Doing Dabs without a Torch: What You Need to Know

It’s an age-old problem for smokers – you have your fat pre-roll or bong ready to smoke, but no lighter. A similar problem that modern stoners run into: Being ready dab session, but not having a torch. If you’re looking to get your banger or nail up to the perfect temperature, just any lighter won’t do. But what happens when you find yourself out of butane? Or worse – one of your friends absent-mindedly pocketed your torch at the last smoke session? Fear not, there are alternatives available.

Why is a Butane Torch Used for Dabbing?

Dabbing, of course, refers to the process of consuming cannabis concentrates. The most common way to do this involves taking a small portion of the dab or the cannabis concentrate and flash-vaporize it on a red-hot nail. This is when your butane torch lighter comes into play – its intense flame makes heating and burning the dab quickly and evenly, which would be difficult with an ordinary lighter.

The expense of replenishing the torch’s butane tank alone can be discouraging for many dabbers, yet it is the technical difficulty and inconvenience that deters many from continuing. Mastering the art of heating your nail accurately with a torch can be difficult, and once you’ve found that optimal timing to get it just right, every smoke session is essentially determined by sticking to this timing or else risk wasting precious concentrates.

butane torch

Methods for Dabbing Without a Torch

Whether it’s the process, the price, or your situation that is leading you to consider dabbing without a torch, you’re in luck. We’re breaking down the best ways to dab without a torch.

Vape It

Vaporizers provide an alternative option to dabbing without the hazard of a torch. Vape pens are ideal for using on-the-go and can extend your oil supply considerably. Vape pens are equipped with either quartz, ceramic or titanium coils in an atomizer chamber; the battery heats up these elements to vaporize any essential oils. This device can retain power for several days without needing a recharge – but you get what you pay for! Generally, good quality vapes cost from $30 to over $200 according to your usage needs and preferences.

Put it on Your Bowl or In Your Joint

Hash oil has been around for centuries. But the use of butane torches and oil rigs is a much more recent addition to the smoking process. So how did people use hash oil without these tools? The answer is easy: People would apply oil directly onto a packed bowl filled with cannabis flower. To ensure your bowl is fully packed and ready for sharing, use two average dabs of oil per bowl. If you’re splitting the treat with friends or family, make sure to spread it out so everyone gets their share. An ideal way to fill the bowl is by packing it gradually, dabbing and repeating until full. This process allows you to smoke the oil without exposing it to open flame which can reduce some of its THC potency.

For enjoying your concentrates with a joint, there are a few different methods to use. You can either spread the weed on paper and then dab it with oil, or crumble the cannabis up and sprinkle it in with the oil droplets. If you want an even better result, try making a long snake shape out of your chosen concentrate and wrap that around the outside of your joint. When rolling the joint, steer clear of sealing either end with wax. If you put the wax too close to one side, you’ll burn off beneficial compounds like THC; and if it’s too close to the other end, oil may drip out into your mouth.

Use an Electronic Nail (aka an eNail)

eNails offer one of the handiest methods to dab. Using an electric control box, these devices heat up a titanium, ceramic, or quartz nail with its metal coil. Simply set the desired temperature on your controller and after it is sufficiently heated you can place a drop of oil onto your eNail for vapor inhalation through your rig. This method mimics a true butane torch and is much safer, as the heated coil and nail are unlikely to cause an accidental fire if used with caution.

The Stovetop Heating Method

This method uses the same principle as the eNail, but is a little more DIY. To heat the nail of your dab rig, you can simply place it over a stovetop. However, bear in mind that this procedure demands extra caution by utilizing tongs to avoid burns.

How it works:

  1. Turn on your gas or electric stove and set the heat level to high.
  2. Using tongs, hold the nail and place it on top of the burner.
  3. Heat the nail for up to five minutes.
  4. Take the nail off the nail and put it in your rig.
  5. Dab-away!

The Last Toke

Some of these torch-less dabbing methods are “break in case of emergency”, while others are genuinely enjoyable experiences of their own. Either way, they are good skills to have and we invite you to experiment. If you have any questions or would like some more tips and tricks, stop by and talk to the knowledgeable budtenders at Frost!

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