Words by Skyla Patton | Photo by Sierra Pedro

Very different from its distant dance move cousin “the Dab,” the trend of dabbing has swept the cannabis industry. Rigs of all sizes, shapes and colors became available in shops and quickly filled up display cases in what seemed liked mere weeks during the late 2000s. Where did this intense way to ingest our weed come from? Though you might still feel a little concerned when someone pulls a blowtorch out of their backpack, you’ll soon see that it’s nothing to fret over. Read on for a background of what exactly dabbing is and how it ripped through the marijuana industry.

Dabbing has actually been present for several decades, but it just recently boomed in popularity and access. Extracting cannabinoids produces sticky oils, most often known as shatter or wax that can be stored in non-stick containers like small rubber bins or squashed between wax paper. The oil is heated to an incredibly high temperature—enter the scary blowtorch—and then inhaled through a dab rig. Unfortunately, most extraction processes are so intense that the aromatic aspects of strains are lost and the flavors can blend in with one another. Due to the concentrated THC, dabs are essentially the fastest and most intense way to get incredibly stoned, incredibly fast. They are also highly renowned for individuals with chronic pain for instant relief upon ingestion.

With time, the process has evolved and been altered by scientists and amateurs alike. It’s important to mention dabbing is still cautioned against due to its dangerous qualities and processes. Properly extracting the oil from the flower requires lab tests, extraction equipment (read: a lot of chemicals) and high grade solvents. While playing scientist can seem fun at face value, the risks and dangers of trying to craft your own oils generally outweigh the positives of making your own wax.

Criticized for its debilitating powers, dabbing is often not recommended for beginner smokers. Most strains of oil range between 60 to 95 percent THC—“good” flower for joints or bowls on average ranges around 18 or 20 percent. It’s also on the more complicated spectrum of ways to get high, but if you’re determined or just plain curious, there’s plenty of ways to get started. Local dispensaries will offer inexpensive and easy ways to get your foot in the door. Dab rigs, glass or metal dab nails and as many types of shatter as you could imagine are more than likely to be lined up in their very own display case. It’s important to remember while venturing into the world of dabbing that while fatal overdose is impossible, an uncomfortable overdose is very much possible. Pay attention to the dosage of your oil and start small to ensure a positive experience.

Eugene is not lacking in access to dispensaries, and if you’re ready to take the first puff into the world of dabbing, there’s plenty of places to get started. Local Eugenian Jake Beneat offered some extra pointers for novice dabbers. “I smoke dabs because my tolerance has been built up so highly that smoking bud in joints or pipes feels like a waste a lot of the time. Dabs are a surefire way to get ripped really quickly and effectively, so I really only smoke oil anymore.” He emphasized the instant gratification aspect of dabbing that is commonly talked about. Beneat has had his medical card for a little under a year now and considers himself to be a seasoned smoker. We asked what his favorite location is for his oils of choice. “TJ’s has three locations that are easy to get to, the best prices and quality oils so they’re my go-to dispensary here in Eugene. I have chronic back and neck pain, so dabs are the fastest relief for me.” Check out local dispensaries and consult extraction professionals for helpful tips or the best places to purchase oil of your liking.