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Since the launch of vaporizing herbs in the late 20th century, the industry has continued to evolve.  This fairly modern technology has developed extremely fast and in parallel with the booming cannabis market. Very similar to vape pens in nature, wax/dab pens are designed specifically for vaporizing concentrates.

Cannabis concentrates come in many consistencies and you may find yourself overwhelmed with the many options of concentrates available on the market.

What is a cannabis concentrate?

A cannabis concentrate is a generic term for cannabis resin that is extracted from the cannabis plant using a multitude of methods.  The main compound that is extracted is known as cannabinoids. There are over 400 identified compounds identified in the cannabis Sativa plant, this includes cannabinoids and terpenes. The most famous, or should we say infamous cannabinoid, is known as Tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC ) and this cannabinoid is the psychoactive compound that is responsible for the “high” in cannabis. There are a host of other cannabinoids, namely THCV, CBD, CBN, and CBD amongst many others.

Extraction methods mainly include solvents that work by absorbing cannabinoids and separating them from the plant matter. Some solvents used such as butane, propane, and ethanol may be highly volatile and are also dangerous for human health if not extracted correctly. Other methods of extraction used can be using heat and pressure, which is known as rosin. Water or ice extraction is yet another method used that can effectively extract cannabis compounds from the plant. All of these methods have their pros and cons with extraction and it is usually up to the cannabis processor as to which method he chooses.

Now on to the concentrates- wax concentrates tend to come in numerous, varying types of consistencies and potencies. Concentrates available on the market could be labeled live resin, rosin, shatter, wax, crumble and so forth. Essentially these are the oil resins of the cannabis plant, rich in cannabinoids and when heated, they form a sticky, gooey paste.

Vaping cannabis concentrates

Vaping cannabis concentrates is very similar to the more traditional methods of vaporizing dry herbs.  Wax vape pens are essentially very similar in design and technology to standard herbal vape pens. Wax/Dab pens differentiate themselves from dry herb pens mostly because they use a heating coil rather than an oven or heating chamber. Wax and Dab pens are used for the consumption of these thick rich oils instead of the plant matter found in dry herbal vaporizers.

Components of a Wax/ Dab pen

Mouthpiece – this component can be made from materials such as glass, titanium or other metals and even ceramics. It allows the flow of cannabinoid-rich vapor to come in through the vaporizer and heating coil, and then enter your mouth when inhaled.

Heating coil/ Atomizer / Wick – This is where the magic of vaping happens. Using a dab tool you place a small piece of cannabis concentrate in the chamber on top of the heating coil. This component is responsible for the heating and vaporization of the concentrate.  The battery/ mod is attached to the atomizer and powers the unit to the correct temperature in a matter of minutes.

There are many varieties of atomizers, wicked, wickless and flat ceramic dish types.

Wicked: Similar to sub-ohm vape pens, these atomizers come with a wick in them. It can be either a single or double wicked system. These are best suited for more liquid type concentrates such as wax and rosin.

Wickless: Used for thicker concentrates, wickless atomizers have ceramic or quartz rods in them that heat the concentrate. They can come in single, double or triple rod designs, and are very commonplace in modern dab wax pens.

Ceramic Dish: A modern design that is becoming very popular. The ceramic dish protects the wicks or rods and it is a very safe way to vape, it tends to prove a smoother, higher quality vaping session.

Battery/ Mods:  The battery or mod of the wax/dab pen shares the same universal 510 threaded connection. They are usually lithium-ion batteries which are considered to be modern technology, quick to charge and long-lasting. Batteries typically come within a range of 900mAh to 1300mAh depending on the manufacturer. Mods are variable voltage batteries and allow advanced users to adjust the voltage, wattage or temperature, pushed through to the atomizer at the click of a button. It is important to remember to make sure your heating chamber is compatible with the mod/battery!

Most connections that come with wax/dab pens are 510 threaded. But the more modernized pens come with magnetic connections that are still 510 threaded, yet tend to be easier to access the heating chamber instead of unscrewing the battery each time.

Sensors – The main function of the sensors is to communicate intelligently with the atomizer so that you can regulate temperature control. Different brands of wax/dab vaporizers use varying degrees of technology from Bluetooth compatibility, app support, color changes, and even pre-programmed temperature controls.


Using a wax/dab pen

Basic instructions: This is a fairly straightforward process and a simple design to use and abuse. You will use your dabbing tool to lift some cannabis concentrate into the heating chamber. When you initiate the power button, the battery will then power the atomizer and heat the wick. Heat to pre-programmed or user-defined settings, and from there, the wax will start vaporizing and you are ready to inhale the vape.

Step by step:

  1. Usually prepared and purchased from medical dispensaries, make sure to keep your concentrate wax in an easily accessible place, but ensure it is secured and kept away from children and pets. You want it in a fairly cool, dark place to keep it fresh so that when you choose to vape, the wax is viable.
  2. Using your dabbing tool, scoop some wax, a small amount (depending on the potency). Carefully place the wax in the heating chamber. You are ready to vape.
  3. When you are ready to vape, hold the release button and inhale using the direct to lung inhaling technique. This is almost like swallowing food. Using wax/ dab pens you don’t want the vapor to linger in your mouth, but rather enter directly to your lungs for maximum effect.
  4. Once done, open up the heating chamber and all the wax/concentrate should be gone. If you are up for it, add some more and follow the same steps above to vaporize more concentrate.
  5. It is important to clean your heating chamber when you are finished with your vaping session. Remove any excess resin because if it is left to dry, this will cause your heating chamber complications and make your wax pen underperform in the future.