Cannabis concentrates are taking up more and more space on store shelves as time goes on. The competition between extraction companies is driving creativity and we’re seeing innovative products such as shatter, sugar resin, distillate, honey crystal, loud resin, and more explode into the scene.
Consumer demand is driving this wave of concentrate “connoisseurism” but the information on how to correctly consume these products aren’t as mainstream as the products themselves. Low-temp dabbing is a phrase that many concentrates consumers should familiarize themselves if they haven’t already. It isn’t just a phrase that pretentious dabbers throw around to sound smart; it’s crucial for a complete and safer dabbing experience.
The Oregonian released a story last week Citing a study by Portland State University chemistry professor Robert Strongin. The article states carcinogens are released when terpenes present in butane hash oil (BHO) are vaporized on nails at temperatures above 750 degrees Fahrenheit and 932 degrees Fahrenheit. Methacrolein and benzene are the carcinogens in question, respectively.
BHO concentrates are a staple in the recreational scene. Many of the notable extraction companies use butane to extract the THC, CBD, and terpenes from the plant material which leaves the final solvent that is dabbed. The excess butane and other impurities are purged out with heat and what’s left is your concentrate. Slight variations of extraction variables paired with different cannabis strains is what gives you all of your many concentrate varieties. The Oregonian doesn’t specify what brand of concentrates were used in the study, only the terpene profiles and that they were BHO.
“We don’t want to say things like this are just bad,” Strongin told The Oregonian. “It really depends on the user.”
The temperature goal for successful low temp dabbing is between 350 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit, High Times reports. This allows the cannabinoids and terpenes to melt all the way; providing the full spectrum of the strain’s effect without burning your throat and scorching the flavor. The most popular type of equipment used for low temp dabbing is a type of nail called a “quartz banger,” which is a small bucket that you scoop your dabs into. Pair this with carb cap that acts as a seal to retain as much heat in the nail as possible to melt the dab and cut down on waste. Quartz is the most popular because it heats up relatively quickly and has great retention properties. There are other types of nails used, such as titanium and ceramic, but the rest of this article will use quartz nails as a reference point for heating and cooling times.
Will Linn is the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Northwest Cannabis Solutions. He’s an experienced concentrate connoisseur and knows the importance of regulating the temperature on your dab rig nail.
“Preference is part of it, but you never want to get any concentrate too hot, Linn said.” “It burns away the terpenes, which in effect takes away from the taste and the potency of the product.”
There are several factors to consider when your cooling down your nail, but the most important part is to have the same starting point for every dab; so heat the nail red hot, until it’s slightly glowing orange. A nail that is visibly glowing orange or red will be around 800 degrees Fahrenheit, per High Times. Let it cool down from this point for anywhere from 45 seconds to a minute and 30 seconds depending on the thickness of your nail and the size of your dab. Linn explains there will be a trial and error period for each nail and type of solvent (rosin, distillate, shatter, etc,) to zero in the heat to maximize the taste and effect.
“Most people take minimally sized dabs compared to some of the dabs I’ve taken,” Linn continued, “it depends on where people are at with their tolerance level.”
The smaller the dab, the less you will want the nail to heat up, and vice-versa. You will know if your nail is too hot because the remnant oil will be a singed black crust; instead of a warm brown liquid that is easily cleaned up with a Q-tip.
Mary’s budtender, Tim Reynolds, is also an experienced dabber and he isn’t worried about the results of the study, pointing out that even the amount of carcinogens released when dabbing off a hot nail are still less than found in cigarettes. Reynolds believes that the medicinal benefits far outweigh the potential hazards. He plans on upgrading to a device called an e-nail, which regulates the temperature electronically and you can dial it to any temperature you want and it will stay there until you turn it off.
The electronic nail is an easier way to experience low temp dabs, but it can be costly if you want a reliable set-up. Consistently dabbing a torch and nail at low temperatures is absolutely possible with just a little research and practice. Watch the video below for a quick low temp dab tutorial that will send you on your cannabis terpene adventure.
Low Temp Dabbing Tutorial
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