It may be surprising to know that dabbing has been prevalent in the smoking world for more than a decade. But with the recent legalisation and advanced method of extraction, smoking dabs have become all the rage at the moment. Even though it is highly confused with the dance type, dabbing does have a better and long-lasting effect! And if you wanna twerk after that, that's totally on you! 

So, what is dabbing, what exactly are dabs, and how are they made? How to smoke dabs, and what constitutes dabbing? 

So many questions! We answer them all. Read on!

Smoking Dabs: What are they?

Starting from the basics, let’s look at what Dabs are, what is dabbing and how exactly are they made?

Dabs are a concentrated version of your regular marijuana and cannabis buds and flowers. Smoking Dabs are perfect for heavy consumers or those with severe medical conditions. With the help of a solvent like butane or carbon dioxide, the THC and other cannabinoids are extracted, resulting in a sticky, oily texture.

Also known as shatter, budder, wax, and Butane Hash Oil (BHO), they are more potent, thereby making you really, really stoned in just a few minutes. 



When tested, Buds and flowers contain 10 to 25% THC, while concentrates tend to test between 50 to 80% THC, depending on the extract type and quality. It is evident that the THC in Dabs are magnanimously higher than raw buds, and you only need a tiny amount to be mind-numbingly ripped!

The next time someone asks how much THC is in Dabs, you would know the correct answer.

You can also avoid the cerebral euphoria by dabbing non-intoxicating cannabis concentrates, which will give you a quick therapeutic relief without the uninvited "high". 

Now that we know what dabs are, let's see how they are made and how you smoke dabs!

Smoking Dabs: How are they made?

If you’re wondering how dabs are made, there are two different processes of extracting the CBD and Terpenes from the raw cannabis buds; Solvent-Based Extraction and Solventless Extraction. Solvent-based extraction makes use of hydrocarbon solvents such as butane, propane and hexane, or through the use of CO2. On the other hand, Solventless extraction method uses only heat and pressure to produce concentrates. 

Basically, dabs are made out of the buds and are a more compressed and processed version of them. 

The Different Types of Dabs


Similar to walking into a strain shop and finding a huge variety of buds, there are different types of dabs that lead you towards the euphoric state. 

They differ in colours, texture, consistency, or are simply named after the extraction method. Which is why smoking dabs may not always have the same effect,it all depends on the strain. Let's see what are the most popular types of Dabs based on their extraction method.

1. Butane Hash Oil

Any type of Cannabis oil extracted with the help of Butane is termed BHO(Butane Hash Oil). Butane is the preferred solvent for a majority of extracts as it allows large quantities to be extracted with higher yields when compared to other methods. 

2. CO2

CO2 oils make use of CO2 as their solvent as they are less viscous than their counterparts. A common ingredient in weed cartridges, they are also used to make runny distillates with high levels of THC and added terpenes.

3. Resin

The resin technique is a form of non-solvent extraction which makes use of heat and pressure to extract the cannabis oil. To make rosin, a hair straightener or heat press is required. Either is used to apply heat and pressure to cannabis until hash oil comes out.

The other two types of Dabs are Sauce, which gets its name from the consistency, and Rick Simpson Oil, which is harsher than the concentrate listed above.

Seems fascinating, isn’t it? That’s what smoking dabs are all about!

| Also Read: Homemade Dab Guide: How to make Shatter? |

Smoking Dabs: What is dabbing?

Now that you know where dabs come from, let’s tackle the bigger question - What is Dabbing?

Dabbing is essentially smoking the dabs or concentrates to experience a surreal high. It works upon the principle of flash vaporization, giving you a clean and smooth hit. It may seem daunting for beginners, but once you understand how it works, it's a smooth ride from thereon. 

After getting what is dabbing, let's jump to the answer to how do you smoke dab. All you have to do is place the concentrate on a heated bowl or nail. As soon as it meets the heated surface, it vaporizes, filling your bong or dab rig with smoke that can be inhaled. Like the best bongs available online, it makes use of water to cool down the smoke. And, you’re now smoking dabs!


Cannabis extracts that are precisely and carefully manufactured allow the consumer to experience a clean, pure product that’s easier on the lungs. Smoking extracts eliminate the resin, hot smoke, and other unwanted materials while still preserving cannabinoids and other compounds like terpenes.

Smoking Dabs- The tools you need to dab


I get a lot of questions on how do you smoke dabs, especially with a rig. Let me explain.

Dab rigs, also known as oil rigs, are the smoking paraphernalia used to consume cannabis concentrate. Pretty similar to bongs, they have a water chamber and a bowl where the substance is placed. Generally made out of glass, dab rigs are more portable and compact than their bong counterparts and are used to smoke legal dabs instead of flowers and buds. 

Here are the dab smoking tools that you would need:

  1. Cannabis Extract: This is no brainer, you will obviously need a cannabis extract. As they are available in various types, you will have to experiment and find what suits your needs the best. If you're doubtful, instead of taking the risk, ask your budtender. 
  2. Dab Rig or Water Pipe: Dab Smoking Rigs are special equipment curated to smoke dabs. However, if you have a traditional water pipe, you can take the glass bowl out, and replace it with dabbing equipment, turning it into a functional dab rig. 
  3. A nail: A nail is where you place your extract, and is usually made out of titanium, ceramic, and quartz. If you're using it on your water pipe, make sure the nail fits its gauge. 
  4. A dome: It is a circular glass globe which is placed around the nail to trap the vapour before it is inhaled. You can also get your hands on domeless nails if you don't want to go through all that trouble. 
  5. A torch: A torch becomes a requirement when you're smoking dabs or concentrates. It is one of the most essential dab smoking accessories. You can use a mini butane torch or opt for touch-less experience with e-nails.
  6. A dabber: A dabber is what helps to scoop the concentrate from the box and onto the nail. It is made of glass, metal, or ceramic, allowing you to effectively transfer the tiny amount of extract. 

Now you know what you need to smoke dabs with a rig, let’s see how you do it!

Smoking Dabs: How do you do it?

Now moving to the most crucial part of the information, how do you smoke dabs?
It's not rocket science, folks, so don't be scared. Dabbing is an art, and you're going to need more than a try to master it. But trust me when I say this, gone are the days of a good rookie. If you wanna get seriously baked, then smoking dabs is the way!


Now before you start with the process, keep the tools handy so you're not rushing here and there. Which reminds me, make sure you're sitting down or have support nearby. The hit can be intense, and you don't wanna have mysterious pain in your body when you're sober. Once you're seated, choose your preferred extract and get to work. 

Here’s how you smoke dabs with a rig. 

Using the dabber, scoop a tiny amount of the concentrate. If you're a novice, make sure you start from a very little, gradually expanding your capacity. Remember, a little can do a lot!

Now, you're ready to flame it up! Using a butane torch, heat the nail until you see it is red-hot. The time it will need to reach that level depends on the material and size of the nail along with the room temperature. Once it reaches its desired temperature, keep the torch aside and place the dome around the heated nail carefully. 

Give approximately 10 seconds for your nail to cool down; you don't want to burn your concentrate, you just want to vaporize it. Once cooled, place the already scooped concentrate onto the nail with the help of the dabber, allow the magic to unveil, and inhale! Make sure you drag the smoke slowly and consistently instead of just vigorously sucking it up.

And Voila, the effect begins! 

While smoking dabs, remember,  we are here to enjoy the process and not get over with it quickly. There are many different ways to smoke dabs which we will be discussing later on. 

| Also Read: Celebrate 710 Day - A Definitive Guide to Cannabis Concentrates |

Smoking Dabs: Choosing the right dab rig


Like every other product, you need to choose the perfect one to yield maximum efficiency, or in our case, maximum hit!

Dab Rigs are the best way to smoke dabs as they are specially curated for these sticky concentrates. You can find one in various designs, from the most simple one to the most exciting and dope one. But before you pick your choice, let's discuss what you should keep in mind before shelling pennies on the dab rig. 

1. Budget

Unless you're seriously rich, you have to consider the budget before investing in any smoking accessories. And, Dab Rig is no different.
Before you empty your pockets, keep in mind that a good dab rig will last for years and it'll be years before you need a new one. As for parts, you can always have them replaced.

If you’re a beginner who is starting to smoke dabs, choose from the lower range of the product so that you don’t regret spending too much on something you didn’t like. Once you’re a professional dabber and understand what is dabbing, then invest in a kickass dab rig!
Base your value on the fact that you won't need to spend money, except on concentrates, after buying a quality dab rig. 

2. The Right One

We always emphasize on finding the right smoking gadget, because with the wrong one, well, it just never feels right! *wink wink*

Dab Rig can be easily confused with bongs as they do look like identical twins. Though both use the water filtration and cooling system, they are not the same. Bongs are used to smoke buds and flowers, whereas dab rigs use concentrated cannabis extracts to hit the right notes.

Make sure you enquire about the gender of the joint, which can either be male or female. If it’s male and comes with a dome, it’s for smoking dabs. If it’s “female,” it’s probably just a regular water pipe.

3. Complete kits or Customizable Parts

If you're just starting out with dab rigs, I would advise you to go for the complete kits available on Olivastu. But if you're a connoisseur looking for customization, buying parts individually can help you curate the dab rig of your dreams.

Make sure you pay enough attention to the nail, as that is where the magic begins!

Alternative ways to smoke Dabs

What happens when you don't own a dab rig and have a craving for the wonderful high produced only by the concentrates?

We get a lot of questions about how to smoke dabs without a rig, and here's your answer. 

1. Using dabs with your bong

If you're wondering how to smoke dabs out of a bong, here are the two best ways to do so.

The first involves the use of a general bowl that comes with the bong. Instead of using just the wax or concentrates, fill the bong with flowers, add the dab, and then fill it again with flowers. It's like sandwiching it between two layers of herbs. 

We hide the wax in the layers because a direct flame to the concentrate can dampen its quality and incinerate some of the THC. 

Another way to smoke dabs with a regular bong is by adding a dab nail to the device. However, make sure your bong is not over 15 inches as that can be too long for the vapour to travel. Secondly, avoid using bongs with percolators as that can filter the terpenes and diminish the flavour. 

You would need a right-sized male-jointed dab nail to fit onto the bong. If you have the female jointed dab rig, you will need a male-to-male adapter for the accurate fit. After all this, you'd still need the dab smoking accessories.

2. Rolling in a Joint

Joints with wax is a popular concept enjoyed by many potheads to experience a doobie with the high of dabs. To do some, spread your rolling paper and add the flowers as you usually do. Next, add a layer of dab onto the flower. The process for this depends on the consistency of the wax. FOr instance, crumble or shatter can be broken by hand and sprinkled, but a more sticky concentrate might need some additional hard work. Now roll your doobie and smoke. 

Make sure you wash your hands after handling the concentrates and before lighting the joint!

3. Knife way!

When you don't have any dabbing or smoking accessories, a knife will suffice. God bless inventive stoners!

It is not the most efficient way to dab, but when you don't have access to any torch, rigs, bongs, or paper, this should be enough. 

The idea is to heat a knife on the stove, and once hot, dab some wax onto it. The heat will vaporize it, producing smoke, which can then be inhaled. You can also use a straw or a funnel to inhale the smoke and stop it from dissipating in the open air.

We discuss how to vape wax in detail in the next section. Take a look!

Vaping Dabs


While we are on the topic of smoking dabs, you can always find a vape to do so. 

Dab rigs are complicated and can sometimes be a fire hazard, or simply not very compatible for smokers who want a quick and hard drag. Vapes are a great way to consume cannabis concentrate without the entire hassle of the flamethrower or heated nails, especially if you're a beginner. It is one of the best way to smoke dab, and might just be the cheapest too!

For this reason, we have dab smoking pens that are pen-style vaporizers especially curated for vaping cannabis concentrates like wax and dabs.

How to Vape Dabs?

If you’re wondering how to smoke dabs with a vape pen, it is a pretty simple procedure. The first step is to understand how your vape/wax pen works, since each of these devices have a different set of working.

The general way to vape dabs is by removing the top cap to access the coil where you concentrated will be heated. Use your dab tool to scoop a bit of wax and load it into the heating chamber. At this point, your device should be turned on and the heating process should have started. Wait for a few seconds to allow the wax/dabs to vaporize before holding down the button and inhaling. As simple as that!

Vaping Dabs is also a great way to build up your capacity before moving onto bigger equipment.
So this is how you consume dab out of an e-cig/vape!

Side Effects of Smoking Dabs

You already know that Dabs contain a large amount of THC which can lead to anxiety and paranoia if consumed in high quantities. This is one of the reasons why we advise people to take it slow with dabs, especially if you're new to smoking dabs, as it can negatively impact you. You may experience paranoia, psychosis, anxiety, and hallucinations as they are well-known side effects of inhaling weeds. 

Another major concern with smoking dabs is that they can lead to an increase in tolerance which would eventually dampen down the effects with nominal dosage. For those who consume cannabis for medical reasons, you may not even experience any sensation from herbal cannabis also. 

On the other hand, you may be unknowingly ingesting other hazardous chemicals which may have crept in the extraction process through the metal and other materials. 

Last but not the least, the fire hazard coupled with smoking dabs are hard to ignore. We talk about this in the next section, precautions.

There are no immediate or long-term effects of smoking dabs that are different from the usual smoking process. 

In any case, it is advised to never try the THC extraction process at home. It is a very complicated process which involves the highly volatile and flammable Butane and can lead to accidents. Stick to the manufacturers and brands to provide you with this goodness. Now that you know the effects of smoking dabs, let’s take a look at the benefits.

Benefits of Smoking Dabs

It's hard to argue that after reading the side effects, you'd wonder if there are some benefits to this method of consumption. But, you can always find the silver lining in anything. However, these benefits are only applicable when dabbing is done with clean, tested products. 

The first benefit is the quick onset of effects that lead to swift relief for patients. Severe and chronic pain, nausea, and other such issues are immediately dampened with the effective relief of dabbing. Of course, it would be hard to find a doctor who recommends dabbing as the first course of action. 

The second, and my most favourite advantage of dabbing is its mild and easier-going procedure on the lungs. Smoking flowers entails the consumption of burned plant matter that might sneak a few unwanted by-products into the smoke. Dabs are considerably much cleaner and pure.

Apart from this, cannabis concentrate has ignited a curiosity that has led to technological advancement, increase in extraction and consumption technologies. Dabbing definitely excites and pushes the limits of innovation to bring forth a whole new industry.

Dabs Vs. Weed

This is a perennial debate in the world of cannabis - Dabs Vs. weed. 

While some people prefer one or the other, I say why even make a choice?

Each type of cannabis provides a unique flavour and distinctive high that cannot be replaced by the other one. For example, if you’re on the move and need a simple toke, a pre-rolled joint or cone would be the easy way to go about it rather than lighting a dab rig.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to get ripped with your homies at parties, dabbing would be the perfect way to go about it.

In the end, it is a choice, each with their own set of effects and precautions. 

Dabbing vs. Smoking

There are a lot of queries and guesses on the internet buzzing with the answer to 'Are dabs healthier than smoking?'.

In my opinion, there should not be a comparison between the two, since the mode differs a lot. Whereas smoking burns the plant material, the high heat with dabbing might burn some of the wax too. Similarly, both involve high heat that hits the back of the throat. 

Dabs are extracted through solvents that might not be as healthy as advertised, whereas smoking produces harmful carcinogens that are just as harmful.

I don't believe there is a correct answer to whether dabs are healthy or smoking, but I do believe that keeping them in a limited amount can dampen the negative effect associated with each of them.

Precaution while Smoking Dabs


  • “A dab’ll do ya” is a true saying and you have to abide by it!
    Start with a small amount of concentrate, and try not to get too excited with the cannabis extracts as it can be more powerful than you can comprehend. 
  • Drink water, loads of it. Dabbing tends to dehydrate your body and you need to equate that with hydrating yourself enough. 
  • Flamethrower or butane torches are very fun to use but are a common cause for fires. Make sure you tread carefully and if you're not sure about that, get an e-nail which does not need such equipment. You don't wanna burn the house down to get high!


  • Are dabs smoke or vapour?

    Some argue it is vapour, some say it is smoke. But the true answer lies in the mode of consumption and the temperature at which you're dabbing. If you use a Vape, it is most definitely vapour. But if you're using a dab nail and torching it until it flaming red hot, it is smoke.

  • What is the correct way to smoke dabs?

    The correct way to smoke dab is by using a dab rig along with all the necessary tools like a dome, torch, dab nail, etc. You put on a little wax on the hot nail and inhale the vapour from the mouthpiece. Just as we discussed above.


    This was the crash course on smoking dabs and what is dabbing. As they say, practice makes you a perfect buddy! 

    So take out the dab rigs, light it up, and take a drag. And if you're still sceptical or have some doubts bubbling in the back of your mind, feel free to hit me up in the comments section below.

    Ciao fellas, until next time and Toke it your Way with Olivastu!