Whether you are a long-time legal cannabis consumer, or you are brand new to the scene, you have surely heard of the two biggest trends taking the industry by storm: vaping and dabbing. Both of these methods for legal cannabis consumption have their own pros and cons. Let's break down what vaping and dabbing is – see what makes them tick – in order to get you better acquainted with these foreign concepts and figure out which of them will fit your needs the best.
One aspect of concentrates that really makes them intimidating, even for long time flower smokers is the aesthetic – the way it looks when you are using them. Pieces typically used to consume concentrates is far more complex looking than your average water pipe, thus presenting a mental hurtle to get over for a lot of smokers. Something else to keep in mind is that concentrates are seen as the "big boys" in the cannabis industry, boasting a higher percentage of THC/CBD, and therefore hitting you much faster and harder than traditional dry herb. This is another of the issues that a lot of smokers face when starting to explore the wide world of wax.
In order to put the strength of concentrates into perspective, let's see how a single dab of wax (more on this later) compares to smoking a single joint. Say you smoke a joint of 15% THC/CBD cannabis; this equates to about 75 milligrams of cannabinoids (some of this is released into the air when the joint is burned, bringing the total down to about the 60mg range). On the other hand, a single dab, let's say about 0.1 grams of wax, will carry with it nearly the same percentage of THC as what the wax is comprised of -- this is due to the way wax is extracted from the cannabis plant. Vaping or dabbing wax does not produce the same burn off as a joint, keeping the percentage of THC/CBD pretty solid throughout the entire process. With a joint giving off about 60mg, and a dab giving off about 70mg (with a 70% THC/CBD concentrate), the two are roughly equivalent, begging the question of why most smokers feel like concentrates hit way too hard. The answer to this lies in the way the wax is consumed.
An Introduction To Concentrate Vaporizers
If you have any form of social media, you have surely heard of the most trendy way to utilize concentrates right now which is vaping. When you use a vape pen or any kind of vaporizer the device heats the concentrate up to a specified temperature within a chamber in order to vaporize the material. This delivery method is considered the go-to for most new users, primarily due to its simplicity and portability. Not to mention, you can find a vape that will suit your needs in just about every smoke shop, dispensary, or even tobacco shop. With the surge of vaping popularity for cigarette smokers, a similar surge has boomed throughout the cannabis industry.
Vaping wax involves the use of a portable mod vaporizer and atomizer, much like the ones that every ex-smoker totes around nowadays, but built specifically to handle concentrates. These vape setups can range in price from the low of about $50 all the way up to $300, and boast a widespread selection that caters to personal preference. The majority of wax vaporizers usually fall somewhere near the lower end of this spectrum, allowing most users cheap and easy access.
The most prominent reasons behind vaping being the prevalent method for users to consume wax are the portability of vaporizers and their sheer simplicity. There is not much of a learning curve when it comes to using vaporizers, with most mods sporting simple 3-button operations – some even have displays so you can dial in all your settings just the way you like them. Vaping has become a trend across the board in the last few years, blowing up practically out of nowhere. It may be mainly for nicotine consumption, but it has allowed the cannabis industry to open its doors to an alternative to traditional dab rigs.
Intro to Dabbing
The more controversial, yet far more effective way to consume concentrates is through dabbing. This process of concentrate consumption involves the use of dab rig or oil rig or nectar collector -- akin to the water pipes with which flower users are definitely familiar -- paired with a heat plate, or nail, constructed of either quartz, titanium, or glass. Through the use of a torch or, in the case of an e-nail, an electronic heating element, you heat up the plate and use "dabbers" (also constructed of quartz, titanium, or glass) to apply the desired amount of wax directly. The act of doing this is what throws a lot of people off with dabbing. The way the process is perceived comes with this "hard drug" connotation, that a lot of concentrate users work hard to deviate away from. Something to always remember is that concentrates are just like flower, and they should not intimidate you.
Ideally, the temperature the surface you are dabbing off of should be is somewhere between 550 and 750 degrees Fahrenheit. The higher end of the spectrum provides a more thorough vaporization of the concentrate but lacks in flavor, while the lower end preserves more of the flavor but does not vaporize the material as much. A lot of what dabbers look for is the quality of flavor that you get off of a properly heated nail. For this reason, a lot of heavy concentrate users steer clear of vaporizers in most situations; there is a distinct loss of flavor between a dab rig and a vaporizer. However, a lot of the new technologies coming out from vaporizer manufacturers promise to match, or beat, the flavor that you can get off of a rig.
One of the main aspects that you have to keep in mind when considering your options for concentrates is that, with the proper setup you can achieve that ideal dose of THC/CBD with flavor that has no rival. And every day there are new products popping up in the industry that could beat out all that came before it. There is no perfect setup that has been made yet, but you never know what the future holds for the cannabis industry. The next best thing may pop up tomorrow and flip the tables, so to speak.
Dabbing and vaping wax are very similar in that they both use intense heat to turn concentrates into vapor, but they do have some key differences that will determine which you prefer. It is important to look at both the pros and cons of both methods of concentrate use in order to figure out which of them will work best to appease your needs.
- Dabbing and vaping may be similar in that they use intense heat to vaporize the concentrate, but vapes allow for more control over the temperature.
- Carrying around a vaporizer is much easier than carrying around an oil rig, torch, a dabber, and spare butane.
- Sure, there are plenty of more expensive vapes out there, but the beginner setups are far below the price of jumping into using an oil rig and nail.
- Vaping may be inexpensive, but there is something about the unbelievable flavor that you get off of taking a dab.
- Vaping helps save your throat from the harshness that comes with dabbing.
- Dabbing uses the process of conductive heating, while vaping uses convective vaporization. Both methods of heating the concentrate come with their own pros and cons.
- Whipping out a torch and oil rig to take a toke comes with an inherently negative stigma, one that vaping allows users to avoid.
So, Which Should You Choose?
There really is no simple answer to whether you should vape your wax or dab it. If you had to sum it up succinctly, the choice is entirely up to you. Whether you are a heavy flower user and you want to find a way to get the job done more efficiently, or you are just looking for a new way to enjoy THC/CBD, then you really can't go wrong with either a vaporizer or an oil rig. If you are searching for something that is portable and easy to use, then maybe you should try your hand at vaping. If you are looking for intense flavor and a harder hit, then dabbing might be what you should be checking out. But long time concentrate users generally recommend that you should go ahead and get both so that you can experience the full spectrum that concentrates can provide. If you try one method and you don't fancy it, then give the other a go. Maybe you will find a new way to enjoy legal cannabis even more than you already do.