A dab or dabs are a noun that refer to plant concentrates, usually derived from cannabis, that are made to be vaporized. Dab manufacturers extract essential oils from the cannabis plant, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and other plant components.

They concentrate the essential oil extract into a waxy, sticky, or oily form. The exact consistency of the extract is generally what determines the type of dab it is, and that is related to how the manufacturer produces the concentrate.

What is Dabbing?

The phrase dabbing came from the way you actually use a dab rig, which is a device for vaporizing dabs. The user or dabber literally dabs just a bit of the extract or concentrate onto the dab rig’s hot nail, and being the right heat, it vaporizes on the nail. The vapor is rich in flavor, and less likely to be laden with carcinogens than smoke.

[Distinguish: Dabbing or The Dab, which is a simple dance or gesture. The person raises one arm straight out and upward and bends the other arm so the bent elbow points in a parallel straight direction. They tuck their head into the crook of the bent arm, looking slightly away from the raised arm. But that isn’t what we’re talking about on this page.]

Dab/Dabbing: Usage and Meaning


  • “Once I realized how much flavor was involved, I switched to dabbing most of the time instead of smoking.”
  • “Geralfrankie said they were bringing dabs over, Runtz and Lemonheads, totally sweet and tasty.”
  • “Make sure the nail is not too hot, or the dab will basically evaporate before you can enjoy it. Plus you don’t want to ruin the taste.”

What Are Dabs?

Dabs themselves may reference the entire batch of concentrate, the bit you’re using, or even the general type of product. The main thing to remember is how you’re consuming the cannabis extract. That is really what “dabbing” is most about.

Temperature and technique are central to dabbing because together they control feel, flavor, and safety. That’s where the hot dab nail and the water comes in. The nail melts the concentrate, only for the water to instantly cool it into vapor that you, the user, captures, by inhaling and taking a drag. That action from you pulls the vapor into the dab rig through the downstem and into that water.

Most dab rigs cool the vapor even more using some sort of diffusion, that is a design or structure that itself forces the vapor through holes under the surface of the water, causing lots of tiny bubbles. This cools it down more, making for a smoother hit.

What Else Do I Need to Start Dabbing?

Along with a dab rig you may need cleaners, carb caps, dab torches, dab tools, quartz bangers, titanium nails, and other tools, depending on your preferences.

What is a carb cab? A carb cap is for use with domeless nails or bangers. It helps trap the vapor and flavor inside the dab nail, allowing you to vape your dabs at lower temperatures. This preserves quality, and improves flavor.

What is a dabber? A dabber is really any pointy, slender tool used to move dabs and concentrates from container to dab nail. They are usually crumbly, sticky, and messy. Dab tools are available in a variety sizes, colors, and tip styles such as paddle or scoop and may be metal, glass, or other materials.

Dab nails also come in many styles and materials. The most popular styles are quartz and titanium banger nails.

The dab torch is like the lighter to the pipe; you have to have one to heat your ceramic, titanium, glass, or quartz banger dab nail and consume dabs.

How to Smoke Dabs:

  1. Get your stuff. Gather your supplies, including dab rig, dab nail, dab torch, dabs or concentrate, and dome if you use one.
  2. Torch and nail. Heat your torch. Heat the dab nail until it is red-hot. Do not use right away—wait for it to cool enough!
  3. Nail and dome. Cool the nail before using it. Titanium nails need around 10 seconds, while quartz nails need about 45 seconds. Don’t apply the dab without cooling or it will burn and evaporate. If you use a dome, cover the nail with it to trap the vapor.
  4. Dab. Once you get the right temperature, apply the dab directly onto the dab nail inside the dome using the dabber. Avoid waste by rotating the dabber tip. Inhale slowly.

What Is the Best Dabbing Temperature?

What’s the ideal temperature for dabbing? Science says that less is often more, surprisingly. Cannabinoids, terpenes, and other healthful plant compounds are released between 315°F and 440°, but they burn higher than that.


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