What is a Dab and How Do You Make One Safely at Home?
By Canncentral Editor
For the uninitiated, dabs are the most potent form of cannabis available to consumers. So, maybe you are asking yourself right now “how do I make a dab?” or more specifically “how can I make one easily at home?”.
There are different approaches to making dabs or cannabis concentrates. Examples of these are dry sift resins, hypercritical co2 extraction, ice water hash and butane hash oil, the latter being one of the most popular.
What is Dabs?
A Dab is a cannabis extract that is highly concentrated. The exact definition of “dabs” will vary depending on your location and who you are speaking with, but the universally accepted fact about dabs is that they are a more efficient and clean way of enjoying cannabis.
Marijuana concentrates can be created in many ways that would qualify them as dabs and the most efficient method of them all is closed-loop extraction.
Dabs and cannabis concentrates contain incredibly high levels of THC ranging from 40-80%. This makes them up to 4 times as potent as a high-grade standard marijuana.
In most cases, concentrates are recommended for people that need high levels of medication to treat a poor health condition.
Users of marijuana concentrate refer to it as dabbing because it only takes a small “dab” to achieve the effect. Types of dabs include budder, crumble, live resin, nug run, shatter, sugar, trim run and wax.
For those interested in making dabs there are two basic methods:
- Butane Hash Oil – BHO
If you want to give either of these methods a go, make sure you research them first and also that it is legal to do so in your area.
How To Make Dabs: Butane – Butane Hash Oil Method
BHO concentrates can be created by putting cannabis into a glass tube and blasting butane through the plant material. The butane acts in the same way as a solvent and strips the resin glands that contain THC, cannabinoids, terpenes and other cannabis oil components from the plant material.
These resin oils along with the butane are then filtered and collected in shallow pans. The oil butane mixture then gets purged using specifically designed purging ovens. This allows temperature and time to be precisely controlled in order to evaporate the butane and only leave the BHO concentrate.
Types of BHO Dabs
BHO or butane hash oil concentrates are growing in popularity very quickly, so it’s beneficial to know what types are available. The different types of actions and reactions that occur during this process will dictate how the end product is classified; most commonly as a shatter or wax.
What is Shatter?
A Shatter is a concentrate that has retained its crystalline structure allowing light to pass through. The resulting shatter can range from slightly translucent to almost totally transparent.
What is a Wax
A Wax is the opposite as it has lost its crystalline structure. This has happened by either purposefully being manipulated; by agitation during the purging process; or unintentionally by an unforeseen disruption in the process. Wax concentrates are generally opaque, however, their texture can be incredibly varied.
As a quick reference, if you can see through your concentrate it is a shatter; if you cannot, it’s a wax.
Within the classification of waxes, there are many variations and textures that create several sub-classifications of wax. These names are not universal and there are regional variations of them, but here are a few of the most common:
Sugar crumbles can be identified by their crystallized surface and their crumbly texture. Light refraction can make this gritty wax look more appealing. Its rough and crumbly texture helps it avoid becoming sticky and makes it more easy to hold.
As their name suggests wax crumbles are very similar to the sugar crumbles in terms of the consistency and texture of the wax. The difference between the two is in the sheen and surface. The surface of wax crumbles is smooth and has an almost slick appearance, but they are still not sticky when touched. Wax crumbles are generally more creamy than the sugar crumbles.
Budder wax, or just budder, is the smoothest and creamiest of all the waxes. Budders are really creamy and silky, often coming in a deep rich yellow colour. Budders are considered to be top of the range when you’re talking about wax concentrates.
Material Categories Of BHO Concentrates
BHO concentrates are categorized by one of the three following materials.
Trim runs are the most commonly used concentrates. Unless a cannabis concentrate is labelled otherwise, it is generally considered to be a trim run. Regardless of these concentrates being wax or shatter, they are produced through a blast of trim leaves and shake plant material. Trim Run concentrates generally have lower levels of cannabinoids such as THC or CBD, however, they are more flavoursome due to them having been extracted with plenty of plant material in the tubes.
Nug runs use the buds of the cannabis plant which contains a higher concentration of cannabis’ active elements, cannabinoids. Nug runs will often be labelled as such as they are not as common as trim runs. Nug runs can often be a separate more expensive brand of shatter from the same manufacturer.
Live resin is considered by many cannabis users to be the top of the range as far as concentrates are concerned. Of course, the price of the best concentrate is going to be higher, but live resin has either stronger or purer concentrates, so you’re getting what you paid for.
Live resins are made from concentrate that came from fresh green uncured cannabis either within one day of harvest or from cannabis that has been fresh-frozen. Extracting concentrate from green plants helps to retain more of the terpenes, flavours and aromas of the plant in the concentrated form.
Live resins are full of flavour and aroma. They leave you with a more defined flavour profile of the cannabis and that has little effect on the potency.
How To Make Rosin Dabs Safely At Home
Rosin is a standard wax concentrate that is made from cannabis buds simply by applying heat and pressure. It is as simple as that and maybe that’s why it is neither the most potent nor the cleanest looking wax concentrate you can find. But, many people are willing to sacrifice these two aspects because rosin is so cheap and easy to make: it’s also got no solvents. No butane or any other solvent is used in making rosin and for many, this is an important aspect of this wax.
Ingredients for Making Dabs
To make rosin dabs at home, here is what you will need:
- 1 x Hair straightener low heat setting of 200 to 225 F. If your straightener low setting exceeds this temperature range, you might need to purchase a cheap IR temperature gun.
- Small piece of parchment paper.
- Just over one gram of small buds. If you only have larger buds, break them up into smaller pieces.
- 1 x Clamp.
- 1 x Dab tool for scraping the rosin on completion.
Step By Step Guide to Making Dabs
- Place your buds into a 4×4” piece of parchment paper, then fold the paper.
- Set your hair straightener to the lowest setting. It should be around 200F. If it is higher than this, to turn it off and let it cool when it reaches minimum temperature. Use the temperature gun to measure it reaching 200 to 220F
- Close the hair straighteners on the parchment wrapped cannabis. Use the clamp to add pressure or your bodyweight (make sure to wear gloves to protect yourself from the heat). Maintain pressure for 25-30 seconds.
- When you hear distinct sizzling sound, release the pressure. On opening the parchment paper, there should be a pressed square piece of bud and around the sides will be the rosin. Your yield of rosin from a bud should be around 15-20%
- Use the dab tool to scrape away the parchment paper and to remove the flower if you wish.
That is a very simple method of making wax concentrate out of cannabis, so now you have the answer to your question; “how to make dabs at home safely”.
This is just the start of your wax making journey. There are much more elaborate methods of making rosin such as using an unbleached tea bag so you can skip the step where you have to pick out loose flowers. Also, you can use better equipment like a bespoke rosin press for bigger volumes.