For me, dabbing has changed how I look at weed entirely. I’m able to use cannabis medicinally when I need to or with recreational indulgence when I want to.
It’s safe to say dabbing is no longer taboo. Previously believed to be an “extreme” method of consumption that many likened to freebasing, it’s now perfectly commonplace. Everyone dabs. Or, at the very least, we’re starting to see concentrates as more approachable and accessible than ever. For me, dabbing has changed how I look at weed entirely. I’m able to use cannabis medicinally when I need to or with recreational indulgence when I want to. In terms of innovation, concentrates are expanding at an ever-increasing clip. Thanks to extensive research into all things extracts, consumers are now dabbing sauces, crystals, and terpene-steeped diamonds—if it sounds gorgeous, you can probably dab it.
There’s also a utilitarian aspect to concentrates that I love. As High Times reported in 2017: “Cannabis that may not be fit for consumption (because it was harvested too early, was overly dried or burned, or contains seeded buds or old or bad-quality flowers and trim, etc.) can now be broken down into its basic parts and utilized in reconstructing acceptable products.” So, instead of throwing away bud that isn’t perfect or fit to smoke, growers can repurpose it in the form of high-quality extracts.
In recent years, the robust cannabis community on social media has given extracts new life. Videos of influencers doing dabs in their underwear extend the reach of many different concentrate brands, and while they are quite silly to watch, they normalize the consumption method in ways that were never possible before.
Extract artists and researchers experiment with various techniques—employing different solvents, extreme pressure, and dry-sifting methods—in search of a formula that yields the cleanest, safest, and most potent concentrates. Wax, shatter, crumble, and butter accounted for nearly 40 percent of sales in California dispensaries in 2015, according to BuzzFeed.
“The line between doing a dab correctly and burning a hot glob of oil is thin at best.”
For top brand names and strains, wax is worth more per gram than gold, and it's being branded as such.
Brett Sherman, a frequent dabber and Proper rating committee member, tells me he’s enjoying Alpine Vapor lately, which makes a lot of sense. Alpine produces a line of live resin oils that come in an easy-applicator syringe, making handling the high potency, syrup-like solutions way more manageable and precise.
Still, dabbing has its drawbacks and not every marijuana enthusiast approves of extracts. Some consider dabbing tantamount to using "actual" drugs, mostly because of the processes involved from extraction to consumption, which mimic harder substances. And unless you’re familiar with the whole dabbing process, the use of a torch and "nail," or "banger," doesn't make for the most wholesome optics.