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The Evolution of Dabbing Technology

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Written by Jason Sander

Dabbing has seen a significant rise in popularity in recent years. Dabbing has become so widespread that there’s an unofficial 710 “holiday” for this method of consuming cannabis concentrates — although the necessity of such a day is debatable.

Long before the elaborate innovations of dab rigs came about, a common way to consume cannabis concentrates was colloquially called “hot knives.” Those of us who are old enough to remember this primitive consumption method would likely rather forget it.

Consumers would heat hash on a knife with a home stove until it was glowing red and then inhale. Not only was this harsh and unhealthy for the lungs, but it was also wasteful and dangerous. Thankfully, less safe ways to consume cannabis have changed drastically over the years, as dabbing has evolved significantly.

Domeless Nails Emerge

The next step in the evolution of dabbing saw the invention of dome nails. This way of dabbing utilized a metal heating element and a glass dome. The metal was heated to high temperatures, a consumer put the dome on top, then used a dab tool to place concentrates on the “nail.” This way of dabbing is now extinct as well, thanks to quartz bangers.

Quartz bangers allow much safer and pleasant low-temp dabbing, as quartz (silicon dioxide) has high heat tolerance and retention. At-home dabbers now typically use a quartz banger and a carb cap to restrict airflow. Before domeless nails became widespread, dab rigs were often made of a multitude of materials — but now borosilicate glass is the norm (for heat resistance).

Blowtorches were also common at the time but using a blowtorch to consume cannabis is dangerous and off-putting. Later came eNails, which use electric heating coils to remove the need for dangerous torches.

Portable Rigs: The Future of Dabbing

Dab rigs can be bulky and present risks for inexperienced consumers. This is why portable rigs may be the future of dabbing technology. The best of these devices requires no eNail and can still be taken anywhere while offering smooth, flavorful dabs that accurately represent the cultivar’s terpene profile.

A common issue with portable rigs is that the best ones are expensive. However, we should hopefully see this change as innovations in dabbing technology continue to evolve and the layers of cannabis prohibition are further peeled back. It’s hard to believe that consuming cannabis concentrates has evolved so much in a relatively short time, but it’s yet another aspect of the cannabis industry that we have seen progress rapidly.

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Jason Sander

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