WTF Is a Cannabis Nectar Collector and How Do You Use One?
You won’t need a hummingbird costume to enjoy this nifty dabbing device.
Published on October 17, 2019

The tool kit for the modern-day pot lover continues to grow by the day.

Beyond the essentials like rolling papers, a grinder, and a pipe or bong, the range of devices designed to help get us high is truly massive. There are vaporizers (so many vaporizers), a whole universe of edibles, and now we have dabbing, as well.

If you’re unfamiliar with the process of dabbing, check out our primer here. To briefly recap, dabbing is the act of consuming concentrated cannabis, full of trichomes and terpenes. If smoking a flower-filled joint is Sunny Delight, then dabs are fresh-squeezed orange juice — it’s the most potent, freshest way to consume. The downside, of course, is that dabbing can be a bit labor-intensive.

Preparing to dab requires one to assemble a sizeable list of things, including a rig, a nail, a wand, a dome (or cap), and the wax/oil/sauce etc. Most seasoned dabbers would also add auxiliary items like cotton swabs and rubbing alcohol to the list of essentials. That’s a lot to keep track of, which is why the nectar collector is an excellent alternative for folks who like to keep things a bit simpler.

It should also be mentioned that consuming concentrates is likely to get you significantly stoned, so dab accordingly. As always, start low and go slow. 


What Is a Nectar Collector? 

In essence, a nectar collector is a mini dab rig. The term “rig” (drawing on a pun with oil) is slang for the device you’ll be using to consume the dab. In other words, a rig is not dissimilar from your classic water bong, except that in place of a bowl (where ground flower would be packed), there’s a “nail” which is heated until the oil, wax etc. is vaporized. With nectar collectors, that “nail” is instead represented by a tip.

Before we get into the device itself, let’s briefly pause for a quick semantics lesson. 

Technically speaking, Nectar Collector® is a brand name. Generic alternatives include “honey straw” and “dab straw,” but like Kleenex and Band-Aid, people have taken to referring to all similar devices as nectar collectors. For the following, we’ll be discussing features that should be included in any nectar collector, not just the official brand.

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Nectar collectors are typically available in one of two materials — glass and silicone — and the choice you make here will definitely factor into your overall experience. The bottom-line is that glass will always be the preferred option for flavor purists. Silicone, by comparison, is notorious for altering the taste of cannabis vapor. On the other hand, silicone definitely wins when it comes to taking your nectar collector on the go. 

Whichever option you decide on, what you’ll get is a device that can be separated into three parts: the neck, the body, and the tip. 

The tip is the piece that will actually touch the concentrate, while the body can either be filled with water or left “dry” based on preference. The neck represents the mouthpiece of the device. Further customization is possible with the tip, which can be made of quartz, titanium, or come with versions of both that can be swapped out.


How Do I Use a Nectar Collector? 

If you’ve dabbed before, the process is quite similar. The biggest difference to bear in mind is that a traditional dab set-up will revolve around the user placing the concentrate onto the nail by means of a “wand,” whereas a nectar collector requires one to dip the device into a glass dish holding the concentrate. Here’s a quick step-by-step look at how to make the most of your honey straw.

I. Place your desired dab of concentrate into a glass dish.

II. Heat the tip of your nectar collector with a butane torch. You want it to be red hot, so be very careful.

III. Position your nectar collector so that you’re ready to inhale the vaporized concentrate and then dip the heated tip into your glass dish. The longer you keep the tip submerged, the more vapor you’ll produce. Remember that variance in timing between heating the tip and dipping it into your dish will produce different results. Play around and see what works best for you!


Should I Use a Nectar Collector? 

It’s up to you! Arguments in favor of honey straws include their portability vs. traditional dab rigs, the lack of required accessories to use them, and how comparatively easy they are to clean. On the other hand, nectar collectors are less reliable in terms of temperature control and don’t necessarily have the longest shelf life when compared to other options. 

As is the case with most things related to cannabis, it all comes down to personal comfort. If nectar collectors feel like a potential win for you, there are numerous varieties available for purchase online. Now enjoy the buzz, you buzzy hummingbird!

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Zack Ruskin
Zack Ruskin is a cannabis and culture journalist living in San Francisco. Follow him on Twitter: @zackruskin.
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