July 04, 2017 | NORTHWEST LEAF
Taking a moment to discuss how we view and judge dabbing concentrates. By Matthew Meyers.
In the age of adult use Cannabis, why are products like vape pens so popular? Is it because vape pens display an image of Cannabis that’s different from the past prohibition era culture, or that the smell is less offensive or noticeable to others? Either way I worry that in the process of going into the mainstream, only select aspects of Cannabis culture were accepted, while others, like dabbing, remain taboo. Concentrates and hashes have always been a part of Cannabis culture and they will only continue to evolve in technology and popularity. It wasn’t until fairly recently that the method of dabbing was discovered and refined into what it is today, which opened up a whole new way to medicate with concentrates that doesn’t involve a hot knife…
As a medical Cannabis patient, I find that my preferred method of medication is dabbing because of the quick onset and long lasting effect. During this time, I’ve experienced varying degrees of judgment from both mainstream and Cannabis cultures for dabbing, and it all centers around the torching and heating process. I understand why adding the blowtorch into the medication process can seem sketchy, but there is truly no other way to efficiently and quickly heat a nail to temp besides an e-nail that is always on (see our concentrate guide for more information).
In the spirit of our concentrate issue I wanted to take a moment to discuss how we view and judge dabbing concentrates in Oregon today. As a budtender I have seen the rapid rise in popularity of vaporizer pens, they seem to be the hippest new thing okay to pull out in more and more social settings. But when it comes to dabbing, arguably the healthiest way to consume hashes and concentrates, everyone gets squeamish. I understand that most of the technique can look confusing or sketchy to the uninformed, but I think it’s dangerous that everyone views vape pens as safer than dabbing concentrates. I know that the pens have improved a lot over the last year but we still have a lot to learn about the technology. The technology is clearly here to stay, and I admit I use vape pens from time to time, but I’m bringing this up to provide some perspective; it’s easy to superficially judge dabbing because of the torch but it’s a much healthier method of vaporization than using a vape cartridge mass produced in China. Not to mention the temptation to add cutters and other thinning ingredients to help the oil be more effective in the cartridges. I respect patients who enjoy the pens, I just want to make sure they don’t judge dabbers for doing something “sketchy” just because their method of consumption is superficially more appealing.
It’s definitely up to you to decide what works best for you and your body, even if that means not consuming Cannabis at all. Just don’t be offended by me using my torch; ask questions, research and maybe try it for yourself before judging.
I’m not arguing that dabbing is 100 percent safe, nothing is, and you definitely need to use caution and attention whenever operating a blowtorch for any reason. It’s also quite potent medicine and you need to be conscious of your dosage if you aren’t used to large amounts of cannabinoids and terpenes being rapidly absorbed into your system. For example I know my tolerance for alcohol isn’t very high so I’m not about to try taking a shooter of vodka before starting my day. If you’re new to Cannabis you probably want to ease your way into concentrates. It’s always smarter to start with a smaller sized dab then to go big and accidently get overly medicated.
There is also fact that, generally, the lower quality oil goes in the pens while higher quality product is sold for dabbing because you’ll taste any imperfections more dabbing the oil compared to vaping it through the cartridges; however, the cartridges themselves might be worse than what’s inside them. Of course that all depends on the producer! Quality of concentrates matters even more than Cannabis because the extraction process amplifies any harmful growing practices. Make sure to ask your local dispensary about the cartridge companies they decide to carry. If they don’t have what you like, find a shop that does and support them. The best way to learn is from a close friend or loved one, so please if you use concentrates take the time to explain and teach the others around you so that we can reverse the stigma around the method of medicating.
The best way to dab concentrates in my humble opinion is at a low temperature off of a quality quartz nail. I enjoy that the low temperature dabbing process helps you practice patience and organizational skills. There are going to be people who disagree, but that’s why there are so many different ways to medicate, that way we can all do what works best for us.
The advantages to dabbing concentrates for medicinal effect are also clear. Patients looking for quick relief that lasts should consider researching dabbing for vaporizing concentrates. Please read through our concentrate guide included in this issue for more information!
I also want to take a moment to commend the cartridge brands that are committed to refining and improving the method to be more enjoyable and safe.