Most of you probably consider yourself dabbing experts. I mean, you know how to load the dab onto your pick, you know how to torch the nail, and you know how to inhale when it’s hot, so what else could you need to know, right? Wrong. If there’s one thing that I have learned in my time smoking cannabis, it’s that there is always more to learn about cannabis.
Dabbing, or the process of heating a plate until it’s capable of flash vaporizing cannabis concentrates for inhalation, is a relatively new form of cannabis ingestion, but it’s one of the most rapidly growing in popularity as well. The problem with dabbing becoming a trend, and escalating in popularity rapidly, stems from the fact so many stoners are being taught to dab incorrectly. Granted, you may argue that it’s kinda hard to dab incorrectly so long as the concentrate vaporizes into a white, vapor form and you can inhale it, and you’re right– to a point.
Any nail that you own you can heat up to the point that it is glowing from it’s heat, but an average titanium nail doesn’t glow red until it reaches a temperature of 850-1000 degrees Fahrenheit. This in itself is not a problem, you can still dab off of a red hot nail, but when you dab on a nail at such a high temperature you’re losing many of the benefits and standard traits of a dab. In truth, when you heat any form of cannabis past the point of 600 degrees Fahrenheit you’re way past the mark of simple vaporization, you’re right back to burning that THC into smoke, rather than vapor.
The active component in cannabis, THC, actually begins to vaporize at 275 degrees Fahrenheit and terpenes begin to vaporize at about 310 degrees. There are some reports claiming that an ideal vaporizing temperature for your nail is 300 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Dabbing at this temperature will firstly guarantee that you’re inhaling vapor, rather than smoked dab. Dabbing at lower temperatures has also been known to provide smoother hits that are much more flavorful and effective, due to an increased amount of terpenes that survive the low-temperature hit.
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So what do you need to start hitting those sweet concentrates at the ideal temperature? Well you technically don’t need anything extra than what you already have, assuming you have a bong, a nail, a torch/heat gun, and a dab pick. You may need to experiment some to be able to determine that new sweet spot of how long to heat your nail, for titanium nails I recommend starting with 20 seconds of heat and adjusting from there. Ceramic and quartz nails may even need less time. You could also overheat your nail (not to the point that its glowing, but a few extra seconds) and then allow your nail to cool back down a bit before taking your hit.
For consistent, specific temperature hits there’s really only one way to go: electronic. From e-nails to desktop vaporizers to even the handhelds, there are plenty of options of electronic vaporizers that let you temperature control the heating element. Of course e-nails are your best options if you want to continue using your brand new dab rig, they’re quite effective at generating temperature-specific rips, and some also cover the nail completely to hit the dab, preserving all of that precious vapor better than your average domed-nail.
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I’ve my dab method in so many ways since I’ve first started toking, and we will all probably need to continue to adapt as better dabbing technology is developed! How do you ensure you’re getting those low-temperature dabs?