As general cannabis consumption grows more mainstream around Canada, so do alternative methods to smoking. Cannabis lovers have been dabbing and vaping marijuana for years, but for many starters, they might feel lost when buying products. Why dab? How does it work? And why do I have to buy a “shatter” instead of the nuggets I’m used to buying?
Don’t worry. In this post, we’ll walk you through the best concentrates to buy when you want to dab. Dabbing offers a healthier (albeit more stigmatized) alternative to smoking, so it’s worth considering as you explore cannabis consumption.
What is a Concentrate?
All of the product we’ll mention in this post are concentrates. This is a broad term that defines any product that contains concentrated amounts of THC or CBD. Cannabis professionals extract and separate THC and CBD from cannabis plants to create oils. What you buy is an oil that contains a high concentrate of THC or CBD.
How high? Let’s compare. Marijuana flowers, the nuggets you are used to smoking, typically contain about 10-20% THC. The most potent strains may test up to 25%, but this is pretty rare.
Concentrates, on the other hand, may contain between 60-90% THC.
We advise cannabis lovers who are new to dabbing to take it slow and use less than you think you might need. Dabbing is a great option for cannabis consumers who want a quick, intense high, but it’s not something to play around with.
There are a few pieces of equipment that you’ll need before you dab.
Best Concentrates to Dab
Shatters get their name because of their translucent look. This look is what contributes to its popularity throughout dispensaries in Canada and America. Another reason it is so popular is that compared to other concentrates, shatters contain terpenes and cannabinoids that give the concentrate a more pungent smell and taste.
Shatters don’t just look delicate; they are breakable like glass. If you are a bit clumsy, you might want to buy a concentrate that won’t literally shatter and fly across the room. But if your hands are delicate and you want a versatile concentrate, this is the option for you.
Experienced cannabis lovers who want to experiment will love the wide selection of shatters. Shatters are some of the most potent concentrates on the market; now you can get your favourite strain (Gorilla Glue, Maui Waui, Death Bubba) with 90% THC. Wow.
If you like to mix things up, you can roll small pieces of shatter into a joint or make a mean set of edibles. The structure of this concentrate is not ideal for vaping, but it is perfectly suited for dabbing.
If shatter looks like glass, budder has more of a waxy honeycomb look. Some people call it cake batter or crumble due to its look. Whatever you call it, you have to admit that it’s giving shatter a run for its money in terms of popularity.
Sure, it doesn’t look as pretty as shatter, but it does everything that shatters can do and more. They are made with a relatively similar process, so you still get the same knock-you-off-your-feet high of other concentrates. Unlike shatters, however, budders are easy to handle and can fit quite nicely in a vape pen.
High-quality and highly-concentrated products usually come with a price tag – and this is definitely the case with distillates. Distillates can reach up to 99% THC. The process for making cannabis oil distillates requires a lot of steps and refinement.
The high potency of distillates and the typically high price tag should be handled with care. That’s why many companies prefer to put their distillates in a vape pen. Cannabis consumers can purchase vape pens at a reasonable price and get a controlled dosage of their favourite distillates. Before you graduate to the big leagues and dab distillates, we recommend trying out a vape pen. Vaping offers similar effects to dabbing, but requires slightly different equipment.
If you want to make your own concentrates at home, you are best off making and dabbing hash. As you make hash, you separate the trichomes from the marijuana plant to make a waxy resin. People have been making and using hashish for centuries, making it a more traditional form of cannabis consumption.
Growers only need a few common household items (and buds) to make their own hashish. Once this process is done, they can consume hash in a few different ways. Dabbers beware; not all hashish should be dabbed in the same way.
If you want to start experimenting with dabbing, we recommend going with a full-melt hash. It is possible to make this form of hash at home, and you can produce a concentrate that is less strong than most shatters or budders. The jump from 25% THC to 90% THC can easily go wrong if you don’t know how to properly measure your dab, so dabbing a full-melt hash that has around 40% THC is a good first stop.
Full-melt hash is not easy to find online, but it is worth the search. Like shatters and budders, it can be smoked, vaped, or dabbed.
While you can make your own hash at home, we recommend getting hash oil and other concentrates from the experts. There is a lot that can go wrong when you try to make your own shatters or budders.
Before You Dab
Dabbing is not a good first way to get into cannabis. As you can see, dabs pack quite a punch. If you have a low tolerance or don’t know your limits with marijuana, dabbing will not be a fun experience. Ease your way into dabbing through other methods, like vaping or regular smoking.
Before you dab, explore all of your options. Talk to a “budtender” or salesperson at your local cannabis retailer. (Don’t rely solely on YouTube tutorials.) A professional can help you buy all of the equipment you need to dab and choose the best concentrates for you.