In cannabis culture, dabbing has long been associated with intense psychotropic experiences because of its popularity among marijuana users. Therefore, it’s not surprising that some people taking CBD (cannabidiol) for its lack of mind-altering effects stay away from this method of delivering cannabinoids to the system.
Such an assumption may be preventing you from understanding the true potential of CBD as a health and wellness solution. To dispel any fears or doubts you may have, we will discuss in this article all the essential information you need to know about the pros and cons of dabbing, including whether or not you will fail a drug test because of CBD dabs. Our team will also provide some guidelines and precautions on getting started on CBD dabbing if you’d be interested in trying it yourself.
What is a CBD Dab?
CBD dab refers to a type of hemp-derived product containing a high CBD concentration. When heated to an extremely hot temperature, it turns into vapor, which can then be inhaled to absorb its cannabinoid content.
Dabbing is the preferred way for many cannabis fans because it’s a quick way to deliver more CBD to the system than other means, such as ingesting edibles, applying it on the skin, or even smoking joints.
CBD dab products come in various forms, depending on how it is made. The ones that you would likely find in the market these days include:
- CBD Wax: As the name implies, this type of CBD concentrate has a dark yellow appearance and waxy consistency. Other than cannabidiol, high-quality CBD wax is rich in terpenes, flavonoids, and other naturally occurring elements found in the hemp plant.
- CBD Pull ‘N’ Snap: By removing all the lipids from the CBD extract, manufacturers have transformed the waxy concentrate into a texture more similar to taffy. Users say that this type of CBD concentrate is easier to work with because of its malleability. However, note that it can snap and break apart when direct force is applied.
- CBD Shatter: This CBD concentrate has a translucent amber color and a thin, glass-like structure. CBD Shatters can be easily reduced to smaller pieces using a dabbing tool. Though doing so will result in coarse crystals, you will still end up with a viscous liquid when heated.
- CBD Honeycomb: Also known as CBD Crumble, a CBD honeycomb lies somewhere between CBD wax and CBD Shatter. It has a thinner consistency than wax but is not as brittle as a shatter. Water removal is reduced during the production process, resulting in a crumbly, less sticky end product. Some people prefer this type because you don’t need a special tool to place it on the nail of the dabbing rig.
- CBD Budder: On the other side of the spectrum is the CBD budder. It has a higher moisture content, so expect a gooey consistency. The manufacturing process also involves whipping the CBD concentrate to eliminate any residual solvents on the product. As such, several users describe its texture as buttery and fluffy.
Regardless of its form, a CBD dab has a significantly higher bioavailability than most CBD products. If you’re not familiar with the term, bioavailability refers to the amount of cannabidiol that can enter our bloodstream. The higher it is, the more CBD we can absorb from the product. Ultimately, it leads to more intense and faster-acting effects on the body and mind.
A comparative review of the bioavailability observed from different CBD product types was conducted in 2019. An earlier study in 2016 also evaluated the absorption rate of vapors. According to their findings:
|Way of Consumption||Average Bioavailability|
|Oral Spray||13% to 19%|
|Dab Vapors||50% to 80%|
As you can see, even the CBD dabs on the lower end of the average possess a much higher bioavailability than the rest of the options.
Experts suggest that the inhalation of dab vapors allows the lungs to absorb a large amount of CBD concentrate in a short period. CBD may enter our bloodstream right away since it doesn’t have to go through other organs, such as the stomach or liver.
Furthermore, dabbing prevents the so-called “first-pass effect” in pharmacology. Because of this phenomenon, the CBD concentration of edibles or other oral products becomes reduced once it has been metabolized in the liver.
Will You Get High by Dabbing CBD Concentrates?
Though cannabidiol can calm your anxieties and release the tension from your body, you won’t get intoxicated by dabbing CBD concentrates. That’s because pure CBD does not have the same chemical structure as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main reason for marijuana’s psychoactive effects.
However, note that full-spectrum CBD may contain a maximum of 0.3% THC, according to the federal government. Nonetheless, this small amount will likely not result in the adverse side effects of THC dabbing, such as:
- Rapid heart rate
- Loss of consciousness
Still, you should also remember that CBD has its set of potential side effects, especially when you have taken a large dose, as in the case of CBD dabs. And even though they are on the milder side, they can still cause discomfort and inconvenience to CBD users. Examples of common CBD side effects are:
Since dabbing leads to faster and more potent effects, some people have reported feeling a “rush” as the cannabidiol hits their system. This sensation does not cause major impairments as dabbing THC does, and it tends to fade rather quickly based on customers’ accounts.
Now, what if you have to undergo a drug test?
Again, CBD is not the same as THC so it won’t be identified as such during drug testing. That’s why consumers must purchase CBD products from trusted brands that provide access to their products’ third-party lab test results. This level of transparency will allow you to check beforehand the actual THC level present in the CBD concentrate you wish to buy.
Other Health Risks of CBD Dabbing
The WHO (World Health Organization) considers CBD safe for general use. However, the dabbing method has similar risks as smoking or vaping because it involves heating and substance inhalation.
According to a 2017 study conducted at the Portland State University, dabbing can expose you to large amounts of:
- Pulmonary irritants
- Harmful solvents, such as butane or ethanol
- Toxic chemicals, such as benzene or methacrolein
Given these, the potential side effects of dabbing include shortness of breath, coughing, and chest pains. While these might not sound severe, we suggest exercising caution and moderation when using CBD dabs, especially if you haven’t tried smoking or vaping beforehand.
Helpful Tips on CBD Dabs
Dabbing isn’t a new method to enjoy the power of cannabinoids. However, with the growing number of health enthusiasts joining the CBD hype, we believe that sharing the following valuable tips will ensure a smooth and safe experience for those who want to try CBD dabs.
Check if a friend or family member practices dabbing
Various dabbing equipment can be found in dispensaries and cannabis e-commerce sites. The thing is, they can be a bit costly. As such, we recommend trying CBD dabs using borrowed equipment so that you can experience the effects before making those purchases. It’s also a great way to ask for more guidance and tips from someone who has first-hand accounts of how CBD concentrates affect them.
CBD Dabbing Starter Equipment
If you want to go for the traditional route, you will need a dabbing rig. This consists of different tools you’d need to melt and inhale the CBD vapors. Typical inclusions include:Glass water pipeDabbing toolDabbing nailBlow torchDomeIf you don’t want to deal with an open flame, consider wax vaporizers. This uses electricity generated by batteries. Melting the CBD concentrate typically involves a heating coil and dabbing metal wand.
Learn how to control the temperature
CBD dabbing requires the right amount of heat to ensure that the CBD concentrate will vaporize without burning it. You won’t produce enough vapors to breathe in if the heat is too low. Similarly, too much heat will prevent the formation of vapors because the CBD dab will become incinerated.
We recommend heating the nail for around 20 seconds at 300 to 4000F. Then, turn off the heat for about 1 minute before adding the CBD concentrate using the dabbing tool or wand.
Choose organic CBD concentrates from a reliable brand
No matter your preferred form, consider spending extra on CBD concentrates made from US-based farms that apply organic farming methods. Don’t forget to read through the product COA, too. This will ensure that you will be consuming a product that does exactly what it promises and without putting your wellbeing at serious risk.
Start with a low dosage
We understand that most people who try dabbing want to experience a more substantial hit. However, don’t assume that chewing a CBD gummy with a potency of 50mg will produce a similar effect as dabbing 50mg of CBD concentrate. Remember that the bioavailability of CBD dabs tends to be much higher than most cannabidiol products.
Therefore, the ideal way to start dabbing is by melting only a tiny amount of CBD concentrate—about the size of a rice grain. Don’t force yourself to inhale all the resulting vapors, too. Use the dome of the dabbing rig or wax vaporizer to cover the mouthpiece and prevent the vapor from being wasted.
One Final Word
As a final reminder, we encourage everyone to consult their primary healthcare provider before trying dabbing or any other way of consuming hemp-derived products. Be honest about your intentions so that you can be better informed of the potential harm it may cause because CBD can interact with certain types of medications or treatments.
Moreover, while other people may have had great experiences with CBD dabbing, don’t take their accounts as guarantees that it will work just as well for you. Given the limited research on cannabidiol and its long-term effects, remain cautious until you have found the best CBD products that match your needs and expectations.