Dabs are quickly gaining popularity in the world of cannabis, but are all dabs created equal? By definition, dabs are concentrated doses of extracted THC. They’re heated on a hot surface and inhaled, usually through an oil rig or vape pen. Dabs go by many names – wax, shatter, butter, oil – and each are actually different depending on the extraction method. Here’s a break down of different types of dabs.
One of the most popular types of dabs is shatter. Shatter, or glass, dabs are stable and strong. They’re usually very lightly colored, and can even seem clear for some batches. These have to be well-heated to help them melt down all the way and have a consistency of taffy, though some shatter is totally solid. It’s a form of BHO, or butane hash oil (which uses butane as a solvent for extraction), and gets its name because it “shatters” like glass if broken apart. Shatter is maybe the most sought after form of dabs because it’s known for its purity.
Rosin is also popular because it’s safe, cheap, and easy to make. You can even make rosin at home using nothing but pot trim, parchment paper (NOT wax paper), and a flat hair iron. Heat the hair iron up to the lowest possible heat setting and squeeze about a gram of fresh bud for just a few seconds with as much pressure as possible. You’ll hear it sizzle, and like magic, sticky, juicy, honey-looking rosin will start to ooze out of your weed. It’s less stiff than shatter and can be dabbed at a lower temperature. People typically like rosin because you don’t need a solvent like butane to extract it.
Wax is known for its soft, solid texture and appearance. This is another popular type of dab. It takes on different consistencies based on heat, moisture, and texture of oil before the solvents are removed from the product. There are actually three sub-categories of cannabis wax, including budder, honeycomb, and crumble.
Budder is typically made using butane extraction, and comes out looking like – bingo! – butter. It’s unique in its consistency and texture, and it can almost be stirred like real butter.
Honeycomb is light and airy. It breaks apart easily and also looks like its name.
Crumble also looks how it sounds (surprise!). It’s typically already broken up, not terribly sticky, and easy to manage by hand.
This type of dabs is made using water, and looks totally different from shatter. Bubble hash tends to be dark brown, looking more like crumble but more solid. Trichomes, or the crystals that have most of the plant’s THC, are extracted from cannabis using freezing cold water – the trichome heads become brittle and easily break off. It gets its name from little bubbles that form as the concentrate is smoked. It’s more refined than traditional hash, which is a form of resin collected from mature cannabis plants, but less refined than shatter. Depending on the exact technique used, bubble hash (also known as ice wax or ice dabs) has a different appearance and consistency.
No matter what you’re dabbing, remember to take it slow – this stuff can contain up to 90% THC! Make sure it comes from a clean and trustworthy source, especially if a solvent like butane or propane is involved. Stick to the “rice rule” if you’re new to dabbing, and portion out each dab to be smaller than a single grain. What’s your favorite type of dabs? Let us know in the comments!