How To Select and Use Cannabis Concentrates: A High Street Guide

Concentrates look nothing like the cannabis products you’re used to like flower and edibles. It’s natural to wonder how you get started with these ultra-potent dabs and oils.

Just like there are many different types of concentrates out there, there are multiple ways you can consume them too — but which is best? Is there even a “best” way? Like many things in cannabis, the answer mostly depends on your preference and the type of concentrate you choose.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to use a dab rig, an electronic vaporizer, and vape cartridges, as well as which types of concentrates are best for each.

How to use a dab rig, step-by-step

The dab rig is the conventional way to consume cannabis extracts, also called “dabs.” Dab rigs are glass pipes that resemble bubblers or bongs, with one major difference: instead of a bowl and slider where you put the flower, they feature a “nail” or “banger.” The nail or banger, typically made of metal or quartz, is heated with a blowtorch or electronically with an e-nail to partially vaporize and partially combust your dabs.

Here’s how to dab, step by step:

  • Prepare the dab rig: Start by adding water to your clean dab rig, which cools down the smoke and vapor and makes for a smoother draw. Once you’ve added water, take a pull from the mouthpiece to test the water level. If you can create a bubbling effect but don’t feel any water splashing up to your mouth, your dab rig is filled with the appropriate amount of water. 
  • Get your concentrate ready: Dabbing with a dab rig is all about timing, so prepare your concentrate ahead of time. Get a small amount (just a “dab”) and set it aside so it’s ready for when you need it in the next step. We recommend using a dab tool to help you scoop out the right amount of concentrate. And don’t forget: a little goes a long way, so make sure you’re only taking the tiniest bit. 
  • Heat the nail or banger: Using a torch or an e-nail, heat the nail or banger until it’s red hot. Turn off the torch and wait about 30 seconds for the nail to cool down a bit — this will ensure you don’t burn your concentrate, preserve the flavorful terpenes, and ensure a smooth draw.
  • Apply the concentrate and inhale: Take the dab tool you prepared in step 2 and apply your concentrate to the nail or banger. Your concentrates should instantly vaporize as you do so. Inhale through the mouthpiece to clear the dab rig.
  • Wait for everything to cool. Your dabbing supplies get super hot when you consume concentrates. We recommend getting a heat-safe mat so you have a place to put everything while they cool down. Wait until they are cool to the touch to put away your dab rig.

Which concentrates are best for dab rigs?

Most every type of extract can be consumed with the use of a dab rig, though some are better suited to it than others. Solid concentrates that don’t fall apart easily, such as budder and shatter, are especially easy to use with a dab rig. With the right dab tool, concentrates like crumble are also effective, though this type of extract may be a bit trickier place on the nail.

Blowtorch or e-nail?

Blowtorches sound intimidating, but they’re easy to use and effective. You only need a small one, like one used by chefs to make crème brulée, to get the job done. E-nails, however, unlock a lot more possibilities. You can select the precise temperature you want — all you have to do is set it and wait. And of course, you get to skip the blowtorch altogether.

How to use an electronic vaporizer or dab pen, step by step

The dawn of electronic vaporizers and dab pens have made trying concentrates even easier and more accessible than the conventional dab rig method. Not only do you skip the elaborate setup, but you can take concentrates on the go, something that traditional dabbing makes difficult.

While every vaporizer has its own unique set of features, you can expect the same general approach to using them.

Here’s how it works, step by step:

  • Read the device’s manual: Before loading anything into your vaporizer, make sure it’s designed to work with that material first. If you have a dual-use vaporizer like the PAX Plus, make sure that it’s set up with the right inserts to use concentrates. Even for concentrate-only devices, some vaporizers aren’t made to work with every kind of extract that’s out there, so double check your device owner’s manual. 
  • Add your concentrate to the chamber: Open your vaporizer’s chamber or atomizer (it will be called something different depending on your device) and load your concentrate in as specified in the device owner’s manual. Some devices have heated coils where you place your concentrate, and others have a chamber that should be loaded with plenty of room to allow for airflow. Once your concentrate is in place in accordance with the instructions in the owner’s manual, replace the cap or lid.
  • Turn your vaporizer on and set the temperature: Once your vaporizer is loaded, activate it and select your desired temperature. Some devices simply require you to press a button and hold it to vaporize your material, while others allow you to set a precise temperature. Once your device indicates that it’s properly heated, inhale.
  • Turn your device off and clean it out: When you’re finished consuming your concentrate, turn your device off to avoid burning out the coil or damaging the chamber. We recommend cleaning your device after every use to prevent resin build-up and to extend the longevity of your vaporizer. Always consult the device owner’s manual for the best method of cleaning and maintaining your device.

Which concentrates are best for vaporizers and dab pens?

The answer to this question depends on which the device was designed for. Some work well with oils, while others are made specifically for waxes. Others excel with both types of concentrates. As you explore, consider the texture of your concentrate. For example, runny oils will be difficult to use on coils and you may end up wasting the product. Make sure you read the device owner’s manual carefully and only use recommended types of concentrates with your device.

How to use a vape cartridge, step-by-step

Vape cartridges are among the easiest ways to consume concentrates. These pre-filled cartridges may not come in a little jar and need the same multi-step process as other concentrates, but they are concentrated, high-THC extracts nonetheless.

If you want to skip the process of using a dab rig or electronic vaporizer, vape carts are for you. can simply be screwed into a compatible battery, or you can buy a disposable vape and you won’t need any battery. Once attached to the battery, it’s as easy as turning on the power, holding down a button, and inhaling.

Here’s how it works, step by step:

  • Attach the vape cart to the battery: Open your vape cartridge and remove any coverings that may be protecting the thread and contact. Screw your vape cart into your fully charged 510 battery and ensure it’s connected snugly. (Some brands, like AIRO, are part of a proprietary system; AIRO carts can only be used with specially designed AIRO batteries.) 
  • Turn on the battery: How you activate the battery depends on the model you buy. Some are activated simply by inhaling, while others require you to press a button once or a series of times. A light on the battery will let you know the vape is on and working.
  • Select temperature (if possible): Some 510 batteries come with temperature settings, most commonly a low, medium, and high setting. If so, select your desired temperature setting following the instructions in the device user’s manual.
  • Inhale: When you’re ready to consume, press and hold the power button and inhale on the mouthpiece of the vape cart. The longer you hold the button down, the more the oil will vaporize. Avoid holding it down for too long to prevent burning your material or the heating element in the cartridge; most batteries will have a time limit on how long you can hold the button down. If your device doesn’t have a battery, you’re in luck: you just need to inhale.

What’s inside a vape cart?

Vape cartridges generally contain oils like butane hash oil (BHO), sauce, or live resin. They offer an easy way to consume these sticky, viscous concentrates that don’t leave you with messy dab tools or frustrating spills you have to clean up after your session.

Vape cartridges are a great choice for consumers who want no mess and no fuss. They’re simple to use, highly mobile, and very discreet compared to dab rigs and most dab pens or electronic vaporizers. If simplicity is your priority, vape carts are probably the best choice for you.

How to add concentrate to flower, step by step

The right concentrate can go right into your bowl or joint with ease. Here’s how to do that.

  1. Grind your flower and prepare your bowl or joint. Fill your bowl or put flower in your paper as you normally would.
  2. Add concentrate. Sprinkle a bit into the bowl. For joints, you can add concentrate on the inside alongside flower to ensure an even smoke, or you can roll up and add concentrate to the outside of your joint.
  3. Inhale. Nothing else to do but enjoy.

Which concentrates are best for adding to flower?

Think about how you plan to add the concentrate to flower before you do so. This will help narrow down your choice.

If you plan to place concentrate in a bowl, virtually any kind of concentrate will do. Hash, crumble, wax — they’re all valid. For joints, you want to think about how you plan to apply them. If you want to drizzle a rolled joint in concentrate, for example, wax or another viscous concentrate is best for this. For rolling, you may want something that’s easier to control and distribute evenly throughout your flower.

Tips for trying cannabis concentrates

Prepare your consumption station

A clean and organized area makes for an easy and pleasant session. This is especially true for dab rigs, which require a bit of space and good timing, though it’s also the case for using vaporizers or adding your concentrate to flower. When you know where everything is and prepare it ahead of time, you won’t have to search for the things you need or scramble to make sure you stay focused at the ideal moment. You can just kick back, relax, and spark up.

Use the right dab tools and accessories

Having the right items can make for a more satisfying session. We highly recommend using dab tools for handling your material without making a mess, and additions like dab mats are nice for protecting the surface of your consumption station.

When using a dab rig, you may want to add a quartz banger or carb cap to further enhance the experience. While these elements aren’t necessary, frequent consumers find they make for a better overall session.

Not sure what dab tools and accessories are appropriate for your preferred consumption method? Just let a budtender know how you’re consuming and ask if there are any accessories that can improve your experience. We’ll walk you through anything High Street has in stock and point you in the right direction.

Clean and maintain your equipment

Whatever device you’re using, don’t let it get out of shape. Concentrates are quite sticky and buildup is not uncommon. Always take the time to make sure your implements are well maintained and they will pay you back with an enjoyable experience every session that you use them.

Clear your devices regularly to ensure airflow isn’t affected. For dab rigs made of glass, soaking in isopropyl alcohol, a salt solution, and/or using specialty cleaner will get the job done. Electronic vaporizers should be cleaned following the device user’s manual to preserve the quality of your sessions and the longevity of your device. Even vape pens can benefit from regular, gentle cleaning of the battery contacts.

Store your concentrates properly

Your session is only as good as the quality of your concentrates, so be sure to store them properly to extend shelf life. Concentrates should always be stored in an airtight container and kept in a dry, cool, dark location. Doing so will prevent the degradation of terpenes and cannabinoids, which are sensitive to light, heat, and air. That way, whenever you break out your concentrates for a session, you’ll know they’re just as good as the day you bought them.

Enjoy concentrates on 7/10 and every day

Whether you prefer the experience of using a dab rig or want the convenience of a vape, High Street has something for everyone. Stop in and check out our wide range of cannabis concentrates, including top-tier local brands like Lily Extracts, as well as the accessories that can improve your experience. Our budtenders stand at the ready to help you find just what you’re looking for, even if you’re not quite sure what that is yet. For the very best cannabis experience that New Jersey has to offer, swing by High Street on High Street — yes, High Street — in Hackettstown today.

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