By Luke Sumpter

If you’ve never ventured outside of bong hits and blunt tokes, the idea of taking dabs for the first time can seem intimidating. After all, this method of getting high offers one of the most potent experiences available. But why does dabbing hit so hard? Well, instead of inhaling the cannabinoid and terpene profiles found within dried, cured flowers, you’re breathing in the supercharged phytochemistry of cannabis concentrates. If you’ve ever added concentrates into bongs or cones, you’ll know that they dwarf the effects of buds alone.

The tips below are designed to give first-time dabbers the best start possible. These suggestions will help you establish and refine your dabbing technique, avoid negative experiences, and boost the quality of each hit.

7 Beginner Tips for Dabbing

Although many of us toss the instructions aside before assembling furniture or making a meal, actually reading them helps to streamline the process. The same applies to dabs. With that in mind, here are seven tips to check out before firing up your torch.

1. Watch a Video on Dabbing Technique

We all learn in different ways. Some prefer to read step-by-step guides while others prefer to listen to instructions. However, for the visual learners out there, watching a video on dabbing technique will have you hitting concentrates correctly in no time.

After typing “how to dab” into the YouTube search bar, you’ll come across plenty of well-produced videos that will guide you through every step of the process, most of which are aimed at complete beginners. You’ll notice a common theme in many of these videos; they all start out with an equipment list detailing exactly what you need to dab successfully. Most of them look something like this:

  • A dabbing rig
  • Q-tips
  • Carb cap
  • Blowtorch
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Dabbing tool
  • Concentrate of choice

Once you get the hang of things, you can start to delve into video content explaining different ways to dab, including those requiring slightly different gear. Eventually, you’ll settle on your preferred technique.

Watch a Video on Dabbing Technique

2. Try Dabbing CBD Extracts First

When it comes to dabbing, you don’t have to dive into the deep end right away. Why not start by simply dipping your toe in to test the water? Firing up CBD concentrates will help you transition into the world of dabbing with ease. You’ll get to test out your technique and get a feel for the process without becoming immeasurably stoned.

Start out by dabbing small quantities of CBD concentrates to dial in how hot you need to get your banger or nail, how the vapor feels when you inhale, and to see if you even enjoy the act of dabbing altogether. If you enjoy hitting CBD concentrates, you can incorporate them into your daily routine going forward to benefit from a non-intoxicating boost.

3. Use a Carb Cap To Control Your Hits

Using a carb cap alongside your banger will bring your dabbing experience to another level. These small glass lids don’t look like much, but they fulfil several critical functions. First of all, placing a carb cap over your banger lowers the air pressure within the rig and banger. Why does this matter? Because lower air pressure means your concentrate will start to vaporize at a lower temperature, and lower temperatures mean smoother hits and preserved terpenes.

Beyond taste, a carb cap allows you to better control your hits. As soon as you remove the cap, the air pressure increases in the banger and the temperature sinks below the boiling point of the concentrate. You’ll notice this change immediately as the thickness of the vapor drastically decreases. However, the second you place it back on, a thick cloud will form once again. By simply lifting and dropping the cap, you can control the thickness and potency of each hit.

4. Stay Hydrated

We consist of around 60% water, and rely on the substance to carry nutrients to our cells and regulate our body temperature—it’s pretty damn important. We also start to feel like garbage when we become dehydrated; symptoms include irritability, dizziness, fatigue, and dry mouth.

Smoking weed in general causes a dry mouth because of how THC impacts the salivary glands. Some users also experience spells of dizziness after inhaling large dabs. Because the symptoms of dehydration and the side effects of dabbing overlap, keeping yourself topped up with fluid only makes sense, and contributes to a much more enjoyable experience.

5. Choose a Relaxing Environment

American psychologist and psychedelic drug advocate Timothy Leary coined the term “set and setting” to describe two important variables to take into consideration before a psychedelic voyage. In this context, “set” refers to “mindset”, and suggests that entering into an experience free of mental stress and agitation will increase the odds of a pleasant outcome.

Likewise, “setting” suggests that consuming a psychoactive substance in a peaceful place, such as at the beach or in a sun-soaked meadow, will improve the quality of the experience. Although formulated in regard to psychedelics, the concept of set and setting can also improve the experience of dabbing. By clearing your mind before a session and bringing your dab rig to one of your favourite locations, with your favourite people, you'll set yourself up for a good time.

Choose a Relaxing Environment

6. Invest in a Decent Dab Torch

If you’re accustomed to using lighters and matches, then wielding a weighty and loud blowtorch might seem like overkill. However, these devices are key when dabbing. At the click of a button, blowtorches emit an incredible amount of heat. It only takes around 30 seconds to get a banger or nail extremely hot and ready for dabbing, a time frame not possible when using anything less powerful.

However, not all blowtorches are made equal; some are much more suitable for dabbing purposes. We recommend opting for a model that holds a large amount of butane at once to avoid the need to constantly refill it. Moreover, blowtorches that allow you to lock the flame in place and adjust its intensity are much more practical. Finally, if you have any kids, buy a model with a child lock to prevent any accidents.

7. Dab on a Steady Surface and From a Clean Rig

Now that you have everything else in place, you need to find the best spot to dab. Most importantly, you need to locate a stable surface you trust to support your dab rig. A mix of delicate glass, a hot nail or banger, and a fierce blowtorch means stable surfaces are non-negotiable.

Once you’ve found the best spot, make sure to clean your banger/nail and rig before each session. Lighting up a dirty banger with a blowtorch will combust the grime around the edges and ruin your first hit. Use a Q-tip and some isopropyl alcohol to clean it out, and give it a quick rinse and dry before use.

Become a Dabbing Expert in No Time!

The tips above are simply a gateway into the world of dabbing. As you’ll quickly realise, the dabbing rabbit hole goes deep. Once you master the basics, you’ll find yourself exploring cold start dabs, e-nails, and terp spinners. But before you take the leap, you need to make sure you’re doing things right. So start out with some CBD concentrates, keep hydrated, buy a top-tier blowtorch, and keep things clean!

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