Cannabis concentrates have grown and evolved exponentially in a relatively short time thanks to legalized cannabis markets and modern techniques. Its popularity is higher than ever because concentrates have a host of advantages over traditional cannabis consumption methods like dried flower.
However, stepping into the concentrate arena is not always an easy transition. The moment most people see a blowtorch involved in their cannabis consumption, they assume enjoying concentrates is dangerous and too complex. To some people, just the look and methodology of a dab rig conjures a negative association with hard drugs.
Luckily, the world of dabbing just keeps expanding with more and more devices that are simplified and user-friendly. A relatively new device that has been circulating for the past year or so is the vertical dabbing rig or dab straw.
This rig allows you to consume your hit vertically, sucking the vapor up through the straw. You can get the rig in a variety of brands and styles although the honey straw and nectar collector are the styles most commonly found. Just like the name suggests, you get to suck up your dabs very purposefully, making sure that you get your full hit with no wasted concentrates.
The advantages of using concentrates
Many cannabis consumers are wary of even the concept of concentrates. The terminology and variety of concentrates alone can be daunting: rosin, resin, shatter, wax, snap, batter, budder, diamonds, sugar, sauce, live, distillate, then combinations of those terms, like live rosin or sugar sauce.
If good old-fashioned flower or edibles get the job done then why bother? Well for starters, concentrates require only a fraction of the amount of other traditional consumption methods for a person to feel effects.
Not only is this more cost-effective, but it also reduces the amount of smoke and other undesirable elements going to your lungs. Concentrates work instantly, and advancement in extraction technology has created concentrates that can capture the true-to-plant aromas and flavors of cannabis in ways that other forms cannot.
Even when directly smoking a joint, some of the flavors are lost to combustion. Concentrates are easier to transport and smell far less than burning flower, with no lingering scent.
What is a dab straw?
A dab straw, sometimes called a honey straw or nectar collector, started as a piece of long cylindrical borosilicate glass pipe. One tip is for dabbing, while the other end is for inhaling vaporized concentrates.
Dab straws come in different shapes and designs. The simplest and most basic being the cylinder glass or silicone. The tips can come in different materials as well, such as borosilicate glass, quartz, or titanium. Titanium is the most durable and long-lasting, while glass and quartz give you the purest flavor of your concentrates.
How do you use a dab straw?
Using a dab straw is easy. These are the steps to using one:
- Prepare all the necessary materials such as your dab straw, torch, and concentrate. You do not have to take the concentrate out of the container.
- If you have a dab straw that has a water chamber, fill it up with water first. Make sure all the connections are dry before attaching the tip to prevent thermal expansion. Secure the parts together.
- Hold the dab straw with one hand with the tip pointing downwards at an angle. Keep this in mind when you are using a dab straw with a water chamber.
- Turn on your torch and point the flame at the tip of the straw. You only need the end of the flame to make contact with the tip.
- Rotate the dab straw to distribute the heat evenly. Stop when the tip is just starting to glow. Continuing beyond this point will potentially overheat the concentrate. You can still dip a red hot nail into concentrate, but dabbing at such a high temperature will destroy many of the flavors and terpenes. Heating any form of cannabis past the point of 600 degrees Fahrenheit will surpass simple vaporization and will take you back to burning that THC into smoke.
- Wait for a few seconds to cool down the tip.
- Hold the concentrate dish or container in your other hand. Draw from the mouthpiece as you touch the tip of the straw into the dish. Do not drag the tip across the entire concentrate. Dab the straw gently on the edges of your concentrate.
The technique is the same whether you are using a glass dab straw or a quartz dab straw. The only difference is that a quartz dab straw is stronger and able to handle a higher temperature than boro glass.
If you are going to use a dab straw for budder, get one that has a water chamber instead of a long straw. Depending on how you use the straw as well as the temperature of the tip, you may end up inhaling budder instead of vapor. If you use a honey straw with water, there is a better chance that any unvaporized particles will get filtered out.
Electric dab straw
One of the newest options for dabbing comes in the form of electric dab straws, such as the EVRI from Dip Devices. The elimination of a torch or dab nail simplifies the entire process. It is infinitely easier to use than other dabbing methods, the only requirement is to push a button and aim the end of the straw into the concentrate dish. The EVRI is also small enough to fit in a pocket comfortably, making it incredibly portable.
The EVRI is interesting for its versatility. Two magnetic interchangeable attachments allow it to be used as a dab straw or vape/pod battery. That versatility not only allows for a wide range of sampling, but it also can act as a bridge to the wider world of concentrates for new users.
An electric dab straw solves almost every issue that might create a barrier to dabbing for newcomers. They are safe and easy to use, with no setup or waiting. No torch or potentially scalding surfaces makes it accessible to nearly everyone.