How to Dab THCA: Do’s and Don’ts of Dabbing THCA

Open container of Delta Munchies THCA Diamond Sauce in sour space candy flavor, revealing yellow candy-like substance, against a bluish background

THCA is a fairly new addition to the cannabinoid family and is growing in popularity among cannabis users. It is extracted from fresh cannabis plants and preserved at low temperatures to prevent it from transforming into THC.

It can then be made into various concentrates like dabs, wax, shatter, butane hash oil, crumble, budder, rosin, etc. These can be smoked, vaped, or dabbed, depending on the experience you seek.

In this article, we explore the art of dabbing. Cannabis concentrates, as the name suggests, are highly potent and don’t come cheap. Therefore, it helps to know how to dab correctly to maximize the experience.

Here are the dos and don’ts of dabbing THCA.

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Key Takeaways

  • Dabbing is increasingly becoming a popular way of consuming THCA.
  • It involves using an assortment of equipment, notably a dab rig, nail, and blowtorch, to vaporize the cannabis material.
  • Start with small portions (the size of a rice grain) if you are new to dabbing.
  • Cannabis concentrates are highly potent, with 70–90% THC levels.


What is a Dab?

As always, first things first. So, what is a dab?

A dab is a concentrated form of cannabis containing high THC levels, usually between 70% and 99%. A dab is made by mixing cannabis extract with butane to extract the active ingredients. Consequently, dabs are vastly more potent than the traditional cannabis flower.

As US states become more receptive to recreational or medical cannabis, newer methods of consuming cannabis are emerging. Fueling this change is a younger generation of cannabis users enthused with newer dabbing and vaping methods for a ‘top-shelf’ experience.

Dabbing—inhaling vaporized cannabis concentrates—is a popular way of consuming cannabis. It employs dab rigs to heat the concentrate and produce vapor. As dabbing becomes more popular, the buck has passed to manufacturers to develop efficient, quality rigs for a better user experience. So, some of these gadgets pack serious technology and can go for as much as $100K.


How Strong Are Dabs vs. Smoking Flower?

Make no mistake about this; dabs are far stronger than flower. A potent cannabis flower contains THC levels between 15% and 25%. Dabs, on the other hand, can have as much as 70% to 90% THC, making them vastly more potent.

Because they are potent, dabs are not ideal for newbies or low-tolerance users. They produce much more intense effects that typically peak within 30-45 minutes and last way longer. This is the stuff for cannabis connoisseurs.


What Tools Do You Need to Dab Cannabis?

Here are the tools and equipment you need to dab cannabis:

  • A dab rig: This device is used to consume cannabis concentrates and is readily available at smoke shops and cannabis dispensaries.
  • Dabber: This is a stick with a specially shaped end that transfers the concentrate to the nail for heating. The best dabbing tool is made of glass or stainless steel.
  • Nail: This is the heating element. It is made of titanium, glass, quartz, or ceramic, with electric or manual options. The electric variants are naturally costlier than the manual versions since they can control precise temperatures.
  • Torch: A torch is needed to heat the nail. So, it is only necessary when the nail is manual.
  • Carb cap: This covers the dab while it heats and vaporizes. It is like the lid of a skillet on a stove, which helps even heat distribution, allowing for uniform heating. It also prevents the vapor from escaping.
  • Concentrate: The experience is only as good as the quality of the concentrate. You could talk with your budtender about the most suitable options.
  • Q-Tips: these are used to remove leftover material from the nail at the end of the dabbing session.


The Process of Dabbing THCA

Ready for your first THCA dab? There are many ways to dab, but a dab rig is arguably the most common. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Prepare your THCA dab into portions to fit in the nail.
  2. Heat the nail.
  3. Insert a portion of the concentrate into the nail.
  4. Heat the dab to produce vapor and inhale.

As mentioned earlier, dabs are highly potent, and a single hit from a big rig can easily equal smoking an entire blunt in one go! If you don’t know how to dab, get help from someone who does. If you are a newbie, your tolerance is low, so it is advisable to go easy on dabs.

THCA is non-psychoactive in its raw form. However, it turns into THC when heated (as will happen during dabbing). This means you will experience the typical euphoric effects of THC but more intensely.

Read our blog on Does THCA Make You High for more on this.

Preparing to Dab THCA

Now, let’s get to the crux of this article – dabbing THCA.

Generally, you dab THCA more or less as you do other cannabis concentrates. Preheat the nail, insert the dab material, and inhale away.

You will need a dab rig, a nail, a carb cap, a blowtorch, and THCA concentrate. Remember, you don’t need a torch if you have an electric nail (e-nail). And if you are thinking of using lighters, don’t bother. They typically don’t produce enough heat.

In the case of an e-nail, ensure it is correctly connected to the rig and switched on.

Getting the dab rig ready for operation is easy. All you need to remember is that the rig helps you vaporize the cannabis concentrate without directly applying flame to the material. This is known as induction.

Most rigs come disassembled into parts, usually to make cleaning easy. Simply follow the user manual to put the pieces together. If it is the first time of use, wipe the parts, especially the mouthpiece, with isopropyl alcohol to get rid of dust and chemical residues.

Fill the chamber with water up to the ¾ mark. Ensure the e-nail is correctly connected to its power source. From this point, we head to the dabbing process.

The Dabbing Process

Heat the nail

Use the torch to heat the nail uniformly. Heating for 20-30 seconds should do the trick, depending on your torch’s heating capacity and the thickness of the nail. The nail will glow red, indicating it is sufficiently hot.

For an e-nail, select the ideal temperature for the concentrate and wait until it indicates it is thoroughly heated.

Let the nail cool

Allow the nail to cool. This is tricky because, if it over-cools, the concentrate leaves behind a residue. Conversely, the hit becomes too harsh on the lungs if it is too hot. The learning curve is manageable; a few trials and errors should suffice.

Apply the dab

Use the dabber to place the dab on the nail. A well-heated nail vaporizes the material quite quickly. Rotate the dabber to ensure all the material is vaporized.

Cover the carb hole and inhale

Slowly inhale the vapor through the mouthpiece. Don’t rush it, as this might irritate the throat and lungs. If you cough, it could be a sign the nail was too hot when you applied the dab. Generally, lower temperatures produce dense clouds with smooth hits.

Dabbing allows you to experience cannabis in ways that smoking just cannot. So, take note of the rich terpene profile and flavor when you exhale. For more on flavors, check out our blog article on the Best Dab Cart Flavors.

Wait a few minutes before taking another hit. If you still want more, repeat the steps above and enjoy!

Tips for a successful dabbing experience

While dabbing is pretty straightforward, there are a few things to note for a successful experience.

For starters, get the temperature right. E-nails are easier to work with because they have temperature control settings. Manually heated nails require some learning to get the right temperature but are cheaper.

An often-ignored part of the dabbing process is cleaning the rig after use. Excessive buildups of residue eventually affect the taste of your dabs and make the rig harder to clean. So, make a point of cleaning the nail and changing the water after every session.

Finally, dabs are potent and should be consumed with utmost care. Start with small, pin-sized dabs and gradually adjust as your tolerance increases. And it may be a good idea to sit down before inhaling…you know, just in case.


How to Dab with a Dab Rig

Dab rigs are arguably the most common way to consume cannabis concentrates. So, here is how to dab with a dab rig.

Apply Cannabis Concentrate to Your Dab Tool

Marijuana concentrates come in many forms, so choose the one that best suits your needs. After that, apply the concentrate to the dab tool (dabber). This tool is designed like a mini shovel just for this.

Heat the Nail

You will need a torch to heat the nail. While most torches will get the job done, butane blowtorches are better.

Dab Your Concentrate

Put a small piece of concentrate in the nail and inhale slowly. Don’t rush, especially when using big rigs. Taking it easy allows the vapor to cool before hitting your lungs. You certainly don’t want to irritate your lungs with hot vapor.


Other Ways to Dab Cannabis

When it comes to dabbing, dab rigs are undoubtedly helpful but are by no means the only way. How you dab cannabis concentrates depends on several factors, such as convenience, experience, cost, etc.

That said, here are other methods you can use to dab cannabis.

Electric Nail

Electric nails (e-nails) are more or less like bongs with a power source. This eliminates the need for a blowtorch. E-nails are undoubtedly convenient compared to traditional nails, but they are more expensive. However, the advantages are worth the extra investment.

Health Stone

A health stone is like a porous rock that fits into your bowl. With this, you place the concentrate directly on the stone.

An advantage of a health stone is that it is more versatile in terms of the materials you can consume. While concentrates like shatter work best with a dab tool, a health stone makes easy work of concentrates like crumble or hash.


This could be the cheapest and easiest way to consume potent cannabis. Simply mix the concentrate with dry herb and inhale away. The hit is generally lower quality than what a dab rig offers.

That said, mixing concentrates with flower greatly enhances the smoking experience. Also, when smoked, concentrates typically burn slower, giving you more hits. And you can check out the Best Way to Smoke THCA here.


How to Clean a Dab Rig

After finishing your session, it is crucial to clean your dab rig. This keeps it functioning optimally, giving you those dense, flavorful clouds. Here is how to go about it.

Basic Method

Basic cleaning is enough if there is little residue. Simply soak the rig in warm water and scrub off the gunk with a pipe cleaner or Q-tip. Rinse and repeat until clean.

Alcohol and Salt

If the dab rig is overly dirty, try using salt and alcohol. Get a container with a tight lid and add enough alcohol to cover the rig. Add 2-3 tablespoons of salt and scrubbing powder.

Replace the lid and shake. However, this works best if the rig’s container is made of plastic. Otherwise, soak the rig in the solution and scrub it. Rinse with clean water and let it dry.


Where to Find Concentrates for Dabbing

Always buy your concentrates from reputable vendors. We recommend online companies like Delta Munchies, which offer high-quality products that adhere to good manufacturing practices (GMPs).


What to Expect When Dabbing THCA

Pre-carboxylation, THCA is non-psychoactive and produces no psychotropic effects. In other words, you don’t get high. However, the fun starts when it is heated. The transformation into THC essentially means you experience highly intense THC-like effects.

Many users report feeling paranoid and extremely anxious after dabbing THCA. ‘Blackouts’ are also quite common because dabbing involves huge, instant hits of THC. Users can also experience elevated blood pressure and heart rate (typical THC effects).

However, these will likely happen if you take more than your body can handle. To stay safe, find out what is a high THCA percentage.

Start with small sizes, ideally the size of a grain of rice. Assess how your body responds before proceeding to larger portions.


Where To Find The Best THCA Dabs Online

As always, get your THCA dabs online from Delta Munchies. We are a reputable cannabis brand with over 15 years of experience developing a variety of cannabis products. Head over to our online shop and select from our broad range of products.

Check out our new THCA Diamond Sauce Dabs!


Final Thoughts

Dabbing is common among the younger generation (teenagers and younger adults). Unlike smoking, dabbing extracts bioactive ingredients from cannabis material through vapor. So, it is considered gentler on the lungs. Of course, opinion is still divided on whether dabbing is safer than smoking.


THCA Dabs: Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Benefits of Dabbing THCA?

To begin with, dabbing involves inhaling vapor, not smoke. This means it is gentler on the lungs. Secondly, you get more potent hits. A single hit from a big rig is probably enough to get the effects you seek. The quality and flavor are also simply on another level.

What is the Best Way to Consume THCA?

The best way to consume THCA depends on your goals. If you want to get stoned, dabbing or vaping is the way to go. Otherwise, THCA edibles are ideal for users solely interested in the pharmacological benefits.

How Potent is THCA?

In its raw form, THCA is non-psychoactive. However, when heated, it turns to THC and causes intoxication. The potency of the effects depends on the dosage.

What is the Effect of THCA?

THCA is thought to have several pharmacological effects, e.g., anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, anti-emetic, and neuroprotective. Nonetheless, these are preliminary findings, and more work is needed to validate them.