Dabbing – The Ultimate Guide to Enjoying Cannabis Concentrates

image showing a dab vape pen, dab in a container, anda dabbing tool

As you’ve probably guessed, this post is not about the popular dance move – the dab – that you can still see rear its head at some parties (usually performed by tipsy boomers who think they’re being cool).

It’s actually about cannabis dabs – and in this case, that is a slang term for cannabis concentrates and marijuana extracts with high THC levels.

[Still, this GIF of the late, great Betty White doing the dab dance move is glorious. Enjoy it for a second. Or an hour.]
betty white doing the dab dance
You can’t tear away, Told you it was good…

Okay, now that gloriousness is done…

As I’ve said, this post is about cannabis dabbing. If you use marijuana, you’ve likely heard of it… but you might not be familiar with all the details that I’ll cover here, such as:

  • what are dabs – different types of dabs and their potency (they’re not all the same).
  • dabbing methods – and why dabbers looking for huge hits & convenience are using our GAGS device.
  • the effects – and side effects – of using marijuana concentrates (especially the first time).
  • the production process of making these concentrates (& why it’s dangerous).
  • why dabs might be a good idea for medical cannabis users dealing with chronic pain.

Those are just some of the things we’re going to cover today.

But when the time comes to invest in your dabbing equipment or to pick you concentrate at the dispensary, you’ll be glad you read this.

Let’s get to it!

What Are Dabs?

Dab is name given to different types of solid cannabis concentrates (liquid THC is a whole ‘nother thing).

It’s called that because you use just a bit of it – a dab – for a hit.

There are 3 things that define a it:

  • potency – usually very strong, with a high concentration of THC (above 50% and goes up to 95% in some forms).
  • consistency – various states of solid – it can be hard, waxy, or buttery, but it’s never liquid.
  • flavor – most of these extracts are very flavorful since terpenes are extracted along with cannabinoids.

You also might hear some individuals refer to them as BHO, butane hash oil, or butane oil. This isn’t 100% accurate as it refers to a specific chemical process in the production process (but only when butane is used as a solvent – more on that a bit later in the post.

Based on the consistency, part of plant matter used, and the potency of dabs, we can further divide them into a bunch of different sub-classes (around 20… but that changes every year):

  • wax – good ‘ole wax. In fact, almost all BHO and PHO (another solvent that can be used in the production process) are what you’d call waxes due to their consistency.
  • budder – resembles butter in consistency. Great flavor and potency – often goes up to 99% purity with 90% THC concentration. If you’re using marijuana concentrates recreationally, be aware!
  • trim run – made from the trimmings (leaves and stalks) of the marijuana plant. On the cheaper end but still high THC concentration. On the other hand, the flavor is a bit peppery.
  • nug run – made from buds and flower. Great flavor and taste, very potent and with a much higher THC concentration. Difficult production so the resulting product is expensive to purchase.
  • sauce and sugar – made from high-quality buds. Kief concentrated. High in THCa. Very flavorful, but very wet and hard to handle. Requires use of a specialized tool.

All with above-average THC concentration, but some more potent and more flavorful than others.

Of course, this is not the full list – you have your bubble hash, honey, live resin, live rosin, and other concentrated forms of marijuana. You can find the full list of wax concentrates right here <– give it a read if you’re in the process of testing out products.

Most dabs on the market have a high concentration of THC – the main psychotropic cannabinoid – and are used to get high. However, if you just want to tickle your endocannabinoid system and cannabinoid receptors without getting high – and do it legally – there are a lot of great CBD concentrates available.

A Word On Potency of Cannabis Concentrates

As I already mentioned, this concentrated form of weed is extremely potent.

There was plenty of research papers published concluding that even the weakest types are close to 3X stronger than the strongest weed strains. So using dabs will get you more high then even a bong, a water pipe, or an oil rig.

That’s why dabbing is the go-to method for the purpose of getting super high.

The bottom line is that you can expect up to 40% potency from even the weakest dabs such as trim run. And up to 95% from top-shelf products like honey or budder.

How Are These Cannabis Extracts Made?

I’ll preface this by saying that you CAN make your own dabs at home.

There are processes that are perfectly safe – although a bit labor-intensive – when it comes to home production.

What I will say is this: high-quality products and concentrates require using materials and solvents that are dangerous! Not only that, they’re illegal in many states. There’s been a lot of cases where a wannabe Walter White of dabs blew themselves up using materials they know nothing about. And this isn’t based on anecdotal evidence – you can find a ton of reports on people getting mangled and killed through improper use of butane (which is very flammable and volatile).

Which is why I won’t go into details of production here… you can find out more about those dab-making methods in this post on NuggMD.

I’ll just say that there are several methods you can use during the extraction process:

  • dry processing – no use of solvents, safe, but ultimately yields poorer quality product.
  • hydrocarbon extraction – solvent-based processing using butane, propene, or hexane – VERY DANGEROUS!
  • water-based processing – relatively safe… but still results in an inferior product.

My advice, though?

Don’t mess around with this if you don’t have to.

There are plenty of suppliers out there that will get you what you need for a decent price.

The RIGHT Way to Do It

Here’s the thing – dabs have been used in the past through various different ways. They were used in bongs… smoked in paper… and even rubbed on the inside the gums.

In the last couple of decades, we cracked the code on how to get the most out of them by using the right gear:

Basically, there are three ways you can go about it…

#1 A Good Ole’ Torch Rig

Think of it as a sophisticated bong, really.

A dab rig has a base, a water chamber, a neck, and a part used to vaporize the dab (which is called a nail or a banger). Newer ones also have a carb cap. A carb cap is a piece of gear – can be quartz or tempered glass like in a glass pipe – that’s used to cover the nail (the thing heating up the material) to prevent any vapor from going to waste.

Here’s what it looks like:

anatomy of a dab rig
Bit complex… but if you can get it right, the flavor & the hits are to die for…

Here’s the simplified procedure for marijuana dabbing using a dab rig:

  1. prepare your dab tool (for scooping concentrate) and torch (for heating up the nail / banger)
  2. heat up the banger until it’s VERY hot – the glass can take it, especially when using a quartz insert
  3. scoop a small bit of your product onto the tip of the dab tool – don’t drop it on the hot nail just yet!
  4. wait 30-90 seconds for the nail to reach an optimal temperature (if the hot smoke is harsh, you went in too early)
  5. once you place the product on the banger, put the carb cap (silicone or quartz) on to prevent any leakage
  6. inhale slowly – the flavor should be rich and terpen-y (provided you didn’t hit it on high temperatures)

NOTE: Getting the temperature right is EXTREMELY important! Go in too hot, and you’ll ruin your product. There’s no sense in that, so make sure to invest in a quartz insert. It’s gentler on the PHO and BHO dabs, allowing you to go in earlier at higher temperatures without losing the flavor or the potency of dabs. Of course, you can always opt for an electric rig (e-rig) like our GAGS vaporizer for cannabis dabbing, which is much better at controlling temperatures and hitting those exact boiling points of terps and cannabinoids.

For more on best dabbing temperature <– check out that link (it’s got all the info you need about the differences of lower temperature and higher temperature dabbing).

#2 Electric Dab Rig

Now this is where we start cooking with gas!

As I said, regular rigs make it difficult to control the temperature. Enter e-rigs – rigs that shun the torch and use a battery instead. With the battery, you can actually control the amount of heat that’s delivered to the banger. This makes the process of dabbing infinitely easier, since you don’t have to spend a long time waiting for the banger to cool down… or guess when the time is right.

No dives on the market does this better than our GAGS vaporizer.

Take a look at this video to see how well it performs (you’ll have to click it & watch it on YouTube since it’s age-restricted …

… and how easy it is to use:

  • no need to preheat the nail – just plug the GAGS in, charge it, and you’re good to go
  • there’s actually no nail or banger – the product is vaporized in a quartz atomizer
  • drop your product in, select the temperature, and press the button to collect the vapor in the dome
  • inhale and enjoy (but remember – this is a massive hit… so be ready to go for a ride)

And – just so you know – I’m not making that ‘massive hits’ thing up. Here’s what one user had to say on her experience with the GAGS vape:

Why thank you Priscilla, we appreciate the sentiment… 😉

What do you say? Sign you right up for those huge hits? Well, click on the image below then…

Wanna Get In On Those Huge GAGS Hits?

Click Right Here & You’ll Be Set

#3 Portable Pen for Extracts

This is the on-the-go version of a rig.

Essentially, you’re using a vape pen specifically made for concentrates. The procedure is similar to using an e-rig… but, instead, you’re using a handheld device.

It’s great for medical cannabis users who need to medicate regularly, especially if they’re doing it to control chronic pain.

If you want to know more – why and how it works, and how to maintain this pens – we have a separate blog post on how to use a dab pen right here.

And if you already know what a great gift it is to have an on-the-go dose of happiness and relaxation, you can check out our wax vaporizer The Don. It’s….

… portable and super easy to use…

… will never burn your product….

… the rips and the flavor are spot on…

And just so you don’t think that’s me talking out of my butt to hype up our own products, here’s what other tokers and dabbers are saying:

That’s us – always delivering… no matter what you throw at us!
Wow! That has to be the longest – and the best! – product review we’ve ever gotten…


You can have your own Don in less time it takes to say “Dabbing is the Greatest!” Just hit the button below and you’ll quickly see…

The Don is Waiting to Impress You, Too!

Click Right Here to Get Your Socks Blown Clean Off

Gear & Tools

Depending on whether you opt for a regular rig or an e-rig, you’ll need different dabbing tools.

Some of these tools are essential – you can’t dab without them.

Others are more in the ‘nice-to-have’ category – especially the ones that help gauge the temp of your nail. Those are really nice to have.

  • THE dab tool – also known as a dabber, this small accessory is essential regardless of your setup.Dab tools come in various shapes, sizes, and materials, such as stainless steel, titanium, or glass. They often feature a pointed or scooped end, which makes it easier to pick up and maneuver the concentrate. Some dab tools even have a carb cap attached, which helps control airflow and maximize vaporization when placed over the nail or banger during the dabbing process.
  • carb cap – a tool designed to help you get the most out of your low-temperature dabs. It is a small, usually dome-shaped cover that fits over the nail or banger of your dab rig once you’ve applied the concentrate.The primary function of a carb cap is to restrict airflow and trap heat within the nail or banger, creating a convection-like effect. This controlled environment allows the concentrate to vaporize at lower temperatures, which preserves the terpenes and cannabinoids, enhancing the flavor and overall dabbing experience.
  • torch -a handheld device commonly used for heating the nail or banger of a dab rig when consuming cannabis concentrates. It utilizes butane, a highly flammable hydrocarbon gas, as fuel to generate a powerful, high-temperature flame, perfect for reaching the desired dabbing temperatures. If you’re using an e-rig, you won’t have any need for a torch.
  • terp timer – also known as a dab timer or temperature reader, is a handy device designed to help you accurately measure and maintain the temperature of your nail or banger during the dabbing process. It takes the guesswork out of finding the perfect dabbing temperature, ensuring a consistent and enjoyable experience. Terp timers typically use infrared technology to read the temperature of the heated surface without making direct contact. Some models even feature digital displays, alarms, or countdown timers to let you know when the nail or banger has reached the desired temperature or cooled down to a specific temperature range. Again, if you’re using an e-rig, it will come with temp control so you won’t have any use for a terp timer.

Is It Safe?

Cannabis dabbing is safe.

Manufacturing dabs is not.

As a user, as long as you keep the following in mind, you’ll be good:

  • Only buy from vetted manufacturers with 3rd-party certificates
  • Keep your dabs safe from other contaminants
  • Don’t go overboard if you’re a first time user

And that’s it!

If you’re playing with making dabs – and if you’re using solvents – you’re playing with fire.

And I really hope you know what you’re doing.

For your sake.

Is It Worth It?


Oh, want more info?


#1 They give you the best high for you buck.

#2 The flavor is off the charts.

#3 They’re awesome for medical users.

Do you honestly need more?

Can You Overdose?



Which is why I always recommend that first time users start super slow.

Dabs are extremely potent concentrates of THC extracts and should not be taken lightly.

Unlike smoking regular weed, one puff of a dab could make you profoundly high.

The good news is, you’ll not die even if you get super baked. That’s not a risk you’re running. You’ll just not have a very good time. And that’s a shame because dabbing should be a wonderful experience.

I suggest starting off small, leaving your ego behind and testing the waters. You can always amp up the dosage as you go through and get more dabbing experience. We’ve all been there. [Check out this post if you want to know specifically if you can overdose on vaping CBD. Short answer? No, you cannot.]

Are You Ready for Dabbing Heaven?

If there is anything I want you to take from this, then that thing is… practice restraint!


Don’t let fear hold you back from trying this wonderful method of cannabis consumption.

There’s nothing quite like it… especially if you’re using The Kind Pen specialized vaporizers.

Wanna Get In On Those Huge GAGS Hits?

Click Right Here & You’ll Be Set

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