Lean & Dab: Safe Dabs and Optimal Methods

By Nicole Skrobin
Published: October 28, 2020 | Last updated: May 26, 2021 05:10:36
Key Takeaways

Maybe you’ve heard the song “Lean and Dab” but never actually used a dab for consuming cannabis. Nicole Skrobin details the types of dabs and how to safely use these potent cannabis delivery systems.

If you had to guess the number of people who consume cannabis around the world, what would your guess be? If you were in the ballpark of around 200 million people, then you’re not too far off! According to a 2019 World Drug Report, nearly 200 million people consume cannabis for many reasons, and this plant is the most widely consumed drug globally. As new cannabis products and consumption methods advance and evolve, like dabbing, more people are taking an interest in this plant. Continue reading to learn more about the world of cannabis concentrates, but specifically dabs, tips and tricks for dab beginners, and how to dab safely and blissfully!


Dabs and Dabbing for Beginners

Before diving into what dabbing is, what are dabs? Dabs are very concentrated doses of cannabis produced through an extraction process by pulling out THC, other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. They are also typically produced from cannabis stems and other leftover plant material from the whole cannabis plant.

Read also: Terpene Sauce: An Elite Concentrate


Beyond the general term “dabs,” there are several dab varieties you may have read about, heard, or seen at cannabis dispensaries. A handful of these varieties include wax, shatter, budder or butter, resin, and honeycomb. Although the cannabis extraction process may sound complicated to some consumers, it can be done simply and safely.

Over the years, evidence has been revealed from a plethora of medical reports, studies, and clinical trials about different cannabinoids containing their own array of therapeutic and medicinal properties, and this includes the two most recognizable cannabinoids on the market — cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), both of which can be dabbed.

Dabs — A Favorite Among Medical Cannabis Patients

Out of all cannabis enthusiasts and consumers, a large majority who consume dabs are medical cannabis patients. In the US, as of mid-2019, there were roughly 3.1 million state legal medical cannabis patients, representing a large population of people struggling with some type of medical issue. Fortunately, the freedom medical patients have in trying different cannabis products, including dabs, can be a huge difference maker. This is partly because THC-rich cannabis concentrates like dabs pack a powerful and immediate punch. Dabs are also known to contain a very high potency and strength, knocking other traditional cannabis products like flower/bud and edibles out of the water.


Read also: A Beginner's Guide to Vaping Cannabis: Where to Start

Although dabs may be overwhelming for cannabis beginners, this is an ideal product for countless medical cannabis patients trying to help treat a painful and/or debilitating ailment, disease, or condition they live with.


cannabis extract

Dabbing for Cannabis Rookies and Veterans

Now, how is dabbing different from other cannabis consumption methods, and how complicated is it? What is especially unique about dabbing is it involves heating up (but not burning) a very small amount of a cannabis concentrate on a hot surface. The idea is to vaporize an exceptionally potent cannabinoid dose, which is usually THC.

Even though cannabis connoisseurs can dab using a dab rig, which includes other parts like a blowtorch, water pipe, and a few metal pieces with one referred to as a “nail,” nowadays, dab pens are the new craze due to their versatility and discreteness. To avoid the learning curve of traditional dabbing and the variety of parts required to do so, many consumers opt for dab pens, which are like vape pens and e-cigarettes. Most dab pens sold at cannabis dispensaries contain some type of oil, wax, or shatter.

Read also: 7 Ways to Use and Consume Cannabis Extracts and Concentrates

Much like a standard vape pen, there is a heating element in dab pens that heats up the concentrate to reach the right temperature before the user takes a puff/hit.

Dab pens are also growing in popularity because they are portable and convenient for on-the-go consumption. They are also much less complicated to use and less expensive compared to an entire dab rig and blowtorch set-up.

Ways to Dab Safely

Even though dabs tend to be a favorite among numerous medical cannabis patients, they aren’t for everyone, especially cannabis beginners and individuals who do not particularly enjoy the high and psychoactive effects linked to THC-rich cannabis products. Since dabs are much more potent than different flower strains, at first, a consumer may feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable with the strong high associated with this type of concentrate.

Also, the volume of cannabinoids is substantially higher in concentrated dabs than other products. On average though, dabs are growing in popularity and usage throughout the US and Canada, especially among cannabis enthusiasts who are unsatisfied with traditional products and their low doses.

As time goes on, the medical consumption of dabs is becoming less taboo and more accepted for a variety of reasons. There is now a surplus of accessible and educational content about this consumption method and its benefits, knowledgeable doctors and budtenders willing to help and point patients in the right direction, and useful resources about cannabis experimentation and trial and error. Fortunately, there are safe ways to dab whether you are at an intern, entry-level, mid-level, or executive level when it comes to cannabis.

Read also: Cannabis Flowers or Concentrates: Which is Right for You?

For example, one way to experiment with dabbing as a beginner is to take it slow by consuming a low dose, allowing yourself to experience its effects, observing and documenting what and how you feel, and determining how long the effects last.

Starting small, going slow, and observing your body’s reaction to dabs and the effects is ideal for any medical patient or recreational consumer.

To ease into this consumption method, beginners can experiment with a dab pen that contains a cannabis concentrate. After your body adjusts to the consumption of a cannabis concentrate and you understand how much your body needs and can tolerate, you can transition into the next level of dabbing.

Too much too soon can unfortunately ruin a beginner’s experience with dabs, and if the dose is too powerful right off the bat, a consumer may become turned off to dabs and dabbing altogether. This may even sour one’s perspective on cannabis concentrates entirely. So, taking your time with dabbing is crucial, especially if you want to safely reap medicinal and therapeutic properties and enjoy its psychoactive effects without getting overwhelmed and/or disappointed.

Alternatives to Dabbing via a Blowtorch and Glass Pipe

Nowadays portability, convenience, and affordability are key factors for most consumers when buying cannabis products, especially the younger generations. It is not as common now as it once was to use a blowtorch, glass pipe, and other metal pieces to dab. As one may expect, dabbing with the use of a blowtorch can be tricky, complicated, and scary, especially for beginners. Besides dabbing the traditional way (with a rig, blowtorch, glass pipe, and other parts), there are some alternatives worth considering.

  • Dab Pen or Vaporizer — To be on the safe side and to ease into the world of cannabis concentrates, dab pens are a great alternative, and they are easy to transport. An added benefit is you don’t have to spend as much money on equipment or supplies. Although many medical cannabis patients tend to consume dabs to quickly reap its benefits, dabs are becoming more and more popular among recreational consumers too.
  • eNail — Another option is to dab without a blowtorch by using an eNail, which is an electrically powered device that heats a metal coil that is wrapped around either a ceramic, quartz, or titanium nail. After the coil heats the nail to your desired temperature, it is time to drop a dab of oil onto the nail and inhale the produced vapor from the rig. As opposed to using a butane-powered blowtorch, this eNail approach is safer and less expensive. By using a heated coil and nail, the chances of a fire being started is much lower than using a blowtorch in general. If you are skeptical about this method though, there are other options!
  • Top off a bowl of bud, a joint, or blunt with concentrated dab oil — The last options consist of topping off a bowl of bud with a thin layer of hash oil or a similar type of oil or even lining a joint or blunt with oil. Although these choices involve burning/combustion, they are less invasive and complicated dabbing methods.

Read also: Live Rosin: The Champagne Concentrate

These alternatives are likely the least expensive depending on where a consumer purchases their products in addition to any deals offered at local dispensaries. This allows for dab experimentation, adjusting to higher potency products, and observing body reactions.

Once the day comes when you dab for the first time or even as you continue your dabbing journey, try to remember to dab safely, wisely, and happily because only you can ride your high and enjoy what comes of it!


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Written by Nicole Skrobin | Writer

Profile Picture of Nicole Skrobin

Nicole Skrobin is a passionate, knowledgeable, and dedicated copywriter/content creator with a digital and social media marketing background who strives to create high quality and informative content that adds value to readers’ lives. When Nicole isn’t writing, she’s either doing yoga, spending time outside, cooking, or finding joy in the little things in life.

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