How to Make THC Dabs at Home

Tina Magrabi
Tina Magrabi - Content Writer

Oct 29 2021 - 6 min read

Here is your complete guide to making THC dabs at home in this guest article by Eren Christen. Eren is a content manager at fvkasa,  a platform dedicated to providing information people need to know about cannabis and its benefits.

Get Our Solvent-Free Wax Dab Recipe

Dabs are a type of cannabis concentrate and one of the most popular ways to consume wax. Cannabis dab wax is a soft, opaque oil that crystallizes and lacks transparency after extraction from the cannabis plant.  

Typically, you dab with a blow torch, glass pipe, and a nail (a small metal plate connected to the bang of the pipe). The torch heats the nail before placing the amount of wax to be “dabbed” or inhaled. This technique creates a combination of vapor and smoke of concentrated THC.

Wax or dabs are very popular among users who prefer THC because of its ability to achieve a solid high. Due to wax’s concentrated nature and high THC content of up to 80 percent, its effects are not only more potent but faster acting. Dabs, then, are a quick and powerful way to enjoy the psychoactive effects of cannabis.

Note that wax, and all cannabis products, should be consumed in conservative amounts to reduce potential adverse side effects.

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Types of THC Dabs

Cannabis concentrate comes in many different forms. Here are some of the most common THC dabs and what makes them unique.

Shatter: One of the strongest types of cannabis concentrates with up to 80% THC. Resembles glass or hard candy.

Crumble: Also called honeycomb wax for its resemblance to honeycomb. Yellow or gold and porous in appearance.

Butane Hash Oil (BHO): Extra potent form of THC concentrate using butane as a solvent. While all cannabis concentrates are better for experienced users, BHO is especially risky for a novice.

Bubble Hash: Type of hash or hashish made with ice water. Color ranges from beige to brown, and bubbles form when smoked.

You can make some of these cannabis extracts and other dabs at home with a simple solventless recipe. We do not recommend attempting to make butane hash oil (BHO) at home.

Dabbing is one of the preferred methods to consume wax. Typically, you dab with a blow torch, glass pipe, and a nail (a small metal plate connected to the bang of the pipe). The torch heats the nail before placing the amount of wax to be “dabbed” or inhaled. This technique creates a combination of vapor and smoke of concentrated THC.

You can make some of these cannabis extracts and other dabs at home with a simple solventless recipe. We do not recommend attempting to make butane hash oil (BHO) at home.

How to Make Dabs

Consider these tips on how to make wax at home. The basic idea behind making any rosin in this manner is the application of heat and pressure. If you are lucky enough to have a proper rosin press, you can skip the method below.

Make Dabs Without Solvents

The ideal amount of cannabis to prepare your cannabis wax in this manner is 2 grams (some would recommend about 5 to 7 grams in a rosin press). You’ll need a flat iron, oven mittens, a razor blade, and unsticky parchment paper (aka baking or bakery paper) in half. You may use hair straighteners for this, but flat irons may be easier to handle.

What You’ll Need

  • Flat iron (or hair straightener)
  • Oven mittens
  • Razor blade
  • Bakery paper
  • 2 grams of cannabis

Steps

Step 1: Heat the flat iron to a temperature between 250 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit (121-149 degrees Celsius).

Step 2: Split the 2 grams into four nuggets and flatten them.

Step 3: Fold your unsticky parchment in half and place your bud in the middle.

Step 4: Use the mitten and iron to press on the nugget for 3 seconds.

Step 5: Repeat this same process with all nuggets.

Step 6: Collect the resin stain that has formed on the paper with your razor blade.

Step 7: Use the leftover buds in an edible or to make canna oil. (And no need to decarboxylate it, either – just leave the leftover buds in some coconut or olive oil for a week or two, strain out the plant matter, and voilà! A simple canna oil.)

cannabis oil, wax, concentrate

Alternative Ways to Make Dabs

You can also use kief to make a similar style of rosin/hash. All you need to do is gather the above supplies, substituting cannabis for kief. Then, follow these alternative steps:

Step 1: Place kief on the parchment. Roll up the parchment, so it’s flat.

Step 2: Roll up the parchment into a newspaper.

Step 3: Wet the newspaper strip a little bit (damp rather than soaking).

Step 4: Using an iron on a low setting, press and heat the parchment newspaper.

Step 5: Turn the strip of parchment-newspaper, heating and pressing with an iron for a few minutes on each side. Do this until the newspaper is dry.

Step 6: Once the newspaper is dry, unroll the newspaper and parchment paper, and you will be left with a piece of rosin.

The above methods do not use solvents to extract the cannabinoids and terpenes, so they are considered rosin instead of butane hash oil (BHO). They are also “flower rosin” instead of “hash rosin,” as it is rosin extracted from flowers.

The kief method is sometimes referred to as hash as opposed to rosin. If you use a rosin press, you will need to experiment with various pressures and temperatures to get your preferred concentration.

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How to Use Dabs

If a rig is inaccessible, you can use various home items to consume your homemade dabs.

Consuming Dabs in a Bowl

Stock the bowl with ground cannabis and drop the dab onto the weed. The idea is to avoid contact between the flame and the wax. The heat from the ground strain will help consume the dab into smoke you can inhale with a pipe.

Consuming Dabs with a Vape Pen

Not all vape pens are up to this task, and you’ll need a separate atomizer for this. Place the dab with your collecting item in the atomizer and then slowly inhale to get the most of your wax.

Consuming Dabs with a Joint

Joints fully enclose the wax with your ground cannabis, thus limiting the exposure of the dab to the flame.

Should You Dab Cannabis?

Dabbing comes with a variety of pros and cons. Consider these advantages and disadvantages before deciding if dabbing is the right cannabis consumption method for you. Also, always consult your physician to determine how much cannabis you should use and the best ingestion method for your body chemistry. 

Pros

Medical marijuana smokers may find immediate relief from chronic pain and depression from dabbing their recommended strains. Medical cannabis is doctor-prescribed, so it seems that medicinal users may be the aptest candidates for wax.

However, the only positive health aspect of consuming wax is its reduced damage association to the lungs compared to traditional marijuana consumption. But although dabbing may be slightly gentler on the lungs compared to smoking cannabis, there is no definitive evidence suggesting that dabbing is any safer.

Cons

There may be more cons associated with dabbing than pros. First, dabbing or wax consumption is often subject to mass production. If the oil used is not crafted with the appropriate standards and caution, the wax may contain very high butane levels. Butane in large and uncontrolled doses is very harmful, especially for those allergic to it and other hash oil toxins. In rare instances, there have been reports of lung injury from inhaling butane hash oil (i.e., lipid pneumonia).

The adverse side effects of cannabis may manifest more often when using such a concentrated amount of THC in one sitting. Increased heartbeat, paranoia, and, in some cases, unsettling tingling across the body are some of the most common to experience. For those who are prone to psychosis and hallucinations, these may occur with high doses of THC.

Edibles, dabs, and other concentrates may also be associated with cannabis hyperemesis syndrome, which causes persistent, uncontrollable vomiting. But again, there is more small-scale and anecdotal evidence for this possibility than any definitive studies.

Dabbing is also rather expensive for those on a budget – the product’s cost is above average compared to other cannabis-derived products. Investments in a blow torch, nail, and dab rig are necessary. Those who want to vaporize oils will need a vaporizer that is adapted to heating concentrates.

Finally, there is the risk of developing a high tolerance to THC. The body may become accustomed to one level, thus requiring the same or higher levels of THC to achieve similar relief.

Get Our Solvent-Free Wax Dab Recipe

Tips for Using THC Dabs at Home

Be Mindful of Heat Levels

If dabs are too hot, the therapeutic cannabinoids and other plant compounds will burn off. So, if you’re using dabs to help manage pain, the effects will likely be dulled. Staying aware of heat levels will also lessen the likelihood of injuring yourself while dabbing.

Purchase Dabs from a Licensed Dispensary

Know where your THC dabs originate. If you’re making dabs at home, this issue isn’t as much of a concern. But if you’re purchasing dabs, make sure you buy from a licensed dispensary to ensure optimal product quality and safety. 

Keep Your Dab Device Clean

Germs can quickly accumulate on dabbing devices, so use rubbing alcohol to cleanse the mouthpiece after each use. A clean dabbing device will prevent mold, bacteria, and other undesirable pathogens from forming.

Finally, obtaining a medical marijuana card is the best way to ensure that you safely consume dabs and all other cannabis products. The experienced doctors at Leafwell are on-call to help you apply for a medical card in your home state. Reach out today and start the quick and easy application process. 

Written by
Tina Magrabi
Tina Magrabi

Tina Magrabi is a writer and editor specializing in holistic health. She has written hundreds of articles for Weedmaps where she spearheaded the Ailments series on cannabis medicine. In addition, she has written extensively for the women's health blog, SafeBirthProject, as well as print publications including Destinations Magazine and Vero's Voice. Tina is a Yale University alumna and certified yoga instructor with a passion for the outdoors.

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