(Last Updated On: February 1, 2021)

What is a “dab”?

Dabbing is the latest and greatest way to get ultra-high. Taking a dab is the act of using a cannabis concentrate such as wax, butane honey oil, shatter, or rosin with a heated nail, banger, chamber to produce instant clouds of vapor.

It’s already popular in America and now the rest of the world has begun to follow suit. But as quickly as it’s catching on, it’s also quickly gaining its fair share of detractors. Why has dabbing drummed up such a controversy in the cannabis community? Let’s examine some of the viewpoints of the pro-dabbers and the no-dabbers.

Pros and Cons of Smoking Wax

Pro: You Get Exceptionally Stoned 

There’s no question—dabbing is the most powerful way to get high on cannabis. It’s common to hear people say that it feels like the first time they got high every time they do a dab. For an easy comparison, dabbing versus smoking is like taking a shot over drinking a beer.

Con: It Can be Dangerous to Make Yourself

Widely regarded as the most dangerous aspect of dabbing, there are numerous reports of people blowing up their kitchens or apartments due to unsafe production methods. It’s best to get your concentrate from a reliable source like your local dispensary if you live in a legal state.

Photo credit: Andres Rodriguez via Flickr

Pro: The Effects are Felt Almost Instantly

Medical marijuana users will appreciate how quickly they feel the effects of dabbing. It can take several minutes to feel the effects of smoked marijuana, whereas dabbers have reported feeling their pain fade as soon as the vapor leaves their lungs.

Con: Production Methods Could Leave Behind Harmful Residue

If the BHO (butane hash oil) is not evaporated properly, there is risk of of ingesting harmful contaminants that may have been infused into the concentrate during the extraction process. It is strongly recommended that amateurs do not attempt to make his/her own dabs.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Pro: It’s an Economical Way to Get High

The effects of a single dab have been compared to smoking several joints—all at once. Since a dab hit only takes a few seconds, you can get high on your own time.

Con: It Has Brought Negative Publicity to the Cannabis Community

The press has been quick to cast dabbing in a negative light. Marijuana activist, Russ Belville, outlines this in his article, Hysterical Media Dub Dabs ‘The Crack of Marijuana’. Belville notes that, “The danger of dabs isn’t so much physical as it is a public relations nightmare.”

Photo Credit: Andres Rodriguez via Flickr

Pro: It’s easy to conceal and carry

Dabs are small and give off very little odor, making them easy to both carry and store.

Con: You need a blowtorch to heat a dab

Dabbing requires intense heat, and the only kind of handheld device that can provide that sort of heat is a blowtorch. At least you don’t have to worry about your Bic lighter being stolen?

*2018 UPDATE: The invention of electric dab rigs (also known as eRigs) makes it so you no longer require a blowtorch for dabbing. These units, have been dubbed “smart rigs” as they can reach and maintain a set temperature for consistent dabs. Shop our selection of high quality eRigs available at Smokazon and take your dabbing to the next level.

Dab Rite digital infrared thermometer being displayed on a countertop.

*2021 UPDATE: With the release of the Dab Rite digital IR thermometer, it is easier then ever to accurately dab. This temp reader has an LED guide light to line up the thermometer with your quartz banger, ensuring a proper reading. And you’re alerted via sound and light when your preferred temp is hit.

Header photo credit : Andreas Levers via Flickr

Written by Kris Carter