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Weed 101: WTF is a dab and the way do you employ one?

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Sometimes it's not enough to blow a joint or hit a bowl. Sometimes, gun grade THC must be flung directly onto the dome, and dabbing is the most efficient way to do it.

Granted, polka dots are not for everyone. If weeds smoke like a beer sipping, then dabbing marijuana extracts is like photographing Everclear directly. But some long term tokers need higher doses of THC to ignite, and many medical patients immediately find relief from migraine, abdominal pain, menstrual cramps, and nausea by taking a swab. (Or two or ten.)

Extracts such as slivers, waxes, crumbs, living resins, sauces and rosin are best consumed with a device called "oil rig" or "dab". This is because most high-tech cannabis extracts are much more volatile and fragile than traditional concentrates like hashish or fully extracted cannabis oil (FECO). You can turn extracts into a blunt fabric or put them on a bowl of weed, but you can not make the most of your extracts by bloating them under a flame. What exactly is a swab device and what do you need to know about the device?

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<p> <strong> The Anatomy of a Dabbin </strong> </p>
<p> While you can smoke narcotic extracts, if you consume them with a dab, you will get the most out of your money. Swabs are essentially water pipes, which are provided with a "nail" on the male stem. This part glides on a bong in the female stalk. In other words, a swab is just a bong that uses a nail instead of a bowl. </p>
<p> Okay, what's a nail? A nail is usually made of titanium, ceramic or quartz. It is a heated platform on which the swab drips the cannabis concentrate on the nail or whirls to evaporate or burn the extract. Once the blob hits the hot nail, just breathe in and hold on to the upcoming roller coaster ride. </p>
<p> Nails are often supplied with a "dome" or "carb cap". This optional device is placed over the nail to catch the escaping blob, which means much, much larger hits. </p>
<p> A legitimate swab should always have a base to hold water, and heavy-duty equipment should contain multiple water chambers and percolators to keep the swab cool. You can dab without rigging, for example with a custom glass straw. However, since dabs are always incredibly hot, it is a good idea to stick to a rig if you want to give your lungs a break. </p>
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<p> <strong> Which kind of dab should you drive? </strong> </p>
<p> Everyone has different needs and desires when it comes to what they need in a token apparatus. Since there are swabbing rigs in all shapes, sizes and functions, you will find here a cheat sheet for choosing the best for you. </p>
<p> <strong> If You're an Out and Devoted Toker: </strong> </p>
<p> Start with a two-foot full-on rig with several percolators and an ice chamber. You have nothing to hide. </p>
<p> <strong> If you want portability: </strong> </p>
<p> Consider a compact electric rig like the Puffco Peak. These are the above rigs that come with built-in electric nails. They can be charged at a power outlet. </p>
<p> <strong> If you have a limited budget: </strong> </p>
<p> Grab a simple swab device that has at least one base for water filtration. Go with a ceramic or quartz nail; Titanium nails can be quite expensive. </p>
<p> <strong> If you intend to be a casual or discreet dabber: </strong> </p>
<p> Jump over a complete rig and examine the straws. These glass pipes only need a bit of heat at the top, then you can dive the tip directly into your swab container to get a hit. Then you can easily protect the straw from prying eyes. </p>
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Dabbing: Step One, Heat the Nail

There are two ways to heat the nail on a swab. The first way is to use a butane or propane blowtorch. When working with a flashlight, remember that propane burns much hotter than butane. If you are working with propane, try to keep the tip of the flame on the top of the nail, especially if it is a ceramic nail (they are slightly fragile and break apart over time).

You can heat the nail until it turns red, but this is not required. You can test the relative heat of the nail by holding your hand an inch or two away from the nail. After heating, wait 10 seconds for the nail to cool slightly. That is, if you want to enjoy the full taste of the swab. If you are less interested in flavors and are more interested in becoming taller than a kite, you can immediately tear this teat off when you remove the torch.

By the way, if you heat a nail with a flame, it must be a kind of blowtorch. Your typical Bic lighter does not cut.

The second way to heat a nail is with electricity. You need to buy an electronic nail or an e-nail. Electronic nails offer some advantages over the blowtorch: they are safer than the use of flashlights. You can also set specific temperatures to get the ultimate control over your defrosting experience. And note that some newer swab devices are equipped with a built-in electronic nail.

Finally, there are ways to dab without a torch or e-nail, which you can read more about here.

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<p> <strong> Second Step: Drop the Extract </strong> </p>
<p> Next you need your extract and a "swab". Although many headshops sell "glass or metal" swabs, a sturdy metal pin (like a paper clip) is enough. </p>
<p> Once the nail has heated, pick up a small (or large) amount of extract with a "swab". Place the extract on the hot nail with the swab stick while holding the mouth on the inhaling end of the swab. Some people like to stir the swab in a circle over the nail tip, but that's not necessary. If the nail is hot enough, you should be able to hold the rod in place while the swab on the nail melts and evaporates. Immediately start inhaling. </p>
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<p> <strong> Third Step: Clean the Nail </strong> </p>
<p> Neither scientists nor physicians know how chronic swabbing will work in the long run, but there is evidence that some toxins are released during blotting in small amounts (eg, compared to smoking tobacco). Therefore, you should clean your nail after each dab. Otherwise, these toxic breakdown products may accumulate on the nail, especially if you dab at lower temperatures and accumulate oils on the nail. </p>
<p> However, cleaning a nail is very easy. Take a cotton swab, a cotton ball or a tissue and wipe it on the still warm nail. When the nail has cooled, add a small amount of alcohol to cut through the sticky and chunky material. (Wipe the nail only once or heat it gently without dabbing to remove the alcohol.) </p>
<p> And there you have it, your crash course in terms of wreckage. Since dabbing is a relatively new phenomenon and we do not know what blotting out in the long term means for humans (if anything is detrimental), you are essentially all guinea pigs right now. Have fun, play it safe and as always: Start low and drive slowly! </p>
<p> Follow Randy Robinson on Twitter </p>
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