Most people’s exposure to cannabis use begins with films and TV shows—a character sparks a joint, packs a bong or, perhaps for comedic effect, accidentally consumes a sugary edible.
But rarely does anyone in the pop culture zeitgeist construct what appears to be a Rube Goldberg machine in order to enjoy cannabis concentrates in a process known as dabbing. It may not be as widely represented, but dabbing is an increasingly popular form of consumption and, if done right, supplies a flavorful sensory experience coupled with a sublime, full-bodied high and rapid onset of effects.
Consuming concentrates can be as simple as using a bong and adding a small amount of concentrate to a bowl of cannabis. Take slow draws and be mindful of where the flame is directed to avoid torching the entire surface at once. As an old saying goes, “A litle dab’ll do ya.”
For those who’d like to enjoy a concentrate on its own, though, there are other preparations. Begin your dab journey by learning how dabbing works, equipping yourself with the right stuff, including äkta’s Cold-Cured Rosin Batter, and following our step-by-step guide:
Your base of operations will be your dab rig, which closely resembles a bong and contains a chamber to collect vaporized concentrate, a mouthpiece from which to inhale and an attachment in which you place the concentrate. The latter is known as a nail or banger, and is available in a few different shapes, sizes and materials: Some look like a small cup while others are molded to resemble a chillum encased by a cylinder; many are glass but some are made from quartz, titanium or other metals that can withstand high levels of heat.
The process of dabbing requires that extreme heat be applied to the bottom of the nail, which means you’ll need more than a gas station lighter. Pick up a handheld propane torch like one a chef would use to caramelize sugar at an upscale trattoria.
Electric nails are also available for those who’d rather not play with fire, but be warned that they run on the pricier side and operate on the slower side—think of it like boiling water over an electric range as compared to a gas-powered one. Pick up a dab tool (aka dabber) to portion the concentrate in desired amounts, and a carb cap to be applied on top of the nail when heated, ensuring all the vaporized concentrate is contained and makes its way through the chamber and into your body.
Most importantly, there’s the cannabis concentrate itself; we’re partial to äkta’s Live Rosin Batter, as the single-strain options and blends provide intense flavor and a pure representation of the plant.
When you’re ready to begin, pour enough water into the dab rig so the stream of air bubbles through the water during inhalation. Use the dabber to remove what may seem like a minuscule amount of concentrate from its container—seriously, only about the amount of three sesame seeds is needed. A little goes a very long way, especially for those who are new to dabbing.
This holds especially true for äkta’s small-batch Live Rosin concentrates due to their potency. Our traditional process for making hash into cold-cured Live Rosin creates a supremely flavorful final product with the full spectrum of terpenes and of cannabinoids unique to the strain that provide an entourage of effects in mind and body.
Our clean process needs no solvents to isolate the cannabinoids housed in the source material. Instead, we collect the full plant trichomes from the ripest Hava Gardens cannabis grown in Living Soil to produce ice-water hash that is then gently heated and pressed until it forms the golden, gooey, full-spectrum Live Rosin. Nothing is added to the concentrate—and more importantly, nothing is subtracted either, unlike some solvent-based methods where THC is separated at the expense of terpenes and cannabinoids.
Next, it’s time to take that hit. After the nail becomes red-hot, let it cool for a few seconds, then grab the dabber to apply the small amount of concentrate to the nail and begin a slow inhale, rotating the tool slightly as the material begins to warm. Pop the carb cap on top of the nail as you finish your puff.
For those who want to experiment with temperatures, 375-500 degrees Fahrenheit is a good range. The sweet spot tends to be around 390 degrees. In our opinion, lower temps help keep all the delicious terpene profiles intact while still hitting the boiling points for each compound. You can always raise it up as you experiment.
Fair warning: Dabs hit far less harshly than a pull from a bong or pipe, which might give the impression that you didn’t properly operate the dab rig. Ignore the temptation to take another hit until you wait 5-10 minutes and see how you feel.
Cleaning and maintaining your dab rig is as important as how you use it; excess residue can build up inside the nail and mar your next dabbing experience.
Once the nail has had a chance to cool somewhat, remove it with a towel or oven mitt and wipe away any remaining oil before it hardens. The simplest method to clean glass nails is to use glob mops—which, while sold under that moniker, are essentially cotton swabs, so you can save a little cash by opting for that alternative. You can also place titanium and quartz bangers into a mix of rubbing alcohol and salt, stir gently so the salt can loosen any hardened concentrate, then let sit for 10 minutes and wipe down.
Follow these steps and every dabbing experience can be as enjoyable as the first time. For best results, pick up äkta’s new Live Rosin concentrates at these Colorado dispensaries.