(Last Updated On: August 24, 2016)

Today’s medical marijuana industry is rapidly growing and evolving. It is now worth billions of dollars right after Colorado decided to legalize cannabis. More states have decided to allow the use of cannabis. Dab has become a popular option for medical cannabis users. And to top it off, there are more extraction methods in the market.

But before we take a closer look at dabbing, Let’s find out what is a dab?

Dab is anything that has been extracted from marijuana using different types of method. The more common version of dab is referred to as butane hash oil.
This smokable oil doesn’t necessarily mean it is used for medical cannabis. Compared to the methods used during the 70s, dabs today are far superior in terms of cannabinoid and terpene contents. Over the years, the community has made a reference to dabs as “blasting dabs”. Blasting dabs refer to the modern concentrates that deliver an intense high.

How are dabs made

The oil is conventionally extracted using a solvent. Cannabis is soaked into the solvent like butane to separate the THC and other cannabinoids. This has been the method used in extracting cannabinoids such as CBD, which became known as Rick Simpson Oil. In most scenarios, dabs that contain THC are preferred by individuals who plan on getting high.

There are hazards related towards the manufacturing of dabs. It includes dealing with solvents that are highly volatile. Solvents can range from 100% alcohol to butane to wash the cannabinoids and terpenes. This is why experts suggest that you simply buy your oil only from reputable sources.

If you’ll look at the number of information about isolating cannabis oils online, it isn’t surprising to see amateurs to try making their own dab. Given the volatile nature of liquids used in making cannabis oils, anything could happen when not performed by a professional in a laboratory setting.

Rosin Method

If you’ll ask modern dabbing experts what is a dab, don’t be surprised if you find yourself having a different answer. There is a modern method of making dabs. Rosin method is now a new extraction approach that is growing in popularity.

How exactly does it work? Rosin method is a solventless method of making dabs. It makes use of pressure and heat. Rosin is a solid resin that can be acquired from liquid terpenes. The main use of rosin, over the years is to treat bows on violins.

By using heat and pressure, it allows the resin to be removed from the plant. A lot of cannabis enthusiasts believe that this could be the future of producing dabs. It is inexpensive, due to the absence of solvents, and far safer than other conventional methods. Just how effective is this method? It yields up to 15% on flowers and even more when used on dry sift.

Lower temperatures ranging from 250°F to 300°F can yield more flavorful results. On the other hand, higher temperature 300°F to 350°F can yield less flavorful and less stable output.

Rosin technique is far simpler than how most people think it is. It can be made by anyone. The things needed include (non-stick) parchment paper, flat iron, collecting device, 25u micron screen, and your material. 

Carbon dioxide extraction method

Another peculiar method of extracting cannabinoids and terpenes would have to be the CO2 extraction method. Its final output is similar to a honey or molasses in terms of consistency. Supercritical CO2 extraction is used for another purpose other than making cannabis dabs.

It has an application in other industries such as making coffee, vanilla and tea. CO2 is a byproduct of respiration. It is considered safe by the FDA. More popular application of CO2 on foods we eat is soda. Now, CO2 is being used because it prevents any type of combustion.

To simplify the explanation regarding supercritical CO2 extraction, CO2 gas is compressed and frozen in “supercritical” cold liquid state. The system will then pass the liquefied CO2 into high-grade pot. This will then take the necessary parts including terpenes and cannabinoids. Once this is done, the CO2’s pressure will decrease that turns CO2 back into its gaseous form.

There are pros and cons for using this method in isolating components of cannabis. For one, an advantage is that, similar to Rosen method, it doesn’t involve any solvent. As for its downside, you will need expensive equipment in order to perform such type of extraction method.

Types of dabs

Shatter, wax, and butane hash oil are some of the major types of dabs that you can use. What’s the difference? The differences can be seen in the intricate details how these dabs were made. For instance, shatter type consistency for dabs can be made using a method called emulsification or more commonly known as whipping.

What makes emulsification popular among medical cannabis users is its ability to speed up the purging process. However, it may have less flavor and consistency of shatter. Whipping or emulsification can result in a cleaner product though less flavorful option for cannabis enthusiasts. It has shown a significantly lower amount of solvent concentration in its final product versus other products that didn’t undergo emulsification or whipping.

What are the advantages of Dabs?

So why not just vaporize fresh weed? In the world of medical cannabis, dabs come in handy. It helps isolate specific cannabinoids needed for specific conditions. For instance, CBD is a cannabinoid that is usually used for those with seizures. It became popular after being used by Charlotte Figi who was suffering from Dravet Syndrome.

With the use of dabs, it allows patients to have the necessary cannabinoid needed. There are also some states that don’t really allow all types of cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis.  Dabbing made it easier for states to create their own cannabis state laws.

What are negative effects of dabbing?

There are mixed opinions regarding dabbing. For some, it is considered a good thing especially now that there are states that won’t allow an entire cannabis to be used for medical purpose. When certain cannabinoids and terpenes are only allowed, dabbing comes in handy.

On the other hand, you have a number of DIY cannabis enthusiasts that can easily turn into chemists of the sort. The problem in this practice is that it can potentially harm not only the one who is making dabs, but could even burn the entire property.

Also, there is the possibility that the dabs aren’t pure. Among the issues that are most likely to develop from dabs with traces of solvent include asthma and COPD to name a few. Different states have different regulations when it comes to the purity of dabs. For instance, Washington State allows no more than 550 ppm of solvent on the final product of concentrates. 

Another argument against dabbing is the fact that you may be taking more than your fair share of cannabis. There are instances when dabs contain 70-90% THC. Yes, there is no chance of overdose when it comes to using cannabis. Since cannabinoid receptors are not found in parts of the brain wherein breathing and heart rate are controlled, it is still a non-fatal scenario. But of course, since cannabis is still considered a schedule 1 substance by the DEA, the strong potential of dabs may not help the case of cannabis.

Another argument that can be used against isolating components of cannabinoids may not have the same effect compared to using the plant entirely.  Cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids synergistically work together. This is better known as entourage effect.

Dab rigs

Dab rig is the typical tool used for dabbing. If you are familiar with vaporizers, it is quite similar, but also different in a number of ways. A dab rig has a few basic parts. It includes a water pipe, nail, dome, torch and a dab tool.

The nail is the part that heats the dab. Materials used by manufacturers range from quartz to titanium. It is primarily located in the same place as the bowl that goes into the water pipe. What’s the difference? Titanium usually can hold the heat longer than quartz; however, it is quite expensive. On the other hand, dab enthusiasts claim that they love the taste of quartz better.

The dab tool is the stainless tool used in dab rigs. It is used to pick up the hot pieces of dab into bowl that touches the nail.

The cost of dab rigs varies depending on the manufacturer and the overall design of the product. These days, there are different technologies integrated into the dab rigs. There are electronic and portable versions that have appeared on the market today.


Dabbing has been a great option for cannabis enthusiasts. It allows the extraction of specific cannabinoids and terpenes which can then be used even for medical purpose.

It is a highly potent option for cannabis enthusiasts. In fact, Rick Simpson Oil is a dab that is responsible for starting the resurgence of cannabis legalization movement.  It helped countless children suffering from Dravet syndrome.

Dabbing isn’t a really something new  in the cannabis world. It has been popular even during the 1970s. However, it is considered a dangerous practice to dab cannabis on your own. The good news is that thanks to laws, manufacturing have become regulated. The safety index for consuming dabs improved through the years thanks to these laws. Though it is a bit more expensive, these are high-quality dabs that you can enjoy and even use for treatment of medical conditions.

Written by The Smokazon Team
Smokazon is a group of enthusiasts, advocates and connoisseurs of the digital age. We’re here to help you achieve that ultra-lifestyle with our product reviews, feature articles and anything you need to know in the vaping world. But enough about us. Let’s talk about you. We’re here to make your vaping experience a little bit better.