Lead image via G Pen Connect
In an age of tech dystopia, which has brought us such futuristic nightmares as deep fake videos and Tesla trucks, it seems that nothing in our previously analog world has remained unchanged. This includes advancements in the slew of accoutrements that comprise the stoner subgenre of dabbing, which occupies a particularly heady, divise corner of the weed world.
For readers who aren’t familiar, dabbing is one method of consuming cannabis concentrates. In the past, the process was facilitated through a dab rig (essentially a bong on steroids), a set up known for its efficiency and off-putting blowtorch requirement. In recent years, the product category has grown so popular that it now has its own holiday on 7/10.
However effective, the conventional dab rig has flaws. As concentrates have evolved from a niche product for in-the-know enthusiasts to an omnipresent facet of cannabis culture, the substance and its associated gear have developed a reputation — one that’s at-odds with the “everyone does it” mainstreaming of cannabis at large.
From frenzied reports about DIY shatter labs exploding, cops claiming it’s more dangerous than weed, and studies suggesting that it exposes users to cancer-causing toxins, to the whole process requiring a blowtorch and looking meth-y, dab rigs are perceived as seedier and druggier than other toking techniques. Hell, there’s even a Reddit thread titled “Christian moms against dabbing” that has more than 15,000 upvotes.
Even Dr. Dina, an industry vet famous for pioneering the early medical movement in California (as well as being the inspiration for the hit show Weeds), was initially turned off by the hard drug overtones, though today she’s an advocate for dabbing as an efficient and tasty way to medicate.
“When people see the torch, they immediately think crack,” she told MERRY JANE over the phone. “I remember taking a dab in front of the rapper 2 Chainz years ago. He saw the torch and he went 'Woah, what’s that? You need to go to rehab.' I was like, No, no no… He was like, 'You’re freebasing!' So I said, freebasing THC, I guess.”
And while slightly misguided, 2 Chainz essentially articulated why people get skeeved out by heavy dabbers, particularly the types who embrace an unapologetic, macrodose mentality.
At a time when “weed-as-wellness” and “bespoke highs” are taking off, dabs can feel like a thorn in the flower of legalization and legitimacy — a blemish in the marijuana makeover happening within America’s collective conscience. That said, the tech and gear associated with dabbing has dramatically evolved as of late.
From fully electric dab rigs like the Puffco Peak and the Dr. Dabber SWITCH, to advancements in the way concentrates are administered with products like Jetty’s Dablicator, the old blowtorch setup has become a thing of the past.
Once again, Dr. Dina hits the e-nail on the head: “Instead of being huddled over with a torch feeling really crack-y, now you can feel like you have a nice glass of champagne in your hand.”
To celebrate the leaps and bounds that concentrate consumption has made in recent years, here’s a list of the most futuristic dab gear of 2019. If the future is now, your stoner swag should be, too.
THE TORCHLESS WONDERS
The SWITCH by Dr. Dabber
Dr. Dabber’s SWITCH exists at the forefront of torchless technology, and can enable you to vaporize literally any cannabis product. Whether flower, concentrates, or even hash (!), this ground-breaking device is a one-stop shop for the novice stoner looking to foray into the potent world of dabbing.
I’m lucky enough to own one, and it has completely changed my weed game. Simply turn the device on, switch a tab to either oil or flower, press a button to heat, drop whatever substance you wish to consume into the chamber, and voilà! You’re high once again!
For more on the Switch, click here
The G Pen Connect Vaporizer
While fully electronic rigs are great, especially for new users or those shying away from blowtorches, a huge market still exists for people who love dab rigs and aren’t ready to make the proverbial switch.
Enter The G Pen Connect, a new device bridging the gap between the digital and analog approaches to consuming concentrates. The tool can pair with any glass-on-glass water pipe, replacing the need for a torch or nail.
All you have to do is attach the Connect to your dab rig, fill it with your preferred concentrate, and within five seconds it will heat the concentrate and produce vapor with its “patented reverse airflow technology.” This on-the-go application will blow your mind without breaking the bank.
For more on the G Pen Connect, click here
Hitman Puffco Straight Can Hammerhead
While the Connect allows you to attach an electronic heating element on to a traditional glass rig, the Hitman Puffco Straight Can Hammerhead offers the inverse — a glass rig extension that can connect to the most buzzy electronic rig in existence, the Puffco Peak.
Ever since the Peak burst onto the weed scene a couple years ago, glass brands have been falling over themselves to create extensions that are compatible. “The Peak is a complete game-changer,” said Dr. Dina. “It’s easy, it’s clean. It’s a sexy looking piece, like something Apple made. I love it.”
This extension by veteran glass company Hitman is sleek, size-appropriate, and travel-friendly. It’s perfect for savvy consumers who already own a Peak, but will appeal to old-school heads who miss the bubbling water feature of a traditional dab experience.
For more on the Hitman Puffco Straight Can Hammerhead, click here
The Beam Flameless Torch by Mr. Hotbox
Rounding out the torchless portion of our dab guide is The Beam Flameless Torch by Mr. Hotbox.
While it’s an expensive, $450 alternative to the traditional torch, the Beam is carefully designed, discreet, and easy to use. It removes the confusion of figuring out how hot is too hot, or not hot enough, to correctly vaporize the concentrate of your choice. Simply turn the device on, set the bowl on the device, and press a button. In seconds you’ll be ready to dab — then dab again and again.
For more on the Beam, click here
THE DABS OF TOMORROW
DabTabs by Ilo Vapor
While the gear necessary to consume a dab has evolved considerably, so too have the actual dabs and concentrates.
Dab Tabs by ilo Vapor are perhaps the most exciting advancement in concentrates I’ve seen thus far. Resembling some sort of Matrix-esque pill, these little hexagonal lightning rods are actually ceramic discs infused with concentrate that are dry to the touch. While the THC form is only available in Oregon, these are sure to explode in popularity once they’re available in other legal markets.
To use DabTabs, drop a tab into your rig or a pen and watch as they sizzle their way into your heart (and lungs). Instead of carrying around wax in one of those little rubber containers, put a couple of these suckers in your pocket and you’re good to go. Not only will cops have no idea what they are if you find yourself in a bind, all your friends will think they’re trippy as fuck… because they are.
For more on DabTabs, click here
The Dabaratus by Bakked
Resembling something between a medical syringe and a clickable pen, the Dabaratus by Bakked takes the hassle out of administering oil to your vape or rig. The device has a metal tip that allows concentrates to be layered directly onto a hot surface for immediate gratification. Because, when it comes down to it, isn’t that what the future’s really all about?
For more on the Dabaratus, click here
The Dablicator Oil Applicator by Jetty Extracts
The Dablicator by Jetty Extracts offers a slightly different take on the budding trend of oil applicators. These highlighter-esque devices contain one gram of cannabis oil that can be administered through a proprietary twist and click motion that allows users to easily spread concentrates anywhere.
Whether you want to drip concentrates down a blunt, or add a couple dallups to a rig, this little invention enables an easy, fun way to medicate yourself into the next dimension.
For more on the Dablicator, click here
ADVANCEMENTS IN THE ANALOG
The Nectar Collector Honeybird Deluxe Kit
While dabs have gone digital as of late, the analog method of consuming concentrates has seen advancements, as well. None are more favored by both Lot heads and super stoners than the world-renowned Nectar Collector.
Designed to mimic how a hummingbird collects nectar, this ornate dabbing device is essentially a glass straw you can use to inhale concentrates. Think of it as a modern update to the hot knives technique. To use, fill the chamber with water, heat the tip of the straw with a torch or e-nail, touch it to your desired concentrates, then suck the vapor directly into your lungs. You’ll be humming into oblivion in no time.
For more on the Nectar Collector, click here
The Ball Rig by Mothership Glass
Finally, we’ve arrived at the apex of analog dab technology with The Ball Rig by Mothership Glass. With a steep price of $2750, this piece is reserved for the most advanced dabbers in existence — those who wouldn’t blink twice at shelling out a couple months’ worth of rent to impress their fellow dab bros.
In this wild feat of stoner design, an inner sphere, or “ball,” floats inside an outer ball, together acting as a water re-director, water volume reducer, and effective splash guard. Basically, it looks super cool, will wow anyone no matter how deep they are in the scene, and will deliver perfect clouds of concentrate with every draw.
In a world of electronic advancements, this good old fashioned (albeit expensive as fuck) dab rig holds its own by balancing the heady past of dabbing with the mind-bending designs of the future.
For more on the Ball Rig, click here
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