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How to Dab CBD Concentrates

Thursday October 1, 2020

W hether your preference leans towards sativa, hybrid, or indica concentrates, there’s plenty of options to choose from when going for a nice, heady dab. When you’re looking for a potent deep high that comes on as fast and efficient as a Japanese bullet train, there is no better method of cannabis consumption out there.

But what if you’re not looking to get high? What if you’re looking to dab some CBD instead?

Dabbing CBD vs Eating CBD

Most cannabinoid consumers, and American consumers in general, are aware of CBD as a popular edible supplement. Walk the aisles of many health food stores, dispensaries – even some pharmacies – and you’ll find it for sale either in a pill or tincture form. These are derived from either CBD oil or isolate, and work great once they’re swallowed. Ingesting CBD is an effective way to experience its numerous health benefits, though it certainly isn’t the fastest.

Before the pain relief, stress relief, or anti-inflammatory effects can be felt, the cannabinoid has to take a long trip all the way to the small intestine, where it’s absorbed and delivered to the liver. From there, the liver has to break the cannabinoid down before releasing it into the bloodstream, where it can then attach to the body’s cannabinoid receptors. While the edible method can offer relief over longer periods of time, it offers little in the way of immediate relief.

As most consumers are aware, the lungs are the fastest avenue to the bloodstream when it comes to molecules like cannabinoids. This is why many consumers turn to CBD vapes for quicker onset, just as they do with THC. However, also like THC, anyone who has tried both a dab and a vape will tell you: vapes can come close (sometimes very close) to replicating the dab experience, but seem to never quite get there. Thus, for medical patients, or anyone seeking a quicker onset in higher doses, dabbing CBD is the best answer.

The good news is that dabbing CBD doesn’t require much (if any) new equipment for those already familiar with concentrates. A dab rig or wax pen will vaporize CBD concentrate the same way as with THC concentrate, and should require no need for additional equipment.

Different Types of CBD Concentrate

Below are some tips on what forms of CBD are best for dabbing, and how to dab each one.

CBD Oil and Tinctures

You can’t dab CBD oils or tinctures. It’s not effective at all and you’re just going to end up trying to scrape burnt coconut, olive, or some other oil off your dab nail. This can get confusing, as some CBD oil meant for edible consumption is labeled as “CBD extract,” which is also the term used for some CBD distillate and full-spectrum CBD extract preparations like sauce.

Be assured, what you’re dabbing should have nothing in it but cannabinoids and terpenes. If there’s anything else in there, that preparation should not be dabbed, and could lead to more serious health issues. Figured we should get that out of the way first.

CBD Extract/Distillate

This is similar to what you’ll find in a CBD vape pen, this term can cover a range of sauce-like CBD preparations. Much like viscous THC extracts, there are various methods of extraction, refinement and removal of impurities (such as plant matter and lipids, etc.). Winterizing and distillation are the most popular methods of creating these extracts, and some have terpenes re-introduced after refinement. Be careful to distinguish that what you have bought is explicitly made for dabbing. These extracts can be dabbed on a nail or in a pen similar to wax/shatter, which we cover more below.

CBD Wax/Shatter

Just like with THC concentrates, get your dab rig, your butane torch, your dab tool, your q-tips, and your CBD concentrate all set up and ready before you begin. As when dabbing THC, hit that nail with the torch for about twenty seconds until it’s glowing red. You’re aiming for a temperature of roughly 800-900 degrees Fahrenheit.

Then, let it sit for around 60 seconds before touching your loaded dab tool to the nail. Of course, temperatures will vary based on the thickness of the dab nail and the materials it’s made from. Rotate the dab tool around the rim of the nail in order not to waste any remaining concentrate. Then, cover the carb with a carb cap and keep inhaling. This helps to regulate the air flow.

CBD begins to activate at about 20 degrees Fahrenheit higher than THC (

10 variation for Celsius). However, when dabbing CBD concentrate there is ideally little to no THC present, so this bit of scientific information might be moot aside from making sure that the temperature gets at least above 320 degrees Fahrenheit (140 Celsius), the point at which CBD starts to vaporize. However, most CBD waxes and shatters will be full-spectrum, thus adding a little more complexity to the dabbing equation.

If you’re dabbing some quality, full-spectrum CBD concentrate and want the full flavor profile, you’ll want to keep the dab at a lower temperature like 320-350 degrees Fahrenheit (160-177 degrees Celsius).

This gives you a smoother smoking experience, and vaporizes all those tasty and beneficial terpenes along with the CBD to create a full entourage effect. If you’re particular about flavors and effects, it might be wise to invest in an e-nail or a laser thermometer to ensure the temperature is exactly right.

If you’re looking for a big, billowing cloud that goes right to your dome and don’t care about the terpenes that come along for the ride, you can dab anywhere from 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit (177-205 degrees Celsius.) Dabbing above 400 degrees can result in fully combusting the dab, creating unwanted harsh compounds that may be detrimental. Just as with dabbing THC, be sure to clean out your nail after using it to prevent build up. Once the nail’s cooled down, rub the inside of it with a q-tip to clean off all the residue. You can even dip the q-tip in isopropyl alcohol to make it easier.

CBD Isolate Powder/Slab

While you’re much better off buying a CBD concentrate such as wax or shatter due to the full-spectrum benefits, you can certainly dab with either CBD isolate powder or CBD slab. Either will provide a mega-hit of CBD on their own, and also make a great addition to other concentrates if you’re looking to balance out some THC product.

Due to its consistency, isolate power can be a bit harder to manipulate with a traditional dab tool, so it is often suggested to use either a bucket insert on your dab rig or donut coil on your wax pen to contain it before dabbing. Regardless of how you administer the CBD to the heating element, be aware that powder is harder to manipulate. Aside from a narrower effect profile and consistency, the main difference you’ll notice with dabbing isolate and slab versus other CBD extracts is taste.

CBD slab is often the better option for dabbing of the two, since the slab is much easier to manipulate, and less messy than trying to sprinkle isolate into one place. Just pull off a piece of and put it onto the coil of your pen or hit it with the nail in your rig and inhale.

CBD isolate tends to have a flavor a bit like cherry cough syrup.

As mentioned above, since you don’t have to worry about losing terpenes to higher temperatures, you don’t need to be nearly as exact in your temperature range, and can go up to 400 degrees if that’s your preference. Any higher than that and you’re risking a harsher smoking experience.

Final Thoughts

By following these tips, you’ll be able to expand your dab repertoire and enjoy a quick and potent hit of CBD to cure whatever ails you. Overall, dabbing CBD is not too different from dabbing THC concentrates, but has some minor quirks to be aware of.

Do you enjoy dabbing CBD? Drop your impressions in the comments below.

CBD is commonly found in an edible or tincture form, which can offer relief over longer periods of time, however, it offers little in the way of immediate relief. Thus, for medical patients, or anyone seeking a quicker onset in higher doses, dabbing CBD is the way to go.

Dabbing CBD: The Complete Guide

Dabbing cannabis extracts is the newest and hottest thing in marijuana culture. As CBD concentrates become more widely available, dabbing has expanded beyond the marijuana realm and into the non-psychoactive cannabidiol realm.

This article is designed to lead someone with no previous knowledge through dabbing from a CBD user’s point of view. Below the article goes on to describe the act of dabbing, concentrates, and the equipment used.

What is Dabbing?

Dabbing is the act flash vaporizing a cannabis concentrate (in our case a high-cannabidiol hemp extract) through the use of a dab rig or wax pen. The vapor created is then inhaled. Dabbing became popular because it is highly potent and effective.

Why Dab CBD?

Traditional sublingual and oral CBD products like tinctures and capsules are very easy to use, yet suffer from low bioavailability. For example, when swallowing an oil-based CBD capsule, only 5-10% of the molecule has an active effect. The rest of the dose is flushed from your body as waste. These methods also have a slow onset time. When swallowed, it can take up to 90 minutes for the CBD to become active in the body.

Despite technical advances in the ingestible CBD space like nanoemulsification, inhaling cannabis has a long history of being highly effective. When inhaled, up to 50% of the cannabinoids and terpenes are absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs. The effects come on quick and can be felt within minutes, giving the user nearly instant relief. For those with serious needs, this short onset time can be a real gamechanger.

When it comes to inhaling CBD, dabbing is a highly concentrated way to consume the compound. Compared to vaporizing, dabbing is simply a more potent, more direct way to get a dose.

While dabbing is efficient, that does not mean that it is free of downsides. Inhaling vaporized CBD is not nearly as accessible as other more conventional means like swallowing capsules, using a tincture, or eating edibles. Also, the effects of inhaling cannabidiol vapor may only last for 2-3 hours where swallowing the compound can last up to 7 hours.

For more information on bioavailability, onset time, and duration see our article outlining the various methods of taking CBD.

CBD Concentrates Explained

Now that you understand what dabbing is, let’s take a look at the CBD-specific products that are used when dabbing. This group of products is referred to as concentrates. As the name suggests, these forms of CBD are concentrated extracts derived from hemp. The various types of concentrates are differentiated by the extraction and processing methods used to create them:

  • CBD Isolate is a pure extract that contains only the CBD molecule in a crystalline form. Isolates can be made at up to 99% potency.
  • CBD Extract is an oily extract that contains a full spectrum of the molecules that were present in the plant. For dabbing, you’ll want to ensure this extract was winterized to remove the fats and other plant material from the concentrate to avoid inhaling them.
  • Terpsolate is the term used to define an isolate that has been combined with liquid-form terpenes.
  • Shatter comes in slab form that is created by adding terpenes to CBD isolate slabs.
  • Wax is a general term used to define a concentrate that takes on a sticky, waxy form. These concentrates range from full-spectrum to isolates.
  • Crumble is a moist concentrate created by purging the oils from a cannabis concentrate. The resulting substance is named after its crumbling consistency.

When considering the various types of concentrates available, these

  • Full or broad-spectrum takes advantage of the entourage effect while CBD isolate does not.
  • CBD isolate can be used as an additive to other types of dabs or combustibles.
  • Terpenes in a concentrate add flavor variety and additional effects.
  • The consistency and form of a concentrate can make it more convenient for dabbing.

CBD concentrates can be dabbed alone or combined with a high-THC marijuana extract. Many users find that CBD ‘smooths out’ and creates a more ‘complete’ high when combined with THC concentrates. Sometimes these concentrates are added to marijuana flower when it is vaporized, smoked, or rolled.

CBD Oil is Not for Dabbing

Products referred to as ‘CBD oil’ are tinctures made of a CBD extract and carrier oils. These products are not designed for dabbing because they contain many additional ingredients that are not designed to be heated. These products should be used sublingually as directed

Tools for Dabbing

Dabbing equipment varies widely in function, features, and price. You can find a simple, low-cost option or dive in as deep as you’d like. For the scope of this article, we are going to cover the basics of the two main options available to flash vaporize your concentrates: wax vaporizers and dab rigs.

Wax Vaporizers

You’ll find these electronic devices used for dabbing under many names including wax pens, dab pens, and dab vapes. The basic idea is that a battery powered coil is heated which is used to vaporize a concentrate that is then inhaled. The main components of every wax pen are similar:

  • A battery that is connected to the heating element.
  • The coil that is powered by the battery to create the heat. These coils come in various types including quartz with 1, 2, and even 4 coils and ceramic disks.
  • The mouthpiece which can range from a simple screw-on attachment to a large glass water pipe attachment.
  • The dabber which is usually a small metal wand used to place the concentrate into the coil cylinder.

These vaporizers come in a wide variety of forms, you’ll find everything from minimalist pens that take only concentrates up to full-sized electronic glass dab rigs that are capable of vaporizing concentrates and flower.

Dab Rig

The dab rig is constantly evolving, yet even today there are a standardized set of tools used in a dab setup:

  • A glass water pipe that functions in much the same way that a bong does.
  • The nail is a chamber made of ceramic, quartz, or titanium. This is the piece that is heated and vaporizes your concentrate.
  • A dome is placed on top of the nail after the concentrate is vaporized to trap the vapor to keep it from escaping. Not all rigs require a dome and some rigs may use an e-nail instead, though they require a larger upfront investment.
  • A blow torch is used to heat the nail. A standard lighter will not cut it.
  • The dabber is a glass, metal, or ceramic wand used to place the concentrate into the heated nail.

How to Dab CBD

The act of dabbing CBD is fairly straightforward in theory, yet it requires some practice to get the process down. The most important factor is controlling the temperature at which the concentrate is vaporized. Too little heat and the concentrate won’t vaporize. Too much and it combusts, defeating the purpose of vaporizing altogether.

The ideal temperature for dabbing is somewhere between 300 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit. At the higher end of this temperature range, you’ll begin boiling the terpenes found in the plant (if your concentrate contains terpenes).

The first step to dabbing is to get your concentrate out. You’ll want to divide your dose out, most CBD concentrate users find that 1-2 rice grain sized pieces of concentrate is the average size for a dose.

Using a Wax Pan

Once you have your dose divided, you’ll simply add the concentrate to the chamber, assemble, and turn on the device. Simple pens often use a push button to heat the element, you’ll want to tap the button to heat the concentrate as you inhale, start slow and try to work your way up to larger hits without burning the concentrate. For larger vaporizers, you may be able to set the temperatures and wait for it to heat much like a traditional dab rig. As your concentrate vaporizes, inhale, hold for a few seconds and then exhale the vapor.

Using a Dab Rig

A dab rig is often a more complicated process than a wax pen. The first step is to make sure you have all the equipment you’ll use set out. You’ll be working with open flames and hot materials, so keep your space clear.

Have your concentrate ready, and use the torch or e-nail to heat the nail to proper dabbing temps. As a general rule of thumb, heat the nail for 20 seconds then wait for a minute before adding your concentrate. It is not necessary to heat the nail until it is red hot.

After heating the nail, use your dabber to get the concentrate ready to be added. Once ready, drop the concentrate into the nail or run the dabber around the nail as you inhale to vaporize the complete contents of the concentrate. Experienced dabbers may be able to inhale the entire hit at once. If that’s not you, once you’ve finished adding the concentrate, you may want to cover the nail with the dome to keep the vapor from escaping. This way, you can come back and inhale the rest of the hit.

Once you get the hang of it, this entire process is quick and easy. It will take some time to find the perfect concentrate and dosage for your needs. Once you do, you’ll join the ranks of many happy dabbers out there enjoying this unique way to use CBD. Hopefully, this guide was helpful in discovering the world of dabbing! Please leave any questions or comments below.

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This article introduces dabbing, concentrates, and the equipment used to make it all happen – all from a cannabidiol (CBD) user's point of view.