchase butane hash oil extracts, which have been made in a commercial process where butane — a flammable and volatile gas — can be properly ventilated.

When recreational users attempt to create dabs at home, in a process known as “blasting,” the safety risks are “comparable to those of manufacturing methamphetamine,” the paper’s authors wrote.

Dabs are made by pouring butane over marijuana, which allows THC to leave the plant material and dissolve into the butane. The butane-THC solution is then pressed through the filter and is placed in a dish or tray.

The remaining gummy, solid product is high in THC (concentrations may approach 80 percent), and does not contain much else, Stogner said. People often use modified water pipes (bongs) to smoke the dab, but dabs can also be put into an e-cigarette and be vaped.

Small fires, explosions and burns can result when amateur “blasters” use butane in their garages or kitchens, Stogner warned.

He also said there is not a good understanding of the health effects and physiological risks associated with dabbing because there haven’t been good studies of this method of using marijuana.

In the only previously published study of dabbing — a survey of about 350 frequent marijuana users — researchers found that the users viewed dabbing as more dangerous than other forms of cannabis use because they reported it led to a higher tolerance for the drug and worse withdrawal symptoms, suggesting a possibility of addiction or dependence, the researchers noted.

“It’s dangerous to assume the risks of dabbing are akin to [those of] smoking marijuana,” Stogner said.

Although dabbing has become popular only recently, and research on the practice is limited, it would be a mistake for parents and kids to assume dabbing is not more worrisome or worse than smoking flower cannabis, Stogner said.

Effects of Marijuana Concentrates

The Effects of Marijuana Concentrates and Their Abuse

Marijuana concentrate has become its own culture. As a growing trend, especially for young people, it is no surprise to hear that it is often the preferred variant of THC intoxication. Concentrates are primarily found in the USA, especially in states which have medical or legalized marijuana. However, abuse and addiction is still a very real threat. Moreover, the risks of smoking concentrated THC go beyond any potential health effect which those in favor of the drug may believe.

What is Marijuana Concentrate?

Marijuana concentrate is an extremely potent extract of THC or marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol. It is thick, sticky or gummy and in a brown to green color. (Think about candle wax being melted onto paper and left to dry.) The drug is said to be like smoking 4 -5 joints of medical grade marijuana. “This is pot on steroids,” said Kevin Winslow, director of the Quad-City Metropolitan Enforcement Group (MEG), in an interview with Healthline.

When smoked, the high is almost instantaneous and can last for several hours. Smoking can involve a bong, pipe or electronic cigarettes. The later is one of the most emerging ways in which the concentrates are abused; this is because there is no taste or odor. Other ways a person may use the drug include adding it to food items or beverages.

Alternative Terms for Marijuana Concentrate

Alternative or slang terms change on a regular basis and vary regionally across the globe. The DEA suggests the most current terms for THC concentrate include 710 (“OIL” upside down and spelled backwards), ear wax, honey oil, honey wax, BHO, shatter, black glass, errl and most recently dabs or dabbing.

Psychological and Physical Effects of Concentrates

Shatter or THC concentrates stimulate the same areas within the brain which heroin, cocaine and alcohol reaches. The effects of standard marijuana vary from those related to using THC concentrates. Moreover, depending on how it is used will depend on the psychological and physical effects of marijuana and shatter use.

Euphoria is often the most common effect, followed by relaxation and a heightened sense of perception. Some individuals may feel an increase in appetite and others may feel very drowsy or sleepy. The actual impact significantly changes with each user, how often the use and the strength of the drug.

While this may seem like no big deal, using THC concentrates can produce additional physical and psychological effects. According to the NIH

These include:

• Paranoia • Delirium • Anxiety • Panic/Fear • Delusions/ Hallucinations • Increase in blood pressure • Blood shot eyes • Weight gain • Lung and/or throat infections

In addition to the above, there is new evidence which shows that people who have a history of schizophrenia, multiple personality disorder, bipolar disorder or psychosis may be at a greater risk of experiencing a breakdown or mental health episode.

Another risk of using such high concentrates of THC is the mixing of other drugs. It is not uncommon for users to consume alcohol, cocaine or prescription medications along with the concentrate. When combined, the effects can become increasingly stronger and could include slowed breathing, cardiac arrest, impaired motor skills and injury.

Coming down from shatter or dabs can cause an individual to feel exhausted, moody or depressed. It can also begin to heighten agitation, insomnia and irritability. These feelings can be especially observed when a frequent abuser of marijuana concentrates has not used and is going through a withdrawal.

Potential Dangers of Abusing Marijuana Concentrates

Since the advent of medical marijuana and legalization, the demand for stronger variants has been on the rise. This has led organizations like the Mexican Cartel to put their efforts back into opium and black tar heroin because they cannot keep up with the growers in the US. The primary issue with marijuana concentration is the strength and potency of the drug; which far exceeds dried buds. Standard marijuana has about 10-15% THC while concentrations can be between 80-90% THC when dabbing. This is a huge increase and one of the core reasons there is such a growing concern over its use.

Dabs have also received negative attention due to possible dangers associated with making the BHO. The process involves butane gas which is used to extract the THC. This is then heated at a high temperature to evaporate the butane leaving the thick concentrate of THC. The process is not easy and can be fumbled by novice beginners. Risks include toxic chemicals being inhaled as well as building up in a closed environment (bedroom, closet, garage, etc.). These vapors could cause fires, small explosions and injury.

Dabbing allows the abuser to absorb more THC in a shorter amount of time. The effects within the body will be amplified; so too is the developing of a tolerance as well as the withdrawal symptoms. The amount of THC used can also cause profuse negative reactions, especially compared to traditional marijuana use (smoking the plant). A frequent user of shatter (often with a mental health issue) could have paranoia, anxiety, dizziness and delusions.

Exposure to Contaminants

Dabs, especially when coming from areas which are not regulated, could be contaminated with a variety of chemicals or even solvents. Although concentrates should contain little to no butane, if low-grade or recycled butane was indeed used, impurities could be left in the drug. Consider the potential for pesticides or herbicides used to grow the plant and the individual could face a number of associated health aliments.

Is Addiction to THC Concentrates Real?

Yes. This is a drug and while there are people (cancer, Parkinson’s etc. patients) who may benefit from small amounts, there are a number of people who abuse it. Moreover, those who are using it to escape a trauma like PTSD or depression will often become dependent on getting high rather than treat the underlying problem. Eventually, and in any case, a tolerance will build. The person will need to use more to relieve the problem (if any). When they stop, their problems will come back and oftentimes, it’s worse.

With Marijuana, there is a risk of addiction especially after a tolerance has been formed. When the drug wears off and is not re-used, a person could go through withdrawal. Although not as intense as a heroin or cocaine withdrawal, THC concentrate withdrawal can cause irritability, depression, anger, doubt or fear. It could also cause nausea, vomiting and a decrease in appetite. For many, this is very unpleasant. Keep in mind that all of these feelings increase when there are underlying issues involved (which is often the case).

If you or someone you know is getting into trouble (legal, school, work, family) because of using marijuana concentrates and/or feels stopping is impossible, there is a degree of substance abuse or addiction involved.

For many users, the idea of quitting and getting help for a THC concentrate addiction is scary. What’s important to understand is there are centers with caring, professional staff that can help someone overcome this addiction and begin to heal from the inside out.

Those with an addiction to shatter or dabbing should feel comforted in knowing that recovery is possible. The physical withdrawal and cravings are not as severe as other substances. Often those partaking in a marijuana concentrate rehabilitation program find the psychological addiction is the biggest challenge. Even more so are the people who have mental health issues like depression, PTSD and anxiety. This is when the THC concentration rehab facility is vital. These rehab programs can help people to work through problems, find healthier ways to cope with mental illness and discover alternatives to using drugs.

If you or someone you know has an addiction to THC concentrates and would like to seek the expertise of a rehab program, please contact our Chiang Rai Thailand Rehab Center.

How To Make Dabs

So you wanna know how to make dabs, huh? You’ve come to the right place! We here at Honest Marijuana have been doing this so long (and so well, we might add), we’ve forgotten more about cannabis production (in all its forms) than most people will learn in a lifetime.

That makes us uniquely qualified to tell you everything you need to know about making dabs…even if we do say so ourselves. So that’s what we’re going to do.

But jumping right to the “how to” is a bit like going on Dancing With The Stars without any training: the end result isn’t going to be pretty. So before we tell you how to make dabs, we’re going to give you a bit of background on the subject (dabs, not Dancing With The Stars).

Along the way, we’ll answer such questions as:

  • What is dabbing?
  • What exactly are dabs?
  • What is wax?
  • What equipment will you need to dab?
  • Why choose wax over other concentrates?

After that, we’ll explain how dabs are usually made and then give you a DIY recipe for how to make dabs at home (safely, and without exploding). Sound good? Let’s get started.

What Is Dabbing?

Marijuana wzx

Dabbing is the process of heating a special form of cannabis and then inhaling the vapor. Dabbing gets its name from the tiny dabs of wax that are used with a special rig (a dab rig) to get high (THC dabs) or get your medicine (CBD dabs).

Let’s take a moment to clarify those two sentences by talking about dabs, wax, and equipment specifically.

What Are Dabs?

Think of dabs as “bite-sized,” single-serving hits that are usually no bigger than your pinky nail (though that’s actually a lot!). You scoop a dab onto the nail using a dabbing tool and then apply a flame to turn the solid into vapor. Finally, you inhale as much of the vapor as possible. That’s dabbing in a nutshell.

What Is Wax?

Wax is a type of dab (the other being shatter). And if you’re wondering why wax is called wax, the answer is really very simple: the stuff looks like earwax. Sounds gross, we know, but you’ll get over it after you’ve tried your first hit.

What Equipment Will You Need To Dab?

Equipment needed to make dabs

Dabbing requires some specialized equipment, so you can’t just decide one morning that you’re going to try it without first going shopping. Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Dab rig — A specialized bong used with dabs.
  2. Nail — This isn’t the type of nail you buy at the hardware store.
  3. Dome — Fits over the nail and helps contain the vaporized wax.
  4. Carb cap — Creates a mini oven that helps vaporize the wax at lower temperatures.

And then, of course, you need your dabs.

So What’s The Big Deal?

Dabbing is a big deal because the wax or shatter that you use is a concentrated form of the buds you buy at your local dispensary. And by concentrated, we mean really high in THC or CBD. How high exactly? Anywhere from two to four times over regular bud.

Depending on the strain used to start, wax can clock in at 50-90% THC (or CBD). Even the strongest strain only hits around 25%. So you can see why dabbing is such a big deal: You can get seriously high with just one or two hits.

Why Choose Wax Over Other Concentrates?

We’ve mentioned that there are several types of concentrates you can use when dabbing. We like wax over shatter for several reasons:

  1. Wax is easier to produce.
  2. Wax is easier to handle.
  3. Wax is easier to measure.
  4. Wax is easier to use.

We’re not saying we wouldn’t dab with shatter. We’re just saying that if we had the choice, we’d go with wax first because of the reasons mentioned above.

So now that you know everything there is to know about dabbing, dabs, and wax, let’s talk a bit about how wax is made. Then we’ll show you a simple recipe for how to make dabs in your own kitchen.

How Is Wax Usually Made?

An idea of how to make dabs

If you were a weed wax pro, you’d make your product through butane extraction. “What is butane extraction?” you ask. Here’s the skinny.

Butane extraction involves forcing butane (duh!) through a container full of marijuana bud. The butane acts as a solvent and separates the essential oils (made up of cannabinoidsterpenestrichomes, and flavonoids) from the cannabis plant.

Those oils held in solution along with the butane are called butane hash oil (or BHO for short). But you wouldn’t want to dab with this stuff because butane is toxic. That’s why the next step is so important.

Once you’ve soaked your plants in butane and dissolved all the canna-goodness, you allow the butane to evaporate out of the solution. That leaves behind a highly-concentrated oil that, when it dries, hardens into either shatter or wax.

Sounds simple enough, right? It’s not. Butane is highly flammable and can explode (yes, explode!) with the smallest spark. That’s why we don’t recommend using butane extraction at home to make your own wax.

There are much safer ways to produce some dab goo than to risk life, limb, and residence trying to emulate the pros and their fancy equipment. Don’t do it! Instead, try this non-toxic, non-explosive method for making your own wax.

How To Make Dabs At Home

Below, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide for how to make dabs on your own…without the risk of death or loss of property.

Those in the know (like you are now) call this the QWISO process. QWISO stands for “Quick Wash Of Isopropyl Alcohol.” So, as you can probably guess, we’re going to use alcohol to make this work. But we’re not going to use just any alcohol. We’re going to 99-100% pure alcohol.

That’s a lot different than the vodka you may have stashed in your cupboard. It’s even different than the Everclear you’ve seen at the liquor store. Isopropyl alcohol is not meant for human consumption, so don’t, by any means, put it in your mouth.

It’s also important to understand that 99-100% alcohol is flammable. It’s nowhere near as bad as butane, but you don’t want to handle it around an open flame. Needless to say, it’s not a good idea to try this recipe if all you have is a gas stove.

Okay, so enough with the warnings. Here’s what you’ll need to make dabs at home.


  • 2.5 grams of your favorite ganja
  • Containers that pour well and are freezer- and heat-safe
  • 99-100% isopropyl alcohol
  • Metal mesh screen
  • Unbleached coffee filters
  • Pan
  • Hot water


1) Break up your bud just a bit (not too small).

2) Put it in an oven-safe container and dry the cannabis at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. Please note, this is not decarboxylation.

3) Once the cannabis is sufficiently dry, put it and the bottle of alcohol in the freezer for three to five hours.

4) Wait (we know this is the hardest part).

5) Pour enough cold alcohol over the cannabis to cover it by at least one inch.

6) Gently swish the mix for 20 seconds.

7) Separate the bud from the alcohol by pouring through a mesh screen.

8) Set the plant matter aside for now (from here on out, we’re going to focus on the alcohol).

9) Pour the alcohol through an unbleached coffee filter into another container.

10) Squeeze the coffee filter to get as much of the alcohol out as possible.

11) Allow the alcohol to evaporate. You can do this in one of three ways:

  1. Place a coffee filter over the top of the container and just give it time.
  2. You can also use a warm water bath to speed the process.
  3. If you’re really impatient (like we are), you can put the water bath on the stove at low to medium heat until you see liquid start to evaporate. Be sure not to boil the alcohol.

12) When all the alcohol is gone, scrape the wax out of the container and store in a glass container or on some parchment paper.

13) Enjoy your dabs! (See, 13 isn’t always an unlucky number.)

Dabs in a jar

You can also run the original buds through a second wash (this time for one minute), to get every single drop of the remaining good stuff. Then proceed from step seven as outlined above. That’s all there is to it!

Start Small And Take It Slow

As with any new marijuana endeavor, it’s always a good idea to start small and take it slow. If you’re dabbing for the first time, try one hit and wait a few minutes to see how your body reacts. You can always hit the rig again if you need more, but you can’t return those hits if you take one too many.

The same goes for making your own wax to dab. Start with a small batch, get the hang of the process, and then increase your production when you’ve got a bit of experience. If nothing else, you won’t waste any of your precious bud in a failed attempt to try something new.

14 Different Kinds of Weed Concentrates

If you’ve been getting high for any amount of time at all, you will know that there are scores of different types of cannabis concentrates available out there. I would even hazard to say that there are as many types as there are people (or companies) making them.

Still, I won’t muddy the waters here. For the purposes of this list, we’ll explore 14 different kinds of weed concentrates that you can use in your personal vaporizer. These concentrates are also popularly called dabs.

The classification we’ll be looking at here relies on three different factors:

  • Method of extraction – how were the active ingredients ‘pulled out’. This can be with either CO2, butane, or without any additives (using just heat and pressure).
  • Part of the plant used – the whole cannabis plant can be used when making concentrates. However, the best parts are often the buds (flowers), which contain resin glands. Some types of concentrates will use exclusively them and will, therefore, be differently named.
  • The consistency of the concentrate – your concentrate can be either very liquid or as solid as they come – or anything in between the two. The two most obvious examples would be your run-of-the-mill cannabis oils and shatter (which has a glass-like consistency).

Now that you have an inkling as to why there are so many types of weed concentrates on the market, let’s dive into the specifics of each one of them.

Note: I will not cover every possible type in this post – that would take forever to read (and to write). Instead, I’ll focus on those that are more commercially available or otherwise more popular (great potency, clean extraction, and things like that).

Trim Run (Part of the Plant Used)

Large operations make massive amounts of weed concentrates of various types. Naturally, after the fact, they are left with what someone would call waste – stems, leaves, tiny nugs, and so on. Instead of discarding all of that, they make a lower quality concentrate. Concentrates made from these trimmings are all called ‘a trim run’ (a production run – goods produced using the same procedures, processes, or conditions), regardless of their consistency (they can be waxes, oils, or solids).

Trim run doesn’t contain as many beneficial cannabinoids as other types of concentrates. Still, that isn’t to say that it doesn’t contain any. The way to recognize trim run (and distinguish it from the more potent nug run) is by smelling it. If there isn’t much of an aroma, you’re probably dealing with trimmings.

Trim run offers a decent high, especially if you’re an occasional user. Where it falls short is the taste – trim run has more chlorophyll and will often leave a peppery flavor in your mouth. Still, if you’re using it to get high and not to enjoy the flavor, it should do the trick. Also, it doesn’t hurt that it’s one of the cheapest types of THC concentrates on the market currently.

Nug Run (Part of the Plant Used)

Similar to trim run, the nug run is used to describe a type of weed concentrate that’s made from using specific parts of the marijuana plant – the nugs (or nuggs, nugzz, or however else you want to call them). Basically, these are high-quality nuggets of buds and flowers, which are extremely rich in terpenes and cannabinoids.

A nug run is very flavorful and extremely potent. Connoisseurs appreciate it because the taste is unparalleled – it just doesn’t get any better than this, which is why it’s also dubbed ‘the nectar’. The downside, however, is that concentrates made from this high-quality material tend to be pretty pricey.

Butane Hash Oil (Method of Extraction)

Butane hash oil (BHO) is created with the use of butane, which acts as a solvent and extracts all those juicy cannabinoids and terpenes. The process is not complicated but it is dangerous (and shouldn’t be tried at home unless you really know what you’re doing). BHO is very popular with users because it’s possible to get concentrates that are very high in THC. BHO is also used in the production of a number of other concentrates, such as nug run, hash, budder, shatter, and more.

Because the extraction is done with butane, some people don’t feel comfortable using those types of THC concentrates. The rationale here is that any amount of solvent is unacceptable when it comes to something that’s inhaled. I tend to agree but I also know that manufacturers take extreme precautions when it comes to getting rid of butane from their finished product. That said, BHO has a slightly harsher taste, so if you suffer from any lung afflictions (or just like a smooth ride), I’d skip it in favor of concentrates that have been produced using other extraction methods.

Propane Hash Oil (Method of Extraction)

PHO again describes the extraction method only this time, we’re talking about propane and not butane. Everything else is pretty much the same. Some people prefer it because it can be made into a pretty good budder (kind of creamy/buttery concentrate) with vigorous whipping. Experienced PHO makers note that, depending on the strain, it’s possible to get more terpenes and fewer residuals by using propane.

CO2 (Method of Extraction)

CO2 extraction, also less commonly known as supercritical fluid extraction, is solvent-free, mess-free, and very expensive. It’s also very popular with pros because the product is completely without toxins (unlike, as I’ve said, is the case with butane and propane), while retaining a terpenes-rich flavor.

CO2 cannabis extraction is done with the use of specialized equipment. In short, CO2 gas is forced multiple times through a container that has cannabis in it. As it passes through the plant, it liquifies, picking up cannabinoids and terpenes. Once the process is complete, the residue is left behind in a separate dish.

As I’ve said, CO2 extraction is very costly but it does result in some of the best types of weed concentrates out there. It’s usually used by serious manufacturers who create high-end products because the technician at the helm needs to be well-versed when it comes to various temperature and pressure settings.

Dry Sift (Method of Extraction)

Good, old kief is known to everybody who has ever owned a weed grinder with three compartments. It’s that powder-like substance that collects in the last compartment (it usually takes ages to get an ounce of it) and it’s very potent. If you don’t know what it is, think again – the more common name for kief is hashish.

Dry sieving is a method of extraction that’s pretty similar to what happens in a grinder. You take buds and other plant material and rub it over a fine mesh. Those small, hair-like particles that collect underneath are called trichomes – they are where the marijuana plant stores a bulk of its terpenes and cannabinoids. You can either use the kief directly (smoking it or using it in your vaporizer) or create other kinds of cannabis concentrates with it.

Full Melt (Method of Extraction)

Full melt is a derivative of hash that can be made by employing a water and ice or dry sieve process. The end result is outstanding, regardless of the method you use. It’s a cross between sand and brown sugar when it comes to texture, but the potency is out of this world – with full melt, you get the highest level of terpenes and cannabinoids out there. That’s the main reason why it’s so difficult to find. Full melt is super clean – solvent-free, without any contaminants. The best way to use it is with a vaporizer or a dab rig.

Shatter (Consistency)

If you’ve ever encountered a glass-type concentrate that puts you in mind of caramel candy, then you know what shatter is. Its glass consistency is where the name is derived from (shatter – get it?). It’s mostly created from BHO and PHO extracts and has high levels of THC and CBD.

Shatter is noted for its extreme purity, although there are variations here as well. It’s difficult to guess the quality of shatter just by looking at it – it can be transparent and low (well, lower) on THC and CBD, or murky but still have a high content of active substances. Still, if you’re buying shatter from reputable manufacturers, it will most likely contain 80% or more cannabinoids.

Shatter can’t be smoked easily because of its high evaporation point. Generally, you will have to use either a butane torch or a nail rig that you can heat up to 600 F before you can vaporize shatter.

Crumble (Consistency)

Crumble is yet another type of cannabis concentrate that’s made from butane hash oil. It’s made by purging the oil in a vacuum oven for quite some time (at lower temperatures for the best results). During that process, crumble develops a soft consistency (much softer than shatter) but it’s still brittle enough that it will crumble when handled.

Because it’s difficult to handle, crumble is often used in vaporizers or dab rights. If you’re looking for something that’s highly potent, but still flavorful, it might be your best bet – this type of weed concentrate contains a lot of THC and other cannabinoids.

Wax (Consistency)

A cannabis concentrate that closely resembles honey is called wax. Even if you’re not a concentrate buff, you’ve probably seen it before – wax is easy to come by and it’s one of the most popular dabs in use. BHO and PHO are both a type of wax (although there are other types as well).

Wax concentrates have a very high content of THC and other cannabinoids (much higher than regular buds or trim runs) and need to be handled carefully. If you’re not used to vaporizing something so potent, the best advice I can give you is to start slow. Because wax is very runny, it’s difficult to handle without proper tools. The most common way of using waxes is with the help of either a dab rig or a personal vaporizer. Generally, waxes are around 4X more expensive than the buds they were extracted from.

Sap (Consistency)

With the texture similar to that of chocolate, sap is one of the weed concentrates that is difficult to work with, especially on a hot day. That’s why it’s advisable to use it only indoors, in well ventilated and cool areas, where it won’t melt. Much like chocolate, sap will melt if handled with fingers, which is why I recommend using a tool when dealing with it. Sap has a similar potency to the best waxes out there so if you’re a beginner you need to be careful when using it.

Pull and Snap (Consistency)

If you like your concentrates a bit on the runny side but you still want to be able to handle it by hand, pull and snap is the way to go. This type of weed concentrate is similar to taffy, meaning that it’s pliable enough to be molded by hand, but you won’t make too much of a mess with it.

Pull and snap gets its name from a distinctive way you separate little dabs of the material – you simple pull and twist it until it breaks away. You can then roll it into a little ball to use in your vaporizer or a dab rig, or flatten it out and smoke it.

Budder (Consistency)

Probably the cleanest and the most sought-after concentrate on this list is budder. It gets its name from the fact that it closely resembles regular butter in its consistency. Budder is extremely pure and potent – 90% THC and 99% purity on average. It’s notoriously difficult to make since it has to be vigorously whipped during the purging process. That’s partly the reason why budder is so freakishly expensive.

Rick Simpson Oil

Rick Simpson Oil (or RSO) is a widely known type of THC concentrate that used mostly for medicinal purposes. Unlike regular medical concentrates, it is made from female plants that have over 20% of THC and buds and leaves are both used. This means that RSO has a high percentage of THC in it, which causes the users to experience various psychoactive effects.

RSO is mostly used in form of small pellets that are then placed under the tongue where they can be easily absorbed. Alternatively, they can be swallowed or vaporized. Most users recommend a low dosage at first, especially if you’re not used to THC.

Which Type of Cannabis Concentrate Is Your Favorite?

Of course, these are by no means the only types of concentrates available to vapers. We haven’t even touched on live resin or ice water hash, or plenty of others for that matter. Still, these are the most popular ones.

How many of these concentrates do you know about? Personally, I didn’t know about quite a few – at least, I didn’t know that they have official names – so it took a bit of digging to assemble this list. Drop down to the comment section to let me know which concentrate is your favorite. I’m itching to try a few for the first time and would love some input!

How to Clean a Dab Rig

  1. Beginner Method: Heat water to a boil in pot or kettle. Hold piece over rising steam to loosen residue. Once boiled, let cool until comfortable to touch, carefully add water to the piece, cover mouthpiece and nail space, shake vigorously, and discard water quickly. Repeat as necessary.
  2. Intermediate Method: Bring water to a boil and let sit for one minute. Add cold Isopropyl Alcohol (85% or higher) to the water line and a few pieces of rock salt to your piece. Cover mouthpiece and nail space and shake vigorously. Add hot water, shake again, then discard water quickly. Rinse thoroughly with cold water.
  3. Advanced Method: Divide 4 oz of Isopropyl Alcohol (85% or higher) into small increments (to avoid damage or injury) and heat in the microwave for up to 15 seconds. Pour into dab rig, cover mouthpiece and nail space and shake. Discard and repeat step again. Finish with a thorough rinse of cool water.

Dirty Dab Rigs are not Tasty

Dab setup

I get asked all the time about the best ways to clean a dab rig, and I would say there are three different, yet effective styles to cleaning a dab rig. The best way simply depends on your level of comfort. The first and easiest way to clean a dab rig, is to simply use hot water. My pro tip is to use the steam that rises while the water is boiling to loosen the gunk on the piece. Hold the piece over the pot or the neck of a kettle (which can reach into where your banger attaches), and use the steam to loosen the reclaim. I recommend you bring the water to a full boil, remove from heat, and then let it sit for about one minute.

Of course, be careful when handling glass and heat! As long as you’re using decent quality tempered glass you should be fine. Now, add the hot water to the piece and shake it vigorously. Shaking the piece takes a little finesse` as you’ll need to cover both the space where the nail goes as well as the mouthpiece. When dumping the water out try to do it in one swift motion while the oil is sitting on top of the hot water. If you do a slow pour the oil can get caught on the glass and you will have to re-boil water to release it from the side.

Clean a Dab Rig Better

The intermediate cleaning option also involves boiling water and letting it sit for about a minute. While it is resting add some cold ISO (aka isopropyl alcohol) to your piece. Anything above 85% ISO should do the trick efficiently. To take it up a notch add some pieces of rock salt as well. Shake vigorously then add the hot water to the piece.

a clean dab rig

The ISO combined with the rock salt will help if you have a bunch of reclaim built up in your piece. The rock salt helps cover surface area and the ISO helps the hot water remove the reclaim from the side. The rock salt also helps to take the reclaim out of the piece when you do the fast pour. We don’t want you to be stuck trying to clean a dab rig out twice to make it crystal clear. Finally, rinse with cool water.

Clean Dab Rig Achievement Unlocked

The most advanced method of cleaning your rig would be to lightly heat the ISO. This is the most advanced method because overheating the ISO in the microwave can cause the ISO to mildly explode (which we encourage you to avoid). I would heat no more than 4 fluid oz. for 15 seconds. If you use less than 4 fluid oz, please be sure to halve the time in the microwave. Add the mildly hot ISO to your piece and swish it around.

If your rig is super coated with reclaim, use rock salt as mentioned in the intermediate method above. This will be the most efficient for instantaneous removal of reclaim build up. The warm ISO seems to work great. I usually rinse my dab rig out with this method twice and have it sparkling like brand new. Finally, don’t forget to rinse the ISO out of your glass with cool water before putting it back to use.

What Are Dabs And The Dab Phenomenon?

The dabs phenomenon has taken over the Western United States and is moving eastward at a rapid pace.

If you live on the West Coast or Colorado, chances are you’ve taken dab hits with friends in recent years. If you haven’t, you really need to get out more.

Whenever I talk about it on social media or with my family that live off the West Coast, people often ask me, ‘what are dabs?’

I don’t know that there is an ‘official’ definition yet. I’m waiting for it to turn up on one of those ‘new words of the year’ lists and then maybe an ‘official’ definition will finally be out there. I look at the definition of dabs like the the former Supreme Court Justice Stewart looks at the definition of obscenity – I don’t have an official definition, but I know it when I see it.

What are Dabs?

This is the hash your dad used to smoke in the 70s. This is not a dab.

To oversimplify things, dabs are various forms of high-grade hash, usually made with a process involving butane. Urban Dictionary defines it as “bho (butane hash oil), a medicinal marijuana product extracted from the plant and concentrated into a smokable oil. also an adjective to describe the mind state of those who smoke bho or ‘dabs’”.

I don’t really like the Urban Dictionary definition because it doesn’t necessarily have to be for medicinal purposes. I personally smoke them to get as recreationally high as I possible can! Realize, we are not talking about the hash that your dad used to smoke in the 1970’s.

The butane hash oil (BHO) made these days is far stronger and purer than the hash pictured above. Below is a picture of what I’m talking about:

This is BHO or a dab!

I posted the question ‘what is the best answer to the question what are dabs’ on my Facebook, and below are some of the responses:

“concentrated cannabis extracts that get you really high really fast.”

“essential concentrated extracted particles from the cannabis buds and leaf’s”

“pandora’s box”

How to Dab Cannabis Concentrates

Dabbing may seem daunting at first, but it’s one of those activities that comes easily once you’ve seen it done. To help ensure your first time goes smoothly, this resource will teach you how to take a dab.

Essentially, dabbing is the flash vaporization of cannabis concentrates once applied to a hot surface and inhaled. These concentrates (you’ve maybe heard of shatter, wax, BHO, oil, etc.) are a lot more potent than marijuana flowers, so a little bit goes a long way. While bud tends to test between 10 to 25% THC, concentrates typically range between 50 to 80% THC, depending on the extract type and quality. You can even dab non-intoxicating CBD extracts for quick therapeutic effects with little to no cerebral euphoria, but in some regions these oils can be difficult to find.

However, dabbing isn’t for everyone, especially if you’re new to cannabis entirely. The dosing process is more delicate, but once you’ve gotten the hang of it, concentrates can offer you new heights of physical relief and unique cerebral effects. Extracts also contain a lot less plant material than flower, so you’re inhaling more cannabinoids (e.g. THC, CBD) and less combusted resin.

What Dab Tools Are Needed?

dab tools

Dabbing technology is evolving, but the traditional setup includes the following items (keep in mind that the appearance of each tool may vary slightly depending on its design):

  1. A cannabis extract. These come in a variety of forms, but the most common ones used for dabbing are BHO, CO2, and solventless extracts like rosin. Don’t dab with alcohol-based extracts, and if you have any doubt at all about the safety of dabbing a particular oil, ask your budtender.
  2. A water pipe. You can take the glass bowl pieces out and replace them with dabbing attachments to turn your pipe into a dab rig.
  3. A nail. Find a nail that fits your water pipe’s gauge. Some are made of ceramic and quartz, but titanium is the most commonly used type.
  4. A dome. This is the glass hood placed around the nail. “Dome-less” nails (see below) don’t need a glass globe, but standard nails need something to trap the vapor before it’s inhaled.
  5. A torch. Mini-torches used for crème brulee will do the job, but some choose to upgrade to larger propane-fueled torches that heat nails faster. New flame-less methods of dabbing are becoming available, but most people still use the torch method due to the low cost investment.
  6. A dabber. This is the glass, metal, or ceramic tool used to apply a dab.


How Much Oil Is Enough to Dab?

Cannabis concentrate with dab tool

Different extracts have different THC concentrations, so it’s helpful to know how potent your oil is before dabbing with it. However, it’s generally recommended to start small and increase the dose if you feel comfortable doing so.

A small dose is no bigger than a crumb. It may not look like much, but that’s still a lot of THC going straight to the dome at once. Dabbing can feel a lot more intense to those accustomed to flower, but as your tolerance adjusts, the effects become less jarring.

How Do You Dab?

how you dab cannabis concentrates

Once the rig is set up and your dab is prepared on the dabber, you’re ready to get started. We advise you to sit while taking a dab, since the rush of THC can be physically intense.

Step 1: Turn on your torch and aim the flame directly at the nail. Most people will heat the nail until it begins turning red-hot. If you’re using an electronic nail, refer to the section below for more information on heating.

Step 2: Once the nail is hot, turn off your torch and place the glass dome over the nail. It’s recommended to let titanium nails cool for about 10 seconds and quartz nails about 45 seconds so the surface temperature isn’t too hot. Refer to this article to learn more about the importance of low-temperature dabbing).

Step 3: Take your dabber, apply the dab directly on the nail inside the dome, and inhale slowly. Rotating the dabber tip on the nail can help you prevent wasting any oil stuck to the dabber.

Step 4: Exhale and enjoy!

Safety notice: nails and glass domes become extremely hot in the dabbing process. Take caution when handling them, and always wait for all pieces to cool down before you even think of touching them.

What Are E-Nails and Dome-less Nails?

E-nail on cannabis dab rig

The above tutorial explains how you take a dab using the common torch-and-nail method, but there are other dabbing attachments that deviate slightly from this process.

Dome-less nails are metal pieces that don’t require a glass hood to trap vapor. Instead, a network of holes throughout the nail deliver the vapor straight through the piece. You still heat it as you would a standard nail — the advantage is not having to hassle with an extra glass piece that can become hazardous with heat and sticky with resin.