There are so many different things you can do with your concentrates outside of your ordinary dabbing or vaping methods. Here’s a complete list of ways to use concentrates and how they work so you can find the best way to consume dabs for your lifestyle.

A brief intro to concentrates

If you’ve ever been to a dispensary you’ve already seen dozens of different concentrates. But if you’ve never explored them before, it can be a bit daunting to figure out where to begin. By definition, cannabis concentrates are concentrated cannabis extracts. They’re made by removing all of the plant materials from the flowers and trim, leaving behind only cannabinoids and terpenes. Concentrates can be made and extracted in dozens of different ways, which is why they’re so versatile at the end of the day.

However, even things like kief are considered concentrates. Because kief is just a collection of trichomes separated mechanically from the plant, they’re considered a concentrate because they’re more potent than flower alone. Concentrates, including kief, range from 60-99% THC while flower usually weighs in around 10-30% THC. With that said, concentrates are more potent than cannabis flowers, so they tend to get you higher for longer with less material making them the more economical choice.

Concentrates come in all sorts of different consistencies and textures, making them useful outside of the realm of dabbing alone. Concentrated oils for example can be used in tinctures and capsules for easy dosing and discretion. Some concentrates are rigid enough to be used as a bowl topper or with your favorite pre-rolls. Other concentrates are flavorless, so they’re often used in edibles to avoid the hashy flavor.

All in all, concentrates are versatile, more potent, and more discreet than smoking standard flower. Because they produce longer lasting effects, are thought to be cleaner than flower due to the rigorous extraction process, and don’t smell anywhere near as much as flower does, they’re the preferred choice by many different cannabis enthusiasts.

Different ways to use cannabis concentrates 

There are many ways to utilize the different concentrates you can pick up at the dispensary. Below we’re breaking down all of the different ways dabs make an appearance in the wild and how you can enjoy them on your own.

1. Dabbing and Vaping 

dabbing with dab rig
Dabbing with a dab rig

The best way to smoke dabs is by far dabbing or vaping. The two go hand in hand since they’re consumed in basically the same way. The only real difference between the two is that with dabbing you’re using a rig and with vaping you’re using a vaporizer. Most concentrates intended for inhalation are dab or vapable. This includes BHO concentrates, CO2 oils, and some solventless concentrates like rosin or bubble hash. People enjoy dabbing and vaping since they’re discreet options that can be taken on the go. Best of all, they’re potent and the effects are long-lived.

Vaping is a little easier for beginners since you don’t have to drop $1000 on a setup. All you need is a vaporizer designed for use with concentrates and you can load it up, take it on the go, and hit it as needed. To vape, you can either buy a pre-filled vape cartridge and battery from the dispensary, or you can buy a gram of ordinary concentrates and load it into the chamber of your vape according to the manufacturer instructions. You’ll simply heat the device and inhale as needed.

Dabbing is a little more complicated, but it tastes great. To dab, you’ll need some equipment, including a torch, a dabber, a carb cap, and a rig with a banger attachment. The concentrate is applied to the banger and capped with the carb cap. Then you’ll use a torch to heat up the banger until the concentrate inside is vaporized. From there all you do is inhale until the concentrate is fully vaporized and the rig is clear.

2. Using them as bowl or joint toppers 

smoking dabs in a joint

If you are looking for ways to smoke wax without a rig, or you prefer the taste of flower and working with more solid concentrates like kief, crumble wax, hash or shatter, then the best way to smoke concentrates is using them as joint or bowl toppers. You can mix these concentrates in with your flower to add potency to it as well as make it burn longer and more evenly. You can add them to bowls, pipes, blunts and joints. If you have cannabis oil on hand, you can even dip your favorite pre-rolls in and roll the oil in kief. Once it’s dry it burns forever and feels much more potent than a standard joint.

3. Eating them in edibles 

Edibles made with concentrates
Edibles made with concentrates

Some dispensaries sell distillate or cannabis cooking oils so you can make your own edibles. Distillate is an ultra-refined concentrate that strips out all traces of terpenes and other plant materials, leaving behind a clear, flavorless oil. Because distillate is flavorless, it’s often already used in the edibles you can buy directly from the dispensary. However, you can also make edibles with standard cannabis oils. If you can’t find distillate, oil can be used too, though it may have a hashy flavor that makes your treats taste like weed.

To make edibles from cannabis oil or distillate, you’ll add your ideal dose to your favorite recipe in place of or in addition to regular cooking oils and finish the recipe like you normally would. When they’re done, you can eat them. Edibles are extremely discreet and offer long-lasting effects that you can feel for up to 8 hours, so start with a low dose at first if you’re unsure.

4. Using tinctures or capsules 

THC tinctures capsules
Cannabis oil tincture

A lot of dispensaries refine their cannabis oils into capsules or tinctures. These options are great if smoking, dabbing, vaping or making edibles is too inconsistent, time consuming, or inconvenient. People love getting concentrates into their system with tinctures and oil capsules since they’re by far the easiest method to dose and the effects last up to 8 hours. Since it’s just swallowing a quick pill or taking a dropper full of oil, they’re also exceptionally discreet and easy to enjoy on the go. To use them, you’ll hold them under your tongue for a few minutes and then swallow. The effects will kick in a bit faster than edibles and they’ll last a long time. You can make your own by ordering vegetable capsules and filling them with cannabis oil yourself.

5. Applying them topically 

thc concentrate topicals
THC topicals

Another place concentrates are commonly used is with topicals. THC produces a lot of great physical effects, but some people can’t get high for various reasons. If you deal with stubborn pain, topicals like lotions, balms, salves, and creams infused with full-spectrum cannabis oils can help manage symptoms when they’re applied directly to the area. Most topicals don’t penetrate through the skin and into the bloodstream, so they won’t cause you to feel high or fail a drug test. However, some topicals (known as transdermals) are made with special active ingredients that can penetrate through the skin into the blood. Those will cause you to feel high and will show up on a drug test. You can find lots of topicals made with concentrates at the dispensary. You can also make your own with cannabis oils.

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Ben Walker writes for Stoner Things, covering the cannabis culture from a unique perspective. He doesn't just offer insights into the world of weed, but also provides hands-on reviews and tutorials for the latest products. With a decade of experience spanning cultivation and market trends, Ben advocates for informed and responsible cannabis use. His work goes beyond navigating the ever-changing cannabis landscape; it's about education and community development done right, coming from a place of knowledge and respect. If you want to stay up-to-date with cannabis trends and learn from an experienced guide, Ben's work is an invaluable resource.


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