Dabbing is the act of inhaling a cannabis concentrate, known as a “dab'“, through a dab rig or other vaporization tool. It can be overwhelming for patients to venture into, especially with all the new lingo and gear to learn about.
I started with a concentrate pen and eventually transitioned to a traditional rig set up. A little frustrated with the process and inefficiency of hot dabs, I considered investing in an e-nail. An e-nail is a rather expensive set up that maintains temperature for better control when dabbing. I reached out to my buddy Chris @ Green Street Vapor for his advice on what e-nail rig to purchase. He told me to reconsider and clued me into cold start dabbing as a much more affordable (and superior) option. As always when Chris plants a seed, I was intrigued and started to research more.
A few days later when getting ready to load up a traditional hot dab I dropped and broke my rig. It was a surely a sign, and (30 minutes later) I bought my next set up with cold start in mind. I haven’t taken a traditional hot dab since converting over.
I do realize that video is probably much easier to learn this than a written explanation, but the day after I broke my rig I broke my face! As soon as it heals up and my black eyes go away I’ll get a video up for you!
How to Cold Start Dab
What You Need
Dab rig with flat banger*
Carb cap - ideally bubble or directional
Torch or butane lighter
Dab of cannabis concentrate
1 . Place your concentrate into your banger and put the carb cap on top.
2. Heat the banger (preferably from underneath) until the dab melts and begins to bubble. This typically takes 6-8 seconds but may take slightly longer using a butane lighter.
3. When the dab begins to bubble inhale on the rig while spinning the carb cap to increase vapor production.
4. If the banger begins to cool and you are no longer obtaining a vapor heat the banger for another 2-3 seconds at a time and repeat the process until the dab has been fully consumed.
5. Remove the carb cap. Wipe your banger down with a qtip to keep it nice and clean. No one likes a funky banger - it affects flavor quality. I usually let it cool for 30 seconds or so as to not burn the cotton, but if you let it cool down too long it will be harder to remove the residue.
*You can use an angled banger but it will a little more difficult as you need to be able to keep the carb cap in place throughout the entire process, while spinning it freely. A bubble or directional carb cap will help to distribute the concentrate more evenly over the banger providing for better vapor production.
5 Benefits of Cold Start Dabs
1. Less time consuming.
One of the benefits of any temperature and kind of dabbing is the efficiency, but cold start dabbing takes that to the next level. Instead of the average 90 second heat up and cool down time before medicating with a traditional hot dab, cold start dabbing allows you to start medicating within 10 seconds. Dabs are used to provide highly concentrated doses, so this efficiency is especially helpful for patients with severe symptoms in immediate need.
2. More flavorful.
I like my terpenes, but they boil off at different temperatures - often lower than that of CBD and THC. With traditional hot dabbing many of prized terpenes are rapidly boiled and destroyed, reducing the flavor experience. If you’ve ever hit a traditional dab too hot, it becomes a harsh and almost tasteless experience. If you are spending money on quality extracts, do yourself the favor of actually tasting them. The lower temperature and controllability of cold start dabbing allows terpenes and cannabinoids to gradually vaporize, providing a longer production of vapor with a far superior flavor.
3. More conservative.
Medical cannabis gets expensive. I found traditional dabbing to be a bit wasteful as I was regularly struggling to find the perfect temp. I’d get the nail or banger too hot and burn away a lot of my medicine. Cold start allows for much more control as you heat as you go. The torch/heat time is also reduced, conserving on butane. My husband was getting quite sick of constantly refilling my torch and now he doesn’t have to!
4. You don’t need to use a large torch.
Torches come with safety concerns, can be scary, and frankly they just freak some patients out. With cold start dabbing you can swap out the torch for a quality butane lighter instead. Still a flame, but less expensive, more controlled, and much less intimidating.
5. Better for patients new to dabbing.
I find the entire process of cold start dabbing easier than other methods, but it’s also easier to take smaller doses which is great for patients new to dabbing. With a traditional dab whatever dose you drop into the hot banger is what you commit to. The vapor production is quick and immediate. The heat as you go method of cold start provides much more control in this respect.