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A Comprehensive Guide to Dabbing CBD: Methods and Effects

 cbd dab rig

There are many ways to smoke the cannabis plant. Some crush the dried leaves into bowls, while others wrap them in thin rolling paper. Others add CBD vape oils or e-liquids to vape pens, in which they can conveniently inhale CBD vapor.

And then there’s dabbing. What is dabbing CBD? Like vape pens, dabbing involves vaporization. More specifically, highly potent CBD concentrates, such as wax, shatter and resin, are heated and vaporized using a torch and water pipe or bong-like dab rig. Once inhaled, this type of CBD is considered to be fast-acting and effective in delivering its potential desired benefits, such as feelings of calmness.

CBD dab effects will vary, depending on the type of concentrate, potency and dosage, as well as your individual body composition.

That said, CBD dabbing methods will vary depending on the supplies and different types of CBD product you use. Let’s dive in.

Gather Your Supplies

As non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD become more and more popular, the ways in which they’re administered are expanding, too. When embarking on your CBD dabbing journey, the first step is to choose the type of CBD concentrate that best meets your needs. The options are bountiful:

  • CBD isolate – CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD online available. It’s a crystalline powder that contains only CBD, with all other cannabis plant compounds, including THC, removed. Pure CBD isolate has no flavor or odor and is typically used for its versatility in various applications, including dabbing.
  • CBD shatter – CBD shatter is a type of concentrate that has a translucent, glass-like appearance. It gets its name from its brittle texture, which shatters easily when handled. Shatter is known for its high CBD concentration and may contain other cannabinoids and terpenes, providing potential synergistic effects.
  • CBD crumbles – CBD crumbles are similar to shatter but have a crumbly texture, making them easier to handle. They’re created through a slightly different extraction process, resulting in a more granular consistency. CBD crumbles also offer high CBD potency and potential additional cannabinoids and terpenes.
  • CBD wax – CBD wax has a waxy, butter-like consistency and is often more malleable than shatter or crumbles. It’s created by extracting CBD using solvents, resulting in a concentrate with a sticky texture. CBD wax can vary in CBD potency and may contain other beneficial compounds found in hemp, too.
  • CBD resin – CBD resin refers to a concentrated form of CBD extract that’s sticky and viscous. It’s commonly produced through solvent-based extraction methods, resulting in a thick, resinous substance. CBD resin typically contains high levels of CBD and may also retain other cannabinoids, terpenes and CBD plant compounds.

Once you’ve acquired your CBD concentrate, which you can typically buy at a local smoke shop or dispensary depending on your state, there are a few essential tools you’ll want in your arsenal:

  • Dab rig – A dab rig is a water pipe that's specifically made for dabbing. In other words, your bong won’t do it, since it’s primarily made to hold cannabis flowers rather than cannabis concentrate. There are five components: a base made of glass or silicone, a filtration percolator, a nail or banger for heating, a dome or carb cap to cover the nail and a mouthpiece for inhalation. Depending on the make and model, dab rig prices can range from $30 to $800. 
  • Nail/Banger – The nail/banger spouts out from the base or chamber of the dab rig. This is where you’ll place the CBD concentrate after heating the nail/banger with a torch. Depending on the type of dab rig you’re using, this section may be made from glass, quartz or titanium. Glass nails heat up quickly but may break just as easily. Quartz, on the other hand, is quite durable and can retain heat well. Titanium may be your best option, as it’s also highly durable, heats up faster and retains heat longer.
  • Torch – You’ll heat the nail/banger using a butane torch. These types of torches can produce a high-intensity flame that can get the nail/banger to vaporizing temperatures. 
  • Dabber tool – A dab tool is a long metal stick that looks a lot like the tools dentists use to scrape your teeth, with a pointed or flat end for scooping. Because CBD concentrate can be sticky or hard to handle, dabber tools help apply the concentrated CBD to the heated nail — and keep your fingers away from potentially burn-worthy surfaces. Most often it’s made of metal, but you can also find glass or quartz varieties. 
  • Carb cap – A carb cap is dome-like and placed over the nail after it’s heated and the concentrated CBD is applied. It regulates the airflow and traps in the vaporized CBD concentrate. Like the nail/banger, the carb cap can be made of glass, quartz or titanium. 
  • Cleaning supplies – Dabbing can be messy, leaving hard-to-remove residue on your dab rig and various tools. Fortunately, isopropyl alcohol and cotton swabs can help keep your dabbing supplies clean and sparkling until the next use.

There’s one additional component to note: the water chamber. A part of the dab rig, the water chamber functions to filter and cool the vapor to create a more enjoyable inhalation experience.

More specifically, the water chamber typically contains water, or sometimes a mixture of water and ice. As the vapor passes through the water, it gets filtered, removing some impurities and particulates. This helps provide a cleaner and smoother inhaling experience.

The water chamber also serves to cool down the vapor, as the hot vapor passes through the water before reaching your lungs. This cooling effect helps reduce the harshness and potential discomfort that can come with inhaling hot vapor.

The water chamber may also include various percolator designs. Percolators are additional filtration structures within the water chamber that further diffuse the vapor, increasing filtration and cooling. Common types of percolators include: 

  • Honeycomb
  • Showerhead
  • Tree
  • Turbine
  • Inline

Each design has its own unique filtration and diffusion properties.

Like the rest of the dab rig, it’s critical to keep the water chamber clean in between uses. A dirty chamber can create blockages and a foul-tasting flavor when inhaled. As such, you’ll want to regularly change the water to remove any impurities or gunk that have built up. Every now and again, you’ll also need to clean the entire chamber using warm water and non-toxic cleaning solutions. 

How to Dab CBD

Once you’ve gathered and prepared your supplies, you’ll begin by preparing your dab rig. This involves cleaning out any residue and filling up the water chamber. 

Then, it’s time to heat the nail.

Using the torch, apply the flame to the nail until it reaches the desired temperature. Typically, the recommended temperature is between 315°F (157°C) and 450°F (232°C). Once heated, let the nail cool for about 10 to 30 seconds. During this time, you’ll want to gather the nano CBD concentrate (called a dab) and, using the dab tool, place the product on the heated nail.

After applying the dab, place the carb cap over the nail and use the mouthpiece of the dab rig to inhale steadily. You’ll likely feel the effects very quickly, due to the concentrate’s potency. That said, before taking another hit, it’s advised to gauge any physical sensations you may be experiencing to assess whether you need more CBD.

Of course, after you’re finished, it’s best to spend a couple of minutes cleaning your dab rig and CBD dabbing station. 

What Does Dabbing CBD Feel Like?

CBD dab effects will vary, depending on the type of concentrate, potency and dosage, as well as your individual body composition. That said, dabbing CBD will not get you high like dabbing THC would.

Rather, you’re likely to experience a wave of calm flush over your body. As a result, dabbing CBD may support:

  • Sleep – Dabbing CBD may support better sleep by promoting relaxation and reducing nervousness or feelings of unease. CBD interacts with receptors in the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating sleep-wake cycles. By reducing feelings of stress, CBD can help individuals unwind and achieve a more restful night's sleep. It may also address underlying factors that contribute to sleep disturbances, such as physical discomfort.
  • Stress relief – It can also help alleviate stress by modulating the body's stress response. CBD interacts with receptors in the brain that regulate the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol. By reducing the levels of these hormones, CBD promotes a sense of calm and relaxation. It can help individuals better cope with everyday stressors, promoting a more balanced emotional state.
  • Mindfulness – CBD concentrate may support mindfulness practices by reducing mental chatter and promoting a more centered state of mind. By interacting with neurotransmitter systems, pure CBD can help quiet racing thoughts and enhance focus. This can facilitate a deeper connection to the present moment and promote a sense of mindfulness, allowing individuals to fully engage in relaxation techniques or meditation practices.
  • Muscle relaxation – CBD has potential muscle-relaxing properties, which can contribute to physical relaxation. By interacting with receptors involved in muscle function, CBD may help reduce muscle tension, spasms and discomfort.

High-Quality CBD Is in The Air at Zebra CBD

Dabbing CBD is a relatively easy process when you have the right tools and know-how. Since the CBD used is so concentrated, it may help deliver fast-acting effects that promote full-body relaxation.

That said, if you’re not in the market for dab rigs and blow torches, Zebra CBD offers a bevy of convenient full-spectrum CBD products that deliver similar effects without all the steps. From CBD gummies, to hemp pills, CBD topicals and more we have everything you need to prioritize your total well-being. 


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Co-founder of Copycat Copywriters, Adam has written for dozens of CBD and cannabis companies on a wide array of topics, including regulations, economics, farming practices and biochemistry.

About the Author

Adam Biederman Image

Adam Biederman

As co-founder and lead writer of Copycat Copywriters, one of Adam’s primary areas of expertise is within the budding CBD and cannabis space. He has written for dozens of CBD and cannabis companies, producing a collection of white papers, press releases, blog posts, articles and ebooks about a wide array of industry-related subjects, including regulations, economics, farming practices and biochemistry.

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