Dabbing Defined

Everything you're too embarrassed to ask (but really want to know)

The latest pot craze circling the industry is called "dabbing." While inherently stupid-sounding, it will only get more popular. Below is your Green Zone crash course into the world of concentrates, dabs and knife hits.

Dabbing is a method of inhaling highly concentrated marijuana vapors. The concentrated marijuana is in the form of "dabs" — otherwise known as butane hash oil or wax — which contain extremely high amounts of THC. Hash oil is created when marijuana is stored in glass or steel canisters and then soaked in a chemical solvent — typically butane — which extracts THC from the plant to create the honey-like syrup.

Dabbing involves using a butane torch to heat up the "nail," typically a titanium, screw-like piece added to a speciality water pipe called an "oil rig." When glowing red from heat, the dab is applied to the nail with a metal "wand" which produces vapors that are inhaled by the user.

Dabbing isn't exactly new. The technique was on the cover of High Times magazine as early as October 2012, with the headline "Is This The Future of Marijuana?"

The process has since taken the industry and culture by storm, especially as growers and processors flood the market with new concentrates. (Don't attempt to make it at home; people blow themselves up.)

The rise in popularity, however, pays homage to an older process called knife hits, a technique with documented use back to the 1970s. With knife hits — or "spots" — two knife tips (simple metal like a butter knife or glass) are heated on a stove burner or with a butane torch. Once glowing red from heat, the tips are used to compress a small amount of marijuana buds which produce vapors. Users typically cut open a plastic water bottle and take off the cap to catch and inhale the vapors.

Be wary when dabbing: You don't know how high you might get. Concentrates are not for the weak-hearted, and the Internet is filled with horror stories about people puking their brains out after dabbing. The moral here? Be safe doing it (and don't light yourself on fire). ♦

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About The Author

Jordy Byrd

Jordy Byrd is The Inlander's listings editor. Since 2009, she has covered the local music and arts scenes, cruising with taxis and canoodling with hippies. She is also a lazy cyclist, a die-hard rugby player and the Inlander's managing cat editor....