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What is Reverse Dabbing and How to Do it

October 21, 2020 3 min read

dabbing concentrates

Dabbing has taken cannabis culture by storm as a new faster way to get high using potent marijuana concentrates. Tabletop dab rigs may look similar to your typical water bong, but dabbing requires much higher temperatures in order to vaporize concentrates like wax, budder, or shatter, which needs to be done via a totally different process. Creating tasty dabs requires specialized tools like a quartz banger, dabber, carb cap, and butane torch in addition to techniques that take some practice to perfect. One technique in particular has garnered lots of hype in recent years. It’s called reverse dabbing, sometimes referred to as cold start dabbing. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to cold start dab.

What is a reverse dab or cold start dab?

Traditional dabbing is a science that once mastered becomes second nature. Reverse dabbing is a technique used only for smoking with a tabletop dab rig setup. For flavorful dabs that preserve all the tasty cannabis terpenes, you need to use the lowest temperature possible. With normal dabbing, smokers will heat up the nail until it’s glowing red before adding a concentrate to vaporize. A cold start dab turns this process on its head by first loading a concentrate onto a cold nail or banger, then slowly heating it up. This method has actually been around for a while prior to advancements in dabbing such as the use of quartz nails and heat-safe borosilicate glass dab rigs.

Benefits of reverse dabbing

Unlike traditional dabbing, which must go through cycles of heating and cooling, cold start dabs save time by not having to heat up the nail ahead of time so you can be smoking in mere seconds. The method should only be used if you want to take one or two dabs at a time since you’ll have to wait for the nail to cool down fully in order to clean it, reload it, and do another cold start. This technique also uses much less heat so you’ll be able to taste the full flavor profile of each dab, plus your tools will last a lot longer. Even though nearly all dab accessories today are made to withstand extreme temperatures, heavy use will wear them down overtime and cold start dabbing can help preserve your hardware. One of the main downsides that dabbing aficionados often mention is waste. Some smokers swear that cold start dabbing wastes more material because you’re heating it to the lowest temperature possible for vaporization to happen, which often leaves some of the concentrate unvaporized. However, many stoners also note that there is less burnt material and caked on residue so cleaning and maintenance is easier.

Bubble Gum Dab Rig

How to do a reverse dab

If you’re already a seasoned dabber, learning how to cold start dab is very simple and essentially the same steps as a traditional dab, but in a different order. You can use all the same tools that you should already have for dabbing.


Dab Rig Tools:

  • Tabletopdab rig
  • Dab tool
  • Quartz banger (Because of its shape, bangers work better than nails for this method)
  • Dab torch
  • Carb cap
  • Optional: Silicone dab mat

Reverse Dab Steps:

  1. Clean your banger well. There can’t be any residue from other dabs when using the cold start technique. Load the unheated banger with your favorite cannabis concentrate and pop on the carb cap.
  2. Using a butane torch, begin to slowly heat the bottom of the banger with just the very tip of the flame. Be sure to keep the flame at least three inches away from the underside of the banger or it will heat too quickly. The flame should only just touch the underside and should not ever go up the sides of the banger. Only heat the banger until the concentrate just begins to bubble and vaporize then turn your torch off. The entire heating process should only take around 8 to 10 seconds.
  3. Turn off the dab torch and move around the carb cap while taking a rip from the mouthpiece. If you used the right amount of concentrate, you should get a solid one or two dabs. 

Do you need to upgrade your dab rig or dab tools? Check out our online headshop for mini dab rigs, dab pens, recycler dab rigs, cheap dab tools, carb caps, silicone dab mats, dab torches, titanium nails, quartz bangers, and more.


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