Dabbing vs. Smoking: The Best Method to Consume Cannabis

The fast-paced growth of the cannabis industry inspires new ideas, new products, and even new ways of consumption. With the rising popularity of concentrates, will traditional smoking be lost? It’s worth taking a look at both methods to examine the pros and cons. Potency, health concerns, cost, and quality are all factors to consider when finding the best method for you. Concentrate comes in many forms, often referred to as wax, rosin, shatter, or crumble. It can be extracted by the use of chemical solvents or our favorite way — from a Nugsmasher® rosin press, utilizing only heat and pressure. Let’s dive in to see if there really is a superior method!


The extract meant for dabbing is referred to as concentrate because it is exactly that — a highly potent and concentrated extract from the cannabis flower. On the market, concentrate can test anywhere from 70% – 90% THC while flower on average tests 15% – 30%. A smokers introduction to cannabis typically isn’t dabbing. Usually, smokers find their way to the potent extract only after already building a tolerance to flower. A single hit of concentrate can offer 10 times the THC than traditional smoking. New dabbers proceed with caution, take it slow, and experiment. Soon enough you’ll be enjoying the unrivaled potency of concentrate and may never return to flower!


There are significant differences between the vapor that is inhaled from dabbing and the smoke that is inhaled from flower. When it comes down to the health of your lungs, dabbing is a cleaner alternative to smoking. 95% of the vapor from dabs contain cannabinoids in contrast to traditional smoking, a consumer will only inhale 12%. Traditional smokers run risks similar to smoking tobacco, as they are inhaling carcinogens and traces of tar. This can be visually demonstrated by taking a closer look at the tools used for each method.

The glass from a dab rig will remain cleaner for much longer than a pipe or a bong. The black tar-like substance sticking to your bowls over time can be truly damaging to the lungs. This substance, commonly referred to as resin is created in the process of combustion. Only containing small traces of THC, smokers will commonly joke about feeling desperate enough to collect the black resin from their bowls and smoke it. Physicians claim that resin should be tossed, not smoked and is definitely not worth the risk. In 452 samples of resin, the median THC content contained only between 2%-3%.


Dabbers and traditional cannabis smokers alike love to rave about the aroma and taste of their product. But is one necessarily better than the other? Well, the smell and taste of any concentrate or flower derives from its terpenes. These essential oils are found in the plant’s trichome glands — the tiny crystals that blanket the plants surface. This is where other cannabinoids such as THC and CBD are also produced.

Extracting such a concentrated product comes with its advantages. The terpenes are well preserved through the extraction process, producing a potent flavor and aroma. Reaching up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, the heat from a lighter can destroy terpenes and other cannabinoids. Dabbing can allow for the consumer to have more control of temperature, even keeping heat below than 300 degrees!

“Important terpenoids such as Beta-Caryophyllene, Alpha-Pinene, and linalool have boiling points between 242 and 388 degrees Fahrenheit. CBD has a boiling point of between 320 and 356 degrees.”

Terpenes offer more than just their aroma and taste. They have a powerful influence on each strain’s effect. Several studies have shown that terpenes can help other cannabinoids pass more easily through the bloodstream influencing a quick onset of psychoactive effects. Terpenes can intensify, dull, or change the effects and duration of the strains, this is what is referred to as the “entourage effect” — terpenes working with other compounds to create a greater effect together than they could accomplish separately.


The sticker price on a gram of concentrate may be one of the main reasons that stop a consumer from enjoying it. On average a gram of concentrate can cost anywhere around $60 while a decent gram of flower will run for about $15. But smokers listen up! Don’t let the price stop you, concentrate is in fact the more cost-effective option. When considering the potency, smokers are getting much more THC per gram. The method of dabbing concentrate in contrast to smoking flower, also plays a significant role in how much THC is consumed per gram. The method of dabbing concentrates will only cause a 20% loss of THC while traditional methods of smoking will lose up to 60% — and those differences add up!


When combustion is cited as a danger of concentrates, they are referring to the extraction process in which harmful chemical solvents are typically used. One of the most common ways to extract concentrate is with the use of butane, propane, alcohol, or other chemicals. The combination of the chemicals and high temperatures is a disaster waiting to happen and something as simple as a spark from a light switch can trigger an explosion. These accidents can force houses off their foundation, leave victims with life-impairing injuries, or end fatally.

At Nugsmasher®, we advocate for a solventless product made with our rosin presses, completely free of chemical or combustion risks. When taking into account the extraction method and quality, rosin is the highest quality concentrate. Rosin can easily be extracted in your home, or business with the use of any of our Nugsmasher® units.

Almost no safety risks are involved with smoking flower either. Without a doubt, the traditional method will always remain — but if you’re really feeling indecisive at your local bud shop, why not grab the flower? At least with a Nugsmasher® you have the option to press it into rosin once you get home!

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