You never really knew how many different shades of gold you can make out of green until you’ve seen the cannabis concentrates section of a dispensary or a cannabis convention / contest. Seeing and smelling well-made marijuana concentrates for the first time may make you crave sushi if you happen to love it since wasabi is one of the only other things on this planet that resembles the texture of wax….besides ear wax of course. You may have to remind yourself that shatter or cannabis dab oil is for vaping, and of course dabbing, but not licking raw with your tongue given how it comes in virtually as many light and dark golden shades and grades as does honey. Seeing the strange exotic dab tools covered in bright, sweet and aromatic substances may send your mind flashing back to memories of eating with chopsticks for the first time. The blow torch may make you crave creme brulee, cherries jubilee or gourmet smores if the space you’re having your first dab in is clean and pleasant enough.
The Dubious History of Dabbing
The contemporary art of dabbing concentrated cannabis owes its origins to the dubious method of getting high known by hippies as “hot knifing” in which a desperate stoner who is broke or who just can’t find someone to buy weed from, heats up two butter knives until they’re red hot on a stove top in order to combust nasty old resin built up and scraped off of pipes and bongs. This butane laden resin was and is still often ironically mixed with fine-grade high-quality kief crystals that accumulate at the bottom of a three-chambered grinder before it is hot-knifed. Traditional Moroccan style hash, which is essentially kief heated and pressurized into a concentrated sticky green substance was also hot-knifed by stoners in the 60’s and 70’s when they’d lose their hash pipes. Such resin fumes are typically inhaled through a plastic soda-pop bottle cut in half.
Dabbing culture is far and away the most controversial corner of the cannabis community and dabs themselves are are often known as the crack of cannabis due to the associations that the blow torch can conjure up for many initiate as well as veteran users of cannabis. The controversy around dabbing isn’t based on groundless hearsay. Butane hash oil (BHO), an often misunderstood method of creating marijuana concentrate, has the potential to create powerful explosions when made by amateurs and is why you should never attempt to make your own BHO at home. Amateur BHO makers have become a PR nightmare for cannabis legalization activists and legit dispensaries.
Why Dabble With Dabbing?
Terpenes are the cream of the cannabis crop with a diverse array of health benefits. Terpenes are naturally found in fruits, veggies, herbs and spices. Cannabis terpenes are oils secreted from the plants glands saturating it’s flower tops. Terpenes are what give cannabis its aroma as well as much of its character in terms of the high it gives you. Certain kinds of terpenes are good for certain conditions such as asthma, memory function, muscle relaxation, gallstones, heartburn, breast cancer, stress, depression.
As marijuana legalization expands across the US, the medical advantages of dabbing concentrates are becoming increasingly accepted. The quick-acting and potent nature of dabbing can provide more powerful, faster acting relief than combusting traditional cannabis flower or ingesting tinctures or edibles. Doing a dab saves time for people who use marijuana to function in their daily lives. Dab vapor doesn’t linger and stick to hair and clothes as much as traditional cannabis flower which is why dabs are often viewed as a stealthier option for many stoners.
The potency and taste of terpenes concentrated into dabs are great for veteran recreational cannabis consumers who have higher than average tolerances in addition to being ideal medicine for people experiencing debilitating pain. If you love the taste of marijuana as much as you enjoy feeling the effects of marijuana than dabs are definitely for you! “Well-made concentrates provide concentrated flavor instead of being muddied up by the taste of burning plant material.” The comedian Kat Williams was wary of dabs in part because “You are not supposed to have five hundred types of deliciousness in the same place at the same time!”
The legal dab scene is a source of so much innovation in the cannabis community in terms of flavor, experience and the technology underneath the art of getting high that choosing the right dab rig for yourself alone can be a bit intimidating…and costly. The Cannabist reports that dab rigs can run anywhere between $50 and $50,000 for custom rigs made by artisanal glassblowers.
One thing to remember when enjoying dabs is that all dabs are concentrates but not all concentrates are dabs. More specifically, wax, budder and butane hash “shatter” oil will be the primary forms of dabs that you are likely to encounter.
Tools of the Terpene Trade
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to blast yourself off into a whole new dimension with a good dab! First, heat up your specially made titanium, quartz or ceramic nail with your creme brulee blowtorch in a slow circular manner. Then use your titanium or glass dab tool to literally dab or apply a dab from your concentrate container onto the heated nail. Place your dome and/or oil rig over the heated nail in order to inhale the vapor of the concentrate you just dabbed on it.
The technology involved in the production process of extracting terpenes from cannabis has evolved a long way from the old hot knifing method used by hippies into a cutting edge billion dollar industry.
How Will The Hit, Hit Me?
The main reason why dabs may be considered dangerous is because they are so much damn fun! And fun of course is the most addictive drug of all, which is why it’s best to always enjoy all forms of fun in moderation just like dabs because dabs will do you in and you will love it no matter how seasoned a marijuana enthusiast you may be! Comedian Kat Williams said “my high got high!” the first time he dabbed. He thought there was no way such a tiny, sticky, icky little amount of weed would do anything to someone who smoked as much weed as he did but he said it was “like hitting 300 blunts at the same time!”
Make sure you start with a small amount of wax, shatter, or budder the first time you dab. The other key to controlling the level of consciousness you want to keep, or obliterate, when dabbing has to do with how deeply and how long you hold the vapor in before exhaling the dab hit. You don’t need to inhale your dab hits anywhere near as deeply or as long as you would ordinarily inhale traditional combusted cannabis flower, especially for your first time dabbing. The rapper B Real from Cypress Hill also advises not to stand up on your feet too fast after doing a dab, especially if you’ve been sitting down on a chair hunched up over your rig setting it up.
Additionally, it’s also important to consider the quality of the dabs your consuming. Dab quality is primarily determined by the grow quality of the marijuana used to create the concentrate. At Honest Marijuana, all of our concentrates are created from the highest-quality, organic marijuana producing the purest, most enjoyable dabs in the state of Colorado.
Dabbing didn’t passively rise above its dubious origins to become a favorite celebrity pastime and a lucrative business with it’s own unique culture within the global cannabis community by a bunch of stereotypically couch locked stoners. The dab scene grew in tandem not only with industry events such as the Cannabis Cup, but also with successful marijuana legalization efforts across the country. “Most popular among consumers in their twenties, dabs are under the same legislative crackdown as other forms of cannabis, and more activists are starting to get involved.” Veteran cannabis smokers typically discover concentrates from dab evangelicals such as Laura Notini, the great state organizer of the NYC Cannabis Parade, a board member of Empire State NORML and a regional coordinator for the NORML Women’s Alliance, who specifically enjoys educating, sharing and impressing other hard working cannaseur activists with the joys of dabbing.
Dab aficionados across the country use the numbers 710 which looks like the word OIL if you flip it upside down. This is why 710 symbolizes the culture of dabbing and vaping concentrated cannabis commonly extracted with high pressurized butane oil or with ice water the same way the numbers 420 symbolize raw cannabis flower smoking culture.