The Art of Dabbing: With Concentrate Expert Donnie Jackson
(Interviewed by Erin Bilenki)
Donnie Jackson is a Senior Patient Consultant at Peninsula Alternative Health (PAH). Donnie takes pride in his position and strives to be a positive light in the lives of all his patients. As a cannabis enthusiast, he has spent countless hours investigating different forms of the plant and various ways to medicate with it. Overtime, he found that vaporizing concentrates (also known as dabbing) to be his preferred method of medicating. Through the years, he has experimented with different forms of wax and rigs which has made him highly skilled in technique and product selection. PAH values Donnie’s unique skill set and honors him as a concentrate connoisseur and natural healer.
Dabbing still seems to be quite mysterious for many cannabis patients. Many people hear blowtorch and quartz banger and instantly get intimidated. For so many, utilizing this alternative approach to medicating could bring significant results and great pleasure. In the following interview, I ask Donnie some of the common questions about dabbing that we hear at the dispensary. Our intention is to give patients a better understanding of what it means to dab, who would benefit, and how it’s done!
EB: What is dabbing?
DJ: Dabbing is the art of inhaling vaporized cannabis concentrate placed on a hot nail, usually through a dab rig. This method of medicating has been around for about 10 years and has recently started to gain momentum in the cannabis world. Cannabis concentrates come in many forms, shatter, badder, sugar, sap, diamonds and sauce to name a few. These concentrates are some of the most potent cannabis products on the market ranging from 25% all the way up to 99.9% THC.
EB: What kind of medical conditions could benefit from dabbing (high THC) or (high CBD) concentrates?
DJ: Anyone with debilitating conditions really, mental or physical. Severe pain, anxiety, PTSD, anyone in need of immediate relief
EB: Are terpenoids and other minor cannabinoids received through a dab hit?
EB: Is dabbing more expensive?
DJ: Being that expense is only relative to the unique patient, everyone medicates differently as well as needs a different level of medication. Personally, I find it less expensive to use concentrates. An 1/8 of flower might last me 2 or 3 days where a gram of concentrate could last me a week.
EB: Is the art of dabbing hard to learn, dangerous?
DJ: Dabbing can be tough to a beginner, there are a few pieces to the puzzle that a regular flower smoker does not encounter in their normal flower session. Quartz bangers, torches, dab tools and carb caps are the essential hardware needed. The art of temperature control can be tougher for some people than others. I would advise a patient new to dabbing to consult with someone who has experience, having someone who is familiar with the process will allow you cut your learning curve in half. Lastly, dosing can get tricky as well if you are unsure what you are doing.
Using a torch to heat up you nail can be slightly more dangerous than using a lighter, also having your quartz banger retain heat for a longer period than your flower bowl, I wouldn't touch my quartz banger after dabbing for at least 5 minutes.
EB: How are the concentrates extracted?
DJ: There are many different ways to extract cannabis from solventless extracts (rosin) to extracts utilizing solvents (shatter, live resin) to pull cannabinoids and terpenoids leaving behind unwanted byproduct of the flower. With solventless extractions pressure and a small amount of heat are applied to cannabis to extract its essential oils while extracts using solvents usually are going to run a solvent through a chamber of packed cannabis to strain the cannabinoids and terpenoids from the flower, then purge any residual solvents for a clean final product.
EB: Are there certain extraction processes that are controversial and should be avoided? why?
DJ: From a purist standpoint, some people might turn their noses up to shatter or other solvent extractions that tear terpenes away from the final product. That is just an opinion, it is up to the patient to determine what is best for them.
EB: What can happen if you take too big of a dab hit?
DJ: You should expect the effects of a large dab to feel very similar to a large hit of flower, just more intense. If you are dabbing a sativa high in thc you should expect to be energized and uplifted, while a large dab of indica should leave you feeling very relaxed. A dab is going to extenuate the feeling of the strain, so make sure you research your strains before you purchase your concentrates.
EB: What should you look for when shopping for concentrates?
DJ: Once again this is a question that is specific to each individual and where you are in your dabbing journey. To a seasoned veteran, Diamonds and Sauce would probably be the tip of the iceberg for the most top shelf medicating experience while a newcomer to dabbing might be very intrigued by shatters and cured products.
EB: Can you use the micro-dose approach through dabbing?
DJ: Yes, you could use a micro dosing approach when dabbing but dosing a concentrate can get tough to do if the product is sticky or tacky. If a patient was interested in micro-dosing cannabis with concentrates I would recommend they use a vaporizer pen. They come preloaded with your medication, all you have to do is inhale and wait for relief.
EB: Are concentrates available in different THC:CBD ratios and who may benefit from a CBD dominant dab?
DJ: Yes, since opening we have seen multiple strains with different ratios of THC and CBD. These products seem to be available here and there, but our market is forever evolving and we should expect to see these types of concentrates in the near future. A patient in severe pain would benefit from a CBD rich concentrate, as well as a patient new to cannabis but in need of inflammation, pain or anxiety help. I myself have benefited from using CBD rich concentrates for migraines, anxiety, chronic pain and sleep issues.
EB: Could you tell us the general steps you take when dabbing, from beginning to end?
DJ: Everyone dabs a little differently, depending on what type of nail and torch you’re working with will determine how long you heat your nail before applying your concentrate. I like to heat my nail for about 20 seconds, wait 10 seconds for the nail to come to the correct temperature, apply my dab to the inside of my nail with a dab tool and wait for the concentrate to melt off the tool, apply your carb cap to your nail and inhale, gyrating the carb cap to push the concentrate to the hotter spots of the nail.
For more information on concentrates or any other medical cannabis questions, Donnie is available for consultations Monday – Friday from 10-5pm. Our main goal is to provide guidance and compassion to our patients with hopes to see improved outcomes through cannabinoid medicine.
Follow Donnie @dabbing_with_donnie on Instagram to see what Donnie’s dabbing this week!
Patient Consultant & Inventory Manager
Donnie Jackson came to PAH in December of 2017 as a Patient Consultant. He is our specialist in the areas of concentrates, dabs, rigs, and handheld vaporizers. He uses his abundant cannabis knowledge to help patients to identify the best treatments for them, walking them through the process with a gentle touch and significant expertise.
From Pittsburgh, Pa., Jackson moved to Ocean City when he was 24 and fell in love with the Eastern Shore. He has worked previously as a bartender and restaurant manager in fast paced and high-volume restaurants in Ocean City and Salisbury, where he greatly enjoyed creating bar programs, raising the level of customer service and managing inventory.
Donnie currently lives in Salisbury, Maryland, with his wife, Erin, and his daughter, Mia. He is a very caring, loving person, enjoys spending time with his family and friends and freshwater fishing.
Assistant Clinical Director
Erin has worked for Peninsula Alternative Health (PAH) since the doors opened in December 2017. Her role at PAH consists of guiding patients through cannabis protocols based on their individual needs. Erin works closely with the rest of the PAH staff, to stay current with the latest clinical cannabis research and the emphasis on therapeutic communication.