Mon, Aug 3, 2020
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FROM EVERYONE WHO FIRST HEARD ABOUT DABBING AS A DANCE MOVE, TO THE ABSOLUTE STONIEST OF CANNABIS CONSUMERS, THERE ARE ENDLESS QUESTIONS ABOUT THE WORLD OF CONCENTRATES.

It’s no surprise, either, as new products emerge monthly featuring bright packaging and bold claims. If vaporgate and the flavored vape scare/ban has taught us anything, it’s that we should all be more conscious about what we inhale and allow inside our bodies. Many of us look to Cannabis to help  medicinally and the last thing we want is for our harmless plant to become a negative input for a healthy life. Looking to take a deeper dive into the golden pool of concentrates? Study up on these more advanced topics to make sure your dabbing experience is safe, healthy and happy.

MANGO JELLY by GREEN RUSH

Temperature is critical.
Think of dabs like Goldilocks with her porridge. She didn’t want to go too hot or too cold – but right in the middle. Taking a dab at the right temperature is important for both flavor and effect. Terpenes and cannabinoids break down at high temperatures, so too hot of dabs taste burnt and cause unwanted harshness and coughing. We recommend starting at a low temperature and slowly working your way up to a comfortable range for your dabbing setup.

The perfect dab can be broken down based on desired effects. THC boils at 315 F, CBD at 356 F, and THCV (diamonds) at 428 F. Terpenes are combusted in all of these ranges. Low temperature dabbing is generally 350-450 degrees, with medium temp dabs running 450-600 degrees. The perfect zone depends on personal preference and type of concentrate, but we never recommend getting hotter than 600 degrees – that’s harsh!

Advanced dabbers will use a laser thermometer to dial in their heat, but don’t feel like you have to get super scientific to get high. If it’s red hot, don’t do it! Wait until the temperature on a banger feels warm to the hand when held a few inches away, not hot. This is a good rule of thumb for taking a low temp dab. Remember: If it’s too cold, you can always reheat!

Don’t hold that hit!
Contrary to the old adage, you don’t have to cough to get off! It’s actually bad to hold dabs in and you definitely don’t get any higher. When taking a dab, the recommended inhalation time is one to five seconds. But an easy way to think of it is like taking a deep breath. Breathe in deeply and breathe out naturally, without an unnatural pause. The reason? The vapor released as concentrates expands and then quickly compresses after being heated and cooled, a process you don’t want to hold into your lungs. Holding your breath for longer than five seconds also deprives the body of oxygen – and you’ll be needing that oxygen to breathe through that big dab you just took!

Pesticide Testing
When Cannabis is processed for concentrates it is being concentrated into a pure form. Think juice concentrate as a condensed version of a bigger jug of fresh juice. When concentrates are made, the end goal is to refine cannabinoids and terpenes for effect and flavor, but any residual pesticides or chemicals will be concentrated as well. We recommend only dabbing concentrates that have been pesticide tested in a laboratory. Most states require this, but some like Washington do not require pesticide testing. Never dab or consume concentrates from a black market or non-laboratory tested environment! Consuming chemicals, pesticides or solvents could definitely cause health complications.

Residual Solvents
If you are consuming a concentrate made with a hydrocarbon like butane or propane, be sure to check the parts per million (PPM) info on the packaging. We recommend consuming concentrates under 500ppm of residual solvents, although the best amount is less than 50ppm. While many regulations allow up to 5,000ppm of solvents in recreational concentrates, we know that rules don’t always protect consumers. Also, never dab homemade concentrates or oil that has not been tested! It’s not worth the risk of consuming solvents that have not been properly purged and lab tested.

Cartridges
There are a couple basic rules to enjoy the best experience with a cartridge. First, ask the budtender if it is cut with any solvent or look on the packaging. We recommend avoiding anything cut with propylene glycol, especially for patients, because there are safer and healthier options available. Also, avoid anything with an artificial sounding flavor like blue raspberry or waffles. Look at the vape package to see if the flavor is naturally derived, and if so, go for it.

While there are no rules currently governing flavors in e-cigarettes or Cannabis cartridges, we feel that strain specific and naturally processed options are the best! Vaporization can be one of the most desirable and pleasurable ways to consume Cannabis, especially when discretion counts. You should not vape indoors wherever it is specifically prohibited, such as on an airplane or bus. Feel free to use outdoors when your vapor will not bother others or be near children. Consumers will find a variety of battery options, from disposable types that have a non-rechargeable battery and last about 200 hits, to ones with USB charging capabilities and adjustable temperatures.

STORY by WES ABNEY @BEARDEDLORAX | PHOTO by DANIEL BERMAN @BERMANPHOTOS

THE TOOLS

Rig:  pipe or water vessel for consuming your Cannabis concentrate or extract.

Banger: the quartz, cup-like device used to hold and heat your Cannabis concentrate or extract.

Carb Cap: a lid-like device used to trap heat and move air around in your banger or nail. This provides a more regulated draw from each dab.

Terp Pearls: tiny, quartz balls used in your banger when dabbing. These aren’t essential, but may enhance your experience by spreading around the warm extract.

E-nail: an electronic device used to keep your nail or banger at a continuous temperature without the use of a torch.

Torch: used for heating up your nail or banger.

Temperature Gun: used to monitor your nail or banger’s exact temperature and provide a personalized dabbing experience.

Dabber: the tool to scoop and serve a dab with.

Cotton Swabs: swabs (like Q-tips) are essential for cleaning your nail or banger after each dab.

TERMINOLOGY

FRESH FROZEN : material that has been flash-frozen fresh off of the plant to preserve the ‘live’ profile and/or potency.

LIVE: a term used for products made with fresh frozen material and in reference to the plant’s potency and terpene profile while still living.

Full Spectrum: the ‘full’ range of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and other compounds present in a particular cultivar.

Full Melt: also referred to as ‘melt,’ this term is used for hash of the highest quality. The melting reference pertains to the product’s cleanliness and ability to ‘melt’ fully without leaving plant residue on the nail (see Six-Star).

Six-Star (6*): a numerical hash rating system from one through six developed to determine quality. The system is based on how factors like cure, contaminant, water content and more affect the overall ‘melt,’ with six-star being the highest quality.

CRC: an abbreviation for color remediation column (or cartridge) used in reference to an added process some producers employ to filter extracts of color and other compounds.

HTFSE: an abbreviation for high terpene full spectrum extract.

TECHNIQUE

Choosing a dab setup will come down to personal preference, but water filtration will enhance almost any session. Be sure to thoroughly clean and rinse your rig frequently for the safest and smoothest smoke. ISO alcohol (or bong cleaner) and some warm water should do the trick!

Quality titanium, borosilicate glass or quartz tools are a must to avoid breakage and potential off-gassing when touching your warm nail surface. Similarly, it’s smart not to skimp too much when picking out your nail or banger. For an effective carb cap, make sure it covers the top of your nail or banger and includes a hole to pass air through.   

A heat source will be required to put all of these tools to work. If you’re just getting started, try looking into different types of creme brulee torches for an affordable option. Top of the line torches, heat wands and E-nails offer added customizations if you’re ready for the next step.

Temperature is king when it comes to taking high quality dabs. THC is thought to vaporize at normal atmospheric pressure in the range 250-400º F. Terpenes will vaporize at a range of different temperatures, but are generally thought to have boiling points in the ballpark of THC.

This dab devotee recommends starting out around 350º F. Temperatures as high as 550º can yield substantial vapor with minimal flavor loss, so just work your way up to a satisfactory experience based on flavor, vapor and overall effect.

TYPES OF EXTRACTS

Choosing a dab setup will come down to personal preference, but water filtration will enhance almost any session. Be sure to thoroughly clean and rinse your rig frequently for the safest and smoothest smoke. ISO alcohol (or bong cleaner) and some warm water should do the trick!

BHO: an abbreviation for butane hash oil, this type of extract is pulled from the plant using butane as a solvent.

PHO: an abbreviation for propane hash oil, this less common type of extract is pulled from the plant using propane as a solvent.

CO2: an abbreviation for carbon dioxide, this type of extract is pulled from the plant using supercritical CO2.

DISTILLATE: a high-potency, essentially odorless extract that’s been stripped of plant compounds like terpenes and waxes through further refinement after original extraction.

HASH: resin (mechanically) collected from the Cannabis plant. Hash can range from smokeable to dabbable, depending on quality and presence of plant matter in the final product.

ROSIN: generally made from hash, rosin is the product of heat, pressure and a system of screens to filter waxes and plant matter. Rosin is the product of further hash refinement for a cleaner dab.

STORY by AMANDA DAT @terpodactyl_media