In the case you are new to the cannabis scene or are my mom; shatter and live resin are concentrated forms of cannabis extract. Cannabinoids are extracted using butane or CO2 (carbon dioxide), leaving behind a viscous and sticky oil called shatter or wax. These concentrated cannabis oils are also further purified using a vacuum to remove excess solvents and other impurities. The most common way to use shatter or live resin is with what is called a dab rig. The concentrate is placed on a heated element where its vapors then inhaled through the mouthpiece. If you’ve never tried it before you should know the effects are pretty potent. The hits (in theory) are smoother, cleaner, and more flavorful, too. Especially compared to combusting flower.
To truly get the most out of your dab you must heat the concentrate at the right dab temperature.
Too hot and you risk burning it and losing out on delicious terpenes.
Too cold and you don’t activate all of the cannabinoids meaning its less potent.
So, how hot should your dab be to make the experience really count?
When you say low dab temperature, the temperature typically ranges between 315- and 450-degree Fahrenheit. Many dabbers prefer this temperature since it offers stronger flavors as well as smoother hits.
As the extract heats up, it slowly releases its flavors. This allows the dabber to fully appreciate the different layers of flavors given off by the terpenes. Because dabbing at a lower temperature does not produce intense vapors, the hits are also smoother and cleaner than high-temperature dabbing.
Compared to high-temperature dabbing though, the high from low-temperature dabbing comes on slowly. It gradually builds up, so you feel less stoned. The experience is a bit gentler, making it a good method for beginners to dabbing and for people who value taste over potency, like myself for example.
A cold start dab is for people who much prefer the low-temp option. A cold start dab means you put the concentrate in the banger while it is still cold, before being heated. You then slowly heat the concentrate up until it melts/begins to boil. This method should deliver some of the cleanest-tasting terpenes but can be a bit tricky to get the hang of. This method also requires you to heat the banger two or three times to get the most out of the concentrate.
High-temp dabs, on the other hand, simply means heating the extract at temperatures higher than 600- to 900-degree Fahrenheit. Compared to low-temperature dabbing, you will lose some of the extract’s flavors. The intense heat can easily burn away some of the terpenes, so the flavors are not as intense as with low-temperature dabbing. However, the potency of the high more than makes up for the lost flavors.
The effects of dabbing at a high temperature come on fast and strong. The high temperature immediately vaporizes the cannabinoids and terpenes, releasing them in rapid bursts. Because of its rapid vaporization, high-temperature dabbing produces hotter, harsher, and more intense vapors. The experience won’t be as gentle a low-temperature dabbing, so this may not be a good method for first-time dabbers.
How to Do a Low-Temperature and High-Temperature Dab
Most store-bought dab pens typically come with preset temperatures. Most have at least three to four settings to choose from. This limitation, of course, makes it a bit trickier to experiment on the different temperatures. However, try the different options to get a better understanding of what you prefer temperature-wise (hotter or colder) and use that information when using a dab rig.
If you want to try different temp dabs, then here are some tips for when using your rig:
- For low-temperature dab, you want to heat up the banger evenly for about 25 to 30 seconds with your torch or until the banger is red hot. Once done, allow the banger to cool a little for another 30 seconds. The wait time allows for better heat regulation of the banger. You want it hot enough that it will vaporize the concentrate, but not too hot that it will burn it or leave a black residue. After about 30 seconds, load up your dab tool with a little bit of shatter, live resin, or wax and apply it to the banger. The heat will vaporize the concentrate, which you’ll inhale through the mouthpiece. Of note, ceramic and quartz are the best nail material for low-temperature dabs.
- For high-temperature dab, using titanium nails, instead of ceramic or quartz is recommended. Titanium nails easily heat up and cool down, giving you a quick, perfect burst of high heat. To do a high-temperature dab, heat the nail up with your torch at its highest heat setting until it turns red hot before removing the heat source. Immediately load up your tool with your concentrate. The intense heat will quickly vaporize it, producing thick vapors which you will then inhale.
Other Ways to Control Your Dab Temperature
The methods above rely on a trial and error approach. It will take some time (and a lot of practice!) before you get the right dab temperature that perfectly fits your needs, especially since the banger or nail materials differ. Some easily heat up, while others take a longer time to get the desired temperature.
If you want better control of your dab temperature, you might want to invest in an e-nail or a laser infrared thermometer. E-nails usually cost anywhere between $150 and $1000, depending on the device’s quality. They allow you to set a specific temperature making it incredibly useful if you have a preferred temperature. Many people are put off by the necessity of blow torch just to get high. For people like that, the e-nail is an awesome tool.
A laser thermometer can cost you between $10 and $35. They may be a bit pricey, but they will give you better temperature control, compared to torches. Simply heat up your banger, put the laser on it, and apply your dab when it cools to your desired level.
If you are having difficulty getting the most of our extract, try using terp-pearls. When air passes around them they spin around the banger, agitating your concentrate. This is ideal for people who prefer colder dabs.
Some of our favourite extracts for dabbing:
In-House Pineapple Express Live Resin
Our Live Resin is packed full of sweet terpenes that scream PINEAPPLE!
King Cobra Shatter
These shatters are our staff’s go-to extracts. Amazing terpenes and incredibly potent.
In-House Live Terp Sauce
These extracts are made with the sole goal of preserving terpenes. For anyone that cares about taste, I can’t recommend these enough. Especially the Moby Dick Sauce.
Some like it hot; some like it hotter.
When it comes to the perfect temperature, it really boils down to your preference. If you want to savor the flavor and have a gentler experience, then choose low-temperature dab. But if you don’t care much for the flavor but want a fast, intense, and potent high, then go for high-temperature dab.
Also, if you’re a beginner to dabbing, then it would be wiser to start with low-temperature dab. The experience between smoking and dabbing is vastly different, so you might want to start with the “gentler” method first. As you get more used to dabbing, you can easily play with the temperature until you find your sweet spot.