Dabs, wax, marbles, melts, and what have you? What are marijuana concentrates? And, why should you care how they’re consumed?
According to Dave Stancliff writing for Times-Standard, “There is an argument for using dabs. The hit is so intense it'll immediately help your condition (especially if you're in pain), and it lasts most of the day as opposed to conventional delivery systems (pipes, bongs, etc.) that may require multiple smoking sessions during the day.” But, he also worries about the risks involved.
Risks of consuming marijuana concentrates
- Cooking: The do-it-yourself production of dabs can be dangerous. Butane gas cooks the stuff down to a thick concentrate. Without considerable experience, the butane vapors can lead to burns and explosions.
- Fire: The butane used to torch the oil rig to vaporize the dab presents an added risk, especially to novice users or those firing under the influence.
- Nail: The nail used to hold the extract will deteriorate in repeated use, and its debris will leach into the final product.
- Potency: Users like extracts because the THC potency is quick and powerful. They’re not always ready for the rush of blackouts, hallucinations, paranoia, and psychosis. And, some feel the increasing need to up the dose may portend its role as a gateway drug.
- Toxins: Heating the nail also releases gasses and contaminants.
- Youth: Pediatricians are seriously concerned about the effect of such potency on the developing brains of adolescents.
6 Tips for Safe Consumption of Marijuana Concentrates You Need to Follow
1 – Care for your dabber.
A dabber be can just about any instrument to pick up some concentrate and place it on the nail. Users move the dry concentrates with tiny spoons. But, narrow and pointed tools work better to pick up oils and shatter. Some use nail files, dental picks, and narrow screwdrivers. But, it makes more sense to purchase a dabber specific to the purpose, keep it clean and separate from other household tools.
2 – Choose your rig.
Oil rigs come in hundreds of varieties, styles, and materials. Some are offered as works of art.
The rig is fundamentally a water pipe. You heat the nail, position the concentrate on the nail, and inhale the vapors.
They come in different sizes and simple or complex architecture. If you want portability, you’ll also get less water volume, and that powers the rush. Larger rigs smooth the hit with less punch. So, many users have more than one.
If you’re new to this, you need help. There is a learning curve in its use and in how to shop for what you want and what you need. You don’t want to go cheap on a rig purchase, but you may not need the high-end rigs eithers. Budtenders in legal retail stores can help you shop.
3 – Cool your carb cap.
A carb cap improves the flavor retention. After you heat the nail, you want it to cool a little. You don’t want to suck in the vapor at the highest temperature. The carb cap covers just enough of nail’s surface enough to for an oven.
The “oven” helps the concentrate vaporize at lower temperature without the smell and flavor disperse. But, hot as it is, you do not touch until it cools to room temperature.
4 – Pick your nail.
The Cannabilist recommends, “Stay away from borosilicate glass nails entirely, as they break easily and can chatter under intense heat, which would be dangerous.”
That leaves you with many choices. You don’t see domeless nails (bangers) much anymore. They’re a bit complicated and require too much coordination on the user’s part. Nowadays, you simply suck the vapor through its opening.
The titanium nail is subject to oxidation when not cared for, and that puts toxins into your vapor. And, quartz can break if dropped. So, you might look for a hybrid of titanium and quartz, and you need to properly maintain the rig and all its parts.
5 – Sanitize the equipment.
If you know what you are doing, you can reclaim some of the residue, but that’s for another discussion. Otherwise, wash all parts in clean warm water without soap or detergent
Mix two parts isopropyl alcohol with one part Epsom salts to create a cleaning solution. You can place small parts and solution in zip lock bags. And, filling the bowl with solution, you can swirl and shake it around vigorously.
Q-tips and cotton balls will help you reach and rub off stubborn stains. Rinse again completely with warm water. And, repeat the washing process until satisfied. You need to do this so water borne and other bacteria do not spread when activated by heat.
6 – Use Good Accessories.
Do not use a cigarette lighter. You can shop for a decent torch with safety features including a grip and directional nozzle. The TobaccoHub Butane and Blow Torch Lighter, SMŌQ Afficio Culinary Butane Torch, Keon Butane Torch with Safety Lock, and Elephant XuJet Torch Butane Gas Lighter are readily available and affordable.
You can buy butane at any convenience store. But, you want to invest in purified gas if you can and in containers with nozzles that fit your torch reservoir correctly. You should consider the Newport Ultra Purified Butane which has been refined seven times. FasFil 5x Refined comes with assorted nozzle tips. And, Vector Quintuple Refined comes with five adapters in its cap.
E-nails are the ultimate, but they don’t come cheap. Quality nails come in ceramic, glass, quartz, and titanium, all of them resistant to deterioration.
Most of the problems and accidents that have come from using concentrates arise from users messing with their equipment while already stoned. The deeper you go under the influence the more you raise the risk of fire and burns.
So, you’re smart to never dab alone!