What Are Dabs? Cannabis Concentrates and How to Use Them

Dabs are a super popular way to use cannabis, but for die-hard flower lovers or cannabis newbies, they can be a mystery! Loved for their potency and variety, you will find dabs in nearly any dispensary.

But what are dabs exactly? In this post, we’ll explain what dabs are, why they’re called dabs, and how they’re made. We’ll also explain a few ways you can use dabs and why dabs are different from other cannabis products.

What Are Dabs?

Dabs are a concentrated form of cannabis. They are made from the cannabis plant and come in a variety of textures, colors, and potencies. Dabs are generally more potent than cannabis flower because they are concentrated, containing anywhere from 40% to 80% THC.

Producers make dabs by running cannabis flower through a solvent such as butane or carbon dioxide, which strips the cannabinoids from the plant without breaking them down. Producers thoroughly purge the resulting concentrate of any solvent, creating a pure, potent product.

Depending on how they are processed, dabs come in a variety of textures like wax, shatter, budder, diamonds, oils, and more. Different consistencies are suited for different uses and preferences.

Why Are They Called Dabs?

The terms dab, dabbing, dab pen, and dab rig all follow a similar naming convention. he term ‘dabs’ originates from the popular usage method known as dabbing. When someone uses dabs, traditionally with a glass rig, the action is called “dabbing.” This name trickled over into calling concentrates dabs, calling vapor pens dab pens, and more.

Basically, somebody decided to start calling using concentrate “dabbing,” and the name caught on for a lot of concentrate-related products. Plus, “dabs” and “dabbing” are a lot more fun to say than “concentrate.” It’s like slang but for cannabis

How Are Dabs Made? The Details

There are a lot, and we mean a lot, of ways to make dabs. Every method of creating cannabis concentrate does have a few things in common, though. Here are the basic steps in making dabs.

Step 1: The Source Material

Most concentrates, or dabs, are made with flower or trimming from the plant. Depending on the quality of concentrate a producer is looking to make, they will use different qualities of flower. Some concentrates are made with trimmings and parts of the cannabis plant that won’t make it to the dispensary as flower. Other types, the fancier kinds, are made with fresh frozen “live” flower or the actual plant flowers or “nugs.” 

Producers will carefully choose which cultivars and plant quality they want to use to create their concentrate. These factors play a huge role in the potency, quality, and flavor of the concentrate they make.

Step 2: Extraction Time

From here, the cannabis is placed in a closed-loop system with the producer’s solvent of choice. The flower goes through this system for several hours and the cannabinoids are slowly stripped from the plant. The result is a concentrate of cannabinoids that still contains solvent. At this point, it is not quite ready for dispensary shelves.

Many extraction processes involve using solvents like butane or propane to extract cannabinoids from the plant. This is called hydrocarbon extraction, and it’s one of the most common ways concentrates are made today.

Solventless extraction is also popular. “Producers create bubble hash, a solventless concentrate, by stirring cannabis in ice water to cause the trichomes to break off and collect. Dry-sift hash is made by rubbing the plant through fine mesh screens and collecting the trichomes that break off underneath. Producers make rosin by pressing the plant between heated plates to squeeze out the hot oil.

Step 3: Purging and Cleaning

Producers must thoroughly clean solvent concentrates to purge any solvents used during the extraction process.  Extraction machines and ovens are made specifically to do so. Producers also use special techniques to remove lipids and waxes from the concentrate, achieving the ideal consistency.

Some concentrates are also whipped to give it a different texture. This process of agitating the dabs also helps improve their aroma and flavor by agitating the terpenes within.

Once cleaned and ready, producers package the concentrate for sale and ship it to your favorite dispensary!

How Do People Use Dabs?

There are a few ways to use dabs, and some are more beginner-friendly than others. Here’s a quick walkthrough of different ways you can use concentrate.

Dab Rigs

A dab rig is similar to a bong but with a few extra steps and materials required. Dab rigs are typically a glass piece with a space to hold water like a bong, but they have what’s called a nail or banger instead of a bowl. You also need a torch or some kind, usually a propane or butane one, to heat up the nail or banger.

Dab rigs are used by filling the rig with water and then using the torch to heat up the nail or banger to a very hot temperature. Once it is hot enough, a small amount of concentrate is placed into the nail and stirred as the person smoking inhales. The high temperature turns the dabs into a vapor to be inhaled.

Dab Pens

Dab pens are like a small, automatic version of a dab rig. Instead of needing a rig and a torch, dab pens consist of concentrate cartridges and a battery. Producers fill the cartridges with concentrate and attach them to the battery. Batteries can vary in their design, but most operate with just the press of a button and inhale. They heat up to vaporize the dabs so you can easily and discreetly enjoy your concentrate with no setup or extra tools.

Disposable Dab Vapes

Disposable dab or concentrate vapes are similar to dab pens, only the entire device is designed to be thrown away once the vape is empty. These cannabis vapes come pre-filled with concentrate in a sealed chamber. The battery is also attached and cannot be removed from the concentrate chamber. Most disposable cannabis vapes feature an auto-draw mechanism that heats the concentrate as you inhale. Some have a traditional button to activate the heating element.

All About Dabs: Final Thoughts

We covered the basics of dabs, what they are, how they’re made, and how you can use them. Even so, dabs can be a little daunting to get started with and are better for more experienced cannabis enthusiasts. If you’re interested in trying dabs for the first time, we recommend visiting your local Dreamz Dispensary for guided help from one of our budtenders. Our staff is always here to help!

Check out our other products while you’re here, and select a location to shop online and view our inventory by store. Let us know how we can help you by leaving a message on our contact page, and shop at a Dreamz Dispensary near you at any of our locations across New Mexico. Curious to learn more? Read all about cannabis on our blog.