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Dab Rigs: What Are They & How Are They Used?

Dab Rigs 101
Photo Gracie Malley for Cannabis Now

Concentrates

Dab Rigs: What Are They & How Are They Used?

Dab rigs can be quite intimidating if you’re new to concentrates. Here’s a rundown on everything you need to know about dab rigs and how to use them.

While rolling papers and pipes have their place, modern times have given us many new ways of enjoying cannabis. Waxes, oils and concentrates are now wildly popular — and for good reason. They deliver quick results, which benefits those suffering from chronic pain or disease. They are also easier on the lungs since they form a vapor, not smoke, when heated.

The process of smoking concentrates is known as dabbing, and it needs a special piece of equipment called a dab rig to achieve optimum results. Unlike traditional ways of smoking, dabbing does not require the combustion of dry herbs. Instead, the user applies a heating element to the concentrate and inhales the resulting vapor.

Dab Rigs 101

If you’ve used a water pipe or a bong in the past, you’ll notice that a dab rig looks similar. They are a type of water pipe that allows users to heat cannabis concentrate into a vapor for smoking. While each dab rig will vary in aesthetic, the essential components are the nail, glass piece, dabbing wand and the torch lighter.

The nail is perhaps the most crucial piece of the dab rig, as it is responsible for heating your concentrate into a vapor. Nails are available in ceramic, quartz, titanium and glass, though most dabbing connoisseurs prefer quartz for its ability to retain the dab’s flavor. The nail is heated using a butane torch lighter to reach the necessary temperature to vaporize your concentrate. E-nails are another option, which use electricity as a heat source and do not need a torch.

How to Use Your Dab Rig

Using a dab rig for the first time is almost as exciting as shopping for one! While the process of dabbing is a bit more complicated than using a bong or a pipe, it can be done successfully when you’re prepared.

STEP 1: Pour water into your dab rig’s chamber, taking care to not to overfill it. You can check to make sure you have the correct level by blowing into it. If water splashes back out, it’s too full. If the water doesn’t bubble, it’s too shallow.

STEP 2: Season your new nail by placing it into your dab rig and heating it with your torch. When the nail starts to turn red, use your dabbing wand to coat the nail with a small amount of concentrate. Making sure to use tongs, remove the nail and place it in a bowl of water. You should do this at least three times before using your dab rig. A new nail can leach trace materials through its pores, and the use of concentrate to season it will help fill them and stop the leeching.

STEP 3: Once your nail is seasoned, it’s time to take your first dab! Use your dabber to retrieve a small amount of concentrate. The amount of concentrate needed for dabbing is much less than traditional smoking methods, so don’t use too much. We recommend starting with a small glob — think smaller than the size of a weed seed.

STEP 4: Pointing your torch away from the glass and away from yourself, heat the seasoned nail until it is glowing red.

STEP 5: Let the nail cool no more than 30-45 seconds

STEP 6: Using your dabber, place your concentrate on the nail.

STEP 7: When the concentrate begins to melt, use the mouthpiece on your dab rig to inhale the vapor until the chamber is empty.

STEP 8: Repeat as necessary. If you have access to a carb cap, we recommend placing a carb cap on top of your nail in the middle of your inhale to extend the dab and make sure all of the concentrate is vaporized.

To clean your materials, simply apply a moment of heat. When the concentrate is warm, it should be easy to wipe away from the nail with a cloth or a Q-tip.

Is a Dab Rig Right for You?

If you’re interested in giving concentrates a try, a dab rig is essential for a great experience. It might take a little practice, but many people find that the benefits of dabbing are worth it. Your lungs will thank you.

When you switch from smoke to vapor, you’ll be able to fully enjoy the flavor of your concentrate of choice.

TELL US, do you dab? What equipment do you use?

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