what is a dab?

What Are Dabs?

Dabs are portions of cannabis concentrate. Consistency and potency characterize these portions. They are often sticky, which makes dabs difficult to handle without a tool. Tools that handle dabs are ‘dabbers’ or dab wands. They help to measure out small, accurate portions of concentrates like shatter, budder, and honey oil. You smoke or vape dabs with a dab rig which has a bong-like design.

All About Dabs

In this article, we will focus entirely on dabs themselves. Our article “Dab Rigs: What Are They and How Are They Used? introduces you to dab rigs themselves.

Dabs Are Not for Beginners

There’s no point having a bad time with cannabis. There is something about it that everyone can benefit from. From mild CBD flowers to concentrates, cannabinoids come in all forms. Your journey with cannabis is not a competition with more experienced users. 

Long-time cannabis users who are interested in exploring the outer limits of the herb are good candidates for giving dabs a shot. Dabs provide an exciting, psychedelic high and have an incredible terpene profile. 

Don’t Dab Just Because Your Tolerance Is High

If you’re being honest, you might admit that cannabis buds aren’t working as well as they used to. If you don’t enjoy the high you get from cannabis flowers anymore, it can be a good idea to take a tolerance break.

Resetting your lifestyle and perspective can do wonders for reinstating your original tolerance levels. Although cannabis has low levels of addictivity, it is possible to abuse it. Therefore, like with any other pleasurable substance, it is a good idea to take a break.

Proceed With Caution

It wouldn’t be responsible to write an article singing dab’s praises without highlighting some cautionary tales. Like a great deal of cannabis research, scientific insight into dabbing is sparse. In some rare, but well-documented cases, dabbing was found to induce tachycardia, hyperthermia, and symptoms related to and including substance-induced psychotic disorder. It is important to verify that you don’t suffer from a predisposition to these disorders and symptoms before proceeding.

Responsible and controlled use of concentrates by experienced users, starting with very small amounts and small hits, is mostly safe. Proceed with education and awareness and you’ll be fine! 

Try Edibles Before Graduating to Dabs

Since the effects of dabs are verging on psychedelic, it is a good idea to get familiar with the effects of cannabis edibles before progressing onto concentrates. This is because inhaled and digested cannabis experiences are unique from one another. 

By appreciating this difference, you can better understand what you’re in for when you try concentrates. If you have experienced higher doses of edibles, then you know that innocent vaporized cannabis flowers can be harnessed into something far more potent. Concentrates are that next level of appreciation after edibles. 

Dabs are Great News for Medical Cannabis Users

Medical cannabis users profit from the therapeutic benefits of the entourage effect. The entourage effect describes how cannabis compounds interact and create effects together.

The benefits are experienced and compatible with our endocannabinoid system to decrease pain and a variety of complicated symptoms in many illnesses. Our article “CBD for Pain: How It Works” explores these mechanisms further.

Dabs offer a deeply therapeutic, medical-grade concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes. Terpenes are valuable not just in cannabis, but in the food we eat, for their medicinal value. Cannabis flower’s cannabinoid range normally hovers respectably around 20%. Concentrates soar close to full purity. 

Cannabis buds are powerfully medicinal and often effective. People suffering from fibromyalgia, IBS, and other forms of intense neuropathic pain with low treatability need relief sooner than pure flowers can give. Concentrates offer this potent, compelling relief fast.

Save Money With Dabs

Long-time cannabis users whose tolerance is extremely high can get more bang for their buck by adding concentrates to their flowers. Some concentrate fans are die-hards who don’t smoke anything else. Because the onset and high of dabs remain incredibly strong, tolerance remains relatively low, even in regular users. 

A Quick Look at Concentrates

Now that you know about dabs and what to expect, the next thing to know are the styles of dabs you can use. Below is the full run-down:


Butane Hash Oil, or BHO, isn’t just one type of concentrate. It refers to a process of extraction using butane as the primary solvent. 

Dab producers favor butane for its versatility and effective winterization. Winterization is the purging of butane from the oil, which makes the concentrate safe to consume. 

BHO’s versatility means it can produce a wide range of dab viscosities and styles of concentrate. Butane is the primary solvent that makes shatter, budder, and sauce possible.

Here at SacredMeds, we make our versions of BHO, Cherry Oil by Sacred Meds, with a 65-70% THC concentration, and Honey Oil by Sacred Meds, with 75-80% THC concentration.


Shatter’s name describes its brittle, glass-like consistency. Producers accomplish this style of concentrate, with a THC concentration of around 70%, by pouring the oil onto a flat surface during extraction. 

The heavy indica-based shatter Afghani Kush Black Label Shatter by Sweet Leaf ranges up to 79% THC. Sweet Leaf specializes in Shatters based on cult classic cannabis strains, taking the traditional flower-based experience to the next level.


Accomplished through whipping, Budder is a relative newcomer to the dab scene. Luxuriously creamy, Budder is easier to work with than stickier concentrates. SeC, the cannabis confectioners responsible for delicious cult edibles BC Pineapples THC Gummies, make their own Budder


Sauce, like Shatter, Budder, and Diamonds, gets its name from its appearance. With dab concentrates, this is generally the rule of thumb. Sauces have varying, smooth and chunky consistencies. HTFSE Sauce by High Voltage is a High Terpene Full Spectrum Extract, extremely flavorful with potent effects.


Cannabis concentrate producers make Rick Simpson Oil, or RSO, with ethanol as the solvent. It has an interesting history and a lasting legacy as a classic dab. The sensational Apricot Kush RSO by Viridesco embodies all the jammy goodness of the original strain. 

CO2 Oil

CO2 Oil refers to any concentrate that uses CO2 as the extracting solvent. Like Sweet Leaf with their incredible Shatter, Daily produces a line of CO2 Oil that brings the best cannabis strains to the world of dabs. With Rockstar and GSC buds in stock, you could do a side-by-side taste and potency comparison with Rockstar and GSC CO2 Oils. You can also combine the two, using the flowers as a carrier for concentrate in a vaporizer.


Diamonds, like Budder and Shatter, get their name from their appearance. Packing close to 98% THC, Meat Breath Diamonds by YTFC show their value in more than just appearance. Diamonds are easy to dab and can be broken up.


Distillate is extremely diverse and is used in a number of ways besides dabbing. Lab refined to isolate usually one type of cannabinoid, distillates can be added to topicals, edibles, cannabis flowers, or used alone. THC Distillate by Klar contains a proprietary blend of added terpenes for exceptional flavor. 

Live Resin

Live Resin is different from all the other concentrates named so far. It gets made directly from fresh cannabis buds and leaves.

The uncured, undried cannabis sativa plant is frozen and extracted for an intense, unique cannabis concentrate experience. Bluefin Tuna Kush Live Resin by YTFC takes the incredible gaseous terpene aromas of the fresh strain and packs them into a concentrated dab.


Rosin is the only cannabis concentrate produced using heat and pressure alone. No solvents are used in the production of Rosin by YTFC. This solvent-free extract makes Rosin the safest of all concentrates and quite popular with cannabis flower purists.


Rickner, S., Cao, D. and Kleinschmidt, K. (2017) “A little ‘dab’ will do ya’ in: a case report of neuro-and cardiotoxicity following use of cannabis concentrates,” PMC US National Library of Medicine, [online] Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28644052/ (Accessed 10 April 2021).

Rossi, G. and Beck, M. (2020) “A Little Dab Will Do: A Case of Cannabis-Induced Psychosis,” PMC US National Library of Medicine, [online] Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33052273/ (Accessed 10 April 2021).

1 thought on “What Are Dabs?”

  1. Wow, great work guys, this is amazing and so so so helpful. It’s nice to see a dispensary take the time to try and help as opposed to just trying to sell me something. Kudos.

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