How to Do Dabs: A Step-by-Step Guide on Smoking Cannabis Concentrates

by Matt Hampton

Many people are curious about dabbing but don't know where to start. Dabbing is a method of consuming cannabis concentrates that offers purity and potency. This guide will take you through the basics, from what tools you'll need to how to take your first dab, step by step.

Let's dive in.

Key Takeaways

  • Dabbing involves vaporizing cannabis concentrates like wax or oil on a hot surface and then inhaling the vapors for a potent high. It uses special tools including a dab rig, torch, dab tool, and either a banger or nail.
  • The benefits of dabbing over traditional smoking include experiencing better taste due to lower temperature combustion, fewer carcinogens inhaled because of no direct burning of the material, and increased potency from the concentrated form of THC.
  • Essential tools for doing dabs are a dab rig (a type of water pipe), a torch to heat the nail until it’s red-hot, a dab tool to apply concentrate accurately without wastage, and a choice between using a banger or nail depending on personal preference for heating the concentrate.
  • To do dabs properly: First heat your nail with a torch till it's red-hot; allow it to cool slightly; use your dab tool to carefully place your chosen concentrate onto the heated surface; then inhale slowly through your rig. Always follow up by cleaning your equipment regularly for optimal flavor.
  • Additional tips for perfecting your dabbing technique include using carb caps after applying concentrates which helps trap heat and vaporizes more effectively. Control over heating is vital: too much heat can degrade quality while too little won't properly vaporize the concentrate. Keeping everything clean ensures tasty hits every time.

What is Dabbing?

Dabbing involves smoking highly concentrated cannabis extracts using a dab rig and a blowtorch to create vapor. The user inhales the vapor, which provides a more potent high compared to traditional methods of smoking marijuana.


Dabbing refers to the process of vaporizing cannabis concentrates on a hot surface and inhaling the vapors. People use a dab rig, which is specifically designed for this method. Concentrates like wax, BHO (Butane Hash Oil), and oil are more potent than traditional marijuana flowers due to higher THC levels.

This technique turns these substances into a vapor that users then inhale through the dab rig.

A key component in this setup is the nail or banger, made from materials such as quartz or titanium, heated with a torch until it's red-hot. Users then apply their chosen concentrate onto the nail using a dabber tool.

As it vaporizes instantly upon contact, they cover it with a cap and inhale slowly through the rig’s mouthpiece, enjoying powerful effects that hit faster than other methods.

Common types of THC concentrates

After understanding the definition of dabbing, it's important to know about the various types of THC concentrates. There are several common types including wax, shatter, budder, and live resin.

Wax is soft and easy to scoop with a tool while shatter is brittle and breaks easily into pieces. Budder has a creamy consistency that makes it easy to work with while live resin captures the fresh aroma of the plant for an intense flavor.

Each type offers a unique experience in terms of potency, flavor, and ease of use. Choosing the right concentrate depends on personal preferences and desired effects.

Benefits of Dabbing

Dabbing offers a better taste and fewer carcinogens compared to traditional smoking methods. The concentrated potency of cannabis extracts also provides stronger effects for users.

Better taste

The process of dabbing concentrates lead to a better taste experience. The high temperatures used in traditional smoking can sometimes degrade the flavor profile, while dabbing at lower temperatures allows you to fully taste the terpenes and natural flavors of the concentrate.

This results in a more enjoyable and flavorful smoking experience for users.

When properly executed, dabbing also provides a smooth and clean inhalation without any harsh or burnt undertones. As a result, users can savor the true essence of their chosen cannabis concentrate without being overshadowed by the often unpleasant taste associated with smoking traditional flower.

Fewer carcinogens

Dabbing reduces the number of carcinogens inhaled compared to traditional smoking methods. This is because dabbing involves vaporizing concentrates at a lower temperature, which minimizes the combustion process and subsequently diminishes the production of harmful byproducts often associated with smoking.

By choosing to dab instead of smoke, users can lessen their exposure to potential carcinogens and experience a cleaner intake of THC concentrate.

When using high-quality concentrates and following proper heating techniques, dabbers can enjoy a more refined cannabis experience with reduced health risks associated with inhaling carcinogens commonly found in smoke.

Increased potency

With fewer carcinogens present in cannabis concentrates, dabs deliver an increased potency compared to traditional marijuana consumption. The concentrated form of THC and other cannabinoids provides a powerful high that is much more potent than smoking flower.

This higher potency allows users to experience a more intense and immediate effect, making it important for individuals to start with smaller amounts until they understand their tolerance levels.

It's crucial for users new to dabbing to be aware of the potential risk of consuming too much due to the concentrate's strength.

Essential Tools for Smoking Dabs

To smoke dabs, the essential tools are a dab rig, torch, dab tool, and a banger or nail. Each item plays a crucial role in heating and consuming cannabis concentrates.

Dab Rigs

A dab rig is a water pipe or glass and metal device specifically designed for smoking cannabis concentrates. It looks similar to a bong but is equipped with different components, including a nail, dome, or banger, which are essential for vaporizing the concentrate.

The process involves heating the nail with a torch until it reaches the ideal temperature for vaporization before applying the concentrate onto it. As the user inhales slowly through the mouthpiece, they can enjoy the flavorful vapor produced by their chosen cannabis wax or oil.

When using a dab rig, it's crucial to keep all components clean and free of residue to ensure optimal flavor and performance during each session. Regular cleaning also extends the life of your equipment and prevents buildup that could affect taste and airflow.


When heating the nail for dabbing, it is essential to use a butane torch. The torch allows precise and rapid heating of the nail to the optimal temperature for vaporizing concentrates.

Using a torch with adjustable flame settings gives better control over the heat intensity, ensuring efficient vaporization of BHO or wax.

When choosing a torch, look for one with a comfortable grip and a safety lock to prevent accidental ignition. It should also have a sturdy base to keep it steady during use. Remember always to follow safety guidelines when handling the torch and store it in a safe place away from flammable materials after use.

Dab tool

A dab tool is a small, wand-like instrument used to handle and apply cannabis concentrates onto the heated nail of a dab rig. It typically has a pointed or flat tip for scooping up the concentrate and then transferring it to the nail.

The material of the dab tool, often stainless steel or glass, ensures that it can withstand high temperatures during the dabbing process. Using a dab tool helps to prevent any wastage of concentrates by allowing for precise application and control when handling sticky substances like wax or BHO Butane Hash Oil.

When choosing a dab tool, consider one with a comfortable handle and easy-to-clean design for convenience in your dabs setup. It's an essential component in achieving a successful and enjoyable dabbing experience, as it ensures safe handling of potent concentrates while also contributing to the overall flavor profile of your hit.

Banger or nail

When dabbing, the choice between a banger or nail is crucial. The banger is a quartz, glass, or ceramic piece that fits into the dab rig and allows for easier heating due to its design.

On the other hand, nails can be made of titanium, quartz, or ceramic and are heated directly with a torch. The banger has gained popularity in recent years because it preserves the flavor profile of concentrates better than nails do.

The decision between a banger or nail ultimately depends on personal preference and usage frequency. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages but play an essential role in creating the optimal dabbing experience.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Do Dabs

Heat the nail using a torch until it's red-hot. Then, carefully apply the cannabis concentrate onto the heated nail and inhale slowly to enjoy the potent vapor.

Heat the nail

 Begin by heating the nail with a torch until it's red hot. Once heated, allow the nail to cool for about 30-45 seconds to achieve the ideal temperature for dabbing. This process ensures that the concentrate vaporizes efficiently and preserves the flavor profile of your cannabis concentrate.

Apply the concentrate

Once the nail is heated to the desired temperature, use a dab tool to place a small amount of cannabis concentrate directly onto the hot surface of the nail or banger. Gently touch the concentrate with the tool and allow it to vaporize upon contact with the heated surface, ensuring efficient vaporization.

The key is not to overload with an excessive amount since this may lead to wastage and affect flavor quality negatively.

Inhale slowly, allowing smooth airflow through your rig for optimal vaporization. Controlling inhalation speed helps in experiencing all the flavors and effects of your chosen concentrate while preventing coughing fits that can result from inhaling too quickly.

Inhale slowly

Inhaling slowly allows for a smoother and more enjoyable dabbing experience. Slow inhalation helps to regulate the temperature of the vapor, allowing you to savor the flavor and effects of the concentrate.

This technique also prevents overwhelming your lungs with an excessive amount of vapor at once, ensuring a comfortable and controlled intake. By inhaling slowly, you can fully appreciate the rich taste and potent effects of your chosen cannabis concentrate.

Clean your dab rig

After inhaling slowly and enjoying the flavorful vapor, it's crucial to keep your dab rig clean. Residual concentrate buildup can affect the taste and quality of future dabs. Use isopropyl alcohol or a specialized cleaning solution to scrub the interior of the dab rig, banger or nail, and any attached percolators.

Rinse thoroughly with hot water to remove all residue before air-drying. Regularly maintaining a clean dab rig ensures an optimal smoking experience every time.

Additional tips for the perfect dab

To ensure the perfect dab, be sure to use a carb cap after applying the concentrate onto the nail. Rotating this tool over the nail's surface will help trap heat and vaporize any remaining concentrate for a more flavorful hit.

It’s also crucial to control the temperature of your dab rig; using a timer for consistent heating can prevent overheating or underheating, giving you a smooth and enjoyable experience each time.

Maintain proper cleaning and maintenance practices for your dab rig by regularly removing residue buildup with alcohol and cotton swabs. Keeping your equipment clean not only ensures better-tasting dabs but also prolongs the life of your dab rig and tools.


Mastering the art of dabbing requires practice and patience. Heating the nail to the right temperature is crucial for a smooth, flavorful experience. Applying the concentrate in small, controlled amounts ensures an enjoyable inhale.

Keeping your dab rig clean is essential for consistent dabs. With these steps mastered, one can savor every hit of their favorite cannabis concentrates without any hassle.


1. What are dabs in the context of smoking cannabis?

Dabs refer to concentrated forms of cannabis that get heated on a hot surface and then inhaled through a special piece called a dab rig.

2. How do you set up a dab rig for smoking concentrates?

To set up your dab rig, first ensure it's clean. Then fill it with enough water, heat the nail with a torch until it's hot, wait for it to cool slightly, and apply the concentrate onto the nail to vaporize and inhale.

3. What is the correct way to heat the nail for dabs?

Hold a torch flame directly onto the nail until it becomes red-hot. After heating, let it cool down for about 10-45 seconds (depending on material) before applying your concentrate.

4. Is there anything special I need besides my dab rig to smoke wax or concentrates?

Yes! Besides your dab rig, you will need some additional items: Concentrates (or wax), a torch for heating the nail, and a dabber tool to apply your concentrate safely onto the hot surface.

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