how to dab how to dab

How To Dab: Your Guide For Taking The Perfect Dab Everytime


Have you wanted to learn how to dab, but maybe have some reservations after hearing some horror stories of harsh hits and heavy highs? Thankfully, there is a way to enjoy the sweet and strong bliss that dabs provide, without overdoing it.

In the modern world of cannabis, dabbing has become the choice way for connoisseurs to enjoy cannabis. This fast-acting, potent, and flavorful method of cannabis use has become significantly more accessible over the last ten years, now with automated vaporizers, advanded dab rigs and nectar collectors, and all of the amazing technologies used to smoke hash.

Though it has become easier for the average cannabis consumer to dab, there is still a lot to learn before taking your first dab. Whether you’re looking to build your own dab station setup at home or want to try out a sample dab with friends, there are key ways to prepare your dab and handle your extracts to avoid any unpleasant effects or over-consumption.

Below we will guide you through everything you must know, so you can be dabbing like the pro’s.

What You’ll Need For The Perfect Dab 

 If you plan to build your own dab setup, there’s a small list of tools necessary to dab and maintain your rig and accessory pieces.  

  • Small portion of your preferred hash
  • A dab rig or vaporizer with dab capabilities
  • Clean water
  • Q-Tips
  • Dab tool / applicator
  • Carb cap
  • Torch / heat source
  • Timer or clock with a second hand

 The term “rig” refers to the glass pipe used to collect the cannabis vapors before inhaling your hit. These pieces often look similar to water pipes, or bongs, and can be both modest or elaborate in design. 

Each rig will attach to a head piece made out of steel, ceramic, or quartz glass of various thicknesses. This is the heated chamber that hash can be loaded into. The cannabis oil hits the surface of the nail or banger head, which then instantly melts and vaporizes into a rich cloud of warm vapor, potent with cannabinoids and delicious terpenes.

Though this seems like a relatively simple setup, the complexities in dabbing revolve around the type of hash being dabbed, serving size, and temperature. Each of these factors could drastically change a smoke sesh from blissful to intense, or even dangerous in some cases.

To better understand how these three variables shape the dab experience, let’s dive in a little deeper.

High Quality Concentrates

The quality of your cannabis really can make or break a dab sesh. Not only do low-quality extracts tend to tarnish or “chazz” glass and ceramic dab accessories, but they also can come with unpleasant tastes.

Clean, third-party tested concentrates made from reputable sources will offer a much smoother and tasty experience, in addition to their cannabinoid potency.

Most extracts are stronger than cannabis flowers, by the nature of their concentrated form. Some hash products can range in potencies between 55-99.9% THC– almost five times the potency of the average bud.

Extracts abundant in aromatic compounds like terpenes and esters can enhance and alter the already euphoric effects of the cannabinoids. These compounds bring on the more subtle uplifting, relaxing, or even energizing effects of cannabis.


Different types of hash and their concentration levels:




Bubble Hash




Live Resin


Isolate / Distillate / Crystals



Potency and Dose Size

When dabbling in extracts, serving size makes a major difference, as it only takes about 5-25mg of hash to make a single dose. This could look like a scoop of extract or oil the size of a grain of rice, or a leaf off a sprig of rosemary.

Cannabis’ active compounds, known as cannabinoids, are considered bi-phasic substances. Meaning, both low and high doses provide different effects. A smaller dab may leave some feeling calm or playful, a larger dab can come with a heavier body load and some minor psychedelic effects.

Portion sizes also get smaller when you are working with high-potency extracts like crystals, sauce, and isolate cannabis products. Each THCA crystal found in a live resin sauce is in its most pure form – hence the solid crystal! When placed on a hot surface, this tiny crystal converts over into 100% THC. Keeping in mind cannabinoid potency is a great way to gauge dosing ratios with new products.

Taking a dose that exceeds 50 mg for the average consumer may result in some intense fatigue and other side effects. It’s always a good idea to stay well-fed, hydrated, and only dabbing doses you feel confident in. You can always dab more, but you can never dab less!

Temperature & Timing

By far, the most important technique to perfecting your dab is understanding temperature and timing. Whether you are using a temperature controlled E-nail, or a hand held torch to heat your piece, there are a few standard temperatures to take a dab at:

Low Temp: 400-450 Degrees F
This is the temperature range for dabbing cannabis products that are potent in terpenes and other volatile compounds. The low temperature range ensures that all the delicious notes of the oil are vaporized gently, so each puff is fragrant and incredibly smooth.

Medium Temp 500-550 Degrees F
A slightly hotter hit, the mid range dab is for those looking for a little flavor but want to get a really full plume of a hit, packed with a little more psychedelic effects. The higher temperature helps more THC convert over into the vapor, but may induce a cough or two.

High Temp 600-900 Degrees F
Hot dabs are a little risky for anyone beginning to dab. It is easy to overheat your piece, or try to take the dab before cooling down to a medium/low temp. When this happens, the vapor comes out a little hotter and harsher, inducing coughing and teary eyes for a first timer. A higher temperature dab means a more potent effect. It may be useful to do a hotter temp when you have less product to dab but wish to have a slightly stronger effect. Just be careful dabbing above 650 degrees F, as this can damage soft tissue in the throat and lungs.
The thermal conductivity of quartz, ceramic, and steel are all slightly different, and thus each will heat up and cool down at different rates. When heating your rig with a torch, you typically heat the nail piece until it is orange hot. Then, using a timer, wait a duration of time before taking a dab. This can be anywhere from 20-90 seconds.

How to time your dab:

  • Heat your banger/nail for 20-30 seconds
  • Allow time to cool as follows: 45-50 seconds for quartz or ceramic, for steel 20-30 seconds
  • When using an E-nail with a PID heat controller or an automated dabber, set your unit to the desired temperature and wait until the unit reaches your temp and is no longer flashing.

Terp Pearls, Carb Caps, and Dab Tools

Beyond your rig and extracts, there are a few more tools you will find in a proper dab setup. The two most important items after your rig are the dab tool and carb cap.

A dab tool is the metal, silicone, or glass stylus tool used to break up, scoop, and serve your extracts. They come in a variety of styles and shapes, such as spoons or mini knives, and each serves a specific function depending on the consistency of the extract. Some are better for breaking up shatter, while others are great for twisting sticky hash.

Carb caps are essential for getting the most out of your dab. These pieces look like a small glass cap or bubble, that sit perfectly on top of the banger head and keep all of the vapor from exiting out of the top of the dome. Carb caps come in flat, directional, and bubble carb designs. The bubble and directional carbs guide the airflow within your nail chamber to help you enjoy all of the delicious vapor at the lowest possible temperature.

 Though they aren’t as important as dab tools and carb caps, terp pearls are an amazing innovation in dab technology that has really elevated dab seshes everywhere. These tiny quartz glass beads swirl inside the bucket of the banger when air is being pulled through. They help all of the concentrate successfully vaporize so there is no wasted oil or waste oil puddle remaining in the rig.

Maintaining your tools

Second to having the proper accessories, cleaning and preventing damage to your setup is important if you do not want to replace your banger/nails regularly.

One of the most tried and true methods of daily maintenance is known as “Q-Tip Tech” by many connoisseurs. Using a q-tip to clean out any excess oil, fuming, or residue in your banger or nail after each use will keep your piece looking clear, clean, and tasting great.

Using salt and isopropyl alcohol for regular cleanings helps lift off any remaining wax from your rig and tools, without adding any scented-cleaners that may leave a taste on your rig after cleaning.

Regular refreshing of your rig’s water is highly recommended, to prevent any clogging or build up of biological contaminants in the ambient water. Changing it out every 2-3 days will keep your hits fresh and free of any toxins.

Discover, dream, and dab freely

As you explore the expansive world of dabbing, there are limitless ways you can enjoy extracts. Taking good care of yourself and your equipment will enable you to dab with ease. Whether you’re looking for instantaneous relief, or a fun way to partake in pot with friends, dabbing will continue to be one of the most multifaceted and growing trends in cannabis.



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