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Shatter, wax, honeycomb, oil, crumble, sap, budder, pull-and-snap…these are some of the nicknames cannabis extracts have earned through their popularity, prevalence, and diversification. If you’ve heard any of those words before, they were likely used to describe BHO (butane hash oil), CO2 oil, or similar hydrocarbon extracts. This list of descriptive subcategories might lead you to believe that there are stark differences between each one, but the division between glass-like shatter and crumbly wax is more superficial than you’d expect.
For those of you who are new to the concentrates game, a cannabis extractis any oil that concentrates the plant’s chemical compounds like THC and CBD. This is achieved through a variety of extraction processes and solvents, the most common being butane.
ABOUT DAB WAX
Dab Wax refers to the softer, opaque oils that have lost their transparency after extraction. Unlike those of transparent oils, the molecules of cannabis wax crystallize as a result of agitation. Light can’t travel through irregular molecular densities, and that refraction leaves us with a solid, non-transparent oil.
HAT IS WAX?
“Wax” is a type of cannabis concentrate named primarily for its appearance and texture. Somewhere between gooey, liquid concentrates like hash oil and solid, brittle concentrates like shatter, wax has an opaque appearance and a thick but malleable, wax-like texture.
“Wax” is a type of cannabis concentrate named primarily for its appearance and texture. (Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)
Regardless of these differences, all wax concentrates fall somewhere in between oil and shatter. For many consumers, this middle ground makes wax especially easy to work with—not so fragile that you run the risk of breaking it into tons of small and hard to use pieces while also not being so runny that it’s difficult to scoop up and maneuver onto a dab nail.
When done safely with clean, tested products, patients and adult consumers find several advantages to dabbing as a delivery method, primarily in its swift onset and powerful effects. Patients dealing with severe or chronic pain or extreme nausea report that dabbing cannabis concentrates can be one of the best ways to get immediate and effective relief. However, you’d likely be hard-pressed finding a doctor who recommends dabbing as the first course of action.
Cannabis extracts that have been properly manufactured can also present consumers with a clean, pure product that’s easier on the lungs. When smoking cannabis, burned plant matter produces resin and hot smoke, but extracts eliminate most of this unwanted material while still delivering essential cannabinoids and other compounds like terpenes.
What Are Dabs?
Smoking dabs of cannabis concentrates has been around for 10 years. Cannabis consumers enjoy dabbing concentrates because they offer a higher THC potency (aka concentrate). The typical range for THC in cannabis concentrates is between 50 to 80%. Because of the higher potency, medical marijuana patients are advised to enjoy their dabbing experience low and slow to determine their tolerance level.
The final product of the extraction process results in varying consistencies of concentrates such as diamonds, sauce, batter, wax and sugar. Let’s take a closer look on each consumption method and examine their pros and cons.
Ways to Dab
Just like consuming cannabis flower, there are numerous ways to enjoy your cannabis concentrates. Here are some examples of how you can enjoy your dabs:
If heating a dab nail with a hand-held torch sounds intimidating, there is an option to use an e-nail with your dab rig. The e-nail or electronic nail is essentially a heating element that you place on top of the nail. One major benefit to using an e-nail with your dab rig is the ability to control the temperature to vaporize your concentrate. However, the cost of purchasing an e-nail can sometimes be outside of people’s budget.
While we are talking about temperature ranges and control, did you know your cannabis concentrate experience can vary depending on temperature? Let’s start with low temp dabs that range between 500 to 540°. If someone is looking to experience terpene profiles, the low temp range is where you want to be. This range is best for cannabis concentrates such as hash rosins. The high at these temperatures will be more gradual and less harsh.
If you enjoy consistencies like live resin, sugars, diamonds, shatters and crumbles, then 550-570° is the range for you! Patients using this range will enjoy a nice balance of flavor and effect without reaching combustion (which can be unhealthy with certain terpenes).
Looking for an immediate high? Temperatures 600° and higher will give you the immediate effect you are looking for, however, the experience will not be as long lasting or characteristic of the plant because terpenes and other compounds may be combusted at temperatures in this range compromising the intended effects.
Overall, dab rig users would agree they provide a more efficient user experience as well as more bang for the buck since it doesn’t take much cannabis concentrates to feel its full effects. However, as previously mentioned, operating a hand-held torch might be intimidating to some. There is also the potential to experience burns if you accidentally handle a hot nail without letting it properly cool.
Dab Pens – also known as a wax pen, are pen-style vaporizers. There are some dab pens on the market that offer users both options giving complete control over their medicating experience.
Concentrates and Flower – This method to consume cannabis concentrates does not require extra equipment to purchase. Some smokers will wrap their joints with a concentrate that have a sap-like consistency.
Dabbing Safety Tips
Now you know what dabs are and how you can enjoy them in the comfort of your own home. However, there are some safety concerns when dabbing. Here is a list of potential hazards when enjoying your cannabis concentrates that you should consider:
1. When using a dab rig, remember the dab nail and the glass can become very hot which can burn the skin if not allowed to properly cool.
2. Clean equipment for a clean experience. You should clean your dabbing equipment after use to avoid mixing cannabis concentrate consistencies and strains. Using unclean equipment has the potential to produce varying side effects and entourage effects.
3. A little goes a long way. As with any cannabis product, always start low and slow to gauge your tolerance. Too much could create a negative experience for you.
Where to Buy Cannabis Concentrates
Health for Life Dispensaries, located in Arizona and Maryland, carry premium cannabis concentrates such as MPX (Melting Point Extracts). MPX offers a wide variety of dabbing consistencies such a wax, shatter, batter, sugar and resin (cured and live). If you have questions about cannabis concentrates, we encourage you to speak with your Patient Consultant at Health for Life.
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