The cannabis landscape has evolved significantly over the years, with innovations and discoveries leading to a richer, more nuanced understanding of the plant and its myriad compounds. Among these, terpenes have emerged as a focal point of interest, not just for their aromatic allure but also for their profound impact on the overall cannabis experience. Dabbing, a method that has gained immense popularity among cannabis enthusiasts, offers a unique platform to explore these flavors. In this comprehensive guide, we'll journey through the world of dab flavors, spotlighting the role of terpenes and their influence on the dabbing experience.
Introduction to Dabbing
What's A Dab Again?
Essentially, dabbing at its core, is a method of vaporizing and inhaling cannabis concentrates. When you consume any type of cannabis concentrate and because you only use a little bit of the concentrate, it is called a dab. However, there is many different ways to dap and many different types of concentrates to do so with.
The process of how to dab cannabis concentrates involves applying the concentrate to a hot surface, typically a nail or banger, and then inhaling the vaporized product. The result? A rapid onset of effects (good for those with a high tolerance) and a flavor profile that's unparalleled. It is also said to give a longer lasting high because of how potent the cannabis extracts are.
Many cannabis lovers actually prefer dabbing over flower for more than just the stronger and longer high and the taste but because it is seen as healthier then smoking cannabis. Something like vape pens, dab rigs, dab pens, or other types of dab equipment can cause a smoke free experience because the cannabis extract consumed. So, whether you choose a dab pen or a dab rig, with the beloved effects of most concentrates it gives it a feeling of a high quality product in just one dab. There are many different type of concentrates that are available some of the more common are badder, sauce, jam, shatter and diamonds.
These concentrates are a potent form of cannabis, offering a more intense experience compared to traditional smoking methods. These cannabis concentrates are seen as more potent because the active ingredients of the cannabis plant, such as the cannabinoids and terpenes, are basically pushed out of the plant material making the immediate extract consistency have a rather high potency each time. There are two main extraction methods to get the cannabis concentrates.
The first is with a solvent extraction method where it may use common solvents likes butane or C02 to help strip the ingredients. Those chemical solvents are then taken away after the process, making it safer to utilize but this is why it is important to ensure you are buying concentrates from dispensaries in the legal market because they are required to do proper testing to ensure batches aren't being sold that still have a toxic percentage of the starting material (solvents). The flower may be dried and cured before before the extraction process but another way is extracting after it is freshly harvested and or frozen in which it would get its name "live resin" because the plant is still "alive."
Then there is the solventless extract method which is often more sought out after. It can be done with a non-solvent extraction using heat and/or pressure or ice water, resulting in what is typically called rosin. If this process is used with freshly harvested nugs then it would be considered "live rosin." Essentially, if they are using the ice water method they place the flowers inside to remove the trichomes (white crystals) that are on the bud and then once they are dried they are pressed together. If heat is used, it is most likely some sort of heated hydraulic press being used which takes a nug wrapped in parchment paper and smashes it together, pushing out the active ingridents.
The Science Behind Dab Flavors
When we talk about the flavor of dabs, we're essentially discussing the terpene profile of the cannabis concentrate. Not all concentrates have the same flavor compounds, aromas, effects and potency and that all has to do a lot with the terpene profile of the extracts. Terpenes are volatile compounds, which means they can be lost or degraded if not handled correctly. The extraction process, storage conditions, and even the method of consumption can influence the terpene profile of the final product.
Terpenes are found in thousands of different types of plants and their byproducts. When you think of lavender essential oil, you probably think of the strong lavender smell right? That smell is produced by the terpenes that are inside the plant, one of those terpenes is linalool, which also happens to be one of the common cannabis terpenes.
Terpenes play a central role in this flavor experience. These aromatic compounds, found in various plants, are responsible for the distinct scents and flavors we associate with them. Cannabis terpenes are what define the strain's aroma, flavor, and even its effects. From the citrusy notes of limonene to the earthy and mango undertones of myrcene, terpenes add depth and complexity to the cannabis experience. This allows for one extract to be very unique and different from other extracts.
Moreover, terpenes do more than just influence flavor. They interact synergistically with cannabinoids, the primary active compounds in cannabis. This interaction, often referred to as the "entourage effect," can enhance or modify the effects of cannabinoids. For instance, myrcene, known for its sedative properties, can amplify the relaxing effects of THC.
Popular Terpenes and Their Flavor Profiles
The world of terpenes is vast, with over 100 different terpenes identified in the cannabis plant. Each has its unique aroma, flavor, and effects. To know which concentrate flavor is best for you to dab, you need to understand the flavors of the terpenes that can promote the flavors you may be seeking out and desiring. Let's delve deeper into some of the most prominent cannabis terpenes.
Myrcene is the most abundant terpene in cannabis with a boiling point of 334°F (168°C). Its earthy, musky aroma is complemented by fruity notes, reminiscent of ripe mangoes. It also gives you a smell of citrus, herbal and cloves. Beyond its flavor profile, myrcene has therapeutic properties. It's known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, making it beneficial for pain relief. It also gives medical benefits of being anti-septic and anti-bacterial. Additionally, myrcene can enhance the permeability of cell membranes, allowing for faster absorption of cannabinoids. The feeling you may get from it is highly relaxing and sedative, mood enhancing and helps with stress and anxiety relief.
Other places you can find it is in mango, lemongrass and hops among other plants. So, if you like those flavors, than a concentrate with a high level of the myrcene terpene would be a good match for you. It is also seen to be in strains that are more Indica-leaning strains and concentrates. Some strains that you are considered to be in this category would be Northern Lights, Blue Dream, Pineapple Express or OG Kush.
Caryophyllene, also known as beta caryophyllene, is another one of the common terpenes you can find in cannabis plants. The aromas that it gives is typically peppery, woody and spicy. Other plants that it is found in is black pepper, hops and cloves. So, if you enjoy those more spicy and earthy smells and flavors you may want to go with a concentrate that has a strain with a high level of caryophyllene.
Some of those high caryophyllene strains would include: GSC, Sour Diesel, Gelato, Sherbert (also known as Sunset) among many others. This terpene can gives you a soothing and relaxing mood but beyond that it is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic (pain relief) and good for anxiety relief.
Linalool, with its floral and spicy aroma, is a favorite among many with a boiling point of 266°F (130°C). Commonly found in lavender, linalool is known for its calming effects and making its aromatherapy properties appreciated by many. It's beneficial for conditions like insomnia, anxiety, and even seizures. Moreover, linalool can modulate the immune system's response, making it potentially beneficial for inflammatory conditions and because it is analgesic it is great for pain relief. The common effects you may get is calming, stress relief and sedative.
The flavors and aromas that come from this terpene is floral, citrus, spice and sweet and for many, lavender. Besides lavender, you can find this terpene in mint, citrus and rosewood among some other. If these are flavors that seem to fit your palate then you may enjoy some of the following strains: Lavender Kush, Do-Si-Dos, Zkittles, and LA Confidential.
Pinene is a terpene that brings on well, the pine flavor and aroma with a boiling point of 311°F (155°C). The main flavors and aromas that you will get from this is of course, pine as well as a sweet smell and woody smell. This terpene can also be found in pine needles, orange peels and rosemary along with other plants. It gives you effects of energy, calmness and relaxation but also has really good medical benefits as well like memory retention, Anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial.
If you are looking for that woody and pine flavors then some of the cannabis concentrates you may be interested in are Blue Dream, Jack Herer, Cherry Pie and Purple Kush.
This terpene is a favorite for those who enjoy the nice cold brew and the hoppy taste with a boiling point of 225°F (107°C). The aromas and flavors that are produced by this and can be found in the cannabis plant are woody, earthy and hoppy. It is also found in hops, coriander and pepper. If you enjoy these flavors you may enjoy the following strains: GSC, Candyland, Super Sour Diesal and Death Star.
Some of the positive effects are relaxing, creativity and also can help with anxiety relief, act as a appetite suppressant and aid in pain relief.
Limonene's bright, citrusy aroma is unmistakable. But beyond its refreshing scent, limonene has a range of therapeutic benefits with a boiling point of 349°F (176°C). It's known for its mood-elevating properties, making it beneficial for conditions like depression and anxiety. Additionally, limonene has antifungal and antibacterial properties, showcasing its versatility.
The aromas and smells are of citrus, lemon and orange which is perfect for if your palate favors the citrus and sour taste. It is also found in citrus rinds, peppermint and Juniper. If you like these flavors than you might be interested in strains such as: Banana Kush, Do-Si-Dos, MAC, Wedding Cake and White Fire OG.
The Art of Dabbing: Maximizing Flavor
Dabbing is both a science and an art. The equipment used, the temperature settings, and even the technique can influence the final experience. For those looking to savor the rich flavors of their dabs, understanding the nuances of the process is crucial.
Temperature plays a pivotal role in the dabbing experience. While high temperatures can produce dense, thick vapor, they can also degrade terpenes, leading to a less flavorful experience. On the other hand, low temperatures preserve the terpene profile, offering a rich, flavorful vapor. However, the vapor's density might be reduced. Striking the right balance is key to a perfect dab.
For those looking to elevate their dabbing experience, terp dipping offers a unique opportunity. This method involves dipping the cannabis concentrate in a vial of terpenes before vaporizing it. The result? An intensified flavor experience that's customizable based on one's preferences.
Like any consumption method, dabbing comes with its considerations. While it offers a potent, flavorful experience, it's essential to be aware of potential risks.
Research suggests that dabbing at extremely high temperatures can produce harmful chemicals. These chemicals, formed due to the degradation of terpenes and other compounds, can be harmful when inhaled. It's crucial to ensure you're dabbing at safe temperatures to avoid this risk.
The world of dabbing is a sensory-rich landscape, offering flavors and experiences that are unparalleled. Terpenes, with their aromatic allure and therapeutic benefits, play a central role in this. By understanding these compounds and the art of dabbing, enthusiasts can embark on a journey of flavor exploration, finding the perfect palate match that resonates with their preferences. Whether you're a seasoned dabber or new to the scene, the world of dab flavors promises a journey of discovery, delight, and profound appreciation for the intricate world of cannabis.