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When it comes to the topic of CBD dabs vs CBD shatter, there’s a lot to consider.
Dabs. Shatter. Wax. These are words that you don’t hear as much of in the world of CBD. Even in circles of marijuana smokers, the ritual has been considered a sort of fringe.
Yet, as CBD gains popularity worldwide—in a 2019 Gallup poll, 1 in 7 Americans said they use cannabidiol – one could say that vaporizing it has been picking up steam as well. Dad jokes aside, this delivery method has become the main event of its own over the years, and the headliner is CBD oil concentrate.
Under this fairly big umbrella are a few other forms you may have heard of. Crumble, wax, budder. Each of them maximizes the potency of a CBD experience while varying in characteristics and applications.
I’ll get into the basics of dabbing in this article, as well as what to look for in the best CBD wax, and how to go about finding your favorite CBD concentrate.
When somebody uses the word dab in relation to CBD (or really anything that isn’t the dance move), it’s a shorthand for vaporizing a small, very concentrated amount of CBD. The form that concentrates takes varies.
The difference between wax and CBD crumble is mostly how much water is left in the extract after processing. This leaves it up to the individual to decide what’s going to work better for them.
The usual contraption for this kind of endeavor is the dab rig or the CBD wax pen. They both have their pros and cons.
Dab rigs are super-efficient, but they’re cumbersome. A vape pen is portable and discreet, but the chances of you dropping a tasty morsel increases.
If you’re new to CBD, it’s a good idea to find your tolerance level before you graduate to dabs. It takes an incredible amount of CBD—around 1000mg a day—to start having adverse side effects (like an overwhelming urge to nap), but chances are you still need less wax than you think you do.
Not to gross you out but it kind of looks like earwax. In fact, that’s where it got its name.
CBD wax is pure, concentrated CBD oil, rich in cannabinoids, terpenes, and amino acids that give you the best chance to experience the synergistic “entourage effect.” It’s also designed specifically for dabbing.
This is not to be confused with CBD crumble, which has less moisture in it than oil, and so flakes instead of sticks. Along with crumble is shatter, which has a similar potency to crumble and wax, but can be stored longer. While it has a longer shelf life, it’s more difficult to handle, and for that reason, we’d recommend wax.
Each offers the concentration you’re looking for, but of the three, the wax is the most reliable form, due to its elasticity and honey-like quality.
The first step is extracting the hemp plant’s oil. Like any quality CBD product, this starts with good hemp and a fine extraction method. There are two popular methods, but one’s a clear favorite.
The most prevalent in today’s marketplace is butane extraction. It’s cost-effective and super-efficient. In fact, the butane molecule is actually shaped to unlock the plant’s trichomes and release all those tasty terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids.
The downside here, though, is that it can damage the terpenes, and make them less effective. Also, there’s a chance that some of the solvents are leftover in the final product. Granted, most companies work really hard to ensure that doesn’t happen, but the possibility is there.
Then there’s CO2 extraction. Carbon dioxide is heated and pressurized to what’s called a supercritical form, where it acts as both a gas and a liquid.
While the CO2 molecule isn’t shaped as well as butane for oil extraction, when it’s in its supercritical state, it’s incredibly efficient, protecting the integrity of all those compounds (terpenes included). Afterward, the carbon dioxide naturally evaporates, leaving a pure CBD oil.
While this oil is technically usable right then and there—in fact, a good tincture will combine this tasty oil with a carrier oil, like MCT or coconut oil, and call it a day—crafting a CBD wax takes another step.
Once the oil is extracted, it’s heated at a low temperature and, over time, the moisture present in the oil begins to cook off, leaving behind a concentrated and simplified CBD dab wax.
The sweet spot we found with our wax is 30% CBD, which retains all the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids we’ve come to enjoy from a full-spectrum CBD while offering a consistency perfect for dab rigs and pens alike.
With something like an edible or a topical, a shoddy brand can get away with subpar CBD. Nobody wants to tell you that, but when it comes to something like a gummy or a topical ointment, the subtle nuances of the terpenes and flavonoids are less noticeable.
This has a lot to do with bioavailability. An edible is going to have to pass through your digestive system to reach the gastrointestinal tract, where your body really starts absorbing the CBD. Great if you want the effects over a long period of time, not so much if you want immediate results.
It also has a lot to do with the ingredients surrounding it. With a topical ointment, you’ll have conditioners and botanicals that complement the CBD. Likewise, good gummies are delicious for how their ingredients complement the hemp oil.
But when it comes to wax, there’s nothing to hide behind, because all it is is a super-focused version of that oil. You’ll know a good one by its hue. Wax that is vibrant orange and yellow is what you’re looking for. You want a uniform consistency, without any grit or visible impurities.
And therein lies the biggest benefit of dabbing: no unwanted chemicals.
Inhaling plant matter pulls sharp particulates against your throat and lungs, along with whatever toxins are present. Wax is the purest of the inhalable methods, offering the highest bioavailability and concentrations you’ll find in CBD.
Always look for organic, non-GMO hemp, and a company that provides detailed lab reports for all of their products. In a marketplace that’s growing so quickly, it’s paramount for transparency and quality to go hand in hand.
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