I’m an old fashioned grumpy who never understood why you youngsters use all these oils, waxes and complicated things just to get high.
An old standy like a joint, pipe or bong was always good enough for me.
Nevertheless, I put my picky, cranky prejudice to the test by trying this new, newfangled process called dabbing. And boy, was I surprised.
First, I was amazed at the endless variety of methods people have invented for dabbing. Some are crude methods that remind me of jailhouse techniques. Others are elaborate, chic designer drug tricks that are at home at the backstage parties of the rich and famous.
But one factor always remains constant through all these processes. It’s true: a little dab will do you.
They are not called “concentrates” by accident – dabs are concentrated THC and they will confuse you. As with edibles, when you’re told not to eat the whole brownie in one sitting, dabs can taste great but contain deceptively potent levels of cannabinoids – up to 80
Ironically, despite butane burners burning high-octane cannabis at high temperatures, dabbing can be the most responsible way to smoke. Some methods don’t even make you smoke. You inhale a vapor, which has clear benefits for patients with lung and respiratory problems. Plus, dabbing a high-CBD strain is like swallowing a pain pill—only with instant relief and no side effects.
Step 1: Familiar high with a heat stick
The easiest way to dab concentrates is also the one that requires the least amount of new and specialized hardware: the heated swab method. An affordable glass or stainless steel wand is available at any finer headshop, and you can use your trusty regular bowl or pipe for smoking.
Put a small amount of the concentrate in your bowl or pipe and then heat the rod with a heat source such as a lighter or even the gas burner on your stove. When the wand is hot, simply place it against the small dot of concentrate in your bowl, inhale the smoke and you’re off to dab.
Step 2: Warm up with a vaporizer
But many dabbers use highly specialized hardware and devices for dabbing. The guys at Steam Labs showed me their impressive charcoal vaporizer that resembled a small furnace with a chimney. They placed a small drop of their Skywalker OG wax on a purified charcoal heating element, then placed the element in the vaporizer and let me inhale the vapor through a connected tube.
I took the biggest drag I could bear and then exhaled it all. “It’s still going,” said the man operating the evaporator, smiling.
Moments later I have a super powerful head-high and I have to sit down. It’s not a bad “need to sit down,” it’s just that all of my muscles suddenly feel so relaxed. The buzz is powerful, but very comfortable and without paranoia. In about 10 minutes I can get up again, walk and face reality.
Step 3: Assumptions Are Shattered
Making shatter—the firm, brown, brittle material with the lovely floral scent—is “a pain in the butt,” says Jeff, who is known as the “Mad Scientist” of concentrate makers Terpenstein.
He let me try Terpenstein’s shatter called Purple Cadillac, a chic and stylish concentrate from Granddaddy Purple. It takes me five full cracks to smoke all the vapor from just a tiny piece of splinter. Still I don’t cough, my lungs aren’t irritated
not at all and the vape is clean and does not taste at all. It actually feels like you are breathing very warm air.
One of the finest highs I’ve ever enjoyed hits me in two minutes. I am able to be sociable and articulate, I am in no way sluggish or disturbed, and there is an almost euphoric feeling to this brain buzz that lasts about 45 minutes. I feel cleanliness and purity – I feel an impeccable high. In all my years of smoking joints, glass pipes and bong rips, I have never enjoyed a high that I described as ‘flawless’. But that crushing high was indeed flawless and certainly justifies buying new gear and learning new processes to consume it properly.
I always thought smoking joints and bowls of marijuana was just as good as a way to get high, but that assumption has now been shattered.
Photo by Gabrielle Lurie