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The Dab Files


To Dab or not to Dab?
Everything you always wanted to know about dabbing

What is dabbing?

Dabbing is an innovative way of ingesting cannabis. Instead of flowers, a concentrate of the active ingredients (cannabinoids and terpenes) is evaporated. You use a ‘Dabber’, a special tool, to put the cannabis concentrate on a heated titanium ‘nail’.

A nail turns any ordinary bong into professional dabbing equipment. As the concentrate starts to evaporate the vapour can be inhaled.

Dabbing has been around for at least ten years, but as extraction techniques are improving rapidly, the method is increasing in popularity. The recent wave of marihuana legalisation in the United States definitely contributed to this. Especially for medical users of marihuana dabbing can be a solution, as it is possible to take in a large number of cannabinoids at once. Because of their high potency, cannabis concentrates are considered hard drugs in the Netherlands and they are not for sale in coffeeshops. Nevertheless, it’s possible to create and dab DIY-concentrates.

The ingredients of a Dab


- Oilrig (Glass Bong)

A bong especially developed for dabbing is called an ‘oilrig’. An oilrig has a built-in nail and/or dome. It’s also possible to use an ordinary glass bong or water pipe to dab. In that case, it’s important the size of the nail fits the joint of the bong.


- Dabber (Dab Tool)

Is used to scrape off tiny amounts of the concentrate and put it on the pre-heated nail. A dabber is a small wand or stick made of glass, stainless steel or titanium.

- Nail


Nails come in different shapes and materials, for example, glass, ceramics, quartz or titanium. Anything goes as long as it can stand the heat of the torch lighter. The advantage of titanium is that it’s long-lasting and doesn’t add any flavour to the concentrate.A nail can be domeless or should be used with a separate dome. The function of the dome is to keep the vapour in. A domeless nail holds the smoke through an outer disk or holes around the nail itself.

torch lighter gas burner

- Gas burner (Torch lighter)

To heat up the nail before you put the concentrate. The nail should be heated until red-hot, which gives you some time to proceed to the next step.

cannabis concentrate

- Cannabis concentrate

Or what it is actually all about. The concentrate contains cannabinoids and terpenes derived from the trichome heads of the cannabis plant. THC-levels can reach up to 80%. Learn more about the production of cannabis concentrates in our cannabis extraction encyclopedia article.

How to Dab?


Dangers and advantages

The main danger of dabbing is also the main advantage: as concentrates contain high levels of cannabinoids, one ‘dab’ is much stronger than just one hit from a joint. For medical use, this is considered an advantage, as it might be difficult to reach needed levels of cannabinoids by smoking or even vaporizing ordinary flowers. The downside is that it also becomes possible to overdose, which might cause anxiety, nausea or black-outs.

Besides, the process of creating extracts might be dangerous - especially when you use the butane gas method at home. Butane is very flammable and can easily cause explosions when used indoors!

Read more about the production of cannabis extracts in our Cannabis extraction encyclopedia article.

Try out yourself?

In our headshop, you will find all the necessary ingredients for your own dab session.

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