Check out our guide to dabbing

Getting over that first hurdle of smoking weed is hard enough for many people. Moving on to blow torches and complicated glass rigs that look like they occupy multiple dimensions outside of the knowable universe can be just one step too far for most.

But fear not! This apparently frightening aspect of the cannabis lifestyle is easier than it looks. The only problem is that it requires some expensive equipment and involves a little more effort than the traditional ways of smoking pot.


“Dabbing” is the cool stoner term for vaping cannabis oil (known as “wax,” “shatter,” “honey” and a few other names) from a “rig.” Rigs are like bongs for dabbing. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all have the same basic parts: the body, the “nail” and the “wand.”

The nail is a special tube-shaped bowl made of titanium, quartz or ceramic. While hitting the rig, users place small amounts of the oil on the nail where it is heated until it produces vapor. Its odd name comes from the original version of the process that used actual heated nails.

The “wand” is a glass, metal or ceramic stick that is used to “dab” cannabis oil onto the nail.

Aside from the rig itself, users will need a simple set of tongs, a butane torch lighter and a small bowl of cold water.

Dabbing rigs start around $50 to $100 but can cost up to thousands of dollars. Before you get too deep into the hobby, it’s probably a good idea to try vaping cannabis oil cartridges from a cheap vape pen first to make sure you like using cannabis oil.

Another good idea is to ask around and see if you know anyone who already owns a rig and is willing to walk you through the process. There are also a ton of YouTube videos out there for you to watch. Once you’ve seen it in action, it’s much easier to try on your own.

Remember that while dabbing is a fun way to get high, it also involves super hot glass that will burn the hell out of the unwary. It’s rare to find a rig owner who hasn’t burned their fingers at least once, so keep your wits about you and consider shutting it down before you get too stoned.

How To Hit a Rig

  • New nails have to be seasoned. This involves heating the nail and dabbing a small amount of wax onto it. The nail is then dropped into a bowl of water to cool using a set of tongs. This has to be done about three times whenever a new nail is used, but isn’t necessary for old nails.
  • Place the nail in the rig.
  • Put a small dab about the size of a grain of rice onto the end of the wand.
  • Use the torch to heat the nail up with the torch until it’s almost red hot.
  • While touching the dab to the end of the hot nail, inhale the vapor through the mouthpiece.