High Temp vs. Low Temp Dabbing: The Beginners Guide

by P. Gotti May 02, 2019 2 min read

High Temp vs. Low Temp Dabbing: The Beginners Guide-DopeBoo

If you’re on this article, you’re a beginner in the wide world of wax, looking for up-to-date information on dabbing. Come on in! The dab is warm (not too hot!) Beyond this article, I recommend r/waxpen as an educational resource for all things dab (except the dance).

The dab first blipped in the public on the canna-radar in 2005, in an interview with at-home scientist Budderking. Ingesting so-called "budder" required a dab rig, and every year since then the dab rig has become increasingly popular along with many consistencies of concentrates and extracts, collectively known as dabs.

Different Forms of Concentrate

The Dab Rig and the Vaporizer

Dab rigs are simply water pipes (see:dab rig) adapted to fit a banger/nail (traditionally made from titanium, but you’re waaaaay better off with quartz, sapphire, or the best option: silicone carbine (SiC)) as well as a dome/carb cap. Oh, and don’t forget a jet-flame torch!

Some users prefer vaporizers for their concentrates, due to mobility, built-in temperature controls, and attention-dodging design. Vaporizers work with dry plant matter or concentrates, and some robust models can work with both! Just make sure you don’t start using unhealthy, cheap, pre-filled single-use pens.

The Orchestral Effect

The orchestral, entourage, and/or full-spectrum effects are popular but less-than-clear marketing terms floating around an industry expected to reach $8 Billion in sales by 2020.

The orchestral effect refers to the interplay of magnifying and mitigating effects within a strain/concentrate’s unique cocktail of cannabinoids and terpenes. A growing body of science (and slowly developing consensus) will uncover more about the ideal synergies between cannabinoids that best achieve desired effects, such as relaxation, buzz, or euphoria. For now, because there are many unstudied cannabinoids, any claimed orchestral effect is basically a best guess based on years of black market experimentation, a seed’s suspected lineage, and then what the customer’s report back! There is very little sophisticated information publicly available regarding cannabinoid synergies, because cutting edge laboratories prefer keeping findings private, as long as the standing federal prohibition bars these companies from placing proprietary protection on their discoveries.

High Temp Dabs (750 - 1000 degrees)

Users who prefer high temperature dabs (750 - 1000) typically do so because it leaves little/no dab residue (or reclaim) and offers punchy, immediate, and short-lived effects. Some terpenes and cannabinoids deteriorate, losing their chemical structure, at these high temperatures, thus eliminating intended orchestral effect and taste profile.

High temperature dabs remain popular despite a growing body of evidence suggesting that high temp are worse for the body.

Low Temp (350 - 450 degrees)

Two increasingly popular low temp dabbing methods entail either heating your nail along with your concentrate or super-heating your nail to glowing red and then waiting 10 seconds before dropping your concentrate and sealing it with a carb cap. Lovers of the low-temp dab cite its full-expression of flavors, resulting in tastier and less cough-inducing smoke sessions.

P. Gotti
P. Gotti

P. Gotti is an entrepreneur and writer based in Huntsville, Alabama. He has sailed the seven seas, and worked on the Hot Box Food Cart during its inaugural year.



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