Jul 10, 2021

Cannabis Concentrates 101: Dabbing Etiquette, Guidelines & Tips

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Just as nearly everything else in life does, using cannabis has basic guidelines to ensure everyone involved is playing fair and having a good time. But, it’s not something that many users, particularly those new to the scene, think about. That’s why in 2019 Lizzie Post, great-great-granddaughter of the legendary etiquette author Emily Post, published Higher Etiquette to humorously explain these to the novice consumer.

Even more, the rules of dabbing are tricky for those more familiar with smoking. And as today, 7/10, is a holiday all about celebrating cannabis concentrates thanks to the date’s spelling of “oil” when shown upside down and backward, it makes sense to roll out the rig. So, let’s get started on all you need to know to safely and successfully dab.

What is dabbing?

A “dab” refers to a highly concentrated cannabis extract, such as by using ethanol to extract THC from flower and/or shake as we do at RAIR. This can come in many forms, like shatter, rosin,  wax, and badder. What makes a dab distinct from flower is not just the format in which the product is consumed, but extracts tend to be much higher in THC concentration – sometimes up to 90%. Essentially, you can get very high on very little product, so it’s important to be careful with your dosing.

“Dabbing” simply refers to the process of heating and inhaling vaporized concentrates, which may seem intimidating due to the equipment needed but is an efficient way to consume cannabis once you get the hang of it. To dab, you need: a dab rig (similar to a bong), a heated nail or bangar that holds concentrate, a dabber tool to apply concentrate to the nail, and a torch. Other items that aren’t required but can make your dabbing experience more enjoyable and safe are carb caps, mats or non-flammable materials to keep surfaces clean, and timers.

How do I dab correctly?

Though dabbing has had a bad reputation in some circles due to the likelihood of using a torch containing butane to heat your nail, when done correctly, the process should be safe and fun for all involved.

First, select your concentrate. We suggest something like the RAIR Shiva Skunk Live Badder (70-80% THC) or the Sundae Driver Rosin (68-70% THC). Once you’ve selected the concentrate, use the dabber to scoop your dose based off the specific THC concentration…for newbies, we’re talking no larger than a crumb.

If using a torch, burn the nail until it becomes red hot. Be mindful of overheating it and causing the concentrate to burn or lose flavor. Purchasing an e-nail can make dabbing much safer as it removes the need for a torch or burner and gives you full control over the temperature the concentrate is heated to.

Once the nail is heated, place the concentrate on it and inhale from the rig. Use a carb cap to cover the concentrate and regulate airflow.

One more tip on safety – both e-nails and traditional nails become extremely hot when dabbing, so do not touch them under any circumstances until they are fully cooled.

What are some tips to dab responsibly?

Especially when you’re hosting or visiting a friend for a dab sesh, it’s important to clean your nail after each use. This is important as concentrates and oils will collect in the nail. Depending on how close you and your buddies are (and keeping in mind the COVID-19 pandemic), you may want to clean the nail after each hit before the next person dabs. Yes, this is different from a puff, puff, pass; because dabbing involves highly concentrated cannabis products, most consumers don’t need more than one hit to get sufficiently stoned.

To clean a traditional nail, use the torch to liquify any hardened concentrate so that it’s easy to scrape out and dispose of. Once your nail is fully cooled and after your dab session, it’s a good idea to soak it in alcohol…but not if it’s an e-nail!

What etiquette lessons should I know about dabbing?

Following the above will help you safely get through your 7/10 holiday, but there are some additional steps you can take when your buddies are around to make sure everyone enjoys:

  • Avoid peer pressuring people. Never ask more than once if someone wants to have a hit. Additionally, be sure to inquire whether this is something they don’t want to be present for – especially when it comes to smoke and vapor, as someone may have sensitivity and prefer not to be in the same room.
  • Sharing is caring. When you bring out bud or concentrate among friends, it’s impolite to keep it all to yourself. Think of it like how we view going out for drinks; you rotate who pays and sometimes everyone chips in a little, but no one is left out because they can’t contribute at that very moment.
  • Keep your area or that of your friend(s) clean. Remember dab mats? They come in handy for not only keeping your own surfaces clean, but also a surface at your friend’s house. It’s never a bad idea to bring your own dab mat when meeting up if you think you’ll need it.
  • Don’t share a rig when you’re sick. This goes without saying, but when you’re experiencing flu-like symptoms, do not share rigs, vapes, joints, or accessories with others as to not spread illness.
  • Respect the host. Perhaps the most important rule is respect, whether that be for the weed, the space, or the host. Follow the lead of whoever’s residence you are in.

With these simple guidelines, you should have the knowledge you need to confidently and politely enjoy cannabis concentrates with anyone in your network. These rules are not set in stone but should nonetheless help you navigate your next outing.

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