One aspect of cannabis culture that has seen the most innovation in the past five to ten years is dabbing. Boiled down, it’s really just the act of vaporizing highly potent cannabis extracts and then inhaling those tasty vapors. But with new tools, timing, and techniques being popularized often, dabbers are always experimenting - like with the new trend of cold start dabs.
As you know, the process of taking a dab these days has become almost a ceremony, with lots of separate moving parts and ticking clocks and a separate heady stash of cleaning supplies.
While there is a time and a place for the full process to play out, many people want a quicker, cleaner, and easier way to enjoy their cannabis extracts and concentrates… hence, the rising popularity of the vape pen. But cold start dabs may just be the solution that a lot of cannabis lovers are looking for.
From boro glass nails and domes, to the titanium revolution and right up until the current quartz banger meta, the gear has changed over time but the basic premise of taking a dab has not…until now.
TRADITIONAL DABBING METHODS
Traditionally, the idea is that you will get your dab ready and waiting on the tip of your favorite dabber.
Then you heat your nail. This might take anywhere from 15-30 seconds of steady torching.
Then, depending on its style, the material it is made from, and your own personal preference, you let the nail or banger cool down a bit. This could take 30-60 seconds.
Then, finally, you apply your dab to that hot surface, inhale the vapors, exhale, and repeat if necessary.
If using a quartz banger, nail, or trough, etc., a lot of care must be taken to keep it looking clear and clean. If you dab on it when it is too hot, it will develop a hard black layer of funk on the walls.
To avoid this, timers are often used to determine the perfect cooldown times. Then, after the dab, a q-tip style cotton swab is used to mop up any excess and unvaped oil that may have pooled in the bottom of the banger.
That’s a lot to do and to remember for the average cannabis user, or especially for someone just getting acquainted with the plant. Now, with cold start dabs, there is an easier way.
COLD START DABS (also known as a REVERSE DAB)
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do a cold start dab, and thoughts on why they’re becoming so popular.
Other than the tools you need for a standard dab using a torch, there are only a couple requirements to do a Cold Start Dab. You will need a Quartz Banger style Dab Nail and some Cotton Swabs for cleaning.
That’s it! But here’s where the cold start dab – or ‘reverse dab’ – earns its name.
Instead of heating your banger or nail first, and then applying the dab, we are going to reverse that order.
Step 1 – On the base/floor inside a room temperature clean quartz banger, bucket, trough, etc., place your desired amount of extract, hash, or concentrate. We know, we know, just bear with us!
Step 2 – With your glob of wax waiting, place the carb cap on top of the cool quartz banger, bucket or trough. A directional flow bubble cap on a flat top banger is the ideal setup for this method.
Cold cap, cold nail, cold wax… cold start dabs.
Step 3 - Using just the very tip of the flame of your butane torch, begin heating the very bottom of the quartz nail. This entire process should only take roughly 5-8 seconds. You’ll know when to cut the flame when you see your concentrate begin to boil and vaporize inside the nail.
*Note 1* This is why starting with, and maintaining, a clean, clear quartz nail is essential for this tech. You need to be able to see that vaporization process begin.
*Note 2* Focus on using just the tip of your flame on the very bottom of the nail. Avoid letting the flame wrap around or reach the borosilicate carb cap on top of the nail as it could break from excessive heat.
Step 4 – Once the oil is bubbling and beginning to break down and vaporize inside the quartz banger, you are ready to take your dab(s). Consider the fact that you can get to this step in well under 20 seconds, which just makes everything more efficient. With the carb cap still on, and your torch turned off, begin to inhale the vapors and work the directional flow of the cap.
You will be pleasantly surprised at how true the flavor is as the terpenes in your cannabis oils are not tarnished by the guessing game of temperatures that end up too high or too low. There is an exact and ideal temperature that different forms of extracts begin to vaporize, and with cold start dabs you are steadily climbing to that temperature and then taking advantage of it, instead of hoping to catch a small window of opportunity as the temperature rapidly drops.
Step 5 – You will need a cotton swab at the end to do away with any unvaped oil. But you will notice that there is substantially less of that waste, and you’ll notice that your favorite quartz banger, bucket, or trough is staying much cleaner for much longer.
It is not uncommon to have your quartz nail cost as much as your entire dab rig, so it is essential to keep it clean and functioning properly and cold start dabs can help you do that.
That’s pretty much it! As you can see, you can dab at least 2-3x faster using this reverse dab/cold start dab technique, so it is a great way to keep plenty of heads happy at a party, event booth, or sesh.
One other variation is to pre-load several quartz inserts with your favorite dabs. They work perfectly with this cold start tech and can really help to keep your actual quartz nail looking brand new.
It is pretty remarkable that even after a 5,000 year relationship with cannabis, humans are still coming up with all new ways to smoke, vape, eat, drink, and otherwise reap the benefits of the miraculous plant.
What do you think?
Have you tried this cold start dab method yet?
Let us know in the comments and be sure to browse The Dab Lab online head shop for the hottest deals on all of the gear mentioned in this article, and so much more!