Cannabis concentrates, or “dabs” as they are more commonly known, are steadily gaining popularity in today’s market. Now, you may believe that you need a large or small dab rig with how much they are advertised and with all the different styles and options. Or maybe your glass recently broke and you need a way to dab. Well, there’s a few options you have that won’t break the bank like buying a proper rig and potentially several accessories.
Taking a dab effectively and safely usually requires a few key steps, so we’ll break down some of the simplest and easiest methods to dab even if you don’t have a proper rig.
As is the case whenever you handle anything that will be reaching extreme temperatures, it is important that everything be done carefully, and at your own risk! Be mindful of your surroundings and other people any time you are dabbing!
What’s A Dab?
Concentrates, or as many refer to them, dabs are very different than typical dry herb. Dry herb contains THC and other active cannabinoids that provide the medicinal and emotional relief that many seek when consuming cannabis. However, there are also other plant materials and compounds that are inhaled when smoking or vaping that we typically seek to avoid. This is why many consumers use pieces with water filtration and/or percolation!
Again, dabs/concentrates are hugely different from standard flower. There are several methods to produce dabs; typically with the goal of taking the plant material and other compounds you wouldn’t normally smoke, and removing them from the consumption process.
What’s The Purpose Of A Dab Rig?
A dab rig is designed to handle the vapor and concentrated flavor and potency of your concentrates. Each typical consumption setup consists of a dab rig, and torch/heating element, and a dab nail/banger where the concentrates are introduced.
When vaping concentrates, the process essentially uses a modified water pipe design along with several accessory pieces that make handling the concentrates and the necessary extreme temperatures with ease. Depending on the level of investment, there are even electronic heating systems and intricate pieces of functional glass artwork that many collectors seek out. However, a large investment is not necessary if you are looking to consume concentrates!
There are several ways to accomplish the same feat with some basic things lying around your home! Though again, we recommend extreme caution and discretion when handling any materials that reach dangerous temperatures.
DABBING WITH A RIG
Before we get into dabbing without a rig, let’s talk about dabbing with one.
1. ASSEMBLE YOUR MATERIAL
Before you start to take your dab, make sure that you have all the tools that you need ready. Typically, you’ll need a butane torch, a dabber, your concentrate, a banger/nail, a carb cap, and your rig. You’ll probably be working with a hot torch and breakable glass, so make sure that you are focused and safe!
2. HEATING THE BANGER/NAIL
Heat your banger/nail. You do this by turning on your torch and aiming the flame on the nail. When you’re heating your nail, you want to make sure that you get it to the proper temperature to vaporize your concentrates. Different nail styles and makes have different temperatures at which they perform best; check out our Blog "Choosing Your Dab Nail/Banger"
There are many modern-day electronic substitutes for the heating element, when using these make sure you fully understand the use and function of the heating element!
Make sure you are paying attention to the temperature of your banger/nail! Under extreme temperature and stress even the most durable nail will break.
Once you have the banger heated to the right temperature, you’ll take your dabber with your concentrate on it and place it inside your banger. If you are using a domed nail, place the dome back on the nail before putting the dabber on it. If you’re using a carb cap, then cover the dab with your carb cap after it’s been placed into the banger.
4. TAKE THE HIT
Inhale, just as you would taking a normal bong hit. Repeat as necessary until the vapor has cleared.
If you use a dab pen, you don’t have to worry about the tool, rig, or wax. Many also have a pre-filled cartridge loaded with dispensary-quality dab oil.
HOW TO SMOKE DABS WITHOUT A RIG
If you are in a situation where you have concentrates on hand, but no rig, then we have a few solutions you can use when in a pinch.
What Other Options Are There Besides a Proper Rig?
- Empty Plastic Bottle
- Vape pens
- Butter Knife
- Rolling paper
TIPS FOR SMOKING DABS WITHOUT A RIG
- We recommend always storing your concentrates at low temperatures to preserve their flavor and their consistency. This is also beneficial in instances where you may need to handle the concentrates when you don’t have a proper rig available. Looser concentrates that tend to be stickier and harder to handle will solidify and be easier to apply to various consumption accessories.
- When handling the wax it is best to use heat resistant materials rather than your hands. This improves the sanitary conditions of your workstation and will prevent the concentrates from melting down and becoming stickier from the heat of your hands.
- The hot-knife method is best performed with another person to assist in the process. There are multiple heated pieces in play and handling everything by yourself can prove difficult and dangerous.
Any method of consumption using an external heat source should be done with caution and discretion! Be aware of your surroundings and avoid potential fire hazards whenever handling materials that reach high temperatures.
The Hot-Knife Method
Hitting dabs off a hot knife is not the classiest method or safest, but it will get the job done in a pinch. Not to mention, just about everybody should have the basic tools necessary to successfully vape concentrates using the hot-knife method.
All you need is a heat source and a reliable stainless-steel knife. We recommend a small torch and a butter knife. (No need for sharp edges AND hot temperatures to be wary of.) A stovetop will work great too. You may also want to take a plastic bottle and remove the bottom as it can be used to help contain and funnel the vapor.
Again, this is much easier if you have two people. If you can’t get the concentrate on the knife, heat one knife up with the concentrate ready on the other. You should be able to generate enough heat using one knife.
Here’s what you do:
- Heat your knife on the eye of the stove or with your torch. Remember to be careful of the temperature of the knife as you can easily burn your hand if you are not careful or attentive.
- Put your concentrate on the knives and press them together with your plastic bottle ready to go.
- Use the bottle like a funnel to suck up the vapor.
- Again, USE CAUTION! You will be handling materials that have reached dangerous temperatures.
This is the easiest method for almost everyone most people have a couple of butter knives and a plastic bottle available at home. It’s also the closest you can to a true dab you can get without a rig as the process is essentially the same, just not as easy or efficient as a proper dabbing setup.
DABBING WITH ROLLING PAPER
If you have some rolling papers or wraps available, you can also use your concentrates to add some extra flavor and potency to your roll-ups. There are even ways to add them to your pre-rolls for a personal touch.
There are two basic ways to apply wax to your roll-ups. The first can sometimes be called “twaxing” and means to line the inside of the roll-up with your dab.
The other method would be to apply the dab to the outside of the roll-up after it has been rolled. It is usually better to apply the concentrate evenly and towards the end of the roll-up that gets lit.
The heating element should be a hand torch. You must handle dab-filled joints cautiously because they can get sticky and hard to control.
This is a foolproof way to smoke wax without a rig. Though it may take some practice to do well as handling sticky substances while rolling can prove difficult.
Using a powerful heating method like a small torch lighter is recommended. Also, be cautious with any roll-ups that have dabs rolled into the interior. They tend to burn more slowly and can get very sticky and reach very high temperatures if not handled properly.
DABBING IN A REGULAR BONG, PIPE, OR BUBBLER
Smoking dabs without a rig can be easy for most regular smokers. It’s very simple and easy to do with any classic spoon pipe, bubbler, or bong.
The first step is to take the bowl and pack it about halfway with dry herb. Then, place the wax into the center of the bowl. Finish it off by layering some more dry herb over the top of the concentrate. This will form a layer to protect the wax from an open flame. This will provide a better flavor and should prevent the wax from melting too quickly and burning.
These bowls will tend to burn longer and may reach higher temperatures than you are used to. Be careful not to burn yourself when handling any lit materials.
Dabbing With a 510 Thread Battery
If you have an extra vape battery lying around, there's a good chance it has a 510 thread port. The Stache ConNectar turns any 510 thread battery without auto-draw functions into an instant nectar collector! It's a great low-cost alternative to a full rig and torch setup, and gives you real dabs anywhere!