The Complete Guide on How to Smoke Dabs

Finally,  the legalization of marijuana is starting to gain traction in the United States.

And different ways of smoking cannabis are being brought to light.

One of the most popular (and potent) ways to enjoy marijuana is by smoking dabs.

Today I'll break down the A to Z’s on smoking dabs.

It doesn't matter if  you've never dabbed before or are you're a pro you will learn something.


What are Dabs?

Dabs are a concentrated form of cannabis.

It’s a small bit of honey-hued wax that is extracted from the resin that lives within the trichomes of a cannabis flower.

When put under pressure (such as dry ice, butane, rubbing hands together, pressing), the trichomes break open.

As this happens, the resin inside excretes oil.

That oil is collected and sold as dabs.

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Why Smoke Dabs?

Dabs are far more potent and in its purest form may be a healthier way to enjoy cannabis than inhaling smoke from a scorched bud.  

How dabs work is much aligned with the science behind how aromatherapy uses essential oils for therapeutic purposes.

Inside of the bud’s trichomes are compounds called terpenes.

These are the aromatic chemicals that give marijuana its dank, skunky smell.

However, they’re also what gives cannabis its therapeutic properties.

Seeing as cannabinoids are extracted directly from the oils, smoking dabs is a much more intense high than sparking up a bud.

THC potency of dabs are up to four times the amount of a joint.

The reason being is that when you spark up the flower, most of the trichomes burn off before you finish inhaling.

The Dabby Hour Menu

Dabs is a broad term for different types of concentrated cannabis.

Have you ever walked into a cannabis shop?

You go to buy some flower or edibles, and the options will blow you away.

There are different varieties of dabs that have their own unique effect on the body.

Some of the terms and types of dabs you will encounter at the head shop include:

Shatter or Glass

  • Visually transparent with a potent punch
  • Has a taffy-like texture and light hue
  • Must be well-heated to reach potential potency


  • Creamy texture, looks a bit like peanut butter
  • Extracted by butane
  • Compatible with all forms of smoking cannabis


  • Although used interchangeably with dabs, however, there is a wax also called...wax
  • Has the consistency of earwax or beeswax
  • Best suited for an oil rig, but can be used in other ways

Dab Oil

  • Looks like most cannabis oils, but has a far higher THC count
  • Not intended for edibles

Clear Isolate, Ice Dabs, or Bubble

  • Purest form of concentrate
  • Extracted with cold-water method that involves less use of potential contaminants
  • Has a consistency of clumped sand, but can be used in all methods discussed later


  • Created without the use of any solvents (such as butane)
  • Named for the Rosin Tech Method, which is pressing the trim inside of parchment paper by the use of a flat iron. The byproduct of the pressed material is then scraped and collected

How to Smoke Dabs

There are many ways to enjoy dabs that will you an unique experience each time.

Let’s take a look at them.

Using an Oil Rig

This is the most common way to smoke dabs.

Nuts and bolts, an oil rig is a water pipe with a dab nail or e-nail and a mouthpiece.

Fill the pipe portion with water like you would for a bong session.

Attach the nail.

Nails are made out of either Rosin Tech Method.

No matter what its made out of, the nail is comprised of two distinct areas:

  • A moat-like area where the dab sits
  • A hole situated in the middle where the dab smoke is to be received

Unless you are using an e-nail, which regulates the temperature, heat the nail with a torch.

Using a dabber, apply the wax onto the moat, making sure not to cover the intake hole.

The wax will combust immediately.

Take small hits from the mouthpiece.

With a Vape Pen

Vape pens have been growing in popularity because you can use it rather conspicuously.

However, not just any vape pen will do.

You need to make sure that the vape pen is compatible with dabs.

The vape pen must contain the following parts:

Disconnect the battery from the atomizer.

Using a dabber, place the dab onto the exposed coil.

Turn the battery chamber on so that it begins to heat up.

Re-connect the battery back onto the atomizer.

Attach the mouthpiece.

Inhale slowly to get the ideal temperature, flavor, and smoke clouds.  

In a Bowl with a Healthstone

Maybe the safest of the options because it works like an old-school bowl session.

A healthstone is essentially a tiny filter for a bowl, bong, or bubbler.

This insert is made of porous glass, which allows the smoke to escape the dab when heated.

Apply the dab onto the healthstone.

Using a heat gun or torch, light the dab until it combusts.

Then, toke from the mouthpiece of the bowl.

To switch up the experience, place some of the wax on top of bud and take a puff.

Roll Up a Twax Joint

Seeing as there are not enough dab concentrate to roll in a joint of its own, you need to mix it with bud.

Break up weed into a joint like usual.

At this point, the different types of dabs matter.  

If you are using a dab that has a more honey-like consistency, then you want to roll the joint like you typically would.

From there, the dip the tip into the wax.

These types of dabs include:

  • Shatter/Glass
  • Dab Oil
  • Wax

However, you can mix and mingle your bud and wax.

Place a dab on the tip, or make a stringy line down the middle of the bed of weed.

From there roll-up your joint.

Be sure to do so slowly and with caution because wax is sticky and may cause your joint to rip.

The types that work best mixed in and rolled with weed include:

  • Budder
  • Ice Dabs/Bubble/Clear Isolate
  • Rosin

Using Hot Knives

Maybe the cheapest of the options, all you need is a household butter knife.

Hold the butter knife under the heat of the stove.

You want the tip to be hot enough to combust the wax.

However, metal is a heat conductor and will travel down to the handle that you are holding.

So, you want to keep the knife under the flame long enough to make the tip hot, but need to pull it away from the heat quick enough so that you don’t get burned.

Using a dabber, place the dab on top of the hot knife tip.

Immediately, the dab will smoke.

Now, play shotty with the knife

Inhale the smoke that emanates from the knife.

Since the wax oxidizes so quickly, the smoke will be gone soon.

To get the most out of the smoke before it disappears into the atmosphere, hover a straw or funnel over the knife tup to suck it up.

Side Effects of Over-Dabbing

While dabbing has its health benefits, such as more potent cannabinoids, there are also some drawbacks to this process.

For one, there’s the user’s perception of their tolerance.

Those who can go blunt-for-blunt with friends may be floored with just one dab.

Especially in the case of first-time users, over-consumption of dabs is easy to do.

Smoking too many dabs in one sitting can lead to:

  • Nausea
  • Room Spins
  • Passing Out
  • Vomiting

Word of Caution When Dabbing at Home

The first few times that you dab, you may want to go to a head shop that has a smoking area.

That way they can walk you through the process, and you can see firsthand how it’s done.

When you light the nail with a torch, it gets extremely hot.

Merely grazing your skin can lead to a severe burn.

One way to lower the chances of burning yourself when you do decide to try dabbing at home is to invest in an e-nail.

For one, you are eliminating the use of a torch gun from the process.

However, many e-nails have cooling mechanisms that turn off the heat quickly after use so the user can avoid being burned.

Leave the Extracting to the Professionals

Due to the growing interest of dabs, cannabis enthusiasts have tried to take matters into their hands by producing their own wax.

Unfortunately, the extraction process is the most dangerous in the world of dabbing.

To extract wax from the flower, you need to put the bud under intense pressure.

In most cases, this involves the use of butane.

Highly combustible elements and poor ventilation is a recipe for disaster.

As the interest in DIY wax has burgeoned, so has the number of homes that have blown up by people trying to make their own dabs.

Not to mention, home isn’t the most sanitary of conditions.

Sure, you love your dogs, but do you want their stray hairs making its way into your concentration?

Everything you use to clean the area surrounding the equipment.

Even what’s underneath your nails can contaminate the final product and ruin its purity.

It may even be hazardous to your health.

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