How to Take The Perfect Dab
Looking for tips on how to take the perfect dab? The team at Snapdragon Hemp has you covered. We cover cleaning, temperature, pearls/inserts, and the right equipment needed to take a satisfying rip. What you’re going to need is a glass or silicone dab rig, a “banger” that’s usually glass/quartz with a carb cap, and an electronic or butane heat source to dab your concentrates. We always recommend starting gently, low & slow, to ensure you do not strain anything or go beyond your comfort zone. Dabbing can be intense, but it is even more efficient than smoking flower, and can even be more gentle on the lungs than inhaling burning plant matter.
When setting up the perfect dab you’re going to want to have a clean banger first. Residue and carbon buildup from previous sessions can pile up pretty quickly leading to a “chazzed” banger- black/brown burnt material on the inside of the banger. This will absolutely affect the flavor and effectiveness of your dab, so you’re going to want to completely remove the carbon buildup. Cleaning dab rigs can be done with liquid cleaners/isopropyl alcohol, or more simply, torching the banger until it’s completely clean. It is important to remember Isopropyl alcohol comes in different concentrations, we recommend 70% or higher. Distilled water can also be used to clean a banger if the concentrate has not burned into the quartz since it does not have minerals in the water. Keeping a steady flame on the banger will eventually vaporize the carbon buildup completely, turning the black buildup into a cherry red-hot color and then eventually vaporizing completely. This leaves your banger spotless and ready for the next dab.
Temperature Sweet Spot
Heating your banger to the correct dab temperature is much easier when done through an electronic heat source like a fully electric dabbing device or an electric nail. This is a way to heat a dab nail/banger without using a torch. Most devices will accurately display the temperature, but the traditional way of dabbing is done through butane torches. This open flame may take some time and experience to hone in the correct temperature, but it is incredibly satisfying when done correctly. Depending on the size of your banger, you want to position the flame so it’s not actually torching the glass, but gradually heating the sides and bottom- the contact points for the distillate. Temperatures can range from 450-600f+ degrees, and there are numerous timing methods to try for heating and cooling. When just starting out, we recommend using your phone’s timer to wait for cooldowns to begin dabbing (usually 30-45sec after the banger is fully heated is the sweet spot for 10mm or 14mm bangers, depending on thickness of glass). It’s also important to note that just because you take the flame off the glass, the temperature of your glass will still be rising. You can also use a IR temperature reader to get a gauge on how hot your banger is for the extra peace of mind while using a torch.
Desktop dabbing is one of the most efficient ways to vaporize your concentrate. This is normally done through two ways. The most common way is with a butane torch, the heat of the torch is applied to the base of the banger from a time dictated by the user for the temperature of there liking. Depending on the thickness of your glass, we recommend waiting 45 seconds to a minute before loading in your concentrate. For a cold start, only a light heating of a few seconds on the exterior of the glass is needed to melt the concentrate into the banger, and then you can manually heat it from there. The other method is using a device using a PID (proportional–integral–derivative controller) or enail. The biggest benefit for most enail users is that the PID is able to control the temperature often to within a single degree so you can dial the temperature in to your preference. An enail uses a “coil” that wraps around the banger to apply heat evenly around the banger. The coil is almost always made of titanium, a metal which is great for both its durability and heat retention. The enail is powered by a cord that plugs into any regular outlet with a ground. Additionally you will need a water pipe for the banger in order to inhale the vapor with either method.
Terp Pearls/Inserts (Are they necessary?)
Inserts, pearls, and other accessories have become wildly popular, but do they serve a purpose? Inserts are small dishes that are placed inside your banger that are made of ceramic, quartz, silicon carbide (sic is the shorthand name) or even aluminum nitride. These inserts retain heat much longer than bare quartz/glass banger as well as vaporize the concentrate more efficiently than bare quartz while offering enhanced flavored profiles of the terpenes you may not have noticed if you did not have the insert. A benefit of using an insert is that since it is removable, you can clean the insert without having to constantly clean your banger. Most inserts can be cleaned by using the same butane torch some users dab with. If you’re doing a light cleaning you can use isopropyl alcohol or distilled water. Please make sure all of either liquid is completely burned off before adding any concentrate. Pearls and inserts that cycle/spin in your banger are designed to whip the concentrate up and provide an even distribution of heat, rather than just relying on your inhalation plus the carb cap. You can still get a very satisfying hit without these pearls, but we recommend trying them out at least once to see if it provides a better experience for you.
Size of Your Dab
This is where it depends on your personal tolerance and how big of a dab you want to take. We always recommend starting low and working your way up. Starting sizes for dabs can range from rice grain-sized to pea-sized globs. Some new users will immediately want to take .5-1 gram dabs with the idea that more concentrate is more effective, but we heavily recommend against this. Taking way too big of a dab will only result in coughing, stress on the lungs, and even unpleasant effects from your concentrates as well as wasting concentrate than can be used in another session. Finding your sweet spot with all cannabis and hemp products is where the true magic is, there is no gain to overdoing it, and consistently straining while dabbing or overheating will leave you with a negative experience every time. Choosing the size of your tools is also important. Most dab nail and banger sizes are anywhere from 19mm to 10mm, and are all dependent on personal preferences and the usual size of your dabs, and how quickly they heat up.
Inhalation may not seem too tricky, but there are techniques and methods to ensure you do not strain your lungs while dabbing. Being mindful of your body is crucial for having a long-term and healthy relationship with your hemp & cannabis concentrates. Taking deep breaths before dabbing is very important, making sure you are comfortable, and not inhaling too sharply. Dabs and concentrates do not require to be held in your lungs for more than 1-2 seconds to fully absorb the cannabinoids. Deep breathing and circulation of the vapor with fresh oxygen is the best way to get the most out of your inhale.
The one thing most seasoned veterans do not mention when it comes to dabbing is hydration. Since you are intaking higher than average amounts of THC or other cannabinoids in your body it can cause a dehydration effect. A good rule of thumb to avoid cramps later on is to drink 1 to 2 glasses of water before or after a dab.
Cleaning up your freshly-ripped piece is even easier than getting it started. We recommend dropping in one or two cotton-stick swabs, (we also recommend a product called Glob Mops which are very sturdy bamboo cotton swabs) and allowing it to soak up the extra/burnt concentrate after a fresh dab. Wipe the sides and bottom of the interior of the banger, or your insert. Doing this while the concentrate is still liquid but not sizzling will soak up and leave your banger clean and ready for the next one. We recommend doing within a reasonable time after the dab after you know you cannot vaporize anymore concentrate. Be mindful of the temperature of the banger since the swab is cotton and can combust. After cleaning up all the residue, you’re all set for another sesh or to stow your piece away for next time after your banger has cooled down completely. We hope you found this guide informational! If you’d like to add anything for beginners, please leave a comment or drop a like if you enjoyed the video and blog. Thank you and we’ll see you next time for future Hemp 101 tutorials and more!