Dabbing Essentials: From Traditional Rigs to Smart Rigs

Delve into the world of dabbing with Elise McRoberts, CMO of Doc Greens. Explore options for your concentrate set-up, including accessories and proper equipment. Compare classic torch and rig setups to modernized smart rigs, choose the right glass or quartz banger, and learn best practices for your next dab session.

Let’s Talk Cannabis Dab Tech

From knife hits, to the classic rig and torch, to the all-in-one electronic smart rigs, there’s no shortage of ways to consume cannabis concentrates. Where ritual meets innovation, we talk with High Guide Elise McRoberts, CMO of Doc Greens, for tips on everything from the temperature to the technology of your next dab session.
After listening to this episode you will have a better understanding of…

  • Options for your concentrate set-up, including proper accessories
  • The classic torch and rig compared to modernized smart rigs
  • How to choose a glass, quartz banger
  • Best practices for your next dab session, including minimizing the mess

Episode Guests

Bess Byers | @imcannabess
Elise McRoberts, CMO Doc Greens | @elisemcroberts
Emily McCarter | @mccartergetshigh
Megan Bauer | @mlbing
Raeven Duckett | @raeven

Episode Resources & Additional Reading

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Podcast Episode Full Transcription

0:00:00.4 April Pride, host: This podcast discusses cannabis and is intended for audiences 21 and over.


0:00:10.3 Raeven Duckett, JOHNNIE: I’m really into dabbing mostly because, for me, it’s also a time efficiency because my tolerance is so high. Sometimes I don’t have 10 minutes to fucking smoke a whole one gram pre-roll to get me where I need to go, so a dab is just a lot quicker.

0:00:28.3 April Pride, host: Welcome to The High Guide. I’m your host, April Pride. The technology surrounding how cannabis concentrates are consumed is a rapidly evolving space comprised of old school knife hits, rigs and torches, and more high-tech hardware like electronic tabletop devices with accompanying apps that all seek to perform the same essential task: Heating the concentrate and getting you high. I know that the first time I saw someone bust out a butane torch and start heating the, what I would come to know as a quartz banger in front of me, I was a bit intimidated and dare I say, a touch nervous. Dabbing was the new sensation in the cannabis world, and this was not the pot that I grew up with. Fast-forward five or so years from my first dabbing experience, and there’s seemingly no end in sight to the innovations being made to the way we can consume cannabis concentrates.

0:01:20.5 April Pride, host: In today’s episode of The High guide, we’re going to dig into different options for getting your concentrate set-up dialed in, including advice from high guides on the classic torch and rig approach, compared with more modernized smart rigs, a few pointers on the proper accessories, ’cause dabbing can get messy, so you wanna be prepared. And of course, a few best practices from high guides you can incorporate into your next session.

0:01:44.6 Megan Bauer: You can get a really nice glass rig and banger and kind of the whole set up for probably like 100 bucks total. And you just go to your local head shop and they should have all of these things and be super helpful, too.

0:01:57.3 April Pride, host: Option one, the classic rig and banger. Comparable to a small bong or bubbler, water is typically added for a bit of percolation for your hit. However, this option must also be accompanied by some heat, and in this case, a simple lighter just won’t do. Here we find two basic options, a butane torch or an electronic heating element, more commonly known as an enail. And while it sounds simple enough, there are a lot of moving parts and things to consider regarding the temperature.

0:02:28.5 Bess Byers: I like glass that really fits with my aesthetic. And so PURR glass, P-U-R-R glass, they have really beautiful pieces that just kind of fit into my home decor. It’s very geometric and I, personally, if you’re gonna… I guess there’s two ways you can heat your nail, you can either use a butane torch and use a glass or quartz nail, or you can use an enail. If you use the glass nail, it’s like a blow torch, and then you do kind of like this wrist check or the temperature check, you wait until it gets cool. But for me, I personally love an enail, it just makes it so easy to turn on. I use the MiniNail, it just, like you plug it in. The temperature I like to do is anywhere between like 420, maybe 550, depending on the bowl piece and size. Some people like hotter dabs. For me, I like them really low temp ’cause I feel like it just really brings out the flavors.

0:03:26.8 Megan Bauer: But I also prefer low-temperature dabs for all the reasons that Bess so eloquently described. Definitely helping people understand the temperature thing, that you’re vaporizing something, so it needs to be in a certain temperature range. And there’s all these graphs and stuff you can find online, but I think it’s better to do it at a lesser temp because you can always reheat it. And if you kind of torch it, then you basically just burn your entire banger or nail.

0:04:00.8 Megan Bauer: I definitely dab, dial in my temperature depending on what type of concentrate I’m dabbing. I am a huge fan of solventless extracts, so that’s hash or rosin or full melt. I enjoy it at a lower temperature more because it has more plant matter in it, so you don’t wanna do it too hot. But yeah, that’s definitely something I take into consideration is what I’m dabbing. And there’s so many great tools now to keep track of the temperature. We used to just use a timer or the wrist check, as Bess said. But now I love the Dab Rite which is great. It gives me a little alarm when it’s ready to take the dab, ’cause you know how frustrating it is when you heat it up and miss it. So that’s a great tool that I use. They’ve done a few collaborations aesthetic-wise with different companies. I have a 710 Dab Rite. Gosh, how do I describe how it looks? A little device that actually can hold your bowl and it’ll have a neck that comes off of it, and you can adjust the neck to go up or down to meet your nail, and that just measures the temperature on there. So you actually set the Dab Rite at what type of nail. So if you’re using glass or quartz, it knows what material, and then you set the temperature as well. So I usually keep mine around 500-550 depending on what I’m dabbing, and then you can have it… It’ll blink or do an actual alarm to go off when your temperature is ready, and then you just go for it. So it’s really a great way to kind of introduce people to it, too. It makes it… Takes the error out of it for you.

0:05:45.0 Megan Bauer: Yeah, it’s basically like an infrared temperature detector. So they have ones that you can get for like $20. If you’re balling on a budget like me, you can get them at like Home Depot or Lowe’s for like $20. [chuckle] But it’s not gonna look the same as what she’s describing. [chuckle]

0:06:06.4 April Pride, host: Okay, this all sounds reasonable enough. A small glass rig, a banger, a torch or electronic heating element, and a temperature gauge of some sort. Throw in a little bit of time troubleshooting your process, and this could be a ritual a person could really come to enjoy. But what if you’re looking for something with a few less moving parts or without an open flame?

0:06:28.4 Elise McRoberts: Yeah, I gotta shout out Puffco, because I think that’s… They’re a hardware company, and they launched, I don’t know, a few years ago. And they actually launched with the Puffco Plus, which is a little pen device with a ceramic bowl. You can load your own concentrates in it, and then you’ll press a button and it will heat up and you can hit this pen and dab, if you will, on the go. But then a couple of years ago, they launched the Puffco Peak, which is essentially… We call these things smart rigs. And it’s again, a ceramic bowl that sits on an atomizer. These things are electric, and you can charge them through a micro-USB and yeah, you basically can double-tap it and it starts to heat up, and then you inhale through the glass piece, which has water in it too, so almost like a bong but then you inhale the concentrates through there.

0:07:26.1 Elise McRoberts: And I think Puffco’s inventions or the hardware has been so instrumental in the evolution of concentrates consumption and dabbing, because it’s these devices that have made it easier for people to… Easier and more approachable to people, to try it. Puffco’s are an investment. So if you aren’t ready to start with a piece that expensive, like I said, I’d recommend getting the Puffco Plus, which is their pen or any type of device where you can put your own concentrates in it. So I’m sure there’s a lot of other pen devices and that way people can get familiar with just putting a tiny scoop in there, pressing a button and inhaling like a vape pen and then from there determining how much they love their concentrates or not. You can kinda graduate, if you will, to a nicer rig or something more advanced.

0:08:26.4 April Pride, host: Confession time. I’ve actually never had a Puffco Peak, but it’s fast approaching the top of my ‘to buy’ list, and both options, the classic rig with more ritual, and the smart rig with its all-in-one functionality, come with their own positives and negatives. But there’s one thing they have in common and you don’t want to ever forget. You need to keep them clean.

0:08:51.5 Elise McRoberts: Either way, you’re gonna need… The Q-tips are for wiping out the bowl or the pen, and you have to do that right after you dab. So while it’s still hot, because that way you can just do a real quick swirl around with the Q-tip in the rig, and that soaks up all your oil and gets it really clean. If for some reason that didn’t get everything, you could use the alcohol or dip the Q-tip in alcohol and clean it like that. And then alcohol is always good. You just should constantly clean your glass or your devices as even like a Puffco and things, as you use them. Their oil will collect underneath the atomizer, and so you just kinda wanna clean that once a week. Amazon does have a lot of the things. I actually have had us order our Glob Mops, which are a specially branded Q-tip just for dabbers, and that’s ’cause they have a bigger rounded tip to better soak up oil in the bowl, and then they have a pointy side and it’s pretty funny. So yeah, there are actual branded Q-tips for dabbers, and Amazon carries them. [chuckle]

0:09:58.1 April Pride, host: Yeah, I could have used those. That’s why my bowl is forever welded [chuckle] in this $400 rig that I bought. I messed it up, I didn’t clean it. This is why I should have talked to you a lot sooner, but I thought I was just cleaning the glass, I didn’t realize. Yeah, I may have just really ruined it, but I hope not. But maybe this is my opportunity to buy a Puffco Peak, which is probably long overdue. Those were all really great tips and down to the fact that there is a special Q-tip, because I know that seems indulgent or unnecessary, but in those moments when you have in your stash exactly what you need, like eye drops, you’re so happy about that, so… Is there anything else like that, specific to dabbing, that you have in your stash, like… Do you have any of those alcohol wipes that you tear up and there’s a lot of waste ’cause there’s foil in there, but… Yeah, what other things are you keeping in your stash for dabbing?

0:11:01.4 Elise McRoberts: Yeah, great point. I actually do usually always have some of those little alcohol wipes on me, which I had even before COVID was a thing, because we produce events and serve people dabs, and so I’d always be cleaning the rigs and stuff. And then I just would always like to have… The wipes are very handy for them… Yeah, if you wanna clean your piece or need to, the dab tool is really essential because… And it seems like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many times I was kinda like… Maybe I’m out at a party or I’m somewhere and I go to set up for a sesh, I bust out my rig, I fill it with water, I bust out my concentrates, I get my Q-tips ready on the side, and then I go to take my dab and I don’t have a tool. It’s not like… Depending where you are… It’s not like you’re just like, “Oh, who happens to have a very small stainless steel knife or a pointy thing”, and I have really pointy acrylic nails, like claws, so I actually can use my nails as a dab tool now, but I could… That wasn’t always the case then.

0:12:07.7 April Pride, host: Was that on purpose? Was that on purpose? You can tell the truth.

0:12:10.2 Elise McRoberts: It wasn’t, it totally wasn’t on purpose, but I love that it doubles as that, ’cause some people notice and ask me, and I really can say that, yes, I’ve done it. Because I have been in the situation where I’ve needed to use my nail and it works great, but April, you probably don’t know this, I, for the longest time, was using my gold tool that came from Vanderpump and you, years ago, and it was just like it, I feel like they look like dental tools. They are like stainless steel and it has one end that’s kind of like a spatula flat, and then it has a really pointy and like a poker, but yours was gold and so super looked beautiful, and I used that forever, and I still do use tools like that.

0:12:56.3 April Pride, host: Okay, clearly an uncleaned rig as a recipe for disaster and a potentially very expensive one, so if you’re gonna get into dabbing, make sure your stash is properly equipped with high quality tools for cleaning supplies and other best practices to help perfect, our next dab session, perhaps some final advice on temperature range.

0:13:18.3 Elise McRoberts: I think it’s also total personal preference, some people really enjoy hot dabs or warmer dabs and getting that rush to the head and super lit feeling, I guess, but I think for just a nice, the best flavor and the best, just full spectrum experience, I love the low temp, and I’d say most hash heads, or solventless snobs are dabbing on low temperature, and so that’s one thing that differentiates us from other dabbers and people who like to take, they call glowies or hot dabs, which are gonna give you that super high feeling. The key to having a good first dab experience is low temperature and taking a micro-dab, but yeah, the higher the temperature, the more THC you’ll get and less terpenes, and so that’s why you will feel higher or get that high rush sooner, whereas with the lower temp and with more terps and less of the THC, ’cause they braise different temperatures, you’re gonna get all of that flavor, so someone like me, I think I dab at about 460 or 470. If I was giving someone their first dab, I’d probably go more to 450, maybe lower temp in a Puffco that’s considered blue setting.

0:14:47.0 Elise McRoberts: Puffco does blue, green, red and white, and again, white, I just think their devices are so helpful because it removes the torch element, it makes it that someone can just press a button and they also can just know they don’t need to worry about degrees, they can just know if they want low temp, medium high or really hot, and that has made it super easy to give a lot more people the dab experience, and then I’d say like the purists, and there are people who just prefer that traditional rig and torch, honestly, it’s all the same, so in all of these examples I’m giving, it really just involves, you heat an element, you put the concentrates on the heated element and then inhale the vapor that comes off from heating the concentrates, and so we’ve just gotten better about how we’re… What we’re using for the element that’s heated and how we’re heating it, and it’s really about getting to the right temperature that then again, vaporizes the concentrates or the terpenes and the cannabinoids at the right temp.

0:15:50.6 April Pride, host: We’ll miss the plethora of options for consuming cannabis concentrates, it really does simply come down to personal preference. We hope this episode of The High Guide helped you narrow down your next move when it comes to your preferred method of dabbing tech. We only scratched the surface of products and accessories available, and encouraged you to check out what’s out there, maybe you’re the classic rig and torch dabber, who likes getting blasted, taking high temp glowies, perhaps you’re a hash head that’s hooked on the functionality of your smart rig, just remember, wherever you fall on the spectrum of options regarding tools and temperatures, there’s one cardinal rule, keep your rig clean. After all the conversations about dabbing we’ve had on The High Guide recently, we couldn’t help but leave you with a story, a cautionary tale of sorts on a not so dabulous experience submitted anonymously to our fellow friend in the podcast world. McCarter Gets High.

0:16:47.4 Emily McCarter: This story is coming to us from an anonymous submitter, thank you very much for submitting. Here we go. It starts off with my not so dabulous experience. [laughter] Okay, my high story is taking us back to my college days when I took my first dab. Oh, I love that. So there was this super hot guy in my psychology class whose face I was looking to sit upon, [laughter] naturally, he was dumb as a post, so when he asked if I would help him study for an upcoming test, I was more than happy to help out. Fast forward to that night when as a study break, he suggested that we take some dabs, of course, I agreed, feeling way too confident. In typical hot dumb guy fashion, we had to make a quick trip to the store in his Jeep, without the doors obviously, [chuckle] for a torch. He ran into the store, I stayed in the car and avoid making eye contact with other passengers.

0:17:51.9 Emily McCarter: When he returned from the store, he informed me that he had just shop-lifted the toke and we needed to make a speedy getaway. [laughter] This casual misdemeanor should have sent me running, but again, this guy was real hot and I didn’t shave my legs for nothing, I love this person’s attitude. [chuckle] Anyways, we make it back to his place with the newly acquired torch and we’re ready to roll, having zero concept of how dabs worked, I confidently took a deep breath and made my attempt to take a respectable size hit. Immediately upon the dab hitting my lungs, all of my cool, flirty girl energy was gone and replaced with the most dramatic of asthma attacks. [laughter] The next 10 to 15 minutes consisted of me in the fetal position, hacking up a lung, once I was able to speak, I asked him what the fuck happened? [laughter]

0:18:47.9 Emily McCarter: It was at that point that he realized he forgot to put water in the dab rig, [laughter] another significant red flag. Naturally, instead of taking my asthmatic ass home, I determined the best course of action would be for me to take another dab. [laughter] Let me tell you, it was a bold move, even with water in the rig, my trachea and lungs were not up for the challenge. This time as I entered my fit of coughing, I felt the sides of my throat start to close. In a panic, I started frantically hand-signaling to the hot boy to call an ambulance because I was obviously going to die. Sadly, dumb hot-guy was zero help in my time of need, but fear not, I eventually figured out how to breathe and still managed to get dicked down by the night’s end. [laughter] Moral of the story, put water in your dab rig and be careful when trying to get it in with hot dumb people. Wow, that might be our best story yet. [laughter]

0:19:49.1 April Pride, host: It’s clear that sometimes hot guys and hot dabs just don’t mix well. Thanks for listening to this episode of The High Guide, and join me, April Pride, every Friday at 1 PM Pacific in Club House, where we cover all things A to Z, plant-based pleasure. Of course, you can find a new episode of The High Guide every Friday, subscribe and follow wherever you listen to podcast, and if you’re looking to stay in closer contact, give us a follow on Instagram at the high.guide and subscribe to our newsletter at www.thehigh.guide.

Episode Credits

Producer & Host: April Pride Audio Engineer: Nick Patri, Cloud Studios Theme music: Cheri Dub, Morris Johnson

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