The Decade in Dabbing

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Over the last 10 years, the art of separating trichomes and terpenes from plant material became a true science and we’re going to take a look at the road that got us to today where we now have the best hash in history.

Hash has an important place in the last decade. Not only because we all got blasted, but because it led to some of the decade’s biggest medical advances in cannabis. If not for a bunch of monkeys in Israel eating some hash we wouldn’t know about CBD!

Now that we’ve set the bar for just how important concentrates were, let’s talk about what they weren’t at the beginning of the 2010s and, the truth is, they weren’t that nice. There were a few dudes doing wax OK in 2010, but for the most part, wax wasn’t purged that well, lost anything unique and special about the plant material, and smelled like some kind of dollar store scentless candles. Thankfully we’d get through this phase that lasted from the late 2000s to early 2010s at a decent pace.

Former High Times editorial team member Bobby Black was the main person covering the dab beat at the start of the last decade. He also was one of the folks that pushed to get a BHO category added to those early U.S. Cannabis Cups.

“At first, High Times didn’t even want to cover dabs,” Black told Cannabis Now. “They thought it was too dangerous and they didn’t want to cover it. I was like, ‘Look we have to cover this. This is our culture.’”

Black won the debate and provided the earliest window into American dab culture. The tradeoff was that he had to put a lot of disclaimers constantly reminding people to not try and make BHO at home.

One of the premier things to pull us out of the dab Dark Ages was dewaxed slabs of shatter hitting the world in 2010. I actually worked at a club in Berkeley that had been getting ISO melts from these UC Berkeley Chemistry students and feared the worst about where things were going. Then I saw a piece of gorgeous shatter from Rump Wax and figured everything was going to be OK.

For Black, his first experience with live resin stuck with him.

“I was at the Cannabis Cup in Denver, the first big legal one, GiddyUp from Emotek came up to me, opened a little jar, and I had never seen or smelled a concentrate as pungent as GiddyUp’s,” Black said.

The Live Resin fresh frozen era was certainly fun, and also the same time period ushered in the rosin age. While most were from a hair straightener, presses started to get dialed in leading to the larger commercial presses we see today. And the rosin tasted so bomb!

Then we figured out how important terpenes are to flavor and we started to understand how they interacted with the THC and other cannabinoids to define a lot of the experience you would have. We also quickly figured out concentrates were even better when they were wet and juicy.

I think the year everyone grew out all that Tangie we didn’t need was when I first came across the earliest really impressive sauces without diamonds. We’d start to see really nice whipped batters with strong terpene profiles that are still delicious as hell, some of the Strawberry Bananas from during the later part of the Obama administration have an eternal place in my heart.

Eventually, we’d see terpenes and THC completely separated from one another and reunited in the form of diamonds and sauce. The modern debate now raged whether the best diamonds or batter rule all. Rosin is obviously as popping as ever because it’s easier to manufacture when it comes to permits, but a lot of people aren’t that good at it.

Also notice in that timeline that we didn’t mention those nasty CO2 dabs that tasted like cough syrup, I’m glad that fad lasted like a week.

Nevertheless, while all those wild things we mentioned were happening, the apparatuses we used to smoke concentrates went through their own revolution. Gone were the 2-foot bongs of yesterday as we moved on to smaller pieces that kept all the complexities of a dab’s flavor condensed for maximum enjoyment.

The transition from titanium to quartz was also welcome. The original carpenter style nails with a dome all sucked whether they were quartz or metal. Once e-nails came it seemed more bearable out of convenience, and then we started to see the hybrid nails with replaceable quartz rings. Thankfully the quartz bangers took over once China figured out how to make them.

We eventually went digital in an effective way as The Puffco Peak is basically the first generation iPod of dabbing. They’ve already upgraded the atomizers, so we’re excited to see what they come up with to improve it in the generations to come.

For much of the last decade, the dab scene was where the cutting edge happened in cannabis. Lab testing, terpene awareness, and arguably some of the greatest events and sesh parties to ever take place have always been a part of this community. Hopefully, the industry in the 2020s along with continued regulatory oversight can keep up with where dabs are poised to go this decade.

TELL US, have you ever taken a dab?