A Little Dab’ll do ya’!
As we guide tourists through the world of weed, we don’t just show them the wonders of cannabis country, the giant redwoods, the Emerald Triangle marijuana farms, and the history of cannabis, but we keep them up on all the new advancements in cannabis as well.
If you’re old school like me, you experience the world of weed through smoking flower, or maybe punching it up by sprinkling on some hash or kief.
A lot has changed since our only choice was strain.
One of the highlights of our pre-Covid tour for a lot of people was visiting the $5 dab bar at Kure Wellness Center in Ukiah before we rolled them onto the bus for the music filled 2 hour drive back to San Francisco.
Dabbing is an intense experience. I don’t care how long you’ve been smoking bud. The first time you dab it’s like being mule kicked in the third eye by a unicorn, and having purple sparkles fly out the back of your head. We only recommend it for the most experienced pot smokers. Our mantra on the bus was always, “Newbies, stick to doobies!”.
But what are dabs, and how are they made?
Dabs are cannabinoid and terpene concentrates with levels between 60% – 90% THC. It takes a controlled heat to turn them into an inhalable vapor without destroying the terpenes that give them their flavor profile. That’s why you see people heating empty bowls with a blowtorch before adding the concentrate, or smoking from a dab rig with an electric heating element set between 300 and 400 degrees rather than touching a lighter flame to a dab like you would typically do with bud.
There are several different kinds of concentrates that come under the heading of dabs, and they’re all made in different ways – typically by either using hydrocarbon solvents or pressure.
Wax has a creamy consistency. Depending on how runny or how dry it is, it can also be called budder, sauce, crumble, or honeycomb. Wax is usually, (but not always) extracted using CO2, which also extracts moisture from the plant, leaving compounds crystallized and opaque.
Shatter is also referred to as sap, BHO (butane hash oil), or pull and snap – depending on its consistency. It has an almost glass like transparency and an amber hue. Shatter is usually, (but not always) extracted using butane. Then the butane is evaporated out. Shatter is often viewed as purer than wax because of it’s clarity, and it is usually the type of concentrate with the highest levels of THC, (up to 90%), but looks can be deceiving. If the butane isn’t properly extracted, it can be highly dangerous. Make sure any concentrates you consume are professionally made in legal, regulated, labs, and purchased from a reputable dispensary.
Both Shatter and Wax are extracted using hydrocarbons in a chemical process. The determining factor of whether an extract becomes Shatter or Wax depends more on the chemical makeup of the plant material, (THC, terpenes, etc.) and how it comes out of the chemical extraction process, rather than which hydrocarbon is used to extract it.
Rosin is extracted using heat and pressure rather than hydrocarbons. It’s often not quite as potent as concentrates made by chemical extraction, but there are no hydrocarbons to be removed, so it’s the only one that is safe to make without a lab and testing equipment. With Rosin you never have to worry about leftover chemicals in the finished product because no chemicals were used to extract the cannabinoids and terpenes. It’s typically made by squeezing fresh buds or freeze dried buds and leaves between sheets of parchment with a heat press.
Rosin shouldn’t be confused with resin, which is basically synonymous with kief.
My intent here is not to frighten you away from dabbing. It can be a lot of fun getting really high really fast, and just like with other forms of marijuana, it is impossible to get a lethal dose of THC – even when consuming these intense concentrations. THC is simply non toxic.
But dabs can, and will, get you VERY high. Imbibe accordingly. It doesn’t take much.
A little dab’ll do ya!