Wednesday 6 December 2023

Dabbing For Beginners: 3 Things To Know

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A note before proceeding: while medicinal Cannabis is now legal in Costa Rica, recreational Cannabis remains illegal. Recently-elected president, Rodrigo Chaves, signed a proposed law legalizing the latter this October, but it would still require a review by the Legislative Assembly.

Nevertheless, the new administration is confident that the bill will pass. In a press conference, Chaves admitted that people have been using Cannabis out in the open for the longest time. If approved, Costa Rica will become the first Central American country to fully legalize Cannabis. Also, the local Cannabis market will undoubtedly explode.

More people will be eager to try Cannabis through e-cigarettes or dabbing kits. But a word of advice about the latter: it delivers a more potent kick than vaping, so it pays to use it properly. Here’s a look into everything a beginner needs to know about dabbing.

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  • It Uses A Different Medium

While e-cigarettes use liquids, dabbing kits use Cannabis resins or “dabs.” This semi-solid substance typically contains around 54% to 69% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), though some dabs can have upwards of 80%. THC is the psychoactive compound in Cannabis that makes users feel euphoric or “high.”

Both vaping and dabbing involve heating their medium to turn it into vapor, but dabbing uses higher temperatures. Depending on your priority between flavor and kick, cooking a dab often occurs between 400oF and 600oF (204oC and 316oC). However, experts say most dabs cook in the middle ground, between 545oF and 570oF (285oC and 299oC).

In other words, dabbing is cooking cannabis concentrates hotter than boiling water. It’s easy to get severe burns just by touching metal pieces or glass while cooking if you aren’t careful. The butane gas used can also be a fire hazard.

  • There’s No Universal Dab

In the world of recreational cannabis, there’s no such thing as “one Marijuana that rules them all.” The plants themselves even come in various strains, some with more THC and others with more of the less psychoactive compounds like cannabidiol (CBD).

The same applies to dabs, as an expert like Dr Dabber describes. Most people use terms such as “wax” or “dab” as much as they call an alligator a crocodile and vice-versa. But while wax is a dab, not all dabs are waxes. Here are a few non-wax examples:

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  • Taffy – a concentrate with the consistency of saltwater taffy
  • Crystalline – an extract with the highest cannabinoid purities
  • Terp Sauce – an extract with a high concentration of terpenes

Apart from their unique characteristics, dabs have varying THC concentrations. For instance, crystalline is unique because it comes in the form of pure tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA). While it won’t get you high on its own, THCA can be exposed to temperatures of 200oF to 245oF (93oC to 118oC) for up to 40 minutes to be converted into THC.

  • It’s A System, Not A Single Device

One downside of dabbing is that it needs a complete kit to work, unlike vapes that are integrated into a single handheld device. Dabbing kits may not be portable, but this system is crucial in getting the most out of cannabis. Fortunately, you won’t find a shortage of kits that include the following:

  • Rig 

This bong or custom-shaped device is the heart of any dabbing kit. Most of the dabbing magic happens in the rig, from heating the dab to guiding the vapor to the mouthpiece. While other non-glass rigs are available, beginner’s kits often have glass ones.

  • Torch and Nail

The butane or propane torch provides the necessary heat to vaporize the dab but doesn’t directly apply it. Instead, it superheats the nail and, after a bit of cooling, applies the dab. The vapor then makes its way to the rig, awaiting inhalation.

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  • Carb Cap

After heating the nail, you’ll need a way to make sure enough heat remains to vaporize the dab. Capping the nail with a carb cap helps by restricting airflow into the nail and stopping the compound from decomposing prematurely.

  • Paddle Pick Tool

Most beginner’s kits contain a dabbing tool with a paddle on one end and a pick on the other. These ends help get a sufficient amount of dab for a dabbing session. The pick is ideal for crumbly dabs, while the paddle is suitable for those with sticky consistencies.


Considering that the previous and current administrations have taken steps to legalize Cannabis, it’s a great time to be a user in Costa Rica. But joining the swelling ranks of Cannabis users in the country demands careful planning, especially if it’s via dabbing.

Finally, use Cannabis responsibly. Don’t let years of effort in leCannabis go to waste.

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Carter Maddox
Carter Maddox
Carter is self-described as thirty-three-and-a-half years old and his thirty-three-and-a-half years birthday is always on March 3. Carter characteristically avoids pronouns, referring to himself in the third person (e.g. "Carter has a question" rather than, "I have a question"). One day [in 1984], Carter, raised himself up and from that day forward we could all read what Carter writes.

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