Vapourising THC oil with blowtorches.
I am not a pothead. Sure, I smoke a shit ton of weed, talk about it a fair amount and go to great lengths to ensure that I always have some. But to me, it is merely a lifestyle choice. For my new friend Rabbit and others who dab, it’s a passion. A couple of weeks ago, I had no idea what dabbing was. A reader dropped me a line telling me I should try it out and then connected me with a friend of his here in New York with the right gear for it.
For those new to this idea, here’s the breakdown. Hash oil, affectionately known as “errl”, is THC extract derived from weed through a chemical process that I won’t get into so that I can avoid being reamed out in the comments for being wrong (T. Kid no do chemistry). The oil is vapourised using a dabbing pipe, which works a lot like a regular water pipe except for the bowl piece. This consists of a titanium “nail”, a flat surface that you heat with a blowtorch, then using a tool to press a little booger of the oil onto it. It bursts into vapour and you inhale it. Some of Rabbit’s pieces had globes covering the nails to capture the hit as you inhale it, others had what looks like a traditional metal bowl piece, and a couple of the bug-like, delicate looking ones had a “swing arm”, a little arm with the titanium plate on the end which you can swing up to heat and swing down to hit.
On this grand tour of dabbing that Rabbit graciously put together for Jai and I, we hit the following pipes in this order.
Dosa Glass Rabbit
Toro Double Macro
Snic FYC Double Micro
HMK swing arm vape
HMK swing arm "Fire & Ice" vape
T. Kid dabs that errl
As it probably sounds to traditional smokers, this process is relatively complicated. It takes a fair amount of preparation, some really specific equipment and involves the daunting task of handling a blowtorch. The initial thought is, Why go to all that trouble when I could just roll a doobie and smoke? The fact is, vapourising hash oil is the most efficient use of your weed and the least tainted delivery of THC into your hungry face. If you’ve been smoking weed all the live-long day for years like I have, you’ve essentially been destroying a good chunk of the THC when you set fire to it. The smoke you’re inhaling only contains about two thirds of the THC in your weed. Handheld vapourisers remedy that wastage, but the vapour hit from dabbing is far more concentrated. You can blast a whole gram of weed’s THC in a single inhale.
And then there’s the high: The smoothest slow-motion smack in the face of clean, serene stonedness that you’ve ever experienced. For a tobacco-tainted joint smoker like myself, the hit, free of all the unwanted byproducts of combustion, was pristine. Rather than numbly basking in my high, I felt every varied nuance of the intoxication. This shit was the raw uncut.
Dabbing is already a common practice on the West Coast and in obsessive weed communities around the country. According to Rabbit, New York is way behind on dabbing and is ready for the phenomenon to hit. He’s been dabbing exclusively for years, has quit smoking everything and sees burning buds as an outdated practice. He went as far as to say, “Flowers are nothing to me,” referring to the beautiful cured plant material that I find so sexy, savouring moments to examine every variety turning slowly in the light as my dealer taps his foot impatiently. It hurt just a little to hear Rabbit speak so callously of discarding these beauties once all their essence had been removed. It made me feel kind of old-fashioned, a prude preferring the suggestive pin-up to the full-on beaver shot.
There is no doubt in Rabbit’s mind that dabbing is going to break big very soon. While I can see it gaining some popularity, I can’t imagine that it will ever replace smoking. Weed enthusiasts often forget that not everyone is so bullish about the culture of smoking, and no amount of facts about efficiency are going to get your typical once-in-a-while toker to handle a blowtorch. Sure, hash oil is getting more popular in cartridge form with all the e-cigarette style vapes emerging, but again, not many people are going to go to the trouble of extracting their own hash oil and filling cartridges with it. Those products won’t hit really big until weed is legal here, and they’re available to buy. That won’t be for quite some time.
I might not start dabbing at home for a while, but this splendid introduction from Rabbit has gotten me interested in the technique and the potential of its popularity. This is certainly not the last time dabbing will make an appearance on Weediquette. Until the next installment, I’m gonna roll another dirty-ass joint or 12.
Photos by Jai Lennard
Weediquette: You Sell Me Drugs but Are We Friends?