What does “Dabbing” mean?

When a small amount of concentrate is dropped onto a hot surface it vaporizes and the resulting vapor can be inhaled. This process is called dabbing. It's a relatively newer method to consume cannabis but it's become popular due to its ability to produce clean, pure hits of THC without the worry of burnt plant matter or paper material entering your lungs. While traditional dabbing involves very specific tools, many manufacturers are producing devices that allow users to dab on the go.

Example usage:

“Be warned: dabbing concentrates can really screw up your tolerance! A little goes a long way.”

Read more

Related Cannabis Vocabulary Terms:


Dabbing: a form of vaping for experienced cannabis connoisseurs

The term “dabbing” is used to describe the act of consuming cannabis concentrates by heating them on a hot surface and then inhaling the vapors that are produced. Compared with vaporizing flower in a Volcano, concentrates and oils can be very potent, and this method of consumption can provide a powerful high from a small amount of material. Dabbing is widely viewed as a very efficient way to consume cannabis, since a small amount of concentrate contains a high dose of THC. Dabbing is also more of a “production” than rolling a joint or smoking a bong: to heat the surface for the oil to vaporize, a blow torch is often used. For this reason, dabbing is typically associated with more experienced cannabis users, and can understandably be seen as intimidating to a relative newcomer.

The origins of “dabbing”

The popularity around cannabis concentrates that gave birth to the term “dabbing” as a way to consume began to accelerate around 2010. Cannabis concentrates had existed for centuries prior to this, of course, but the specific method of dabbing as we know it only became mainstream within the past decade. Simultaneously, the “dab” dance move that took the world by storm around 2014 originated in Atlanta hip hop culture and has since been adopted by other artists and celebrities. The name of the move is derived from the gesture of touching one’s forehead with one’s index finger, which somewhat resembles the act of dabbing cannabis concentrates, though it’s not clear if the cultural phenomenon of the dance move had anything to do with cannabis originally. That, however, did not stop Saudi Arabia from outlawing the dance move because it supposedly promotes drug usage.

Why is it so popular?

Dabbing is said to provide a more intense high than smoking cannabis flower, and it has become a popular way to consume cannabis among daily users. Some people argue that dabbing is a more effective way to consume, as less of the plant material is burned off and more of the active ingredients are inhaled.

However, others argue that dabbing is less desirable than smoking, as it is easier to over-consume cannabis concentrates, and depending on the type of concentrates used, there may be residual solvents that could have an effect on your experience. Regardless of the debate, dabbing is a popular way to consume cannabis, and is likely to become more popular as more places decriminalize and legalize cannabis.

As dabbing has become more popular, specific technology has been developed to make it easier. E-rigs, dab-pens, and other portable dab rigs have been designed to make the process more approachable for newbies, and more convenient for connoisseurs on the go. Another benefit of using electric dab rigs and dab pens is that they can be a very discreet way to consume cannabis. The vapor is usually not visible and has very little odor, so it can be consumed without anyone knowing– i.e. in front of a movie theater, at a carnival, or even at the office.

How to take a dab

The act of dabbing involves heating a small amount of concentrate on a hot surface, then inhaling the vapor through a water pipe or bong. Dabbing is a quick and efficient way to get high, and can be a very intense experience for first-time users, so it’s good to start out with someone who knows what they are doing. While dabbing may seem complicated, it’s actually quite simple once you know the basics. Here are a few tips on how to take your first dab:

1. Start with a small amount of concentrate. A little goes a long way when it comes to dabbing, so don’t overdo it.

2. Use a clean and well-maintained dab rig.

3. Let someone else manage the torch and carb cap. If you don’t have someone else to help you, consider using a Puffco Peak or other portable dab rig to simplify the process.

4. Inhale slow and steady (as opposed to a quick pull like clearing a bong chamber).

5. As with every new substance-related experience, remember to “start low and go slow” if you want to avoid getting too high.