I am a member of the older generation and someone who has been smoking cannabis in joints, bongs and glass pipes for almost fifty years. I will be the first to admit that I do find high temperature dabbing with a butane torch to be overwhelming and downright scary. In this article I will explain why it is worth it for us older cannabis users to master dabbing. I will also discuss some of the new innovations in dabbing technology which should make the process much more appealing.
Benefits of Dabbing Marijuana
Each delivery method has its own distinctive number of benefits. Here are some of the pros for dabbing:
- A small amount of concentrate goes a long way. Because of its potency, it takes much less concentrate to quickly deliver its effects, providing several hours of relief for the more difficult to treat symptoms such as chronic pain and insomnia. In contrast, to achieve the same effects with smoking or vaporizing, you would have to use a much larger amount of flower.
- Provides much stronger and faster symptom relief than oil-filled wicked vape pen cartridges and is free of solvents
- While edibles do provide strong, long-lasting relief of symptoms, there is a case to be made for inhalation delivery methods over ingestion methods. It takes too long for the effects of edibles to kick in to stimulate the appetite. They also don’t relieve nausea as well as concentrates.
- Concentrate extraction preserves many more cannabinoids and terpenes, especially with cold start dabbing which uses lower temperatures. With concentrates, there is no plant matter which when smoked, leaves behind carcinogenic tars.
- Concentrates contain strong flavor profiles due to the terpenes; they are even more pronounced with manufacturers who reintroduce terpenes after the extraction process.
It is incumbent upon the cannabis industry to provide better technology that is safer and easier on the throat and lungs using controlled dosing at easily controllable temperatures if it wants to appeal to the older generation.
Latest Innovations in Dabbing Technology
Electric Dab Rigs
The invention of electric dab rigs has really changed the perception of dabbing and propelled it into mainstream use. Concentrate usage has gained in popularity with a 40% increase in 2020 in both the medical and recreational markets.
The electric rig allows the user to dab without having to use a butane torch. The nail is attached to a temperature controller which allows users to control the temperature with the click of a button, either with a battery powered heat source or with electricity.
Benefits of Electric Dab Rigs
- You can get the most out of the terpene profile from each concentrate by setting the temperature at its optimum level of vaporization. As you become more proficient, you can try different temperatures of high, medium and low to determine which provides the most benefits.
- It allows you to dab at lower temperatures using cold start or reverse dabbing which delivers a smoother and better tasting hit. It also avoids a burnt or unpleasant flavor that typically accompanies the use of a blow torch.
- No butane torch means no worry about running out of fuel but more importantly, it avoids much less danger of injury
- Making sure the nail is at the correct temperature no longer involves guessing. It is safer and avoids wasting concentrate when the temperature is too high or too low
- Very low maintenance; all that is needed is to swab the e-nail with an alcohol soaked cotton swab.
The only drawbacks are the cost of electricity which is actually much less than the cost of butane and the need to replace the coil every so often.
There is a large range of different designs, both portable and for your desktop. Electric dab rigs are easier to use, with less mess and are much safer; the prospect of a novice user in control of a blow torch while extremely intoxicated can spell disaster. While the initial investment may seem prohibitive, if you dab on a regular basis, it is well worth it.
Do Your Homework Before Buying
Make sure it is sturdy and easy to use with an accurate, simple to use temperature gauge. Read online reviews and ask other dabbers for recommendations.
Choosing An E-Nail or Banger Material
Relatively inexpensive, durable and safe with short heat-up time but not the best flavor
More expensive, breakable, long heat-up time but doesn’t retain the heat but great flavor. Easy to use but not to clean
Quartz e-nails are currently the preferred material for dabbing.
Best flavor, breakable but more durable than ceramic, food safe material, medium heat-up time and lower heat retention
VapeXhale has developed a dabbing device which they describe as something between a bong and a vaporizer. The EVO uses a patented technology called PerpetuHeat Thermal Technology. It is activated by an electric power switch. As you inhale, air travels through the glass enclosed heater core which connects to a customized glass mouthpiece. Convection heating technology warms the concentrate to a controlled temperature of your choice, producing huge clouds of vapor. This method is better than the majority of dabbing equipment which uses conduction heating where there is direct contact with the heat source.
DabTabs are 50 mg honeycomb-shaped, measured doses of different types of full-spectrum cannabis concentrates. Each dablet is wrapped in a casing that can be heated and dabbed with no mess. The user places it flat inside the dab rig heat chamber, heats it and inhales. It provides about three hits before it turns black, indicating that it has been completely consumed.
Here is the link to the article about DabTabs.
leafly.com, Will New Technology Make Dabbing Approachable to Older Generations? Bailey Rahn, June 24, 2016blog.seedsman.com, Should You Buy An Electric Dab Rig? April 10, 2019
vaping360.com, Best E-Nails for Dabs, updated Aug. 11, 2021