Dab Rig Essential Guide

Getting into the world of extracts and concentrates can be an intimidating process. Fortunately, it’s actually a pretty simple! This guide is designed to cover everything you need to know to use a dab rig with confidence. Get ready… to get dabbed out!

Setup: Absolute Essentials

 

Dab Rig

What is a dab rig? The term “dab rig” is typically used for a bong that is specifically designed for smoking dabs. This means that it has a different shape than most of the bongs you’ve used before. Many rigs incorporate something called a “recycler” that collects resin in the water that can later be reclaimed. Most bongs can be converted into a dab rig. Although some purists might scoff at the idea, you could replace the bowl of any bong with a nail.

Dab Nail

A dab nail, otherwise known as a bucket or banger, is what sets a dab rig apart from regular bongs. A nail is usually shaped like a small bucket, with a curved or angled stem that fits into the down stem of the rig. This piece can sustain high temperatures, and is heated to over 500 degrees Fahrenheit. This allows instant vaporization of the dab as it hits the nail. Much like the bowl to a bong, your nail must fit into whatever type of bong or rig you’d like to use. 

Torch

In order to heat your nail to the desired temperature, you’ll need a torch. Regular lighters or even small cigar torches typically will not be enough to adequately heat a banger to the ideal temperature. You need a small crème brulee torch, or something like a propane camping torch.

Dab Tool

Most dabs are consistencies that can be difficult to handle. Specific tools made for dabs help to get the small amount of dab safely into your banger. Dab tools can be made out of metal, ceramic, or glass. It is important to remember that whatever tool you use to dab off of, is exposed to the high temperatures of the nail. Never use anything that would be hazardous if heated.

Cotton Swabs

After taking your dab, you want to clean out your nail. Besides using cotton swabs to mop up the remaining dab, you can also use your torch to burn off leftover dab in your nail. This is useful when the dab has already cooled. A cooled dab will be extra sticky; cotton swabs should only be used right after taking a dab while the oil is still hot and liquid.

The Process of Using a Dab Rig

  1. Begin heating your nail with the torch, approximately 30-45 seconds
  2. Continue heating until your temperature gauge alerts you of the correct temperature, if you do not have a gauge wait until it is red hot. 
  3. Wait until the nail is no longer red, and checking to see if you can hold your hand 3-5” from your nail comfortably
  4. Prepare your dab by scooping it out with your dab tool if sugar or crumble, prepare your dab by scooping a rice grain sized amount with your tool. If using shatter it may be beneficial to warm up your tool first so the shatter will stick.. If shatter, it may be helpful to slightly warm your tool so that it will stick to the dab
  5. Carefully put your dab into the nail and set aside dab tool
  6. Cover your nail with carb cap as you begin to take inhale
  7. Spin the carb cap around to direct the airflow
  8. Once complete, take a cotton swab and mop up any remaining dab
Dab rig with various accessories

Setup: Nice to Have Extras

Temperature Gauge

The ideal temperature for most dabs is between 500-600 degrees Fahrenheit. Luckily, there are some handy gadgets that can digitally read the temperature of your nail, and alert you when it’s the right temperature. There’s also other products called e-nails that can be set to specific temperatures and will maintain those temperatures as long as you want. Perfect for your next sesh with your friends!

Carb Cap

A carb cap is typically made of glass or metal, and is designed to fit in or over the top of the dab nail. By putting the cap over the nail, it lowers the pressure, and thus lowers the boiling point of the oil. This also maximizes the convection and helps to control the airflow. Some carb caps can be spun to direct the oil around the nail for even vaporization. 

Terp Pearls

A terp pearl is a small glass ball designed to be spun around the nail with the use of a carb cap. This helps spread the oil around the nail evenly as it cools. 

Dab Containers

Storage containers for your dabs are not always necessary, since most of the time your dab will come packaged in some type of container. However, you may encounter products you want to put in a better container. Dab containers are usually made out of silicone or glass. Other dab products will be wrapped in wax paper, or a clear plastic. 

Other Ways To Smoke Dabs

There are many different ways to enjoy your favorite cannabis extracts!

Glass Straw

The most basic way to smoke dabs, a glass straw is exactly as it sounds. It looks like a glass tube with a mouthpiece and tapered tip resembling a straw. The tip is heated to temperatures using a torch and then pressed into the dab while simultaneously taking a hit from the mouthpiece. This option is usually the most cost efficient way to get into dabbing, but it’s also the hottest dabs you’ll take. 

Nectar Collector

A nectar collector is similar to a glass straw, but with a water upgrade. Along the middle of the straw, there would be an additional chamber that holds water. It is used the same way as a glass straw. The water helps to cool down the smoke, and produces a much smoother hit than a regular glass straw. 

Electronic Methods

There are many different types of electronic devices capable of vaporizing dabs on the market today. All of them are designed to accomplish the same thing, without the use of a torch. Most utilize a battery and electronic heating element to heat a container and vaporize the dab. This is a great option for those who feel uncomfortable using a torch. 

Bowls, Joints, Blunts

When it all comes down to it, you can also smoke your dab on top of your flower. You can also sprinkle it into joints or blunts. Crumble tends to be the most ideal consistency for this method. 

Cold Start Dabs

While usually the dab is put into the nail after it has been heated to temperature, a cold start dab is put into the nail then heated to temperature. This is an especially popular method for those using electronic dab rigs. 

Substance offers online ordering and curbside pickup for dabs and other fine products at all dispensary locations throughout Bend, OR and now at our newest location in Cottage Grove, OR.

Bud

Know Your Bud

For those of you new to cannabis, what’s inside of any variety of ganja can be a bit overwhelming. To help you navigate the sometimes seemingly endless array of weed-related jargon, we’ve prepared an intro for you on the primary source of all your favorite cannabis products: bud, or flower.

What is it?

Bud is the literal flower of the cannabis plant, thus why you may hear it called both bud and flower. It contains weed’s active ingredients: cannabinoids and terpenes.

Cannabinoids and the ECS

Cannabinoids are the chemicals secreted by the cannabis plant. Most people are familiar with the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, as it plays a primary role in cannabis’ psychoactive effects (it gets you stoned). However, there are actually at least 85 cannabinoids, each with a variety of psychoactive effects and/or therapeutic benefits. Cannabinoids interact with your body via the endocannabinoid system, or ECS.

The ECS is endogenous to the human body. Your body produces its own version of cannabinoids: endocannabinoids. These help your body maintain homeostasis. How cannabinoids interact with your ECS and the endocannabinoids it produces will help determine both what kind of high you will get and what other therapeutic benefits the plant might yield.

Terpenes

Terpenes are the essential oil of the cannabis plant. They’re what give each variety of bud its own distinctive smell. Terpenes affect the way in which cannabinoids interact with your ECS. They can alter your high, or provide additional therapeutic effects.

Species

Cannabis intended for human consumption comes in two different species: Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. The third species, Cannabis ruderalis, contains too little cannabinoids and terpenes to be of much interest for cannabis consumers. These species refer to the plant’s phenotype — its easily observable traits, such as its appearance, smell, etc. Generally, sativas are known for their cerebral effects, and indicas for their soothing body effects.

However, since indica and sativa refer to the plant’s external, easily observable traits (and not its cannabinoid and terpene composition or its genetic makeup), it’s hard to say the exact effect of a cannabis plant of either species. Further, most cannabis today is some combination of the two, often referred to as a ‘hybrid’.

Strains

The strain of any cannabis plant refers to its genealogy (its parents, grandparents, etc.) A cannabis plant’s strain will tell you if it is an indica, sativa, or a combination of both. They are also generally indicative of its cannabinoid and terpene content, although this varies considerably from grower to grower.

We hope you’ve found this intro helpful. Keep an eye out for further introductory posts on different cannabis products and ingestion methods, and don’t forget to stop by Substance soon to put your weed knowledge to work!

How to Decarboxylate Cannabis

Raw cannabis contains a lot of THCA which is not psychoactive. When you smoke weed, the THCA molecule loses its carboxylic group (COOH) in the form of water vapor and carbon dioxide and becomes THC. In short, THCA becomes THC and your cannabis becomes psychoactive. This process is called decarboxylation.

When you smoke or vaporize marijuana, you decarboxylate the cannabis by heating it. If you ingest cannabis and want the full psychoactive effect, you need to first decarb your cannabis before you cook with it.

 

Temperature

The lower the temperature, the longer it’s going to take to decarb your cannabis. Keep in mind that a lower temperature will allow you to lose less terpenes.

 

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes are the pungent oils that color your cannabis with distinctive flavors such as berry, mint, citrus and pine. There are many medicinal benefits to terpenes; some will successfully relieve your stress while others will promote focus and awareness.

 


Table – Decarboxylation Temperatures and Times
TemperatureHeating ModePlant Material TimeKief / Hash TimeCannabis Oil
310FOven10 – 18 minutes5 – 10 minutes
250FHot oil bathUntil bubbles taper off
240FOven50 – 60 minutes30 – 40 minutes
212FBoiling water bath90 minutes90 minutes

 


Decarboxylation Methods:

Tip: Grind your cannabis first! A course grind will allow your weed to evenly dry without losing potency from over grinding.

Flower

  1. Preheat your oven (see table above). Use an oven thermometer to check the temperature.
  2. Sprinkle your cannabis in a pie plate and then cover it well with silver foil by crimping the foil along the edge of the plate.
  3. Place in the oven (see table above) – less time for older drier material, more for fresher material.
  4. After required time, turn the oven off, and remove cannabis. Let it cool down slowly before you unseal the container to allow any cannabinoid/terpenes vapor to reabsorb into the cannabis.

Keif/Hash

  1. Preheat oven (see table)
  2. Sprinkle hash/keif on pie plate, cover with silver foil and crimp foil along edge of plate. Place sealed dish in oven for (see table).
  3. Remove plate and let it cool down slowly without removing cover to allow any vapors to reabsorb into cannabis.

Boiling Bag method:

  1. Place the cannabis flower/keif/hash into a boilable cooking pouch. Seal it.
  2. Place in boiling water for 90 minutes. Make sure water does not boil dry.
  3. Take bag out of water. Let it slowly cool before opening.

Cannabis Oil

  1. Place heat proof container of cannabis oil into a cooking oil bath (canola oil works well). Heat cooking oil to 121C/250F.
  2. Stir cannabis oil to break up bubbles.
  3. Remove cannabis oil from heat when bubble formation starts to slow down — or leave on heat until all bubbles stop for increased sedative effect.
Kief

What is Kief?

Ever wonder what to call all those tiny, sticky crystals that cover cannabis flower?

Well, we’ve got an answer for you: kief.

Simply said, kief (also known as dry sift or pollen) refers to the resin glands which contain the terpenes and cannabinoids that make cannabis so unique. While marijuana sans kief still contains cannabinoids, the resin glands that develop on flower buds pack the biggest punch.

Trichomes: It’s All About Protection

While kief specifically refers to the bulbous, crystal formation on the tip of a gland, the substance itself is just one part of what is called a trichome, or a “hair.”

Many different plants and algae have external trichomes for specific evolutionary purposes. For example, some carnivorous plants rely on sticky trichomes to trap their prey. Other plants, like cannabis, use them as a deterrent to herbivores.

Trichomes on the marijuana plant keep away hungry herbivores by producing an intense psychoactive experience, theoretically disorienting the animal and preventing it from eating the rest of the plant. The resin’s strong, distinct odor also attracts pollinating insects and predators, which might keep herbivore populations at bay.

Extracting Kief

If you like the experience of concentrates but don’t want to break the bank buying expensive wax or extraction equipment, sifting kief might be a great alternative. Due to the high concentration of terpenes and cannabinoids in resin glands, separating kief crystals from plant matter is a great way to consume cannabis while reducing the amount of charred material you take into your body.

Extracting kief is simple. Using a three-chamber herb grinder will help you finely grind your cannabis while letting kief crystals fall through a screen and collect into a small compartment. While two chamber grinders are nice, they often let potent kief go to waste since crystals fall off of the dried herb and just stick to the inside of the grinder.

For extracting larger quantities of kief, using simple silk screening materials will allow you to separate kief from plant matter with the ease of sifting flower.

Many people create makeshift sifters using layered screens similar to the ones pictured above. Because kief tends to measure between 75 and 125 microns, it can be difficult to separate all of the resin from the plant materials. To make sure you’re collecting the cleanest kief without unwanted plant matter, stack three to four layers of fine mesh screen one on top of another.

For the best results, home extractors use consecutive sizes of screen and stack them in order from largest to smallest. When buying screens, the number of wires or threads per inch, or the LPI (lines per inch) number is an important thing to remember. The larger the screen, the smaller the LPI number. When it comes to sifting kief, mesh between 80 and 270 LPI tends to work best.

When buying extracted kief at a dispensary or retail store, keep in mind that the purer the kief, the lighter the color will be. Kief that still looks fairly green means that there is still quite a bit of plant matter mixed in, whereas kief that has been well cleaned tends to be more of an off-white color.

What’s the Deal with Hash?

Extracting kief is one of the first steps of making hash. To simply summarize, hash is basically just kief that has been heated and pressurized to form a soft, green ball. Applying heat and pressure to kief changes its composition by rupturing the resin glands. Once the kief ruptured, the overall taste and effects of the product are slightly different. Pressurizing kief also darkens its color; the more pressure you apply, the darker the hash becomes.

Kief may not be the most exciting cannabis product out there, but it still remains one of the most popular and easiest to access. For more information on kief and kief extraction, check out Ed Rosenthal’sBeyond Buds. In the meantime, be sure to pick up a three-chamber herb grinder if you’d like to get the most bang for your buck.


 

For more posts like this, visit Leafly’s knowledge center right here. 

jar of weed

Storing Cannabis

Proper storage of cannabis is critical for keeping it as potent as possible

While storing cannabis is not difficult, there are four important factors that affect its freshness and potency:

•  Rule # 1: heat will dry it out and too much moisture can cause dangerous bacteria to grow,

•  Rule # 2: light is harmful to the trichomes (the sticky resin glands attached) ,

•  Rule # 3: air will dry it out and lessen its potency

•  Rule # 4: too much handling causes the trichomes to come off.

The best way to store your medical cannabis is in an airtight mason jar that has a good seal. One of the old time dark colored cheese jars with the wire swing top is ideal if you happen to have one. They are ideal for keeping out air, heat and light.

Store the jar in a cool dark place. You can store it in the fridge (not the freezer), but keep an eye out for mold. Fresh bud will actually “cure” better using this method, producing some sweet smellin’ buds!

When your medical cannabis was grown, our growers waited until the trichomes were just right before harvesting to create the best potency possible from those plants. You want to preserve those sticky resin glands and handle them gently as they fall off easily.

The two biggest myths about storing cannabis are that keeping it in clear plastic bags and freezing it helps preserve it, but these actions actually break most of the rules we mentioned earlier.

When you freeze cannabis buds, those potent little trichomes become like tiny icicles. This makes them stiff and brittle and actually makes them fall off and break off the buds. The more you handle the buds in and out of the freezer, the more you lose those active ingredients that help alleviate the symptoms you ‘re trying to address.

Also, all plastic bags have some static, and even this static attracts the resin glands that you are trying to protect and keep intact, which means you are reducing the potency slightly. If you must use plastic bags, use them seldom and for small quantities.

It’s also a good idea to keep the quantity of cannabis you wish to store separate from your daily supply

If you don’t have a jar, you can put it in brown bags (or any dark paper), and then place it in your plastic bags and remove any air that you can.

Refrigerate, or keep in a cool place (a basement works well) where there is no light and little activity – prevent any constant movement or handling. This will keep your medical cannabis both fresh and potent for a very long time.

We at Substance also carry lovely Boveda packs which regulate the amount of moisture present in your cannabis storage area. They’re very helpful in particularly arid or humid environments and are a viable option for anyone who wants to preserve more than a quarter ounce of cannabis flower.

These guidelines also apply to concentrates—just use a smaller jar!

To protect the potency and taste of your cannabis for long periods, smart storage is a must! Rough handling, heat, light and air exposure degrade trichomes!


For more useful information regarding cannabis, visit Harborside Health Center’s website.

afghan

Strain Review – Afghani Pakistani

Recently we at Substance started carrying a new flower, known as Afghani Pakistani, or Afpak for short. A couple of the staff members here have gotten a chance to try this lovely flower, and we would be delighted to share our experiences and opinions on it with you all.

First things first…some basic Afghani Pakistani knowledge for your brains.

The Afpak…

  • is a heavy indica
  • comes from Aghani Landrace and Pakistani Landrace strains
  • is commonly used to help with insomnia, issues with appetite, and pain relief

My first impressions of the strain were very positive. It looks gorgeous, with beautiful purple coloration, prominent orange hairs and a decent bud structure. The Afghani Pakistani’s trichomes are abundant, making it look rather frosty and visually appealing. The smell is just as good, with a sweet candy-like aroma. In fact, I would best describe its appeal as being like “purple candy”.

The bud was clearly cured very well. The flowers are not dry, nor are they full of moisture which would suggest it was harvested too early. Rather, the process appears to have gone very well and provides the flower with a lovely consistency. The texture is sticky and balanced just right.

Now, moving on to the effect…

I loaded my pipe with the Afghani Pakistani flower as my day was winding down to an end. I was tucking in for the night, ready to relax and listen to some music. I was hoping that the strain would be perfect for such a setting, given that it is a heavy indica – and it was. The taste of the smoke was just as sweet, if not more so, than the flower itself. The resulting effect was a pleasant heady buzz that made me feel very relaxed and helped to ease my muscle tension.

My coworker made an excellent observation about the strain. He stated that while the Afghani Pakistani is a heavy indica, it nevertheless produced a very functional high that didn’t have the “couch-lock” effect that many indica strains tend to induce. I experienced a similar effect – body and muscle relaxation, pain relief, while still being able to stay up and do creative things like drawing or making music.

All in all, the Afghani Pakistani gets a rating of 9/10 from me. It’s a well formed flower with excellent appeal and a very pleasant effect. I would definitely recommend picking it up while we have it in the store, because it’s going fast.

 

sativa

Sativa

Sativa strains of cannabis, similar to their Indica cousins, have a wide variety of health benefits. Some of the more notable benefits include

  • Relief from depression
  • Mind stimulation
  • Increasing focus, and
  • Treating PTSD

Examples: Cinex, Haze Wreck, Jack Herer


Sativa plants are found throughout the world. Potent varieties such as Colombian, Panamanian, Mexican, Nigerian, Congolese, Indian and Thai are found in equatorial and sub/equatorial zones. These plants require a long time to mature because they originated in areas that have a long season. They are usually very potent, containing large quantities of THC. The highs they produce are described in such terms as psychedelic, dreamy, spacey, and creative. The buds usually smell sweet or tangy and the smoke is smooth, sometimes deceptively so.

Sativa plants grow in a conical, Christmas-tree form. The leaves have long, narrow serrated blades, wide spacing between branches, and vigorous growth. They often grow very tall outdoors and are difficult to control indoors.

Sativas have long, medium-thick buds when grown in full equatorial sun; under artificial light with inadequate intensity, or even under the temperate sun, the buds run, or are thinner, longer and don’t fill out completely. In areas with short growing seasons, the buds often don’t mature before frost.


Sativa at a Glance

Height: 5′ to 25′ (1.5 to 7.5 m)

Shape: Tall, Christmas-tree shape

Branching: Moderate branching, wide at its base, single stem at top

Nodes: Long stem length between leaves

Leaves: Long leaves, thin long blades

Color: Pale to medium green

Flowers: Long sausage-shaped flowers

Odor: Sweet to spicy

High: Psychedelic

Flowering: 8 to 15 weeks

indica

Indica

Indica strains of cannabis have a multitude of health benefits, which include but are not limited to:

  • Relief from body pain
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Reduction of seizures
  • Migraine relief, and
  • Appetite stimulation

Examples: Afghan Kush, Blue Cheese, Blackberry Kush


Indica plants developed in central Asia between the 25th and 35th latitudes, where the weather is changeable. Drought one year may be followed by cloudy, rainy or sunny weather. For the population to continue, the plant group needed different individuals that survive and even thrive under those specific conditions. Thus, in any season, no matter what the weather, some plants will do better than others.

Indicas, including Kush varieties, have broad general characteristics: they mature early, have compact short branches and wide, short leaves which are dark green, sometimes tinged purple. Their buds are usually tight, heavy, wide, and thick, rather than long. They smell “stinky,” “skunky,” or “pungent,” and their smoke is thick – a small toke can induce coughing.

Indica plants were developed for resin content, which was removed from the flowers to make hashish. It is only after these varieties were introduced to the West that their buds were consumed. The best indicas have a relaxing “social high,” which allow you to sense and feel the environment, without analyzing the experience.


Indica at a Glance

Height: 2′ to 6′ (0.6 to 1.8m)

Shape: Conical to bushy

Branching: Lots of side branching, usually wider than its height

Nodes: Short stem length between leaves

Leaves: Wide short leaves, short wide blades

Color: Dark green to purple

Flowers: Wide, dense, bulky

Odor: Pungent, sticky, or fruity

High: Inertia, desensitizing

Flowering: 6 to 9 weeks