By Barry Bard
What are Dabs?
Fundamentally, "Dabs" are hash. Unlike traditional hashish, the term describes hash extracted with Butane, Carbon Dioxide, Nitrogen, or Solventless. Thus, "Dabs" are a more potent form of hash that comes in varying forms. Like traditional hash, extract artists use techniques that ultimately pull out resin, trichomes, and THC, binding them together for a far more dense and potent substance than cannabis. Unlike hash, the "Dab" extraction process is a more thorough approach that maximizes the concentration of the THC present in cannabis.
Before we go in Dab-Depth, here's an Infographic that describes the basics of Dabs in visual form-and why 7/10 holds a special meaning for hash heads:
What Are Dabs and 710? - An infographic by the team at On July 10 the marijuana community celebrates cannabis concentrates commonly referred to as "DABS"
The cannabis community celebrities dabs and cannabis concentrates on July 10 with festivals because "710" upside down spells "OIL" a common acronym for dabs and a form dabs often take. Thus, "7/10" has come to represent "The Day of Dabs" in recent years.
Dab functions as both noun and a verb.
In noun form, a "Dab" is one hit of cannabis concentrate, varying in size based on the consumer's tolerance and preference. In verb form, "Dabbing" represents the act of consuming a cannabis concentrate. Dabs vary in size depending on the consumer's experience and desired high.
How Does One Dab?
There are three main methods to consume dabs. The first two methods use a rig, a modified traditional water bong sculpted for dabbing. The first rig method utilizes either a titanium, quartz, or ceramic nail and a Creme-Brulee blow torch And a standard kitchen blow torch. The torch heats the nail up and then a "dabber", which is just a usually glass or titanium vehicle to place the dab. The "dabber" heats the nail up with a torch, and then uses a "dabber" to place hash on the heated nail. The Dab then melts Dabs vaporize not melt! and a THC-filled smoke cloud fills up the rig and enters the consumer's lung and is inhaled into the consumer's lungs.. The second rig method uses an Electronic Nail (an "E-Nail), which plugs into an outlet and electronically heats up a rig. The third and final method is through portable vaporizers, on to which has is placed and an electronic, battery powered vaporizer heats up the Dab.
When Were Dabs Invented?
People have been dabbing since either the 60s or 70s by way of the "hot knives" method. The first dedicated rig made for dabbing was created by brother and sister, Hashmasta Kut and GGirl around the beginning of 2006. While it's unclear when and exactly how the original "Honey Oil" was created, dab experts believe it was utilizing Propane or Ether as the solvents to turn flower into hash. The Butane Hash Oil purportedly method came to fruition sometime after the millenium, and arose to prominence in the underground marijuana movement around 2008-2010. In the last few years, dabs have moved from the underground to the mainstream, and are both smoked and known by those in and outside medical marijuana states.
Smoking Weed vs. Dabbing or Combustion vs. Vaporization
When smoking weed, you are technically combusting the plant matter and inhaling the resulting smoke. The build up of resin, tar, and THC inside of a glass pipe comes from burning the cannabis plant material. With Dabs, the normal range temperature range for a heated up titanium, quartz, or ceramic nail will only vaporize the Dab, bypassing any harmful and possibly carcinogenic material from smoke.
The Different Faces of Dabs:
BHO: The most common solvent used to extract THC and turn cannabis into dabs, "BHO" stands for Butane Hash Oil and Butane Honey Oil. BHO is produced when Butane (typically N-Butane) gas is passed through a tube filled with marijuana. The Butane acts as a solvent, dissolving THC crystals and carrying them away from the plant matter. The Butane is then collected in a different container, leaving only the concentrate behind. The finished product is often placed in a vacuum oven to purge any extraneous, negative elements from the substance. Ideally, all dabs will check in below 50 PPM (Parts Per Million), meaning few solvents and residuals exist after a proper purge. Depending on the duration of exposure and the temperature in the vacuum the resin is then made into...
Budder: Also known as "Wax", Budder is the most commonly found Dab in dispensaries. After the extraction process, the resulting substance is "whipped" and kneaded like bread to exterminate any solvents that may exist after the purging process.
Shatter: Shatter is oil in its raw, hard form. When oil comes out of a blaster, it comes out as Shatter. Shatter's consistency is typically hard and often kept in a freezer to maintain its hard texture. This is the preferred dab amongst connoisseurs.
Oil: This least desirable form typically comes from plant trim and not nug.
Honeycomb: Super-Purged in a vacuum but not whipped, Honeycomb looks exactly like honeycomb and has a firm texture.
Flake: "Flake" is a form of Budder that's been dried out and thus flakes part. It has a looser texture and is the best product to put in a portable hash vaporizer.
Crumble: Very similar to Budder, but with a slightly lighter consistency, allowing it to crumble.
Full-Melt: The traditional Bubble Hash method, utilized to make a solvent free form of hash via Bubble Bags.
Ice Water Extraction/Solventless Hash: This form of the Dab may not be as potent, but it's the more organic, natural form, as no solvent is ever present in the formation of it. Extract artists use Ice Water to create this form of hash that can be dabbed or smoked.
CBD: For those seeking a purely medicinal dab, CBD (Cannabidiol) extracts-the kind that cure epilepsy and don't get you high-are the extract of choice.
Key Note: A dab's consistency, color, and effect will be dependent on the strain used and what part of the plant is utilized. Trim and leafy material processed traditionally produced a more oilly, slick, and darker dab, while "Nug Run" (dabs coming from compact nuggets) produces a more translucent, lighter dab.
Who Makes Dabs?
The men and women behind Dabs are commonly known as Extract Artists. The true professional Extract Artists utilize a closed loop-extraction method to produce their dabs-not the dangerous, open-looped method that can cause home explosions.
How are Dabs Made:
Originally, modern Dabs were created using an "open-loop" method. Plant matter was placed into a tube, through which butane was then poured to extract the THC and turn it into Hash Oil. In recent years, this method has been deemed dangerous and caused explosions. Thus, closed-loop extraction-machines using filtration systems that keep solvents from prying loose-have risen to prominence. In Colorado, legal hash oil producers are required to use a sanctioned closed-loop extractor to produce hash, while open-loop extraction is illegal.
What are techniques used to make Dabs pure and safe?
Purging: As discussed, almost all extract artists utilize a vacuum oven for the initial purging of the solvent used in extraction.
Whipping: As noted earlier, after the purge, many extractors "whip" their extracts to ensure all unwanted residuals are swept aside.
Winterization: Winterization is a process that removes some of the remaining, unwanted fats, lipids, plant waxes, plant material like chloroform, and other water soluble particles from your Dabs. These substances are non-polar, same as the butane or hexane used in extraction. After the initial phase of extraction, the product is re-dissolved in ethanol and stuck in the freezer. 24-48 hours later the Dabs will have separated from the solution and clumped together.
The last two years, Dab-Centric festivals have begun to sprout up in medical marijuana states. Additionally, many dispensaries offer dab specials on their menus on this day. This year, the inaugural Chalice California Festival will take place in San Bernardino, while the Heady Glass Gallery in Englewood/Denver will host an all-day gathering with live glass blowing while the annual The 710 Cup Festival takes place in Denver all weekend long.
So How Do I Celebrate This Day?
Dabs All Day! All you need is a rig, a torch, a nail, a dabber-and of course, some Dabs! Whether you want to hit up a local community event, Dab solo, or dab with your friends, as long as you take a Dab on this day, you're celebrating 7/10 properly!
Article originally appeared on Marijuana.com and republished with permission.