Dabbing is the latest and greatest method for cannabis consumers to enjoy elevated effects. The pure concentrated extracts used for dabbing are not only heightened in potency but deliver instant relief, with refined flavors too. However, these desirable dabbing benefits come at a cost, as concentrates are typically the priciest products on the shelves. Many cannabis consumers are therefore asking themselves, what’s an easy way to make dabs at home? We’ve got the answers to saving on dab costs with the easiest ways to make your own delectable concentrates.
Prior to making your own dabs, you should understand what a cannabis concentrate or extract really is. Concentrates are made by extracting the beneficial oils from cannabis flowers. The crystal coating you see on marijuana buds are actually ‘trichomes’ that contain terpenes, as well as cannabinoids like THC and CBD. By isolating and purifying these compounds, concentrates are oil/wax-like in consistency and ideal for dabbing or vaping. With the rise of extraction techniques has come a wide range of concentrate products on the market today. To learn more about each type of concentrate and how they differ, visit our in-depth guide here.
What Is Dabbing Good For?
Concentrates isolate beneficial cannabinoids at concentrated levels to provide an extra potent punch. In fact, most extracts boast THC levels of 90% and up, compared to standard nugs with THC levels of 10-30%. Dabbing is therefore highly beneficial for those who need instant relief and higher potencies for serious ailments or conditions, or for those who just want an elevated experience. When taking a dab, effects set in almost immediately and last for as long as a normal buzz would.
Many cannabis connoisseurs also prefer dabbing due to the refined taste and pungent flavors that concentrates deliver. When using a portable dab rig or vape pen, dabbing can also be discreet when you’re on the go. While you’ll be able to taste the distinct cannabis flavor on the inhale, exhales are uniquely scentless.
Now that you know the benefits of dabs, let’s review the best ways to make them at home.
Making Dabs At Home
Even though the process of extracting oils from cannabis can be complex, there are of course ways to do so on your own. Homemade dabs are just as potent and flavorful, but precautions should be taken with a few methods to ensure safety, especially when using butane or alcohol, as these are highly flammable. You’ll also want to open a window or use an extractor fan to dispel any fumes. When you’re ready to go safety-wise, here are the top four best ways to make dabs.
How to Make Dabs With Butane
This method will deliver a ‘shatter’ type of concentrate ideal for dabbing or vape pens. Be extra cautious with this technique due to the use of butane and heat. First, gather the following materials and supplies:
- Butane (preferably N-Butane) – multiple cans (takes 300ml (10 fl oz) butane to 30g (1oz) flower)
- Cannabis flower (30g+ (1oz+))
- Tube for extraction with mesh screen on one end
- Two Pyrex dishes (medium & large)
- Heating pad
- Container & scraper (razor) for dabs
Step One: Flower First
Ensure your flower is completely dried, then pack the material tightly into the extraction tube with the screen on the bottom. Place the tube over the medium-sized Pyrex and begin blowing butane from the top of the tube. Blow until you see liquid oil drip into the pan below, using as much butane as necessary until the drip slows or ends.
Step Two: Butane Removal
Next, place your medium dish into the larger one. Add hot water to the larger dish, allowing it to surround the smaller dish. Continue adding hot water as necessary, as the butane rises to the top of the solution and evaporates. This step should take 15-20 minutes. Make sure that your area is well-ventilated!
Step Three: Purge Completely
Set your heating pad to high heat and place your dish onto the pad. The butane will continue to evaporate over a span of 1-2 hours. You’ll notice the mixture becoming clear, and it’s complete when there is no haziness left. Once the material is cool, you can scrape into the container and store it in a cool, dark place for preservation of potency and quality.
How To Make Dabs With Alcohol
Making dabs with alcohol can be a slightly safer method than with butane, but still involves a flammable liquid together with heat, so take necessary precautions. Keep your area well-ventilated, collect the following materials and follow the steps carefully.
- Cannabis flower (at least 7g (¼ oz))
- Glass jar
- Mesh strainer
- Coffee filters
- Rice cooker or low heat source (e.g. double boiler or heating pad)
- Glass bowls or containers (e.g. Pyrex)
- Food grade alcohol such as Everclear
Step One: Prepare Your Flower
For the alcohol extraction method to be successful, your cannabis buds or flower should be as dried out as possible. To do so, you can decarboxylate your weed in the oven on a low setting – 82-104°C (180-220°F ) for 20 minutes.
Step Two: Soak In Alcohol
Add your dried-out cannabis flower to the glass jar and pour the alcohol over it until the flower is fully covered. Stir the material for approximately 10 minutes.
Step Three: Strain & Purge The Solvent
Place the strainer over the glass bowl and add coffee filters to the strainer for additional filtration. Pour the cannabis flower and alcohol mixture into the filters/strainer and let the material drain into the glass bowl completely. To purge the alcohol further, you’ll need to use your low heat source. You can place the mixture over a double boiler on low heat, into a rice cooker on low heat, over a heating pad on low heat, or use a blow dryer on low heat to blow over the mixture manually. Let the alcohol evaporate from the mixture for a span of a few hours. You’ll know the purge is complete when your mixture is sticky and when it does not spark a flame when applying a lighter to a small amount of it.
Step Four: Complete And Contain
You can pour the mixture into a container for storage or place it onto parchment paper. The mixture can be cooled in a freezer or refrigerator to make handling easier.
How To Make Dabs With An Iron/Hair Straightener*
This method is by far the simplest and will produce a rosin-like concentrate that’s usable for dabbing purposes. You’ll need just a few ingredients that are readily available in your home.
- Cannabis flower
- Parchment paper
- Hair straightener or iron
Step One: Heat Your Flower
Power on your hair straightener or iron to medium heat. Fold your parchment paper in half to create a pocket-type enclosure. Place the cannabis into the parchment paper and fold the top over the amount. Do not overstuff your parchment paper – use small amounts at a time for this method. Run the hair straightener or iron over the parchment paper for approximately 5 seconds or until you see yellow oil extract from the cannabis flower. You can repeat this step until the flower stops producing oil.
Step Two: Collect Your Dabbing Material
Once your flower is completely extracted of oil, use a razor blade or scraping tool to collect the oil and put it into a glass container for storage.
How To Make THC Vape Oil
While this method takes a few months to complete, by the end, you’ll have homemade THC vape oil to dab, or to put into carts or a vape pen for vaping consumption. You’ll need:
- Decarbed cannabis flower (heat your flower as described in our alcohol method) – 3.5g or ⅛ of an ounce will produce 30 to 60 ml of oil
- Food grade vegetable glycerin
- Airtight glass containers (mason jars are ideal) or glass bowls
- A stirring tool (butter knife will work)
- Small rubber spatula
- Mesh strainer
- Syringes for transferring oil to vape pens/carts
Step One: Soak Flower In Vegetable Glycerin
Put your decarbed cannabis flower into an airtight sealable jar and pour vegetable glycerin over it, just enough to cover. Stir the mixture and seal the jar for storing in a cool, dark area for 3-4 weeks. After 3-4 weeks, re-open the jar and stir generously. Add an additional tablespoon of vegetable glycerin to the mixture, stir well and store for another 3-4 weeks in the same cool, dark place.
Step Two: Strain Material
After the allotted time of soaking, unseal the jar and stir completely with your butter knife or stirring tool. Place your mesh strainer over a glass bowl or another clean jar. Let the mixture drip through the strainer and use your spatula to press as much remaining liquid from the flower material as possible. You’ll strain the material once more, this time using cheesecloth over the strainer. Get another clean bowl and place your cheesecloth in the strainer. Place the strainer over the bowl and pour your mixture into it for another round of straining. Squeeze the cheesecloth to extract as much liquid as possible.
Step Three: Transfer Oil For Use
Now that your mixture is completely strained, you can use a syringe or eyedropper to fill your carts or vape pens. You can also pour the strained solution into a jar for storage.
Using Dabs And The Equipment You’ll Need
Whether you’ve purchased dabs or are using your own homemade ones, there are a few methods to consume the potent material. The most common consumption technique is to ‘dab’ with a dab rig or bong. We’ll cover all of your options for consuming dabs below.
A dab rig is essentially a water bong with a specialized ‘nail’ to place your cannabis concentrate into for vaporizing. You’ll use a torch to heat the nail so that high temperatures are reached to flash-vaporize the dab material. From the mouthpiece, you’ll inhale the vapor for instant onset effects.
Joints, Bowls Or Blunts
Most cannabis concentrates are fluid or pliable enough to add to your standard joint, bowl or blunt. You can pack your bowl normally or break up the weed for rolling into a joint or bowl. Depending on the consistency, you can pour the concentrate over the flower, or break it up into smaller pieces and sprinkle it on the material for smoking.
Refillable vape pens with an atomizer is a convenient and on-the-go option for dabbing material. You’ll simply open the chamber where the atomizer is located and place your dabbing material on it for heating. Attach the mouthpiece, power on to apply heat and inhale as normal.
Dabbing For Elevated Effects
Dabbing is increasing in popularity due to its elevated effects and flavors. While the concentrated versions of beneficial cannabinoids can be quite pricey, as you’ve now discovered, there are many easy ways to make dabs by yourself at home. With careful consideration and by taking the necessary precautions, you can transform cannabis flowers into homemade dabs using a number of methods. Whether you’re dabbing, vaping or enhancing your flower consumption, there are benefits to dabbing for any cannabis connoisseur.