Materials & Use

Hemp CBD Dabs: What You Should Know About Them

Gabi Antunes

Aug 15, 2019

Hemp-derived Cannabidiol (CBD) is usually associated with oil in a small vial or gummies in states that permit hemp CBD in these forms, but hemp CBD dabs provide an entirely different way to consume the cannabinoid. Dabbing involves vaporizing a concentrate material with a compatible consumption device, such as a dab rig to quickly deliver hemp-derived CBD to the consumer.

What are hemp-derived CBD dabs and how do they work? Here’s what you should know about hemp CBD dabs and whether they’re right for your preferred vape experience.

What are Hemp CBD Dabs?

Hemp-derived CBD dabs are solvent-based concentrates of the cannabinoid, contained in a small amount of material. A tiny jar of this potent material can contain 1000mg of hemp CBD or more, so only a small amount of material needs to be consumed. Dabs are popular among those who wish to consume a strong dose of hemp-derived CBD.

There are many types of hemp CBD dabs available in markets that permit hemp CBD dabs. Concentrate types that can be “dabbed” include shatter, wax, budder, crystal, and crumble, which are all similarly potent but have differences in consistency.

Dabbing vs Vaping Hemp CBD

Hemp-derived CBD dabs are a slightly more complex than vape oil and can only be used in certain states and with a certain set of devices, including dab rigs, e-nails, portable vaporizers compatible with concentrates, or devices known as wax pens. Even some concentrate-friendly vaporizers can support the use of hemp CBD dabs. Still, dabbing requires a bit more preparation in order to enjoy these products.

The biggest difference between dabbing and vaping is that dabbing does not completely remove combustion from the equation. Like many vaporizers, dabbing relies on conductive heating to vaporize your chosen material, be it a hemp CBD wax, shatter, or crystal. Conductive heating means the material comes in direct contact with the heating source.

To dab, consumers will generally heat a metal surface sometimes referred to as a “nail” until it is red hot. The hemp CBD dab is then deposited onto the nail and vaporized on contact. However, while the bulk of your material is vaporized, the heated nail often causes a portion of the material to combust.

Not all dab rigs require the consumer to heat the nail directly. E-nails, for example, function similarly to vaporizers; you can select your desired temperature setting and the device electrically heats the coil automatically. Still, this method of dabbing relies on conductive heating.

While many vaporizers rely on conductive heating, there are devices that use an indirect method of vaporizing material known as convective heating. Convective heating involves the flow of heated air over the material, rather than the direct contact required to vaporize hemp CBD dab materials. Convective heating helps avoid accidental combustion that can occur with conductive heating vaporizers and dab rigs.

What Type of Hemp CBD Dabs are There?

Hemp-derived CBD dabs include products like wax, shatter, crystals and more. All hemp CBD dabs contain high levels of the cannabinoid, some even exceeding 90% hemp CBD content. Some dabs also include other compounds found within the hemp plant such as terpenes and trace amounts of other cannabinoids. Here’s a look at some of the most common types of hemp CBD dabs available in certain markets, many of which are named for their appearance:

  • Wax: While it is still a solid, wax tends to be quite malleable and sticky. It can be used with some concentrate vaporizers, as well as dab pens, e-nails, and dab rigs.
  • Shatter: This concentrate comes in jagged, rocky pieces. Shatter is a versatile product that can be dabbed or vaporized. Shatter is also becoming a popular food additive among chefs in places that permit the addition to food.
  • Crystal: Crystal looks precisely like the name suggests. Typically high in hemp-derived CBD content, crystals can be dabbed or can be used to mix with beverages or foods in places that permit the addition to these products.
  • Crumble: Crumble is a form of wax that’s not as malleable and can easily break apart. Hemp-derived CBD crumble can be consumed by adding it directly to a dab rig or e-nail.

What you won’t find in hemp-derived CBD dabs is more than 0.3% THC. Industrial hemp, by law, must contain 0.3% or less THC, otherwise it is considered cannabis. True hemp-derived CBD products cannot contain more than trace amounts of THC, so be sure to check whichever product you buy to ensure it is indeed hemp-derived CBD and the state permits the intended use.

Furthermore, if you are looking for a truly THC-free experience, there are hemp CBD dabs available made from hemp CBD isolate, which strips the material of any compound that is not hemp CBD, resulting in a pure powder. Hemp CBD dabs dubbed “full spectrum” contain trace amounts of all cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids found in industrial hemp, while broad spectrum hemp CBD products contain all these trace materials with the exception of the trace amounts of THC.

How are Hemp CBD Concentrates Made?

Concentrates are made through a process known as extraction, in which the desired compounds are drawn out of the source plant and then refined into the desired concentrate material. In the case of hemp CBD dabs, extraction begins with the industrial hemp plant, which contains high levels of hemp CBD and less than 0.3% THC. There are several popular extraction methods that an extractor can use, but the industry standard is supercritical CO2 extraction.

CO2 extraction involves the use of carbon dioxide as a solvent, which can be leveraged to create a range of products by controlling temperature and pressure during the extraction process. It is also a non-toxic solvent, which should result in a cleaner product that requires little refining or processing following extraction. CO2 also allows extractors to target specific cannabinoids or terpenes, fine-tuning their end product to contain precisely the compounds they want, while avoiding the ones they don’t want. In this way, extractors can capture waxes, heavy oils, and light oils separately during the same process.

Dabbing Offers a Potent and Terpene-rich Experience

The advantages of dabbing include the elevated potency of hemp CBD dabs, the quick delivery of the cannabinoid to the consumer, and the small amount of material needed. As industrial hemp products become more popular and hemp CBD finds its way into everything from snacks to lotions, it only makes sense that the demand for hemp CBD is surfacing in the world of vaping and dabbing as well. But, these products should only be found in states that allow hemp CBD in a variety of forms.

If you’re interested in dabbing industrial hemp-derived CBD products, consider what device is best for you, what type of hemp CBD dab material you would prefer, what dosages of hemp CBD are right for your intended experience, and whether hemp CBD dabs are permitted in your state. Ultimately, like all methods of using hemp CBD products, the choice is up to you and dependent on what makes your ideal session.