The Benefits of Dabbing with Quartz
Remember the term 'hot knifing?'
Way back in the day, I'm sure many of us had our little hacks to smoking reefer. My favorite pastime is smoking out of an apple! Once, in my early cannabis industry years, a member of the collective I worked for told me about 'iron spooning' which does sound odd, but was a definite way to combust cannabis oil and get, well, extremely medicated. I should mention it was basically the same as 'hot knifing' but with more surface area to heat for that sweet, sweet chemical reaction when cannabis oil hits a heated surface and kapow--plumes of smoke-able trichomes to unlock those CB receptors!
Nowadays we're seeing a bit more class when it comes to combustion or vaporizing cannabis extract (commonly referred to as cannabis concentrates: wax, shatter, isolate, sauce, sugar, diamonds and so much more!
The glassware (or rigs) for dabbing is getting pretty unique as well. This line of dab rigs from GRAV have been the nicest I've come across. Heck, even electric nails and on-the-go dabbing set ups like this Puffco Peak retailing for just over $375...or this PAX 3 Vaporizer (a fan favorite and makes the most sense in terms of cost and functionality...and they have a great warranty!)
But what if you don't dab-on-the-go or want to spend upwards of $250 for a device that you may only use once a month--AND want to keep healthy practices when smoking or vaporizing cannabis concentrate?
Enter the quartz glass 'nail.'
As mentioned earlier, dab rigs (think a bubbler for your concentrate) exist for consuming potent cannabis extract. They come in different styles and made from different materials. On the tip, the part that you heat and place your concentrate is known as the 'nail.' Originally, titanium nails were the big thing, then came about ceramic and quartz nails. Titanium nails heat quickly, but heat diminishes quickly as well. Ceramic nails take longer to heat, but retain the heat longer. Quartz doesn't dominate in the heating speed or retention categories, but it can withstand and retain heat with less risk of breaking. It also preserves concentrate flavors better than other materials--aiding in that terpene + cannabinoids = entourage effect.
Here's some background information from our good friends at Leafly--about the quartz nail:
- Silicon Dioxide (SiO2), also known as clear-fused quartz or fused silica, is a solid, amorphous (non-crystalline) material comprised of silicon and oxygen. While very similar to traditional glass, the two are distinct in that quartz contains no other materials.
- In order to create fused quartz, pure silica sand containing quartz crystals must be melted or fused. This purity gives quartz a high thermal conductivity, and it’s also often used in laboratory-grade materials.
- Quartz is great for low-temperature dabbing, the practice of using reduced temperatures when heating a nail in order to preserve terpene flavors during the sublimation and inhalation processes.
- When used in conjunction with a carb cap or any other device designed to create convection, quartz nails preserve terpenes because they can maintain a lower temperature for a longer period of time before cooling off. This creates a much more robust and enjoyable dabbing experience compared to other nail materials, which can burn off terpenes with higher temperatures.
- Quartz is also a champ when it comes to thermal conductivity. It can withstand high temperatures over time with less risk of breaking, and can also retain steadier temperatures for longer periods, making for easier and less rushed dabbing without the fear of cooling.
- The introduction of the quartz domeless nail was the turning point when quartz became a major contender for nails. The flathead design of early quartz nails was still imperfect. Although it fit well with early dab rigs that had domes for creating convection, concentrates would often melt off the ridges and go to waste. Cupped designs proved to be a better option with domed rigs, but these nails couldn’t retain heat long enough.
- While each of these designs are still popular today, the simplified banger nail has easily become the most popular for quartz enthusiasts because of its functionality, simple and sleek design, and easy replicability. Quartz nails complement glass more than other materials like titanium, bringing a more attractive aesthetic to expensive dab rigs.
- A fresh quartz nail, translucent and free of cloudiness and debris, will give you better dabs, allowing you to taste the flavors and terpenes of concentrates better.
Author Credits: Mike is a huge fan of the ocean and loves writing about cannabis science and cannabis lifestyle hacks.
Information referenced from Leafly and the cannabis community.