How to Dab CBD

There are many ways to use this cannabinoid, but dabbing CBD may well be the most potent and effective option. What does it mean to dab CBD, which types of CBD can you dab, and what are the best ways to get the job done? Find the answers in this guide.

What are CBD dabs?

A “CBD dab” is an inhaled dose of CBD concentrate generally consisting of around 25-50mg of extract. Since CBD concentrate can contain upwards of 70% cannabinoids, taking a dab can deliver an extremely large amount of CBD in a single hit. CBD users rely on dabs for powerful effects provided with extreme efficiency.

What types of CBD can you dab?

It’s possible to dab almost any type of pure CBD extract. Some types of CBD concentrate are more desirable for dabbing than others, however. Find out which form of CBD extract is best for dabbing below:

Can you dab isolate CBD?

Yes, it’s technically possible to dab CBD isolate, but your hits will be harsh, and they will fail to provide the full benefits of dabbing CBD. Isolate CBD usually comes in the form of a powder that is difficult to apply to dab rigs, and since it only contains CBD molecules, this type of extract won’t provide either the entourage effect or the benefits of individual terpenes.

Can you dab broad-spectrum CBD?

Broad-spectrum CBD extract is somewhat better for dabbing than isolate CBD, but taking dabs of broad-spectrum CBD certainly has its disadvantages. For one thing, broad-spectrum CBD is very rarely offered in the form of dabbable concentrate—it’s usually combined with other ingredients to make CBD products you can’t dab.

Broad spectrum CBD has also been chemically altered to remove all traces of THC, diminishing the benefits of the entourage effect and running the risk of damaging the delicate chemical components of hemp flower extract. When it comes to dabbing, broad-spectrum CBD doesn’t offer any significant advantages, but its disadvantages are clear.

Can you dab full-spectrum CBD?

Full-spectrum CBD is the best kind of CBD extract to dab. Most of the CBD dab products offered online consist of full-spectrum extract, which promotes higher quality due to increased competition.

There are good reasons the majority of dabbable CBD products are full-spectrum in nature—full-spectrum CBD extract is easier to make than the broad-spectrum equivalent, and it offers better results. Providing the entire, undiluted benefits of the entourage effect, full-spectrum CBD contains all the terpenes and minor cannabinoids naturally present in hemp flower. Not all full-spectrum CBD dabs are made equal, however.

Can you dab CBD live resin?

Yes, you can dab live resin CBD extract, and it’s one of the best types of CBD concentrate to dab. If a full-spectrum CBD product is described as “live resin,” that means it contains flash-frozen terpenes that haven’t undergone oxidation.

When cannabis or hemp is processed conventionally, the drawn-out drying and curing process damages its terpenes, resulting in reduced flavor and effects. Cryogenic live resin extraction bypasses the drying and curing process altogether, capturing the full richness of hemp flower’s terpenes right at the moment of harvest.

Can you dab CBD wax?

Yes, wax is one of the types of CBD extract you can dab. The majority of CBD dab products on the market are referred to as “wax,” but this term can refer to a wide variety of different extracts.

Some forms of CBD wax are actually waxy in consistency, but others might be sugary or more honey-like. CBD wax products vary considerably in quality.

Can you dab CBD shatter?

Yes, you can dab CBD shatter. The term “shatter” is derived from the brittle consistency of this type of CBD extract, which often indicates a higher level of purity. However, it’s easy to find CBD shatter products that weren’t produced or purified properly—simply being classified as shatter isn’t enough to guarantee the quality of a dabbable CBD extract product.

Do CBD dabs get you high?

No, dabbing CBD will not get you high because CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid. Full-spectrum forms of CBD extract can contain up to 0.3% THC, but that isn’t enough to cause intoxication. Instead of getting you high, dabbing CBD maximizes this cannabinoid’s inherently relaxing properties.

What temperature should I dab CBD?

Most users dab CBD extracts at temperatures between 400°F and 600°F, but the ideal temperature for dabbing CBD depends both on personal preference and the type of CBD extract you’re vaporizing. Dabbing CBD at temperatures lower than 400°F helps preserve the flavorful terpenes present in hemp extract, but taking dabs at low temperatures is less efficient.

The higher you crank the temperature, the more potent your dabs will be, but you’ll lose flavor in the process. Even if you’re dead-set on taking massive CBD dabs in a matter of seconds, there’s no reason to exceed a maximum temperature of around 650°F.

3 ways to dab CBD

There are quite a few ways to dab CBD, but a surprisingly small number are actually worth recommending. We’ll provide three options below, listed from best to worst:

1. Using a dab rig

Taking dabs with a tabletop dab rig is definitely the best option at your disposal. These days, dab rigs range from fully analog (glass, steel, or quartz nails heated with a butane torch) to entirely electronic (all-in-one, battery-powered rigs) with plenty of room between these extremes. Not only are dab rigs highly customizable, but they also consistently deliver the biggest and most enjoyable hits.

2. Hitting a dab pen

If you’re on the go or don’t want to risk the type of attention that can be drawn by full-on dab rigs, a dab pen is a good second option. With a dab pen, you won’t get the kind of power that’s provided by a tabletop dab rig, but you can take dabs discreetly wherever you happen to be. 

3. “Hot knifing”

If you’re truly desperate, you can always take the old-school route and simply heat a knife or a similar piece of metal on a stovetop before dropping a dab on its surface and inhaling through a straw. Hot knifing is undeniably dangerous, though, and it doesn’t provide particularly desirable results.

Taking a CBD dab: Step-by-step

Curious how to take a CBD dab with a dab rig? Follow the directions below for the best results. If you’re using a dab pen, consult with the manufacturer’s instructions, and if you’re hot-knifing, leave plenty of room to reconsider your decision and select a better option.

  • Load a teardrop-sized amount of CBD concentrate onto a dabber (a small metal instrument that’s sometimes also called a “wand”).
  • Heat your dab rig to the desired temperature. For electronic nails, set the temperature using the buttons provided on the nail’s power source. Heat conventional nails with a butane torch.
  • Apply the CBD dab to the nail, and inhale. If your nail has a dome, remove the dome partway through your inhalation.
  • Exhale, and enjoy! If you’re using an electronic nail, make sure to turn it off after use.

Dabbing CBD FAQ

What else might you want to know about the art of dabbing CBD?

What does CBD shatter look like?

CBD shatter can be recognized by its brittle, non-viscous appearance. Ranging in appearance from clear to dark-brown, the best CBD shatter is honey-colored and does not contain any visible contaminants. There are no visible differences between CBD shatter and THC shatter.

Is it safe to dab CBD isolate?

CBD isolate is neither particularly safe or desirable for dabbing. As the most processed form of CBD extract, isolate is more likely to contain residual solvents, and dabbing CBD isolate is both harsher and less effective than dabbing other types of hemp extract.

How long do CBD dabs last?

The effects of dabbing CBD will last for around 60-90 minutes. Depending on your usage habits, a gram of CBD concentrate may last anywhere from 1-30 days. 

Will dabbing CBD show up on a drug test?

Dabbing CBD may make you test positive for THC on a drug test. Most CBD products designed for dabbing consist of full-spectrum CBD extract, which contains up to 0.3% THC.

If you dab enough full-spectrum CBD over a short period of time, it’s possible that sufficient quantities of THC will accumulate in your system to make you fail a drug test. The longest that THC (or any other cannabinoid) will stay in your system, however, is 30 days, and small concentrations of cannabinoids—such as the amount of THC that accumulates from dabbing full-spectrum CBD extract—will dissipate much more quickly.

How much CBD does wax contain?

An average gram of CBD wax contains 50-70% CBD, and some hemp extracts might contain even higher cannabinoid concentrations. That means a full 1g (1000mg) container of CBD wax can contain anywhere from 500-900mg of cannabinoids.

Can you make CBD rosin at home?

Yes, it’s possible to make CBD rosin at home since this form of cannabinoid extract is made simply by applying pressure to CBD-rich hemp nugs. The results provided by the types of rosin presses priced within the average consumer’s budget, however, pale in comparison to the levels of purity and potency made possible by professional equipment.

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