May 22 , 2020
If you’re going to be a dab master, you have to master how to make dabs! Marijuana dabs are all the rage nowadays because of the rush of effects due to the heightened potency of concentrated cannabis. Some THC wax samples have tested as high as 90% THC or higher!
If you want to learn ‘what is wax?’ or ‘what is shatter?’ then we can answer those questions, as well as show you how to make dabs at home and how to dab wax on your homemade dabbing rig. We’re going to give you some straight dope on how to make your own wax, how to make vape oil, weed resin, and THC butter. We will enlighten you on how to make dabs with a hair straightener and how to make dabs with a clothes iron. If you know where to buy dabs and can legally purchase dab equipment and dab weed, then you can get some excellent weed resin; but you can also make some powerfully potent marijuana dabs at home.
Making dabs? Making rosin? Making rosin dabs? Whatever your aim is, with the right method, equipment, and can-do attitude, we know you can do it! So let's get started!
(Holding up some freshly made shatter wax, image from Murder Doll 710 on Instagram)
What are dabs? Dabs are resiny cannabis concentrates made by extracting THC, CBD and other potent cannabinoids, sometimes using butane or carbon dioxide solvents, to produce solids usually referred to as wax, shatter, budder, butane hash oil (BHO), or Live Resin.
Are dabs safe? There is no evidence that dabbing is bad for your lungs or for your brain; marijuana dabs’ cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes have never been proven harmful to brain or lung function in mature adults.
Here is a breakdown of the basic kinds of marijuana dabs, and how to store dabs:
- Shatter – sticky, glassy concentrates that are very refined and potent; generally stored wrapped in wax paper or parchment paper.
- Crumble – pretty much what it says on the label, with a doughy, crumbly texture like a ground-up candle; most often stored in a small, resealable glass or silicone container or jar with a lid. You may want to line your container with parchment paper to avoid sticking.
- Budder or THC butter (not to be confused with cannabutter, which is used in making medibles) – it has a consistency somewhat similar to peanut butter, and made by whipping resin or heating shatter until it’s a smooth paste; THC butter is generally stored much like crumble.
- Wax – not as soft as crumble or budder, wax dabs are sticky and need to be handled with dab equipment or tools; dab wax has lower levels of THC or CBD than shatter, but still packs some pretty respectable potency! Wax dabs can be stored either in a resealable container or with wax or parchment paper.
- Vape oil, dab oil, juice – again, pretty much as you’d expect from the name, these liquid, oily cannabis concentrates are available either in glass or silicone containers.
- Resin or sap – made from drying and curing the sticky trichomes coating the buds, or nugs, and leaves of mature female pot plants; resin is stored either in wax or parchment paper or a resealable container.
- Live Resin – made under laboratory conditions, with trained technicians, whereby the cannabis nugs are flash-frozen immediately upon harvesting and kept at arctic temperatures throughout the extraction method. Live Resin is more costly than some other concentrates, because of production cost, but is popular for its aroma, greater cannabinoid levels, more complex terpene profiles, and because the effects of dabs with Live Resin result in a potent psychoactive high. Live Resin can be kept in either wax or parchment paper or a resealable container.
- Rosin dabs – What is rosin? Rosin dabs are a solventless concentrate produced by drying and curing cannabis flowers. Making rosin involves using a mechanical process involving heat and a dab press to extract the resin from marijuana without chemicals like using butane and/or propane; rosin wax can be made at home with a hair straightener or clothes iron and is usually wrapped in wax or parchment paper or stored in a resealable container.
(Slicing some CBD dab wax into squares, image from Grass Door.Com on Instagram)
If you’re wondering where to buy dabs or how much 1 gram of wax costs, prices tend to vary from location to location, geographically, and are dependent on availability and the grow quality of local suppliers; however to give you a sampling, in Portland, Oregon you can pick up a gram of Trainwreck strain shatter for $30; whereas in Spokane, Washington 1 gram of wax Pineapple Kush strain costs $30; Live Resin Deathstar strain will run you $60 a gram in Denver, Colorado.
Now that you know where to buy dabs and the approximate cost of 1 gram of wax or shatter, let’s look at how to make your own dabs!
(Wax marijuana dabs in a glass resealable jar, image from Airborne Medical on Instagram)
How to Make Dabs at Home
You can better assure the quality of your dab - extracting 80-90% pure THC and other potent cannabinoids, and even being able to dab weed strains that you haven’t found at your local dispensaries - by learning how to make concentrates yourself with stuff already on hand or that is really easy to buy!
What are dabs made of? THC wax, or dabs, is made out of powerful, concentrated resin extracted from marijuana after harvesting; dab wax can be smoked, vaporized or even ingested - giving you much stronger, faster, purer and even more powerful psychotropic effects than smoking cannabis leaf. For medical marijuana users that means better, faster relief; for recreational users it means a righteous, longer-lasting high!
(Resealable jar with dab wax inside, image from Afterlife Supply on Instagram)
How to Make THC Wax (or How to Make Dabs with a Hair Straightener)
When you make rosin by with a hair straightener you can breathe a little easier, because it's the safest method. Because there are no solvents to ingest and no fumes that can lead to most unfortunate vapor explosions or fires, you're running a low-risk operation at home. The ingredients and equipment are also simple to get and to use.
Wax or parchment paper
A razor blade or sharp knife
A hair straightener, ideally with digital temperature display
A small scale
Your handy herb grinder
To make rosin, you'll need a few grams of marijuana buds, or better yet kief.
- Thoroughly grind 1-2 grams the cannabis of your choice.
- Heat your hair straightener to 250 to 300°F, low to medium setting if you have no thermostat.
- Fold your wax or parchment paper in half, placing about a quarter of your ground pot nug or kief in the middle so it rests between the two halves of the parchment paper.
- Grip the folded wax paper with your hair straightener. Your herb is inside the parchment paper, not touching the hair straightener! Use a hand wearing the oven mitt to press down for 5 seconds, you may hear a slight sizzling sound.
- This one will really blow you away! Ungrip your hair straightener, unfold your wax or parchment paper and you’ll see a spot of resin made from the bud or kief; you immediately relocate the bud or any loose kief to another area of the parchment or wax paper, fold it over again and press down again for 5 seconds – always with your oven mitt on - to make another resin spot. Continue to press and repress the marijuana, applying heat and pressure, to extract the potent cannabinoids, simultaneously making the effects potentially stronger by heat-activating the pressed pot.
- Continue pressing and repressing until there is little to nothing left of the ganja leaf or kief, and you end up with sticky spots of resin all over the waxed paper or parchment paper.
- Finally, using your razor blade, scrape together your spots of rosin and you now have some trippy-good weed wax ready to smoke!
This super simple extraction method could also be called ‘How to Make Dabs with a Clothes Iron’ because you could use the same method, but press down with a clothes iron, maybe creating some cannabis wax from 3-5 grams of ground weed or kief.
Here is a video where a guy takes a nug of weed, plus some parchment paper and shows you how to make dabs with a hair straightener:
Don't waste time you could be spending on making rosin! Just buy this beast and get started!
Product images need love too.
Instead of an iron or a hair straightener you could use the above recipe for making dabs but buy yourself your very own dab press to apply heat and pressure. You can buy your own heat press for $24.95 on Amazon or you can buy a Tarik T-Rex Rosin Press for $60.05 plus 99 cents shipping.
(A gram of wax budder or weed butter, image from Kushwick Sick on Instagram)
How to Make Dabs with Alcohol (or How to Make Dabs without using Butane)
Here we’re going to show you how to make dabs with isopropyl alcohol; how to make shatter-quality concentrates inexpensively without butane or CO2.
Freezer container for your weed
Mesh kitchen strainer
A glass bowl
Your kitchen sink (no really!)
A hair blow dryer
A quarter ounce of weed
91% isopropyl rubbing alcohol
- Thoroughly grind your quarter ounce of weed.
- Decarboxylate your weed by spreading it out on a cookie sheet and baking your cannabis for about 30 minutes at 250 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit/ 120 – 148 degrees Celsius.
- Separately, put both the bottle of alcohol and your ground, decarbed weed (in the airtight container) in your refrigerator’s freezer overnight. You want the ground-up cannabis flowers and the alcohol to reach sub-zero temperatures.
- Remove the ground, decarbed weed and the alcohol from the freezer, then pour enough alcohol to just cover the weed into the container with the marijuana.
- Upon pouring the alcohol into the container with the weed, you want to stir the mixture for 5 seconds, then place the glass bowl in your kitchen sink and immediately start straining the alcohol and weed mix out into the glass bowl with the kitchen strainer and doubled-up filters. The alcohol should be in contact with the ground ganja for no more than 15-20 seconds maximum as you mix.
- Squeeze the filters to get out as much of the alcohol as possible.
- Take your hair blow dryer and, on the lowest setting, continually blow hot air onto your alcohol-marijuana mixture in the glass bowl. Keep drying it until the liquid is all gone, leaving behind yellow wax.
- When the alcohol is completely gone, scrape the wax out of the bowl and store in a resealable container or on some wax or parchment paper.
(BHO shatter wax, image from Dub Fan 420 on Instagram)
How to Make Shatter
Shatter is a type of BHO, Butane Hash Oil , made in a chemical process that uses butane to separate trichomes from the cannabis buds and trim, concentrating THC and other cannabinoids and terpenes found in the pot plant.
How to make shatter involves soaking marijuana plant buds and trim in liquefied butane in order to separate the trichomes from the plant. The resulting mixture is then collected and heated in order to purge as much butane from it as possible.
The purged mixture is then left to rest and settle so it can form a thin sheet of extract.
Waxes, budders, and other types of butane-separated concentrates are stirred, whipped, or shaken during parts of the production process, creating varied forms of marijuana dabs that have a cloudy, waxy look and texture. Shatter is not stirred, whipped, or shaken during the heating process and so it has a characteristic translucency – though the translucence of shatter wax has little or nothing to do with its purity; pureness results from butane solvents being thoroughly removed and the quality of the cannabis used to manufacture it.
Though some stoners and pot patients may want to know how to make shatter at home, production of shatter is best left to highly-trained professionals in laboratory kitchen conditions. Amateurs who have attempted to make shatter at home have sometimes let the fumes leak out and build up, resulting in explosions and fire due to improper ventilation of butane solvent fumes.
(Carts of THC oil, image from Pure Pico on Instagram)
How to Make Dab Oil
(or How to Make THC Vape Oil)
Dab oil is made by saturating ground and decarbed weed with food-grade vegetable glycerin, then letting it sit for about three months, periodically stirring and straining it for weeks. Making dab oil this way requires patience but is much safer than some more volatile solvent-based extractions methods.
Here are the materials that you’ll need to use this method:
3 airtight, resealable jars
A butter knife or rod to stir with
Small rubber spatula
Mesh kitchen strainer
Time and love...
Decarbed cannabis nugs, or buds - an eighth of an ounce (3.5 g) of weed produces between 30-60 mL of vape juice.
Food grade vegetable glycerin
- Put the nugs into one of the airtight, resealable jars, and pour just enough vegetable glycerin over them so that it saturates the weed without diluting it or reducing the end-product potency. The consistency will be a pasty mixture that’s stirable but not overly liquidy.
- Once it is thoroughly mixed, seal the jar, and store in a cool, dark, dry place for about a month.
- After 3-4 weeks, take the jar out and stir it again, thoroughly. Then add another tablespoon of vegetable glycerin, restir and store again for another month.
- Repeat Step 3 after another month, adding another tablespoon of vegetable glycerin and stirring well, then return the jar of vegetable glycerin and weed mixture to storage in a cool, dark place for one more month; anytime during the waiting period you can shake or stir the mix in the jar to keep it all separated and mixed uniformly.
- When the final month is over, take the vegetable glycerin and weed mixture out and stir well with a butter knife or rod of some kind; next place your mesh kitchen strainer over another glass, pouring the vegetable glycerin and weed mixture through the strainer. Let all of the vegetable glycerin drip through the strainer, and use the rubber spatula to squeeze out as much remaining liquid from the soaked cannabis as you can.
- Discard the inert cannabis plant matter, clean the mesh kitchen strainer, and then cover the strainer with the cheese cloth folded over four times so that it is thicker; pour the liquid mixture onto the cheese cloth or muslin bag, letting it drip through into the third glass jar.
- Squeeze out all remnant liquid from the cheese cloth, and you should be left with a clean, clear vegetable glycerin liquid infused with THC extract, which you can now use with a syringe or eyedropper to load up an empty vape cartridge.
Another way how to make dab oil or how to make THC vape oil is via a wax to ejuice kit that uses a chemical process to break solid concentrates into liquid usable in a vape pen; and which can be bought commercially online at places like Farm To Vape which has such a wax to ejuice kit for $16.99; or at Wax Liquidizer which has a 15ml wax to ejuice kit for $19.99.
The Mig Vapor DIY E-juice kit is a great way to get started with making your own e-juice. It's super customizable and Mig Vapor is a reliable source to work with.
You're also going to need a trusty vape pen with a cartridge you can fill on your own. May we suggest one (or a few!) of these?
Fill the cartridge of the Canna Blast Vape Pen Kit CCell with whatever tasty concoction you create! This super slim, sexy smoker is durable, portable and thoughtfully designed just for you.
Of Mig Vapor\'s CE3 510 Complete Oil Vape Pen Kit, perhaps the most important number you need to know is 5. Because it costs half of a 10'er to bring this ready-to-fill oil pen home.
We thank you, Pinterest user, @bfreedman1003, for your inclusion of this image on your 420 pin board.
Easy to fill, easy to hide. The Bug Rx Oil Vape Pen is a tiny but mighty addition to any vaper's repertoire.
It's not as tiny as what's in this photo from Mig Vapor's website, but it's still pretty small.
(Dab equipment - rig and torch_, image from Multa Player on Instagram)
Standard dabbing equipment includes:
Glass piece - the glass chamber of a dab rig, which should be a small sturdy piece that can deliver a very concentrated hit with excellent terpene tastes and potent effects.
Nail - The dab nail fits into the glass piece and is then heated up and used to vaporize the dab weed. Some people like to use a homemade dab nail made from a variety of materials, including glass, ceramic, quartz and titanium.
Torch – either propane and butane torches work well with dab equipment, but propane burns up to 1000 degrees hotter - potentially more dangerous if you overheat your nail.
Now, if you don’t have your own rig to burn your homemade dabs and you can’t afford to buy one, here’s a video on how to make a really simple homemade rig:
If you have read through the voluminous information we have provided you, then you are well on your way to becoming a dab master! We have endeavored to teach you what are dabs, where to buy dabs, how to make dabs at home, how to dab wax, and how to store dabs; as well as educate (or weeducate) you on how to make weed wax, how to make THC wax, how to make dabs without butane, and how to make dabs with isopropyl alcohol. If you are an apt pupil of pot, then you likewise learned all about the effects of dabs, as well as answers to questions like ‘Are dabs safe?’ and ‘What are dabs made of?’ We went through some recipes for how to make shatter wax at home, how to make concentrates in general, and even how to make THC vape oil! And we’ve even broken down dab equipment for you, like a weed press, needed to make dabs as well as the dab equipment you’ll need – maybe even a homemade dab nail - to blaze your weed resin or wax bud. As you can see, there is much to discuss when it comes to how to make dabs and how to do a dab, and there is much more to discover on your journey toward true dab mastery! If you are looking for a rig to use with your dabs, then check out dab rigs by Hemper
Written by David and Leah Kaye Weathers are a freelance cannabis writing and graphic designing husband and wife team from Lansing, Michigan. They are passionate advocates for medical and recreational cannabis legalization in the United States. They enjoy not only smoking and vaping, or dabbing, marijuana but also cooking with weed infused veggie oil. They like to spend their free time wandering along nature trails in search of the perfectly chillaxing spot for a smoke sesh.