Want a simple, clean, and effective way to consume your cannabis? Well try a dab pen. Before you buy the first dab pen you find online and pack it full of your favorite cannabis from your local dispensary, there are a few things you ought to know and this article will teach you everything you need to know.
Most important, don’t put raw cannabis in a dab pen! In most cases, that will ruin your brand new gizmo and put a serious harsh on your evening’s buzz. So, if a dab pen isn’t for raw cannabis, what’s it for? Well, there’s a clue in the name, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
In this article, we explain everything you need to know about the dab pen so you can impress your friends and wow your enemies not to mention discover a serious high that you will enjoy!
What Are Dabs
Our journey into the heart of the dab pen starts with the first term in that compound word: dab. Dabs are “bite-sized” bits of cannabis concentrate that contain very high levels of cannabinoids such as:
- And others
Some dabs are full-spectrum concentrates, meaning they have a mix of THC and CBD along with a wide variety of terpenes and flavonoids. Some dabs are isolate concentrates, meaning they have very high levels of either THC (for recreational purposes) or CBD (for medicinal purposes).
Dabs come in many different forms, including:
The most common forms, however, are wax and shatter. Either one of those is probably what you’ll use in a dab pen. When it comes to dab pens, though, we prefer wax. It’s easier to work with. It’s easier to divide so you can find the right dose. And it’s easier to load into the dab pen itself.
We’re not trying to turn you off from the other forms of concentrate. We’re just all about easy, so anything that makes that possible is our new favorite thing.
How Do You Smoke Dabs
In the days before dab pens, we old-timers smoked dabs with a dab rig. We also walked to school uphill both ways, but that’s neither here nor there. A dab rig is a special type of bong with a nail instead of a bowl that you use to burn dabs in all their many forms.
Here’s a quick rundown of how it works:
- Heat the nail (typically with a blowtorch)
- Place the dab on the hot nail
- Cover it with the dome (a spherical glass piece that fits over the nail) or carb cap
The hot nail vaporizes the dab while the dome keeps all that good stuff from just floating off into the ether. You then inhale through the mouth of the dab rig, drawing the vapor through the water chamber (if it has one) and into your lungs.
The one problem with a dab rig is that it’s a rather large piece of equipment that doesn’t travel all that well. It’s great for a night at home on the couch by yourself or sharing with friends, but if you want to take your buzz on the run, you’re going to want something quite a bit smaller so thats where the dab pen comes in.
What Is A Dab Pen
A dab pen also called a vape pen is a small, often finger-size, battery-powered unit made up of three components:
- A heating element
- A refillable cartridge
- A mouthpiece
The concept is pretty simple, you place a bit of dab — be it wax, shatter, budder, or even oil in the dab chamber, press a button to heat the element, wait a few seconds for the dab to vaporize, and then inhale the results. When you’re finished, you can just slide the dab pen back in your pocket or in your bag and head out on your way, secure in the knowledge that a quick hit is just seconds away.
Pros And Cons Of A Dab Pen
The dab pen is an all-in-one unit that pretty much does everything for you. With a dab pen, you don’t have to carry around all the paraphernalia necessary to make the dab rig work. Everything is self-contained and ready to go at a moment’s notice.
2. Compact And Portable
Dab pens are incredibly compact and portable. There’s a reason why they’re called dab pens, after all. Just like a pen, you can slip the unit in your pocket or purse for easy transport.
Because dab pens use concentrated extracts wax, shatter, budder, etc. the vapor they produce is extremely potent. Even seasoned cannaenthusiasts will only need a hit or two to experience a pretty righteous high. That makes these little devices perfect for a night on the town or a day in the park with your old friend Mary Jane.
Dab pens vaporize their contents at much lower temperatures than a naked flame. Those lower temperatures preserve many of the cannabinoids and terpenes that would normally burn away when you use a lighter or a torch, and make for a much more flavorful experience.
1. Limited Battery Life
Most dab pens are battery powered, though we’re waiting for a steam-powered one for our steampunk friends. All batteries run down eventually, so you’ll have to keep an eye on your dab pen’s power meter so you don’t run out mid-toke. It has happened to me before.
2. Some Assembly Required
Most dab pens will need to be assembled before you can use them. If you’re not the best at following instructions, this could be a problem. Similarly, some dab pens allow you to set the temperature at which the heating element burns. This can make the experience better, but it also adds a whole level of knowledge you’ll need to get familiar with before you can dial in your high the way you want it.
3. Will Need To Replace Parts Periodically
Over time, the heating unit in your dab pen will wear out. Similarly, the dab chamber and the mouthpiece will get gummy with residue that even the most thorough cleaning won’t remove. When that happens, you’ll need to replace parts or buy an entirely new dab pen.
4. Can Be Expensive
Depending on which dab pen you buy, the price tag can be pretty hefty. Of course, the simplest models aren’t any more expensive than a movie for two. But models with more advanced features and capabilities can hit three figures and take a significant bite out of the cash in your wallet.