Concentrate Etiquette: 10 Rules for Dabbing
Dabbing requires a lot of tools and can get intense from an outsiders view. This guide will help you understand the cardinal rules of dabbing. As a general rule of thumb, even if you're an experienced dabber, if you’ve never tried that specific rig, nail, or type of hash before – ask questions! For instance, some rigs have different moving parts and nearly all electric nails have different relative temperatures. Quartz and titanium nails heat and cool at different rates. There is no shame in getting more information. Curious how long you should let the nail cool before taking your dab? Ask!
Serve your own stash
You know the potency and quality of your own stash, so it's imperative to help serve others appropriately. Given the large variety in types, consistencies and prices of concentrates, it will help the overall process if you aid others in arranging a dab. Along those same lines, if it’s someone else’s stash, let them serve you. If they give you the green light to serve yourself, by all means, go ahead!
Know the type of concentrate you’re dabbing
Every type of concentrate is different. For instance solventless hash is usually pressed out before dabbing, while solvent-based oils can be dabbed in their existing state. Along these same lines, the portion size and preferred dabbing temperature will fluctuate based on extraction method.
Use a dab and/or rig mat
You do not want to be responsible for breaking an expensive glass dab rig – set it on a mat! These mats provide a soft, padded surface that prevents rigs from slipping off of tables. Furthermore, you should ask before handling another person's rig. Silicone dab mats have the added benefit of a non-stick surface for working with concentrates.
Heat the nail not the rig
In order to take a dab, you will need a hot surface – this will require the use of a small torch if you’re not using an electric nail. Make sure you concentrate the flame on the dabbing surface of the nail, without letting it touch the rig. Dab rigs are expensive and constant heating and cooling of the glass itself can result in broken joints. Pro tip: this issue can generally be avoided by using a drop down.
Don’t touch the nail
This may sound obvious but it happens to even the most experienced dabbers. Even after a dab has already been taken, the nail will remain hot for some time – don’t touch it! Usually this occurs on accident, so be mindful of hands, elbows, and clothes when moving around the dab zone.
Set a timer
This is more a tip than a rule, but it helps everyone when you set a timer so the nail cools to the perfect temperature. After heating the nail with the torch it will be extremely hot and the most flavorful dabs are taken at a lower temperature. Each nail is different, but letting it cool for 30-60 seconds before dabbing seems to be the sweet spot.
Don’t leave vapor in tube
Make sure you finish the entirety of your hit! Nobody wants to taste the stale vapor you left in the rig. You don’t have to finish it all in one inhalation, but make sure that the entirety of the vapor in the rig has been cleared before passing the torch.
Clean dabber after use
After you take a dab, there will inevitably be some sticky residue remaining on the dabber – wipe it off! Use a lighter to heat the end of the dabber and wipe the sticky leftovers onto a paper towel. This will ensure the person dabbing after you has a clean tool to use. Nobody likes grabbing a sticky dabber or tasting your leftovers.
Clean nail after use
This rule piggybacks off the rule above – clean any residual solids off the nail after you’ve completed your dab. It’s important to use the dabber, a q-tip, or the torch itself to remove any residual from the nail, especially when smoking hash with the presence of plant matter. Now, the person dabbing after you will have a clean surface to use.
Keep the rig clean
This rule is simple enough – keep your rig clean. You are responsible for the hygiene of your rig! Dirty rigs are visually unappealing and provide a significantly less flavorful hit than a clean rig. It doesn’t have to be spotless, but get those gross chunks of concentrate out of your tube (here's how). If you’re dabbing in a large group, it’s polite to have alcohol wipes or something similar to sanitize the mouthpiece between hits.
Heat the nail for the next person
It’s common courtesy to heat the nail up for the next person dabbing after you. While you're heating up the nail, they have time to get their dab arranged on the dabber.