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WTF Is a Carb Cap and How Do You Use One for Dabbing Weed?
culture  |  Jan 16, 2020

WTF Is a Carb Cap and How Do You Use One for Dabbing Weed?

Make the most of each dab hit with a carb cap — an essential smoking accessory for lovers of cannabis concentrates.

Make the most of each dab hit with a carb cap — an essential smoking accessory for lovers of cannabis concentrates.

If you’ve ever treated yourself to a dab, you’ve no doubt experienced the pressure that comes with ensuring you hit your heated nail at exactly the right temperature. Dab when it’s still red-hot and you risk coughing fits in addition to losing valuable flavor and potency. Wait too long and you may be left with semi-melted wax residue on your nail before you’ve had your fill.

As a reminder, dab rigs consist of several crucial components, including the nail — a heated surface (often made of quartz, ceramic, or titanium) that’s used in place of a bowl. After heating the nail with a torch, consumers place a dab of cannabis concentrate on the nail, where it then sublimates the wax/shatter/etc. into vapor, which is subsequently inhaled. 

That’s where carburetor caps — or “carb caps” for short — come in. Let’s dive into this nifty consumption accessory, starting with the basics. 

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What Is a Carb Cap? 

If you’re familiar with the carburetor in an automobile, the same science applies here. Essentially, carb caps control airflow by acting as a lid or dome for your nail. This way, heat and vapor are trapped within the cap, which has a small hole in the top to allow for inhalation and provide suction. 

The payoff is being able to dab at a lower temperature courtesy of reduced air pressure, which, in turn, ensures you’ll taste the more subtle notes of your concentrate. You’ll also likely retain more potency, as exceedingly high temperatures can wipe out some of the active ingredients in cannabis.

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How Do I Use a Carb Cap? 

As noted above, a carb cap comes into play at the point where you’ve heated your nail and placed a dab onto it. As soon as you deposit the wax on your nail, pop your carb cap on top of it before inhaling to fill the chamber. When you’ve got the desired amount of vapor, pull the cap to break the suction, and breathe in! 

Remember: Slow and steady is always best when it comes to dabs. That means there’s no need to milk the chamber as quickly as possible — that’s the beauty of a carb cap. It maintains an ideal dabbing temperature for much longer.

Which Type of Carb Cap Should I Get? 

When it comes to deciding which carb cap you should purchase, there are several important factors to consider. Carb caps are available in the same heat-resistant materials as nails (titanium, quartz, ceramic) with the choice really coming down to which one catches your eye. Ditto goes for size, although you’ll want to be sure any cap you get fits fairly snugly over your nail to ensure maximum suction. 

Perhaps the biggest decision is what “type” of carb cab to get. Much like bongs, there are numerous styles that range from bare-bones functionality to whimsically decorated works of art. 

Directional flow carb cabs feature an angled stem and are best paired with a “banger” (quartz) nail, while bubble carb caps are ideal for flat-top nails. Standard carb caps, as their name indicates, feature no artful flourishes but are available in a variety of designs. They certainly still succeed in getting the job done.

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Do I Really Need a Carb Cap? 

While carb caps may not be considered a bare necessity when it comes to dabbing, their value to the experience is difficult to deny. 

Given how available carb caps are today, it’s hard to imagine why one wouldn’t want the option. But if you’re satisfied with your dabbing experience sans carb cap, there’s no need to buy one for decorum’s sake. If you are intrigued, remember that an initial investment in a quality carb cap can serve you well for many dabs to come. 

So, do some research, find your perfect carb cap match, and enjoy the rich rewards of dabbing done right!

Follow Zack Ruskin on Twitter

author_zack_ruskin

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

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